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A size 24 teacher who lived off 10 cups of coffee, McDonald’s and food-court Chinese takeaway has shed an incredible 53kg.
And she looks unrecognisable.
Cicily Goodwin, from Nambucca Heads on the Mid North Coast of NSW, tipped the scales at 128kg at her heaviest after she struggled with her weight since her early 20s.
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Determined to address her lifestyle of poor dieting and lack of exercising, the mother of two vowed 2017 was going to be her “last year of being obese”.
Within 18 months, the now-27 year old slimmed down to a size 12 after swapping takeaways for healthier meals without depriving herself of her favourite foods.
Before her dramatic weight loss, Cicily led a “pretty sedentary lifestyle”.
“Doing anything was such a struggle,” she tells 7Life.
“I hated even walking around the shops. I’d always try to find a close car park to avoid walking any distance I possibly could.”
Her daily diet consisted of “a lot of takeaway food”, including McDonald’s or “food court Chinese”.
“I’d also drink a lot of soft drinks, and binge on food like chocolate and chips at home,” she says.
“I’d often eat really healthy, making fermented foods and using wholefoods.
“So this was kind of my way of pretending I was healthy and it was okay to eat badly at other times.”
But her bad eating habits resulted in her piling on weight over the years.
“I’d been dieting since primary school but nothing ever worked long term,” she says.
“‘I completely changed my diet’ – Cicily Goodwin“
After the birth of her second child, she knew she needed to lose weight once and for all.
“I completely changed my diet. I cut out takeaway, soft drinks and snacking on unhealthy foods,” she says.
She signed up to The Healthy Mummy, a holistic health program offering an app with simple meal recipes and exercise plans.
In the first three months, she lost 20kg just by eating healthy foods and snacks.
Her day included two smoothies blended with frozen fruits and vegetables, homemade dinners and snacks.
“I cut down a lot just by eating healthier foods that gave me energy,” she says.
“However, I made a conscious effort to still include things into my daily diet that I loved because this approach was for life.”
She started to include “cheat meals” and “guilty pleasures” into her meal plan.
“‘I did not feel like I was missing out’ – Cicily Goodwin“
“I enjoy eating out with friends, and throughout my journey I still went out for dinner every week, and I didn’t just choose the salad,” she says.
“I’d get what I felt like, and I’d enjoy it guilt-free knowing that I consciously chose to eat this meal, and I’d eaten so well the rest of the week that this was like a well-deserved reward.
“I did not feel like I was missing out, so I wasn’t finding myself binge eating junk food anymore like I always did on previous diets.
“This really worked for me.”
If she’s on holiday, Cicily never restricts herself just to stay on track.
“This is about the rest of my life, so yes, I’ll enjoy the buffet on a cruise, and yes I’ll eat the birthday cake,” she says.
“I’ll also enjoy an ice cream with my kids if I feel like one.
“Because the majority of the time I work really hard to make good choices, so indulging in the good parts of life is what it’s all about for me.”
One thing she “never cut out” completely was coffee, but she is down to just one cup a day.
Healthy day on a plate
Breakfast: Smoothie vanilla flavour with frozen mango and a banana
Morning tea: Wholemeal choc chip muffin with a coffee
Lunch: Smoothie chocolate flavour with almond milk and peanut butter
Afternoon snack: Caramel cheesecake ball with a cup of tea
Dinner: Greek chicken burger
Dessert: Two rows of dark chocolate or tiramisu
It took Cicily 18 months to drop 53kg naturally, without undergoing weight loss or skin removal surgery.
“I averaged a 700 gram loss per week, sometimes more and sometimes less,” she says.
“But I wanted to do it slowly so the weight wouldn’t come back on.
“And honestly sometimes I still had bad days, and I’d gain weight.
“Other weeks I’d absolutely smash it and lose extra weight.
“Weight loss is such a balance game. It’s important to understand how much we fluctuate and not get disheartened by a bad day.”
“‘I averaged a 700 gram loss per week’ – Cicily Goodwin“
Her exercise started with walking, anywhere between 10 and 40km a week.
“This was the easiest way to exercise when I was so overweight,” she says.
“As I got thinner, exercise became easier.
“I then built up to workouts, and now I enjoy leisurely activities such as a walk on the beach, stand up paddle boarding and long boarding with my kids as they ride their bikes along our local foreshore.”
Looking at old pictures of herself, Cicily admits she still feels “shocked”.
“I look back and think my gosh, it was so sad the life I was living,” she says.
“I was so young yet looked so old due to my weight.
“People often don’t believe my ‘before’ pictures and transformation because I really do look so different.
“‘It was so sad the life I was living’ – Cicily Goodwin“
“When I reflect back, I’m just so proud of myself for really changing my life.
“I fought a lot of bad habits and not only lost the weight but have kept it off for four years now.
“This is just so surreal, from the girl who was picked last in PE class to the girl everyone comes to for advice now.
“It just feels so strange really. It’s like my life did a complete 180.”
Not every day is a good day
For those looking to lose weight, Cicily, who now weighs 72kg, says to aim for moderate weight loss.
“Don’t get caught up in trying to lose one to two kilos per week because it’s just a miserable time dieting like that,” she says.
“I averaged a 700 gram loss per week, which allowed me to still live my life, while losing 53kg in 18 months.
“Losing weight slowly is also so much better on your body.
“My skin adapted to the weight loss extremely well, and while I do still have a little bit of loose skin, it’s easy to hide with clothing and doesn’t bother me at all.”
She says not every day is going to be a good day, “and that is okay, accept that, and just try the best you can”.
“And then when that day comes, when you maybe eat a bit overboard, know that you are only one day behind or one week behind,” she says.
“And if you can find the motivation to get back up and start again, then you will get there.”