Real life weight loss: How I lost 22 kilograms

Having once been the woman who only exercised when she was forced to, Mandy Vollmer, 25, now looks forward to training with friends three times a week – and she’s gone from a size 16 to 10! “I’m so much fitter than I ever was and I’m a lot more confident,” she says.

The gain

Like so many of us, Vollmer, an industrial engineer and logistics consultant, thought her lifestyle was healthy. She blamed her extra weight on the junk food she’d indulge in on weekends, but felt sure her weekday diet was on track.

“I didn’t realise mixing rice, potatoes, pumpkin and carrots was a sugar and carb overload. I also didn’t eat regularly,” she says. “I’d use low-fat milk at home, but never asked for skim when I went out. I never noticed my pasta had full-fat cream in it, and although I always ate wholemeal bread, I overdid it.”

Her lack of diet savvy and inactive lifestyle made it hard to shift the unwanted kilos.

The change

“I’ve always hated my body,” admits Vollmer. So when she lost 11kg from her 171cm frame in 2009 while going to kickboxing classes, she felt motivated – and the compliments didn’t hurt: “It felt amazing!” One of her mum’s friends had achieved good results with an eight-week weight-loss program, so she decided to sign up.

The lifestyle

Vollmer started exercising three times a week, doing a mix of cardio and toning. “I ate more regularly and found that small changes, like cutting out margarine, made a huge difference,” she says. Although it was tough at first, she learnt how to make healthy food fun – and training in a group spurred her on. As a result, she lost another 11kg over 16 weeks.

The reward

“As my figure changed, so did my perception of my body and how I treated it,” says Vollmer. “People are always asking me for advice and I feel great about it!” And she doesn’t deprive herself: “I still eat chocolate, carbs and all the stuff I love – I just have it in moderation and put in that bit of extra effort at the gym afterwards.”

Vollmer’s weight loss tips

Enlist friendly support “Make friends at the gym – they’ll hold you accountable.”
Own it “Choose a gym or activity that works for you.”
No cop-outs “Find a lifestyle change that’s healthy, not a quick fix.”