“How I kept the weight off”: Susie Elelman reveals secret to her weight loss
Susie Elelman is not only one of Australia’s most beloved media personalities, but she’s also one of the nation’s biggest weight loss success stories.
At her heaviest, Elelman weighed around 135 kg. But it wasn’t until she was shamed for her weight that she decided to make a change.
Now, over a decade since she released her first best-selling book Half My Size, Elelman has beat the odds and kept her 50-plus kilos off, and she’s got a new book to share her wisdom with others going through the same journey.
Over60 spoke to Elelman to find out the secrets to her weight loss success.
Tell us about your weight loss journey – what made you decide to lose the weight? How did you do it?
I’ve had a weight problem all my life, but I knew I had to really get serious when I’d reached a size 22. I’ve since managed to shed in excess of 50 kilograms (yes, I’ve lost more than Posh Spice weighs) and am now half my size and back down to a size 12.
Having been constantly on or off a ‘diet’ for most of my adult life, my weight has fluctuated vastly as a result, but it wasn’t until I implemented some permanent lifestyle changes that I’ve been able to make a long-term difference to my size and shape and keep most of my weight off for more than 10 years.
The real question should probably be, how did I put all that weight on in the first place? I explain that complex issue in my new book Still Half My Size.
Being an emotional eater, one important lifestyle change has been to not use food for anything other than being hungry.
What made you decide to write a book about your journey?
I originally chronicled my 50 plus kilogram weigh loss in 2005 in my first best-selling book Half My Size and since then there’s been a vast array of new information and science come to light in weight management, especially in what we eat and how much fat and sugar in particular that we should be consuming. I felt it was important to share what I’ve discovered in my new book Still Half My Size, which is filled with lots of interviews with experts in their field.
One of the biggest adverse changes to my size and shape and emotions was going through Menopause and I interview Dr Gary Aaron from the Australian Menopause Centre in a Chapter I call “Managing the Menopause Madness”.
How do you navigate food-centric holidays like Christmas and Easter? How do you stay on the wagon?
Being a first-generation Australian growing up in a European family, food has always played a central part in all of our entertaining. The first thing Mum would think about when the doorbell rang was what do I have in the fridge to feed my visitors?
Celebrations were always focussed on food and I think it’s important not to be a martyr and deprive ourselves at these times.
Instead we should allow ourselves to have these as treats but the key is to know when to stop.
Portion control is always important but even more so when we indulge in the heavily fat and sugar laden foods that dominate our Christmas, Easter and birthday celebration menus.
Moderation has never been a word in the English language that I’ve been able to master very well so now when I over indulge I know I need to work off this energy with more exercise. One of the best exercises I can recommend is pushing ourselves away from the dinner table.
What tips do you have for others who have lost weight and want to keep it off?
Here are my top tips to losing weight and keeping it off:
1. Don’t weigh yourself – Muscle weighs the same as fat. Throw away your scales and only take your waist measurement instead. Women should be under 88cm and men under 102cm.
2. Read food labels – Keep an eye on the amount of hidden sugar, fat and salt in packaged foods and foods deemed as ‘healthy’ like yoghurt.
3. Exercise daily – start with a walk, take the stairs instead of the lift and Chapter 11 in my book is aptly called; Add SEX and double your results!
4. Mindful eating – Research shows we eat at least 30 per cent more when watching TV or when our mind is distracted.
5. Portion size – Eat off smaller plates, chew every mouthful and put your cutlery down in-between to help reduce your food intake and to give your stomach a chance to tell your brain that you’re full.
6. Baby steps – You’ll have a much better chance of long term success if you make smaller changes to your lifestyle habits over time.
7. Keep a logbook – Listing all the food you eat in a day and the quantity can be a real eye-opener and help you recognise what areas you’ll need to modify in order to get your weight under control. You don’t need to share this with anyone so be honest with yourself.
Still Half My Size (New Holland) by Susie Elelman is available now in bookstores and Booktopia.