When Wendy Davison recently took her 18-year-old son to his school formal, she hooked her arm around his so that she could walk in her new high heel shoes.
His partner spotted them for a distance and hadn’t recognised her. In fact, she thought the 46-year-old mum was another girl from the school.
It was an incredible moment for Wendy, who recently celebrated losing 41 kilos in just under a year.
And the Brisbane mum’s life has drastically changed since overcoming what had been a lifelong battle, one that began long before she can even fully remember.
Wendy said she had been overweight her whole life, gaining a stone a year when she was a child as she grew up around incredible cooks
Through the years Wendy – who at her heaviest weighed 116 kilos – had tried diets and found some success (she is pictured after her transformation)
‘I’ve actually, in all honestly, been overweight my whole life,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Every year I went up a stone, and by the time I finished school I was definitely 90 kilos if not a little bit more.’
Wendy said she had never been sedentary person, but was surrounded by a family full of wonderful cooks that taught her how to love food.
‘Everything was home-cooked, we always had bacon slices and biscuits and things like that,’ she said.
‘Our family was a very “together” family, there were always people coming over for dinner and things like that. We were never deprived of food.’
‘I’ve never been the kind of girl who was on the couch with a bag of chips,’ she added. ‘I was a big girl who was active and loved food.’
Through the years Wendy – who at her heaviest weighed 116 kilos – had tried diets and found some success. But it was always after the 15-kilo mark that she would once again lose her way.
But, although she was in good health, it was hard for Wendy to ignore the physical strain she was beginning to experience every day.
‘I got to that stage where I felt like my weight was really starting to burden me,’ she said.
‘My hips would ache if I had been sitting down for awhile, I just felt like my joints were getting stiff.’
‘I thought, wow, if I’m starting to feel this in my mid-forties, what is my future? What damage am I doing to myself?’
And there were emotional effects as well, as Wendy realised how much time she had wasted just thinking about how much she hated her weight.
‘Every morning I got up and looked in the mirror and hated the way I felt,’ she said. ‘I felt like I invested too much time disliking something that only I could change.’
Wendy said she realised she had to make a change before the health problems came and a doctor told her to.
‘I was giving myself the death sentence,’ she said. ‘If I don’t lose this weight, it is going to kill me. I drew the line in the sand.’
Wendy initially considered surgery, but decided to fully commit to a diet instead because she had a ‘fully functioning body with no health issues’.
She signed up with her local Jenny Craig and, at first, the journey felt daunting.
‘When I started, I couldn’t even see any light in my tunnel because my tunnel was so long, 40 kilos long,’ she said.
But last year Jenny decided she had to make a permanent change and joined Jenny Craig. She found such success she is now featured on their posters and commercials
So instead Wendy began setting small goals for herself, from losing six kilos, to reaching a weight she had never been to.’
But the most important thing Wendy overcame was a phobia of food that had developed as the weight piled on through the years.
‘I was eating maybe twice a day, I was scared of food,’ she said.
‘I thought it was going to keep putting weight on me and was starving my body. I honestly thought my metabolism had stopped working.’
So Wendy was shocked when her consultant advised her to start eating six times a day, and showed her a diet plan full of foods she had always considered to be bad.
‘When she first showed me the menu I told her, “Wow, I’m really, really worried about this,'” Wendy recalled.
‘I told her I had real concerns that I wouldn’t lose weight eating all this and she said to me, “Please, just trust us.'”
That week Wendy lost 1.8 kilos while eating things like beef pie and white chocolate cranberry cookies.
Jenny has become so unrecognisable to some that her son Reece’s partner thought she was another Grade 12 girl when she spotted them from afar at his recent school formal
‘If you are exercising too hard on a lean diet, your body is going to go into starvation mode. Whereas if you give it enough fuel, it will then want to burn it,’ she said.
‘It’s just completely retrained me to eat. It actually taught me that I can eat all of those kinds of food and I love it.’
Now Wendy eats three meals a day, with three snacks in between, eating breakfast within half an hour of waking up every morning and drinking a big glass of water.
‘That really kicks your body into gear for the day,’ she said. ‘I’m ready to burn now, that’s how my body feels.’
And Wendy has kept up the exercise routine she began a year ago, choosing to workout at locations she loves rather than joining a fitness center.
Wendy turns the outdoors into her own gym, running up ramps and stairs and climbing steep hills to create her own kind of interval training, and plenty of walking.
On the first anniversary of her first weigh-in Wendy, who now weighs 75 kilos, found out she had lost 41.3 kilos.
‘It’s better than winning any kind of lotto,’ she said. ‘I’ve never, ever been able to conquer my lifelong weight problem and I just wanted it so bad.’
‘I just feel so healthy. I don’t feel like my age at all, I feel like I’m 30.’
On the first anniversary of her first weigh-in Wendy, who now weighs 75 kilos, found out she had lost 41.3 kilos
And the dramatic transformation has helped Wendy realise just how much the weight was holding her back.
‘I look back now and realise my whole life has actually felt like I’ve been walking uphill,’ she said.
‘Now that I’m at a healthy weight range, when I walk up a steep hill, I realised that’s how I used to feel when I walked on flat ground, with 40 kilos on myself.’
‘Now I just feel like it’s been lifted off me. I wish anyone considering losing weight could just sit inside my body for a moment, just to feel how good they’re going to feel losing the weight.’
Now Wendy, who currently appears in Jenny Craig commercials, is enjoying shopping wherever she wants and being able to get huge hugs from her son.
‘Apart from having my son, it’s been the best decision of my life,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t about losing weight for a month or a special occasion, this was a change I wanted forever.’