Linda Simmonds is healthy 57-year-old who works out six times a week and is in the throes of planning her next overseas adventure with her new partner.
But just a few years ago her weight had ballooned a staggering 125 kilograms and she was considering gastric bypass surgery as a way to get her situation under control.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Ms Simmonds of Kogarah, New South Wales, shared how she had struggled with weight problems her whole life, and had never had any success in shedding the unwanted kilos despite trying ‘every diet under the sun’.
Linda Simmonds (pictured) said a few years ago she had tipped the scales at 125 kilograms and was considering gastric bypass surgery
The grandmother-of-four is now 50 kilograms lighter after deciding to take control of her health through exercise and diet
The serial dieter said she first began trying to lose weight as a 15-year-old when she tipped the scales at 70 kilograms.
At 18, she gave birth to her first child and revealed that during her pregnancy she gained another ten kilograms.
At 80 kilograms, she signed up for what would be the first of many weight loss programs, and while she would have some success for a while, this would be short-lived.
The serial dieter said she first began trying to lose weight as a 15-year-old when she tipped the scales at 70 kilograms
‘I would lose the weight while I was on it [the program] but as soon as it finished, I would put the weight back on.’
Ms Simmonds, who is also a grandmother to four boys, said by the time she hit her 30s, her body had slipped from overweight to obese, and while she still made attempts to change, she had little success.
‘It was a pretty depressing time,’ she recalled. ‘I felt so miserable about things.
‘I was a single parent and I was busy working and looking after my daughter. I didn’t really take much time to look after myself.’
Despite signing up for countless weight loss programs, Ms Simmonds said she couldn’t keep the weight off no matter how hard she tried
By the time she turned 40, Ms Simmonds said she weighed over 100 kilograms.
She said not only had she been single for a long time and didn’t exercise but she was also spending her days sitting in front of a computer.
What is a gastric bypass?
A gastric bypass is a procedure which entails the rerouting of intestines to bypass the majority of the stomach and duodenum.
To achieve this a small stomach pouch is created, and the rest of the stomach is stapled shut.
The small intestine is then separated into two sections and the new stomach pouch is connected to the lower potion of the small intestine.
Source: Brisbane Obesity Clinic
Ms Simmonds also revealed her diet had steadily become much worse.
For breakfast she would eat a McDonald’s bacon and egg roll, lunches and dinners were takeaways mostly, and she confessed she was also eating plenty of chocolate.
Once she hit her fifties, the office manager said it became even more difficult to take control of her health and her weight skyrocketed to 125 kilograms.
Ms Simmonds said as a small woman (154 centimetres), she often found herself in pain from the extra weight she was carrying.
‘My body was aching all over from all the weight I was holding up on my small frame.
‘My ankles would sometimes swell up like balloons from all the pressure, and I was constantly out of breath.’
Once she hit her fifties, the office manager revealed it became even more difficult to take control of her health and her weight skyrocketed to 125 kilograms
Ms Simmonds said the shock of realising her weight was affecting her health pushed her towards a decision to take control and that she started researching surgical options.
She said that a lap band procedure would have meant she needed to have 90 per cent of her stomach removed, and as well as there was also the risk of some frightening side effects.
But she said her greatest fear was that it wouldn’t work, and her body would reverse the operation.
‘I was still wearing my same old clothes and noticed they started falling off me but once I realised I wasn’t going back to my old self I threw them out,’ she said
‘I was really scared it wouldn’t work and that I wouldn’t be able to stop eating. I was worried if I went through the surgery and it wasn’t successful what that would do to me.’
Linda Simmonds day on a plate
Breakfast: Porridge made with water, protein powder, fruit
Morning snack: Morning rice cakes and cottage cheese
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, sweet potatoes, green vegetables
Afternoon snack: Turkey rissoles with vegetables
Dinner: Chicken stir fry with garlic chilli
She revealed that rather than put her body through this, she wanted to find another way.
Exercise, she admitted was the one thing she had never really tried over the years of attempting to get her health under control.
‘I had another friend who was losing weight and getting fit through a gym. I wanted something long term and thought this could be a good way.’
She said rather than try to figure out a plan on her own, she decided it would be better to work with a personal trainer.
Ms Simmonds shared how walking through the gym on that first day was the hardest thing she has ever done, and while her first session was difficult, having someone by her side helped her push through.
‘I remember thinking I don’t fit in here, there were all these fit and healthy people, but I was really well supported by the staff to keep coming back.’
Ms Simmonds said the shock of realising her weight was affecting her health pushed her towards a decision to take control
As well as working with her trainer, Daniel Collins of Vision Personal Training, four times a week, Ms Simmonds said she was also given a meal plan, one that cut out all fatty and sugary foods and replaced these with healthy greens, proteins and vegetables.
She said she started to get results far quicker than she would have imagined and lost five kilograms in just a couple of weeks.
While it took a while for her mind to catch up with her body, she recalled the moment when it finally dawned on her that her life was different:
‘I was still wearing my same old clothes and noticed they started falling off me but once I realised I wasn’t going back to my old self I threw them out and bought new, smaller, more fitted ones.’
Her new-found confidence has also seen her reunite with an ex-boyfriend and the pair have started travelling overseas
As she shed more weight, Ms Simmonds health also began to improve: her blood pressure stabilised and she was no longer short of breath.
During the first two years, she revealed she lost a staggering 50 kilograms through a combination of exercise and diet and says she has never been happier.
Her new-found confidence has also seen her reunite with an ex-boyfriend and the pair have started travelling overseas – this year the duo have a trip planned to Europe.
Although Ms Simmonds has made huge progress, and currently weighs 86 kilograms, going to the gym is always her priority.
‘I train six days a week and I join group classes – I just love it, she said. ‘If I don’t go to the gym first thing in the morning, I don’t feel good.
‘It’s a whole new life and I have made so many new friends and everything has changed,’ she concluded.