At 1.54cm tall and 86kg, something was either going to pop or give way. After six failed attempts, Lauren finally got it right with weight-loss plan #7… In her own words, Lauren Walbrugh shares what it took for her to transform her body – and her life.
At the end of 2018, two days after the Christmas food feast, I looked in the mirror and realised I was as wide as I was tall… I remember looking down at my size-4 feet, thinking, How on earth is this round body balancing on these little things? As impressed as I was by my balancing act, I knew that I had a problem. A big, fat problem.
I’m a foodie at heart. I started my career as a chef before moving into large-scale event production. I love cooking and eating. When I’m happy, I eat. When I’m sad, I eat. When I’m stressed, I binge on sugar. When I’m bored, I nibble. And back then, words like “kale” and “chia seeds” where not part of my vocabulary…
If Mama June can do it…
I’m a busy business woman, I’m married, I’m trying to manage a home and I’m the mother of a toddler – I just didn’t feel like I had the time to be healthy. I didn’t have the energy to “exercise”. I was literally in survival mode, all day every day, and at 1.54cm tall, weighing 86kg – something was either going to pop or give way.
Then one day, sitting on the couch with snack in hand watching From Not To Hot, it hit me. If Mama June can do it – the least I can do is try. My husband looked at me and said, “If you’re going to do this, you must do it properly and with a trainer.” [Some context here: I have had six failed attempts at getting into shape. It’s like my body is made of memory foam! It just keeps going back to its original shape: round.]
Turning to Google, I did a search for the nearest gym and nearest aesthetic clinic, then sent an inquiry to both. My thinking: Whoever responds first becomes attempt number seven. In my heart I was hoping the reply would be from the aesthetic clinic (I want quick results with little effort). But as luck would have it, I got a super speedy reply from Virgin Active. So off I went to sign up for a membership.
I’d be training with a guy named Glenn Scully. Before meeting him, I’d already lined up a bank of excuses as to why I couldn’t do certain exercises. I have arthritis in both knees. I have a repetitive strain injury in my right arm and I have painful lumps in my breasts.
How was I going to do this “exercise” thing with all these health challenges? And my work schedule is so unpredictable. It felt like I was standing at the base of a mountain I didn’t know how to start climbing and became despondent before I even started.
My phone beeps, and so begins weight-loss plan #7…
It’s a message from Glenn, getting me to commit to our first session. This just got real.
During my first few sessions, I thought the man was out of his mind. I couldn’t even touch my toes because my tummy was so fat and here this guy had me picking stuff up and pushing stuff and lunging and squatting. He believed that I could do it even when I didn’t believe in myself – always with a gentle nudge to just keep moving, just keep going… just show up.
Glenn specialises in nutrition and helped me figure out which eating plan I could follow and stick to. My inner fatty is starting to die of neglect. I haven’t so much as licked an apple since the first week of January when we established Keto was the way to go. I had to adapt to using words like “green power shot” and “celery sticks”…
He also tailor-made exercise programmes for me that included circuits, HITT workouts, steady-state cardio, boxing plus strength and conditioning plans. No two sessions are ever the same, which is really great because that way, I never know what type of “torture” he has planned for the day’s session. I think we’re going one direction, then bam – he hits me with an exercise that leaves me contemplating the purpose of life.
I did eventually tell Glenn about my breast issue. Without batting an eyelid, he adapted my workouts from high-impact to low-impact training. I was worried the low-impact training would be less of a workout, but he has me burning over 1 000 calories a session!
As the weeks passed by, the kilos fell off…
With Glen’s support, I went from “Oh my gosh, how am I going to pre-plan four sessions in a month” to “let’s smash three to four sessions a week!” I set targets for myself and with each of those targets, I attached a reward to it – some big and life-changing, others small. Week after week Glenn and I engaged a celebratory high-five when I reached another goal, although there were some sessions that left me wanting to high-five his face… But the scale doesn’t lie and I kept coming back for more.
When my work schedule gets busier or I have to jet off to another country, I tend to put on weight. Glenn custom designs an exercise programme for me to make sure I don’t fall completely off the rails while travelling.
Six months in and I’m 25kg down, with another five to go. My breast issue persists, but I’ve succeeded at this full lifestyle turn-around despite these challenges. And you can too.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise and I have not fallen in love with each other. Some days, I have to dig so deep to get in my car and go train after a busy day at work, knowing there’s a long evening as a mom ahead. More often than not, I have to trick myself so that before I even realise what’s happened, I’m standing next to Glenn punching a bag and swearing like a trooper!
I hope other women are inspired to step up, throw the first punch and keep fighting.