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'I Was So Unfair To My Health': Woman Loses 59 Kilos Using $1.99 Diet Shakes

As a size 22 and weighing over 100 kilos, in January of this year Jackie Burrows decided she couldn't continue going up in dress sizes.

Having prioritised her family for much of her life, the mum of four said she had put on 30 kilos during her first pregnancy in 1993 with her weight continuing to increase with her subsequent pregnancies.

"I was sick of being fat. I kept thinking, how could I be so unfair to my health? Now that my children are grown adults, it was about me," Jackie told 10 daily.

"Not that I didn't love myself, I just knew I didn't want to be like this anymore. I had to enjoy my life, be healthy and keep up with my two grandchildren."

Jackie had previously visited a doctor about the impact her weight was having on her health who suggested gastric banding, letting her know that the procedure would cost her approximately $30,000.

Jackie said she prioritised her family and didn't make her own health a priority. Image: Supplied

"The doctor agreed I was obese and had to make changes," but with Jackie not wanting to pay for the expensive surgery, she looked for a more cost-effective alternative.

A co-worker of Jackie's had lost 34 kilos through the use of diet shakes that were available in Aldi for $1.99 and, when she saw her success, Jackie decided to try them as well.

"The decision to do the shakes was a personal decision, it might not be right for everyone but it was right for me," she told 10 daily.

I didn't want to pay outrageous fees to weight loss clinics or for operations.

In conjunction with the shakes, Jackie introduced a new diet and exercise regimen at the beginning of the year.

For the first 15 weeks, Jackie replaced breakfast with a diet shake and ate a healthy meal for lunch and dinner including foods such as such as vegetables, fruit, chicken while cutting out red meat, carbs, soft drink, junk food and coffee.

Jackie decided to try inexpensive diet shakes from Aldi after it worked for her friend. Image: Supplied

Jackie said the first five days were the most difficult but, after this adjustment period, it became easier and after 15 weeks she also replaced dinner with a shake.

"I found dinner would be my biggest meal a day and decided to replace it with a shake as I was going to bed on it," she said.

Jackie would get up at 5am each day and start with a green tea before having an Aldi coffee shake at 6am, ensuring she drank lots of water throughout the day.

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Getting to work at 9am and having lunch at around midday, she would prepare her meal at home so she wouldn't be tempted to buy take away or eat at a nearby cafe.

"I had mixed lettuce leaves, grated carrot, beetroot, radish, cherry tomatoes, black olives, jalapenos, cooked asparagus spears and shredded chicken or salmon for lunch," she said.

Finishing work at 2pm, Jackie would have a snack of six almonds and five pitted dates when she got home and would then do her daily exercises before having a strawberry shake for dinner.

Jackie said she feels the healthiest she's ever been. Image: Supplied

Jackie started by walking for 30 minutes a day and after 15 weeks purchased a treadmill, increasing her exercise time to an hour as her body got used to it.

"My husband made me a closed off room in my garage so I could exercise privately, I have not used a gym in this process," she told 10 daily.

Jackie would power walk and run on the treadmill and if she had to go anywhere, would always walk instead of using a car. As a reward, Jackie would have some red grapes and a small popcorn each day, adding sesame snaps if she was feeling flat.

"Exercise is part of my day like brushing my teeth. It's an hour I have to myself and not for anybody else. I am committed to a better me in my daily life now," Jackie said.

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Jackie said she didn't find her change in lifestyle hard when it came to special events such as birthdays because her friends were very supportive of her health journey.

"They were very understanding. When I went to functions at night, I would move my shakes around and have one for breakfast and lunch and have a smaller portion of food for dinner," she said.

Jackie said she did however find it hard to continue her new regimen when she went on a European holiday in September, taking a break from the shakes and reintroducing carbs to her diet.

Jackie said her health journey has completely changed her both mentally and physically. Image: Supplied

"When I came back to Australia, I was bloated and felt terrible and immediately went back to my routine. After a couple of days I felt heaps better," Jackie told 10 daily.

Jackie started at 127 kilos, was a size 22 in clothing and 18DD in bra size. Following her efforts she is now 68 kilos, a size 8 to 10 in clothing and wears a 12C bra, losing a total of 59 kilos in 39 weeks.

"I have more energy, I feel like I am walking on air. I can keep at with my family instead of feeling tired all the time," Jackie said, explaining that she's made a lifestyle change that she plans on sticking to.

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Dietitian Susie Burrell told 10 daily there is strong evidence to show that specially formulated meal replacement products such as Optifast can play a key role in weight loss.

"Those who use them lose more weight initially, and long term when they are used as a meal replacement. In nutrition terms they slash roughly 50 percent of calories from a meal," she said.

Long term, the key is including them in the diet long term or learning to keep calorie intake controlled to keep any weight lost, off for good.

However, she noted that a protein shake is not enough and need to be formulated meal replacements with bulking these light meals up with extra salad and vegetables will further supporting weight loss.

Burrell said if you are replacing all three meals to consult a dietitian or health care professional to ensure you are using the products correctly and supplementing your diet with the right things, as well as to learn how to incorporate them into your diet in the long term.

Leading dietitian Susie Burrell. Image: Supplied

"As a meal replacement once a day they can work very efficiently and be a great option for weight control long term," she said.

Jackie said her new motto is 'believe it, achieve it' and with her new lease on life, is planning to do a sky dive for her birthday next year.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individual involved and does not constitute as medical advice. If you have concerns about how your weight is impacting your health, please consult a health care professional. 

Featured image: Supplied