new lease on life
Alicia Hodson now says yes to any new challenge
Standing at the top of a four-storey-high inflatable water slide, hair in pigtails and her rainbow tutu soaked in water from the 5km-long Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC) Race she’d just completed, Alicia Hodson looked at her two friends, laughed, leaned forward and jumped. It was February 2017, just over eight months since she’d reached her Goal weight thanks to Weight Watchers, and Alicia was feeling on top of the world and light years away from the person she used to be.
Just a little over two years before that moment, the 34-year-old mum of two was busy clothes shopping one fateful day. “I grabbed a pair of size 18 pants, thought, ‘Yep, they’ll fit me’ and took them straight to the checkout without bothering to try them on.” >
Once home, Alicia tried the pants on and realised she couldn’t zip them up. “I cried,” she admits. “It was one of the most awful feelings. I was totally disgusted with myself.”
In that moment, a frightening thought flashed through Alicia’s mind: that one day she’d reach 100kg and not make it past her 50th birthday. “I signed up to Weight Watchers that day and have never looked back.”
For someone who had suffered lifelong depression and anxiety, and grew up feeling stressed and nervous in social situations, walking into her first Group Coaching session was no small thing, though it was the first of many bold moments to come.
“I quickly made friends with other Weight Watchers members. My meeting group is very supportive and inspirational. We’re always pushing each other out of our comfort zones to try new things – that’s how I found myself signing up for the ROC Race. Going to the meetings every week and chatting with likeminded people who understand what I’m going through is like a breath of fresh air.”
Alicia is the first to admit she’s a perfectionist who was determined to never see a gain on the scales until she reached her Goal weight. “Knowing someone was waiting to weigh me at the meetings each week was motivation enough to stick to the Program.”
In the past, her downfalls included bingeing and large portion sizes, so a mix of tracking her food and trying recipes from WW cookbooks were the winning formula that helped her lose weight every single week.
“I love that the recipes are family-friendly – even my fussy children have enjoyed a number of meals from the books,” she says.
About six weeks after joining, Alicia got on the scales and saw she’d lost just 100g. But rather than deter her, it made her commit to her good habits more than ever. “When my loss was 1.6kg the following week, it was all the motivation I needed to give this new path I was taking everything I had.”
Never one to push herself with physical activity as a child – “If it was too hard, I wouldn’t try it” – Alicia started her fitness journey slowly by going for short walks. It caused pain in her legs and ankles but she pushed through, determined to improve. She bought a bike and went for a ride – something she hadn’t done since she was a teenager.
“Next came running, which I’d never done in my life, and then Dancefit.” A high-intensity group cardio workout, Dancefit is now Alicia’s favourite workout. “I go to Dancefit twice or three times a week, and I walk, run or ride my bike on the other days. I used to hate getting hot and sweaty and would avoid it at all costs. Now, if I’m not hot and sweaty after a workout, I haven’t tried hard enough!”
Alicia doesn’t suffer pain in her legs and ankles since losing weight. Her blood pressure and cholesterol levels were elevated before joining Weight Watchers, but are now within the normal range. Keeping active has also helped with her depression, anxiety and stress levels. “It allows for ‘me’ time and gives me the chance to reflect on any issues that are bothering me,” she says. “I used to constantly worry about my health and the way I looked. Now, if I have a stressful day, I take time out to go for a walk, run or bike ride to clear my head.
“My life has totally changed. I’m a completely different person: my confidence has improved 100 per cent, I’m happier. I’ve joined a choir and sung a duet at a concert in front of a crowd with my parents and brother cheering me on. I’ve jumped on stage to perform a routine with my Dancefit group as part of a 24-hour fundraising event for a cancer charity. I walk into a shop and try on the smallest-size shirt and it’s the right fit for me.
“And I have much more energy. I’m the most active I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve realised I feel most tired when I don’t exercise for more than a few days. I no longer look in the mirror and hate what I see. I’m so proud of myself for signing up to Weight Watchers and sticking to it to reach my Goal weight.” #
“My life has totally changed. My confidence has improved 100 per cent.”