FROM COUCH TO COACH Karen Ros­siter beat can­cer and lost 16kg

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

Karen Ros­siter is laugh­ing, pant­ing and puff­ing as she chats on the phone. “I’ve just been out walk­ing the dog,” she ex­plains. The 53-year-old is mum to John, 27, and Brooke, 18, works part time five days a week in the of­fices of a ma­jor re­tail chain, goes to Danc­e­fit classes three times a week, and has been a Weight Watch­ers Coach since Novem­ber last year.

“On a typ­i­cal day, I fin­ish work and get home at 1.30pm. I have lunch, pre­pare din­ner for that night for my­self and the kids, then I walk the dog, have a shower and I’m back out the door again to run my meet­ing. It’s all go, go, go!”

Grow­ing up, Karen was al­ways quite slim. “I was the tini­est lit­tle thing,” she re­calls. “Peo­ple used to say to me, ‘One day you’ll wake up and you’ll be big’, and, well, I woke up one day when I was 44 and it was true.”

Around that time, Karen found a lump in her breast which turned out to be can­cer. “I had chemo, I lost all my hair – it was ab­so­lutely hor­ri­ble. It’s surely one of the worst ex­pe­ri­ences you could ever go through, and of course all the drugs I was on bulked me up a bit, too. I’m fine now, but af­ter chemo and ra­di­a­tion and all that I went through, I couldn’t shake the weight so I said to my­self, ‘Weight Watch­ers it is’.”

She joined up in Fe­bru­ary last year, just af­ter at­tend­ing a niece’s wed­ding. “I saw a photo of my­self taken at the re­cep­tion and thought, ‘Oh dear,’” she says. “I was quite shocked be­cause I think I was wider than I was tall. I hadn’t re­alised I’d let my­self get that big.”

She went along to a meet­ing the very next week­day. “The day I joined, the Coach, Ali­son, told me, ‘The first bite tastes the same as the last, so you don’t need to eat the whole lot.’ I lived by that rule for six months un­til I got to Goal, and I con­tinue to live by it now. Los­ing 16kg has been ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic; it’s com­pletely turned my life around.” >

A lover of bread, peanut but­ter and red wine, Karen tweaked her menu so it in­cluded smaller por­tions and lots of healthy choices. “Al­though I still had dough­nuts reg­u­larly. I love them so much,” she ad­mits. She also dis­cov­ered a pas­sion for cook­ing. “The old me never used to cook. I just didn’t know how to. I fre­quented the Thai restau­rant at the bot­tom of the road at least three times ev­ery week.”

She started col­lect­ing the Weight Watch­ers cook­books. “I’d cook ev­ery­thing in there, from cover to cover. I love cook­ing now. Ev­ery Satur­day, I plan my menu for the week – the Weight Watch­ers Real Food Slow cook­book has been my go-to all win­ter. There’s a great feel­ing that comes with hav­ing a meal on the ta­ble ev­ery night for the kids and my­self.”

Karen has also be­come a Coach. In the months af­ter reach­ing her Goal weight, she kept at­tend­ing meet­ings, and other mem­bers would of­ten cor­ner her at the end for some friendly ad­vice. “We’d all shift out to the carpark and I’d be giv­ing my own lit­tle en­cour­age­ment ses­sions. Then one day Ali­son, who’d just been pro­moted to Area Man­ager, said to me, ‘You just need to be­come a Coach, be­cause ev­ery­one’s al­ready com­ing to you for ad­vice.’”

Karen wasn’t so sure, but Ali­son con­tin­ued to en­cour­age her un­til she de­cided to give it a go. “I’m so glad I said yes, be­cause I ab­so­lutely love it,” she says. “It’s the most re­ward­ing, in­spir­ing job. I cur­rently do three ses­sions a week, but I’d love to do more, and take 1-on-1 ses­sions too. That’s my lit­tle mini-dream at the mo­ment.”

An­other thing she loves since get­ting to Goal is shop­ping for a whole new wardrobe. “I’m al­ways out buy­ing clothes now,” she says. Karen of­ten went to the same Jean­swest store as her body con­tin­ued to change, un­til one day she was fit­ting into a size 6. The lady at the counter asked for her se­cret. “When I told her I go to Weight Watch­ers, she started go­ing too and lost 10kg. How good is that? I love that store. It’s all I ever want as a gift – whether it’s my birth­day, Christ­mas or Mother’s Day, I al­ways say the same thing: ‘Jean­swest voucher, please!’”

Ex­er­cise has also ben­e­fited her health and life in more ways than one. Af­ter un­der­go­ing ra­di­a­tion ther­apy and sur­viv­ing can­cer, Karen de­vel­oped stage one lym­phoedema in her left arm, a chronic con­di­tion that caused swelling in the limb, and she was also treated in hos­pi­tal for cel­luli­tis, a bac­te­rial skin in­fec­tion. She was given an armband to wear to help keep the lym­phoedema symp­toms un­der con­trol. “I was get­ting close to stage two lym­phoedema, but af­ter I lost weight and started ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, I went back to my physio and she said it’s im­proved so much, it’s now back to stage one and I don’t have to wear the armband any­more.”

Karen found a clever way to in­cor­po­rate reg­u­lar arm ex­er­cises into her day. Now, ev­ery time she has to feed the dog, she spends a few min­utes in the back gar­den us­ing her weights. “It’s just part of my rou­tine now,” she says.

“Ex­er­cis­ing and tak­ing care of your­self and lis­ten­ing to your body is just so im­por­tant. I’ve got guns like you wouldn’t be­lieve. I look like a lean, mean, fight­ing ma­chine.”

BE­ING A COACH IS THE MOST RE­WARD­ING, IN­SPIR­ING JOB.

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