TANYA and David Vanags were in a vicious cycle of overeating. They knew they had to do something about their ballooning weight, but they just couldn’t seem to change their bad habits.
Her husband David, 49, was also in a similar unhealthy spiral.
“We were bad influences on each other,” she says.
“One of us would say ‘do you want a pizza’ and we’d get excited.
“We wouldn’t go out … we’d sit at home and our excitement was food. Food was a comfort and our best friend.”
She acknowledges that when things were at their worst, she became obsessive about food, always making sure she had enough of it on hand.
“At Macca’s I’d get a medium meal, but also a cheeseburger as well because I had this anxiety that I didn’t want the food to end,” she says.
At her heaviest, Tanya weighed 121.8kg and David weighed 114kg.
“That was the most embarrassing thing for me, that I weighed more than my husband,” she says.
“Every day I would wake up and think, ‘Today is the day I am going to do something about my weight.’ And then I wouldn’t because I didn’t really know where to start and I was scared of failure, and then I’d feel guilty and depressed and I would eat more to make myself feel better.”
After years of procrastinating and trying every quick fix from weight-loss pills to meal-replacement shakes, Tanya was spurred on to make a serious change when a doctor warned her she was close to being diabetic.
They also wanted to be better parents to their two sons, aged 9 and 12.
“We weren’t able to play with the kids — the boys are really active and my husband and I were just standing on the sideline most of the time. It was like we weren’t participating in life”.
It was also concerning that they were potentially teaching their kids bad habits.
“We worried that we were teaching them to be obese adults,” Tanya says.
“We thought they were going to have problems in the future if we kept showing them that it was ‘normal’ to eat like this.”
A friend of Tanya’s suggested they check out the WLCW (Weight Loss Coaching Works) program on Facebook. (If the name rings a bell, that’s because it has been key to singer Casey Donovan’s much-publicised weight loss.)
“A friend of mine suggested this Facebook program. I thought, ‘Here we go again, another thing I’m going to fail at.’ But I figured I may as well just try it, so I signed up online in January 2017.
“In the first week I lost 4kg. I thought, ‘I might just keep going on this.’”
She says: “It really just involves regular healthy eating and walking 12-15,000 steps per day. The aim is to get you moving.”