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Sharon McIlwain before and after her health journey
Sharon McIlwain before and after her health journey

Meet super gran Sharon McIlwain who lost 22 kilos in only three months! ! The Brisbane woman was playing with her grandson when she saw a glimpse of her reflection in a mirror. She was shocked - the weight had slowly piled on over the years and she was now more than 20 kilos overweight, with cholesterol sinus and skin problems. Three months later, Sharon was 22 kilos lighter and feeling the best she had in years. Here, Sharon tells Lifestyle News her story.

Q: You carried an extra 20 kg over three decades; how did it make you feel? 

A: I felt frumpy, embarrassed and disappointed in myself that I couldn’t stick to what I knew I needed to do to lose the weight and improve my long term health.

I had been 10kgs overweight since the late 90s and my weight gradually crept up to 30kgs over at my heaviest. Over that time, I lost 10kgs here and there, but always gained it back and then some.  

Q: What was the turning point for you when you decided to go on your health journey?

A: The defining moment to commit to something long-lasting came after seeing my reflection in the wardrobe mirrors while playing with my grandson. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

It was shortly after this that I saw a segment on the evening news about a young man's 15kg weight loss on The 1:1 Diet. I checked out the website.

I waited a couple of months to start, as I didn't want to have any excuses for falling off the wagon. I knew that I had a few events coming up – my daughter’s birthday, and Mother’s Day – that we always celebrate with a meal out, and I didn’t want to deny myself those last two indulgences.

Q: Losing 22 kilos in three months is a great achievement. How did you do it?

A: Working with Kate, my consultant, I leapt into The 1:1 Diet and committed to a full meal replacement system in May, using the meal replacements, shakes, and snacks Kate provided as my main food. I was surprised at how tasty and satisfying the meals were and found sticking to the regime easy as it was quite convenient.

My next celebration wasn’t until July, and I had quite happily settled into my routine by then – I even cooked for everyone else, and then joined them with my meal replacement!

Kate was a fantastic support throughout my journey as well – she was always available with handy hints and advice on how to keep on track and was truly interested in the changes I was seeing weekly. 

Most importantly though, I was really committed to the change, and soon enough everyone was noticing my weight loss and complimenting me on my willpower and how healthy I looked. 

Q: Please tell me what you ate in a day before your health journey, and now.  

A: Before my health journey, I had fallen into the habit of not eating until the afternoon and then eating way too much for tea.

My family’s diet has always included plenty of fruit and vegetables but with protein portions that were twice or more than what is recommended, and way too much bread.

Add to that, it always included a sweet treat after dinner four out of seven nights, as well as a takeaway or two through the week. No wonder the kilos caught up with me.  

I am very aware of portion size now and am very strict with myself on weekdays as it’s easier to stick to a routine when working.

I still use The 1:1 meal replacements for lunch on weekdays and add vegetables to ones that I sometime use on weekday nights.

I allow myself a little more freedom on weekends but will make things I love, like pizza, a tad healthier with more nutritious toppings.

I only drink water, coffee and tea and when out, I have soda water with a twist of lemon or lime when others are having soft drink. I’d much rather eat than drink my calories!

Q: How are your health problems now you have lost the weight?

A: The changes were immediate – within a month, my sinusitis and skin had started improving, and I had more energy!

Without the extra weight stressing my joints, I have joined the gym and now exercise regularly.  

I also had amazing results in my annual blood test, with all parameters in normal range. I had elevated cholesterol on my previous tests for the last 10 years.

My blood pressure has fallen to within normal range and although I am still on my medication, my GP is working with me to see if I can reduce or discontinue it.  

I continue to supplement my diet with some meal replacements along with cooked meals, and have managed to maintain my weight for five months since completing the full meal replacement plan.

Q: Do you have any advice for other women who want to lose weight?   


A: It is never too late to make a change, but you have to be in the right head space and environment to get started.

Having a consultant like Kate that you can call on for advice or support is a big plus. If you can stick to the first month, it gets easier with each week as you see and feel the changes happening to your body and on the scales!



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