Adelaide mum Joelene Walker has revealed how she dropped 22kg and four dress sizes thanks to a huge exercise and diet overhaul – and one popular ALDI supermarket buy.
Sharing her weight loss journey with 7NEWS.com.au, Joelene said she was inspired to incorporate the supermarket’s $1.79 Slim & Trim Shakes into her eating plan after seeing the results others shoppers had with the meal replacement shake.
The mum-of-two said she decided to lose weight after tipping the scales at 103kg in 2020 and seeing photos of herself at her 40th birthday celebration.
“I couldn’t believe that I was wearing a size 20–22 dress,” she said.
Fast forward nine months, and Joelene has now dropped almost a quarter of her body weight – and she’s done it with no gym membership, just determination and willpower to stick to her new, simple diet and exercise regime.
Here, she shares her story:
“My name is Joelene Walker, I’m an Aboriginal Ngarrindjeri woman and a mother of two beautiful children – a boy, nine, and a girl, 11.
“I have been married for 10 years to my amazing husband, Leonard, who has been my mentor, my rock my inspiration and motivator. I’ve been working in early childhood education for more than 21 years.
“During the COVID period in 2020 – back in March, just after my 40th birthday celebrations – I looked back on my birthday photos and couldn’t believe that I was wearing a size 20–22 dress.
“At the time I felt sluggish unhappy, unhealthy – I had low self-esteem and lack of confidence about my body image, which made me dislike what I saw in the mirror.
“Being overweight for almost over 15 years had taken its toll on my body, my joints and it was affecting my health dramatically. I couldn’t keep up with my children if they wanted to go to the beach, play basketball, cricket, football etc.
“June 18, 2020, was the day that I looked at myself in the mirror and I said to myself: ‘Enough is enough, I have to make a positive change for myself, my children and for my husband.’
“Before I started my weight loss journey, I weighed 103kg which was the biggest that I have ever been in my life.
“I’ve been on diets before and only have lasted three weeks and then gave up because it was too hard then I’d be back too square one eating junk food, takeaway foods, drinking lots of alcohol, eating all hours and being inactive.
“This time I was determined and made a promise to myself that I cannot keep living an unhealthy lifestyle as I wasn’t being a good role model for my children. So I decided it was time to make a start.
“I saw on Facebook that people were raving on about the ALDI Slim & Trim Shakes and seeing other people’s weight loss journeys had given me inspiration to want to try it.
“I started out doing one shake a day in the morning and eating small meals for lunch and a medium meal at dinner. I replaced all my junk food for raw and healthy fresh fruit and vegetables replaced my meals to salads, vegetable and protein each day.
“I began to walk to and from work completing 2km a day walking. I cut out all alcohol for approximately three months and only drank water.
“After five months, I dropped a good 10kg and was excitedly surprised about the small change that I had made. One shake a dayplus one hour of exercise a day and I was able to manage it quite well. I started liking the results and decided to keep going.
“In September 2020, I started to do light weights three times a week. After three months, I could see muscle definition starting to form within my upper body and I was feeling absolutely amazing. By this stage, I had lost over 15kg.
“In December, I started to strengthen my core muscles as I wanted to start running during my walks down at the beach. I started to run small strips of the beach until I became more confident with my core. This is still a working progress.
“Through December and the Christmas period, my body needed a decent break as I was losing all determination and motivation as I became tired from work and needed a much-needed break.
“During this time, I put on more than 8kg – once on the scale I was shocked to see that I gained this weight. So, I started a six-week challenge again and soon lost the weight.
“Strength, inner determination and motivation had given me strength and the willpower to want it more than anything. Putting weight on again is harder to get off than expected.
“There were times through out my journey that I wanted to chuck in the towel but there was a part in my brain that was telling me, ‘You can’t give up now.’
“At the time, it was like I had an obsession with always wanting to exercise in which I think my body at one point couldn’t do it any more. I became so tired that I couldn’t keep up with everything, home life, children and work.
“Something had to give, so I develop a planned schedule that was a healthy balance so I could fit everything in.
“I now weight 81kg and I’m in Size 14 in clothing – I’ve never felt sexier, happier, healthier and more active in all my life.
“My family is encouraging and very supportive, we now all eat healthy food options together – replacing junk food with health options. We go for long bike rides, long walks and even running together.
“I don’t own a membership to a gym, my journey has been all on my own determination, strength, willpower and motivation and my exercise is my own made up routine exercises at home.
“I wouldn’t change my journey for anything in this world I’ve enjoyed most of my journey through its ups and downs. There is no turning back now.”
Joelene’s daily diet
This is what Joelene’s day on a plate* looks like:
- Breakfast, 6.30am – ALDI Slim and Trim Shake
- Morning snack, 10.00am – Banana natural yoghurt with chai seeds and fruit. Drink: water
- Lunch, 12.00pm – Salad, tuna and crackers. Drink: water
- Late snack, 2.00pm: Fruit and a handful of mixed nuts. Drink: water
- Dinner, 6.00pm – One serve of protein with fresh vegetables or salad
* On a weekly basis menu planner is changed
Joelene’s diet rules
Joelene also stuck to the following food and drink restrictions:
- No intake of sugar
- No soft drinks, only water and cups of green tea or camomile tea at night
- No eating after 8pm at night
- Alcohol can only be consumed on special occasions or weekends
- My diet does consist of pasta, rice and bread, but these are limited
How you can do it too
Joelene has shared her top tips for women who want to lose weight on their own.
- Make small changes
- Limit your intake on alcohol and sugars
- Train your brain not to eat junk foods – say no when you see these items at the shops or in your fridge
- Make an exercise routine – whether it’s walking, weights, running, stretched, home gym etc
- Keep a goal and stick to it
- Take it one day at a time
- Always make sure you give yourself time to rest after exercising. Recovery is important to heal your body when working your large muscles – take a day’s rest
- Most important is to weigh yourself every few weeks, not everyday as this can make you depressed. You can also measure your body to also see how much you have lost off your figure.
- Looking food, feeling good is the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Once you have mastered your brain, then you will be able to sustain the weight and keep it off.