I had my weight loss surgery in June 2016 weighing 108.4kg. Today I weigh 72kg and fit into size 10-12 clothing. I have never felt better.

My weight loss journey so far has been, in all honesty, pretty exciting. It has been a case of trial and error with the foods I can tolerate, but now that I feel so healthy the foods that don’t sit right are the foods I should be avoiding anyway.

I have always considered myself an ‘active’ person and as soon as I was given the go ahead post op to do some form of exercise I started walking, and then worked my way up running. I am also now doing HIIT (High Interval Intense Training) classes about three to four times a week.

I used to think I was relatively fit but now I look back on that part of my life and realise it was just another story I used to tell myself to justify my weight problems. There were times that I would get puffed out tying my shoe laces because my stomach was in the way, or I would get puffed walking up the 6 flights of my stairs to my unit. I used to say I am a “fit fat person” and continued to tell myself I was living the life I wanted.

I have just finished a four-day hike in Tasmania. This was my reward to myself for reaching the goals I have achieved so far. I used to reward myself with take away or a big meal with dessert.

I am now truly a fit person, living the life I always wanted to live.

If you name a diet, I have tried it. I tried everything and I felt like I had been on a diet since I was 18 years old –  half my life! I even used to joke that I was going to have on my tombstone “I’m on a diet”. And even when I was “on a diet” I was unhealthy and unhappy.

So far on my weight loss journey I have lost 35.7kg, and even more exciting is that my new weight says means that I fit into a ‘normal’ weight range, something I have not been in since as long as I can remember. “Normal” – not chubby, not cuddly, not slightly overweight, not overweight or obese, but normal. I can’t begin to describe how that makes me feel.

I went from being a size 18 to now a size 10-12 and I am still completely amazed that I can walk into the shops, pick something off the rack and go into the change rooms knowing it will fit me.

I no longer consider myself to be ‘on a diet’, I am now just ‘normal’. I eat normally and no longer have anxiety around food and whether I am eating healthily.

These days I tend to eat about 4-5 small meals a day and I am always prepared. What I have learnt is to plan what I am eating for the day and the week. I take my lunch to work every day so I am not caught out and having to rely on something that I don’t really want to put in my body. I eat a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts, yoghurt, proteins – I even eat steak and I love it!

I am truly loving life now and am finding that my relationships with my family, friends and work colleagues has also changed for the better. In fact a work colleague said to me the other day that she used to look at me and think – “there is a sad young women”, and now she said she looks at me and thinks “there is a happy young woman who is loving life”, and she is right.

I am now living the life I have always wanted to live and feeling the way I’ve always wanted to feel. My only regret is that I left it until I was 35. I wish I had done it sooner.