‘How I managed to drop 19kgs – when I quit the gym’

Note: This article was first published on Body + Soul.

Peta lost nearly 20kgs in just one year – and if one of your goals for 2018 is weight loss, the mum-of-one has some advice for you.

In just one year she’s lost 19kgs and totally transformed the state of her health. But the road to Peta Bray’s lifestyle overhaul was an uphill one, admitting that last Christmas, when she decided to give her mental and physical states the attention they needed, she “felt terrible and like [my health] was spiralling out of control.

“I was the biggest I’d ever been and had no zest for life. I struggled to eat well, and exercise seemed all too hard, so I felt like I shouldn’t even bother. I had no self-esteem at all,” the 46-year-old told myBody+Soul, and admitted that at that point, she’d resigned herself to “not living a long life, anyway” as she’s a type 1 diabetic and was struggling to find the motivation to care for herself.

“I was embarrassed, weak and really afraid of life going forward. I had no self-worth and hated myself. I have great family and friends but that did not matter – being unhappy was draining and I am for sure this showed in my daily life. I developed Type 1 diabetes in my early 30s which was a massive shock and lifestyle change. I had been wearing an insulin pump for the last 12 years or so all day every day which reminded me I had a health issue.”

Ultimately, though, it was a ‘failed’ six month stint at the gym (“I wasn’t losing weight, let alone gaining muscle, and felt too intimidated to go during the day, so just went along very late at night”) that gave her the impetus to finally try something different.

“I had always put myself last in every way. Looking after my family, my job and any other aspect of my life was more important than me, but I knew I had to do something,” said Bray.

“I came across the Varlah website and decided to give their six-week Diced program a go,” where you can stream daily 45-minute HIIT workouts, and follow an expert-approved nutrition plan for $69.95.

“I decided on this program because I really had to find something that suited me and made me comfortable while working out. Given the nature of the program, I could do these from home any time, and since signing up, I have followed the routines on my laptop, my phone and now on my TV (whether it be a smart TV or connect laptop via HDMI cable).

“The thing is, you don’t have to be an athlete to start. I was so unfit but loved the fact the people in the videos were at all different levels of fitness. You just follow the person you are in sync with and do what you can.

“When I started, one week before Christmas in 2016, I decided not to tell anyone but my daughter, and just thought, if I couldn’t stick to this no-one would know any different.”

It’s been more than a year – and a dramatic 19kg weight loss – since Bray started out, and she’s completed a host of Varlah’s other programs since, including Raw (a lifting program, which gave Peta the motivation to invest in some weights herself) and “doesn’t even think” when it comes to working out, now.

“I did the Diced program twice and then went onto Raw, which is an 8-week dumbbell resistance program. I am now into my third round and still love it. I increase my weights as soon as I feel the need to.

“I do my Raw session in the morning before work, which I found gave me the boost I needed to start the day.”

“I have more confidence now than I ever had, and up until recently, no one had even seen me in a swimming costume. It’s also amazing to know I am smaller now than what I was 20 years ago, and most importantly, my diabetes is under control – and with the okay of my endocrinologist I have now gone back to pens. I love the freedom of not having something connected to my body.

“I started this to lose weight – but that goal has now been surpassed. My health is better, and I feel more like someone in their 20s or 30s than their mid 40s.”

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