My five year Health Journey - Losing 100 kg in two years and three years on Maintenance

How I lost 100 kilos in two years, and have maintained since.

Wow... How did you lose all that weight and then maintain your healthy weight since June 2020?
Have you got any tips and strategies that you can share?

You bet I do...

Here is the video I created with a VERY COMPREHENSIVE list of the tips and strategies I have used for successfully losing 100 kg in two years and maintaining my healthy weight for since June 2020.
Perfect for new starters and everyone following the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet programs - Link

So, you followed the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet program?
What is that?
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is an online weight loss program developed by the CSIRO, Australia's national science agency. It combines high protein meal plans with online tracking tools to simplify weight loss. You can follow their meal plans or create your own based on their guidelines (which is what I did)
Here is a link to them if you want to know more - Link -

Hey... is that you on the landing page of their website?
Yeah, it sure is!
Shame the photo is from a few years ago before I reached my goal.
It is pretty cool though to be featured by them.

I've struggled all my life with my weight. 
What made the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet work for you?
Basically, it is SUSTAINABLE to ME!
Personally, I could never do keto, weight loss drugs, intermittent fasting or surgery.
At 185.5 kg, I considered surgery, but decided that it wasn't for me for a few reasons.
And I enjoy bread too much to consider keto, and personally, intermittent fasting would quickly drive me insane (more so than I already am).
So, after a Google search, I learned about the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and how it focused on real food with a focus on high protein and low GI. And I loved the fact that it promoted a healthy balanced diet and still included indulgences, so I jumped on board and never looked back.

Indulgences? - What do you mean?
As in, they allow for daily indulgences... Yeah... I know right... How cool is that?
A diet that allows you to indulge!
For me, this allowed me to enjoy nightly ice cream... AND STILL LOST WEIGHT !!!

Wait... You ate ice cream nightly and STILL lost weight?
Yep... and if ice-cream is not for you, you can choose to indulge in something else.
Many people still enjoy a nightly wine or beer, or some chocolate, and still lose weight.
It's just part of a healthy balanced nutritious diet.
You just track it as part of the food you eat over the day.

Huh? Track it? What do you mean by track it?
Basically you add your foods to an online tracker. The tracker keeps track of each of the foods you eat over the day, and you aim to reach but not exceed your daily units.
It's actually a really good system and teaches you nutrition and portion sizes.
Plus... I actually ate more food and still lost weight.

WHAT?  You ate MORE FOOD and still lost weight!
How does that work?
Yeah. It goes against everything we've been taught all our lives.
All my life I was told that to lose weight, I needed to eat less, or avoid carbs, or not eat anything after six o'clock at night. Which was not the case!

Tell me more about how you ate more and still lost weight.
Actually, I can do one better, here is the blog post with a link to a Webinar I did with Pennie, the World's Best Dietitian (as voted by me). - Link

BTW... This is definitely one of the most important videos you can watch.
The Webinar goes for about an hour and really is the core of how I lost 100 kg in two years, and then successfully maintained for the last three years. I even pop in for the last half hour and chat about my journey and how the TWD program helped me feel full while I lost the 100 kg and maintained since.

Oh... OK... So how do I know what to eat?
Well, you can follow their meal plans, or create your own meal plans based on their guidelines, which is what I did.
It took me a bit of time to figure it all out initially, but it allowed me to eat pretty much whatever I wanted. I just worked out the portion sizes, and made sure I reached, but didn't exceed each of the Food Units, which is how the program works.

Here is the blog post on how I created my own meal plans - Link.

So you're telling me you've lost 100 kilograms, in two years...
You've maintained your healthy weight since June 2020.
You've done all this while EATING MORE FOOD as well...

Next you'll tell me you did all this while NOT counting calories...
Well... now you've mentioned it... It uses Food Units rather than counting calories.
I did mention them just a minute ago. 😉
So yeah... when you follow the program, you don't actually count calories.
It's actually really liberating.

So why don't you count calories?
Well, we all know that you need a calorie deficit to lose weight.
That is the basis of all weight loss programs.
However, CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet makes it much easier by using Food Units.
Following the program, either by using their meal plans or creating your own like I did, you will go into a calorie deficit, which will promote a healthy weight loss, all without the hassle of counting calories.

And the great part is... Most vegetables track as free, meaning you can eat as many as you want.

What do you mean by MOST vegetables track as free?
Well, all vegetables except potato and sweet potato track as 'free vegetables', which you can eat as much as you want. Potato and sweet potato track as bread units as they are high in starch.

And remember I said earlier that we don't count calories on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet?
An important part of that is because veges count as free foods.
TWD (Total Wellbeing Diet) want you to have a healthy relationship with food, and part of that is to eat a LOT of veges. And if people start focusing on calories rather than food units, they might inadvertently reduce their vege intake.

An example is how most days I consume probably around 500 calories of veges!
If I reduced my vege intake to reach a certain amount of calories, I would be missing out on a lot nutrients from the veges.

I don't enjoy vegetables.
Do you have any tips on how to eat more vegetables?
I sure do... When I started TWD five years ago, I ate the minimum veges.
Then I realised I needed to eat more vegetables, so I modified my wife's pumpkin soup recipe (by removing the potatoes) and adding some corn.
This gave me a yummy healthy soup to fill me up, and easily hit my veges target.

The blog post for my Pumpkin and Corn soup has now had over 32,000 views ! - Link

Excellent, so where can I find the 'World Famous Pumpkin and Corn' soup?
Here is my blog post for my Pumpkin and Corn soup - Link
The blog post also serves as a tutorial for how to create a Combo, which makes it easier to track your favourite foods on the TWD program.

Great stuff...
Do you have any other blog posts on food preparation?

I sure do... Check out the links below...

Healthy home made chips
Here is my blog post for my healthy home made chips / fries - Link

Corn Fritters - Link
This blog post also focuses on how I reset and refocused myself after a weight gain.
But it has some tips on meal prep as well. 

Any other tips for meal prep?
Of course I have some more tips.
  • Make time for meal planning - You won't find time, you'll need to MAKE TIME.
  • Make time for meal prep - You won't find time, you'll need to MAKE TIME
But most importantly.
The best meals are the ones you enjoy.
If you are forcing yourself to eat low fat cheese for the health benefits, you won't be enjoying the food.
If you aren't enjoying the food, the changes in your diet won't be SUSTAINABLE.

Same if you are eating a particular bread for the health benefits.
Or if you are removing indulgences from your diet.
The changes in your diet need to be SUSTAINABLE.
If they're not sustainable, you'll be back to the old bad habits in no time.

All the changes I made to my diet and my exercise were totally SUSTAINABLE.
And I've turned these into my new lifestyle.
That is how I've been able to lose the weight and maintain a healthy weight since June 2020.

That is a great strategy.
I now understand that making the changes sustainable has been the key to your success.
Had you tried other weight loss programs and products over your life?
Like virtually every overweight person on the planet, I have struggled with my weight since becoming an adult. I tried delivery meal plans back in the 90s, Jenny Craig, and I had really good success with Weight Watchers in the early 2000s. I actually lost 54 kilos in 60 weeks with Weight Watchers and was named the Male Weight Watcher of the Year in 2002. I started at 143.7 kg and got down to under 90 kg.

Geez... You had black hair back then!
Yep... that was before I had kids! 😜

So what happened after that?
Why / How did you gain the weight back?
Well, over the next few years I suffered depression after the birth of our first son.
I went back to my bad habits, and I started eating poorly and stopped exercising completely.
I went from 90 kg, and ballooned past the 143.7 kg.

In 2016 we went on family holidays and sitting in an airplane was a nightmare.
I guess I was around 160 kg but I literally have no idea how much I weighed in the photo below.
Plane travel was very challenging as I was physically too large to sit comfortably in the seats, plus I was embarrassed as I had to ask for an extension belt.

I gained even more weight until peaking (or hitting rock bottom) at 185.5 kg, which is when I started my Health Journey. And as you'll recall, I lost 100 kg in two years, and have maintained a healthy weight since June 2020.

And below is one of my favorite transformation images.

My very helpful son, 10 years old at the time, remarked how it looks like I actually grow ears in this image.
Yes... I was so fat back then, my face actually hid my ears!

Thanks for the recap... it's been quite a journey for you...
Did you do any exercise?
Nothing at the start. 
At 185.5 kg, I was literally too big to exercise, and I was worried that I would injure myself.
After six months, I started by doing star jumps in the pool.
This supported my body weight (probably around 160 kilos) and kept me cool as well.
A few months later I switched to daily walks when it got too cool for the pool.

Here's the blog post I did on exercising - Link 

I've continued with daily walks virtually every day since.
To this day I do a 6km / one hour walk every day of the week. I even walked on Christmas Day.
It is extremely rare for me to miss a day.

It must have got easier to walk as you became lighter.
What did you do to keep up the fitness?
Well, I got myself a weight vest off eBay. It came with about twenty, one kilo weights.
I walk daily with eight of those one kilo weights in the vest. This way, I am exercising at a heavier weight to push myself that little bit further.

Here's a Courier Mail article that features me, the weight vest, and our beautiful dog, Bessie.
You can click the image to read the news article. 
And yes... I know it looks like a flak jacket / bulletproof vest. 😂

So exercise wasn't really the key to your weight loss?
Exercise is awesome.
It has MANY great health benefits, but it is not the key to weight loss.
Weight loss is determined by what I put in my mouth... not by my daily walks.

My advice.
  • Concentrate on getting your diet perfect.
  • Reach those daily food units and don't exceed them.
  • Measure and weigh EVERYTHING.
  • That is the real key to weight loss.
Whatever exercise you can do, do for the benefit of your general health.
Even a twenty-minute daily walk will improve your general health.

Got it.
Exercise for general health benefits.
For weight loss, I need to focus on what I put in my mouth.

Speaking of weight loss.
You lost a LOT of weight,
How did you stay focused when you had 100 kilos to lose?
I was extremely focused for the vast amount of time on my journey, especially at the start.

My initial goal was to lose 96 kilos and get under 90kg, as that was my previous low weight after Weight Watchers.
At the start, that of course seemed impossible.

So I broke up my Health Journey into smaller achievable chunks.
I broke it up into 12 bags of dog food!

Yep... twelve bags of dog food, each weighing 8 kilos.
That's exactly the 96 kilos that I wanted to lose.
Isn't math wonderful. 😋

And here is the blog post from Week 5. When I had lost that magical 8 kilos - Link 

And to celebrate that first milestone, I took a photo of me holding an 8 kilo bag of dog food.
Only eleven more to go!

Check out the smile on my dial.

And to maintain my focus, I then looked at other milestones.
I would celebrate milestones like
  • Getting under 170 kilos, 165 kilos, 160 kilos etc
  • Losing 10 kilos, 15 kilos, 20 kilos, etc
  • Losing percentages, losing 10%, losing 20% etc
  • Losing bags of salt (30 kilos was two bags of salt)
  • Losing 40 kilos was five big bags of dog food
  • Losing as much as someone weighs
40 kilos - 5 big bags of dog food - Blog and YouTube video link

My favourite, super personal milestone, was losing 36 kilos, as much as my ten year old son weighed.
Blog and YouTube video - Link

Another super personal milestone was when I lost 71.5 kilos, as much as my Mum weighed. - Link

Here is the blog post when I lost as much as I weighed.
When I was officially - 50% off ! - Link

And of course the blog post when I reached my initial goal of being under 90 kilos - 

Basically... I created my own personal milestones so I would have something to aim for and be motivated to achieve on a consistent basis.

Did you ever lose motivation when the scales didn't reward you?
It is really common for people to get disheartened when the numbers on the scale don't reflect the effort that we put into getting healthy. And I felt that way plenty of times over my journey.

One strategy I used to help me stay focused was NSVs... Non-Scale Victories.

Basically, I looked at all my achievements, that weren't related to the numbers on the scale.
Examples of NSVs that I focused on included -
  • Improvements in my body measurements
  • Improvements in my blood test results (lower blood sugars)
  • My blood pressure lowering
  • My rested heart rate improving
  • My general health and fitness improving
It's important to realise that the scales don't always tell the full story.
Using the free App - Me 360 - is a great way to track your measurements rather than just focusing on the numbers on the scales.
Sometimes our body measurements can change a lot, but we have no change on the scales.

In the image below from Me 360, you can see that in one week, I lost nearly a full centimeter around my stomach, 0.7 of a centimeter around my waist and 1.2 centimeters around my hips.. 
Yet the scales only changed 200 grams!

Here's my post on Me 360 - Link

Just be careful and understand that the app is not perfect.
I used it as a benchmark, a starting point.
A way for me to track progress.

And totally ignore the estimate of body fat percentage.
It is WAY OFF!.
If you want a try record of your body fat percentage, you need to get a DEXA scan which I discuss in other areas of this blog post.

Well, you certainly sound like you kept your motivation up.
Did you ever go off track?
Of course!
I'm a human being, not a machine.
My weight has fluctuated across a healthy weight range for most of my three years on maintenance, but just like every other person on the planet, I sometimes over-indulge in unhealthy foods.

That has happened several times in the last few years, particularly around the Christmas holiday seasons. But instead of letting this weight gain derail me completely, I refocus and use my strategies to get back on track.

I created a blog post on how I reset and refocused myself after gaining weight over Christmas 2021.
Click on the image below or this link to read the blog post - Link

It's very reassuring to know that you gained weight over the holidays too. I think a lot of people in the public fitness community don't discuss this openly or honestly.
I am very honest and open about my Health Journey.
I'm not a superhuman, I overindulge like most people do.
Life is full of celebrations... Christmas, Birthdays, etc.
Celebrations with friends and family are an important part of life, and we usually celebrate with food.

And I think it is super-important to reassure people that this is TOTALLY NORMAL.
To not freak out when we overindulge, and that you can get back on track by refocusing, going back to basics (weigh, measure and track EVERYTHING), and above all else...
Be KIND to ourselves!

What do you mean by "Be kind to ourselves."?
Personally, I used to have the mindset that when I went off track, my mind would attack ME.
I would say to myself...
- "You're a failure".
- "You're useless".
- "You're no good".
And that negative mindset would then trigger me to go offtrack even more.
I'd give up.
I'd think, "Well, I've stuffed up lunch, so I might as well eat poorly for the rest of the day".
And I would end up spiralling.

And then one day, it just clicked.

When we are teaching our kids or grandkids to walk, and they fall or stumble.
We don't discourage them by telling them that they are a failure.
Or that they are useless or no good.

We tell them THE OPPOSITE!

We encourage them!

We encourage them to 'Get up... Keep going buddy'.
'You've got this!'

We tell them the complete opposite of what we tell OURSELVES when we stumble.

And since then, I now remind myself that it is entirely normal to go off track, to stumble, to even fall.
And normal to cry to ourselves when we fall and feel like we've hit 'rock bottom'.

And I remember to be kind to myself.
I encourage myself to get up, dust myself off, and keep going.
I remind myself it is normal to fall down sometimes.

And then go back to basics.
I weigh and measure everything.
I track everything.
I focus on reaching and not exceeding the daily and weekly food units.

I also remind myself that when learning to walk, our kids don't just give up.
They keep going!

I didn't come this far to only come this far!

I love that message.
Celebrations are normal, and it is normal to 'go off track'.

Speaking of going off track...
I notice you don't have a weight under your Five Years / Three Years Maintenance image. 
Did you put on weight, or don't want to share that weight?

Great question. Quite simply, I am at the next chapter of my Health Journey where the number on the scales is irrelevant. 
I joined the local gym around December 2022.
I initially joined as when I get bored, I am more likely to eat poorly. So I thought that if I am busy at the gym for a few hours on a weekend, I am less likely to eat poorly.
That's how it started, but then I started to enjoy the gym and the health benefits I was getting.

After my Christmas break binge, I decided to create a video going over the strategies I used to get back on track. This time the Christmas weight gain was over the 2022 - 2023 holiday season.
Yep... like everyone else on the planet, I put on weight over the Christmas break... AGAIN... 

Click on the image below or this link to watch the video - Link

And of course, I wanted to get back to my magical maintenance goal weight of under 87.5 kg.
So I implemented those strategies and got back to my goal weight.

When you read my big blog post on my initial two-year Health Journey, you'll see that I talk about DEXA scans. 
DEXA scans are freaking awesome.
They are a medically accurate body composition scan. 
The only thing more accurate is an autopsy, which hopefully is a LONG time away. 😁

My Two Year Journey - DEXA scan blog post - Link 

The image below, shows my body fat dissolving over time.
I started the first scan three months into my Health Journey, so I was actually about 16 kilos heavier than the first image shows.

The image below, which is also part of the DEXA scan, shows my body fat (yellow) dissolving over that time with very little loss of lean muscle mass. That is one of the benefits of TWD. 
The high protein diet means you are more likely to lose body fat rather than muscle mass.

Anyway... after my weight gain in December 2022 - January 2023, I started getting DEXA scans again.
I was super focused on getting back to goal, and I lost 4 kilos in 8 weeks to get back to 87.6 kg.

The DEXA technician was actually worried about my body fat percentage potentially getting too low if I lost any more weight.
My body fat percentage went from 20.8 % down to 16.8 % in eight weeks.

I then spoke to Pennie, my TWD Dietitian, about this and she agreed that I was very close to being underweight.

I then got the astonishing recommendation.

Pennie told me to EAT MORE FOOD !

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my dietitian would tell me to EAT MORE FOOD!

Why is that? Why did she tell you to eat MORE FOOD?
Well, it can actually be unhealthy to be underweight.
At my dietitian session, Pennie advised it can cause many different issues, so we worked together to revise my daily food units.

I was actually working pretty hard in the gym.
I still did my daily one hour (6 km) walk with the dog, and on top of that, I was doing some solid workouts in the gym four days a week. I was under-eating when taking my exercise into account.

After increasing my food units, over the next eight weeks, I gained six kilos in body weight.

On the morning before going to get my DEXA scan, I got on the scales and was pretty unhappy.
Weighing over 93 kilos, my mindset went immediately back to thoughts of having to reduce my portion sizes, reducing my food units.

My mind couldn't get past the numbers.
I couldn't stop focusing on the fact that I had gained around six kilos!
I was pretty disappointed and thought that I would have to refocus back on the weight loss regime.

So, after the DEXA scan the technician asked how I felt about the weight gain.
I spoke openly about how my brain went automatically to having to go back into diet mode.

She then explained to me the breakdown of the weight gain.
Although I had gained 6 kilos in eight weeks, 4.2 kilos of that was muscle, and only 1.8 kilos was fat mass.

And even with a six kilo weight gain, my body fat percentage only went up 0.9 of one percent.
The DEXA technician was very impressed and happy with my weight gain as the gain was such a high percentage of muscle mass (lean mass), compared to a low percentage of fat mass increase.

So ultimately, I had nothing to worry about.
The weight increase was a very healthy increase, and I was exercising so much, my body needed the extra food units to ensure my muscles had the energy they needed to grow.

I was over the moon!

So how are you progressing at the gym now?
I am loving it actually.
I am very happy with some of my achievements so far.

Currently, at the end of July 2023, I can bench press a respectable 50 kg, which is more than half my body weight. I'm now benching the same amount as my 20 year old son!
He can still do a few more reps than me... but I am quickly catching up. 😉

And I love maxing out the calf machine.
The only 'benefit' from weighing 185 kg, was that I have massive calves, which means I can punch out 200 kilos on the Calf Raise machine! - Link

I'm still trying to lose weight and I'm not interested in building muscle mass.
Why are you telling me about gaining muscle mass?
It's is a great a way to remind you that the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) is not just a 12 Week Challenge.
It really is for LIFE.

My journey from weight loss, to maintenance and now building muscle mass, shows you that the basis of TWD is really about eating healthy, no matter what your goals are, and wherever you are on your journey.

It's interesting to point out, that when I gained the six kilos in eight weeks, with 4.2 kilos of that being muscle mass, I didn't change anything at the gym.
My gym regime and daily walks never changed.

My weekly routine over the eight weeks where I lost 4 kilos, was the same weekly routine as when I gained six kilos over the next eight weeks.
The only change was the food units (diet).

Wow... It's really interesting how the body can change so drastically, so quickly just from your diet.
It basically means that I was now eating enough of the right types of food so my muscles could grow.
It's simple now that I understand.

How much of a change did you and Pennie (The World's Greatest Dietitian) have to implement for the focus on muscle growth?
I basically increased my caloric intake by about 50%
I know TWD doesn't focus on calories, but that is about how much it increased by.

Here's a screenshot from my Online Tracker from July 24 to give you an idea of my food units.
The numbers on the right would be the food unit targets for when I was focusing on weight loss.

As you can see, my daily intake for each of the units is much higher than the weight loss target values.
But of course this was needed for me to build the muscle mass and I did work with Pennie to get those food unit values to the right level.

So some huge increases in Bread units (From 5 to 8), as well as increasing Fruit from 2 units to 4.3, Dairy up from 3 to around 5 units and Healthy Oils increased from 5 to around 8 units a day.

So do you now have to completely ignore the scales as they are irrelevant now to this chapter of your Health Journey?
Pretty much...
If I looked at the scales now, it would make my head explode.
Which is a HUGE mindset change for me as I focused on those scales, on a daily basis, for nearly five years.
I now have to use the DEXA scans every two months, and look at body fat percentage for me to 'track' my progress, as well as use the gym sessions for progress (am I getting stronger etc).

Going back to your 5 year journey comparison photo...
How does your mind process the changes over your Health Journey?

And how did you go from basically measuring your progress via the scales daily / weekly, to now focusing on body fat percentages via a DEXA scan every two months?
As I have been on the weight loss journey for five years now, I initially looked at the June 2020 image and thought I looked thinner, which we automatically link to being healthier. 

But now I understand health and nutrition even more, I now know my body fat % is actually healthier (going by my dietitian).

It's funny how hard wired our brains can be.
I'm now going through the new brain challenge as now, I am, and will be gaining weight (as a combination of fat and muscle mass), and my brain will have to cope with me needing larger jeans etc.

I've been enjoying 'average' size jeans of 36 inch and more recently, 34 inch jeans. As I grow, I have to accept the larger jeans. I now don't even weigh myself any more as it won't be good for my mental health, and I have to keep an eye on my body fat percentage every two months via the DEXA scans.

I have had to accept the fact that I will always have 'love handles', but those love handles are loose skin, not body fat. That has been a lot for me to process in my mind and accept.
But I needed to accept that is just what it is...
It is part of my journey, and makes me who I am.

You look familiar. I think I've seen you on TV a couple of times.
What's that about?
I've been very lucky to be featured on Australian TV several times.
I've been interviewed by multiple National breakfast TV shows, as well as featured on some National nightly news features.

I love the fact that I've had the opportunity to share my Health Journey with countless Australians, and hopefully I have inspired many of them to start or continue on their own Health Journey, to be the best they can be.

The image below is from a Channel 7 Nightly News story - Link
I love the fact that both my son and I can fit into my old 'fat pants'.

Do you have link with ALL your TV appearances?
Of course I do!

You can check out ALL of my TV appearances here - Link

Have you thought about mentoring others?
I actually DO offer Group Mentoring Sessions.
You can find out more about them here - Link 

Before we finish, any last tips.
Yes... The biggest, most important tips of all
  • Make the changes to your diet SUSTAINABLE
  • Make the changes to your exercise SUSTAINABLE
  • Make the time for meal planning and meal prep. 
    • You won't find the time, you need to MAKE the time.
If the changes you make are SUSTAINABLE, they will automatically become your new lifestyle.
You won't even think about them, they will just happen automatically.


Join us in my Facebook Group to share your journey.

Come on and join my private Facebook Group (only members can see what you post). 


New Video - My strategies for getting back on track after a weight gain - Link


Join us at my Facebook motivation and support group (Private) 
Facebook Group -
We now have over 2,800 members!

I'd love to hear about your health journey, so come on and join my private Facebook Group (only members can see what you post). 
There are now over 2,800 members in this group and we would love to hear from you!

More about Terry and his media appearances and interviews - Link 

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