women

April Leremia was one of New Zealand’s (and the world's) best netballers. But when the Silver Fern, who retired in the mid-90s, had her first baby in 2003, she had ballooned to 113 kilos. A second baby followed two years later and April was still stuck on the couch and at a weight exceeding 100 kilos for five years. Four years later she hit a point so low, she knew it was time for action. After losing 30 kilos in 30 weeks she wrote a book April Loses It which explains how she did it.

I was really into netball for 15 years and we used to train crazy hard in the netball season and then have November and December to relax. (April represented New Zealand 52 times mostly as Goal Attack). But you couldn't allow yourself to put on much weight because the memory of the first lot of hill runs and hill climbs was firm in your head.

When I retired from netball I went straight into TV presenting. The weight crept up on me but being on prime TV every single night meant I couldn't let it get out of control.

Description: April Ieremia

April Leremia

If was when I had my first child (Atlanta, in 2003) that I put on so much weight. For five years I was really overweight, over 100 kilos. I fell for the belief that when you breastfeed you lose weight. For me it just kept piling on and I spent way too much time on the couch.

I was attending lots of events and what clothes to wear was becoming a problem. I was tired of feeling lethargic, shitty, and unattractive and fed up. I'm now 44 but a couple of years ago I hadn't done anything much in the media for years and I was asked to be on a magazine cover about "How we feel about ourselves". I felt uncomfortable. About that time I went to three black tie events in a row and the only thing I could really wear was like a nun's habit. The third time I put it on I decided enough was enough. That I had nothing to wear, once again, was the turning point.

I turned to a physical trainer, Scott Cottier who used to train the SAS guys. He is a physical trainer which is different to a personal trainer who cares about how you feel. Scotty didn't give a toss about my personal feelings. He pointed out and I understood that it's just me so I had to either do it or don't do it.

The two things that really made a difference were running and drinking three and half litres of water every day. If you can run, I really suggest you do it. The weight just falls off.

Description: The two things that really made a difference were running and drinking three and half litres of water every day

The two things that really made a difference were running and drinking three and half litres of water every day

I learnt that you need to be bloody-minded and set a goal of one kilo a week and lock it off. You just have to do it. Spending a few months losing weight is like a dot on an A4 piece of paper. If the paper is your life, the time you spend losing weight is just a dot.

I suggest people make everybody be their chick - tell friends and family you are losing weight and exercising so they make you accountable. You also have to disconnect from the emotional

cord - the thoughts that say "It's too cold" or that "One more mouthful won't matter". You have to tell that voice to sod off.

I lost 30 kilos in 30 weeks and got into a white bikini which is a hard thing to wear in your forties. My maintenance program is Monday to Friday I exercise a lot and watch what I eat and drink. On weekends I take time off but because of the weight loss I am a lot more mindful about what I put in my body.

I have always wanted to run a marathon and have decided on the New York Marathon in November and then the Golden Oldies World Netball competition in San Diego next year. You have to wear a skirt for netball so that's part of my maintenance program.

My tip is to be harder and more aggressive with yourself. Take a hard look at yourself and decide what you really want. My aim was 70 kilos and I continue to aim to have a 7 in my weight figure. (April now weighs 75 kilos).

The funny thing I have found is that when you exercise it is like a funnel that increases your energy. The difference in how I feel is quite incredible. It's about so much more than just my weight.

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