Danielle's story

Danielle started putting on weight straight after she finished high school and entered the work force.

Description: Danielle

Danielle Reynolds-Collins, age 22, height 157cm, before 110.5kg, after 84.5kg, lost 26kg, Time at current weight: still working towards goad weight

"Once I was no longer continuing much of my loved school sport I found the kilograms slowly increasing," she says. Concerned, Danielle visited her doctor who discovered she was suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and, as a side effect, Insulin Resistance.

After being told that losing weight is harder for those with the condition, Danielle had stumbled on her first excuse for weight gain.

"There it was, straight out of my doctor's mouth. I found myself repeating it over and over again, trying to use that as an explanation for how I'd let the weight come back and not do anything about it." An interstate move quickly followed and a new job with a soft drink manufacturer. Not knowing anyone Danielle's mindset began to change. "Nobody knows me, I can do whatever and eat whatever I like. I don't have to train, nobody knows me at this new gym - I won't be missed," she thought. And before long Danielle's weight had increased by another 20kgs.

From couch to 7kms

It was a colleague's before and after pictures that inspired Danielle to get serious about weight-loss. "I knew she had suffered PCOS and that was a real wake up call. If she could do it ... . so could l!"

As a former personal trainer Danielle developed a training program and diet to suit her metabolism and she now follows the 80/20 rule. "With my diet, 80 percent is clean, unprocessed, low GI, gluten and dairy-free meals and the other 20 percent doesn't quite reach those standards but is still very healthy and a long way from what I used to eat," she explains.

Danielle began her weight-loss journey by taking part in Les Mills classes at her local gym. She felt safe in these classes as people were too busy looking at the instructor to take any notice of her. As her confidence improved and the kilos began to disappear Danielle changed her routine. "I'm now working with a personal trainer (PT) and I do two heavy weight sessions a week (my PT says to lose weight, you have to lift weight!), two days of cardio (7km run or a Sh'Bam class) and a mixed group interval PT session."

Description: a Sh'Bam class

a Sh'Bam class

Best of all, Danielle has found that through exercise and a clean-diet she has been able to keep her PCOS in control, without medication. "I tried all the medications and different dosages etc and none of them helped," she says. Now her menstrual cycle is back to normal and she wants other women to know what they can achieve by making these lifestyle changes.

Making a commitment

Danielle doesn't believe losing weight is about motivation. "I'm never motivated to go to work, but I go anyway, because I want to get paid," she explains. "I want a better body, I want to be healthier, therefore I need to go to the gym and I need to make better food choices."

Danielle believes that while her healthy lifestyle may not result in a pay cheque at the end of the week the positive results are worth the effort.

"Some might call these things motivation, I prefer to think of them as consequences of my actions," she says. "Losing weight is about making a decision that you want better for yourself and doing everything you can to get it."

To reflect on how far she has come and to inspire others she has created a Facebook page about her weight-loss journey (facebook.com/ weightgainer2PT). "I have over 400 followers that keep me 110 percent accountable to my goals."

Stick-with-it tips

Brain power

"The biggest muscle you can use is your brain. If your mind doesn't believe you can, then you won't."

Mix it up

"Constantly shock your body with new routines, new workouts. Keep the exercise fun and enjoyable and it will no longer be a chore"

Kitchen know-how

"Learn to use herbs and spices. Clean food doesn't mean bland food. Learn to use them and you'll never look for processed sauce jars again!'

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