SALLY Symonds speaks from experience when she says the worst thing you can do to lose weight is go on a diet.
It's sage advice from a woman who broke the traditional weight loss "rules" to halve her body weight - and keep the weight off.
Her amazing transformation - which had her go from 106.5kg to 53kg - makes her the second biggest documented loser in Australia.
Only Bob Herdsman, who won the reality television show The Biggest Loser in 2009, has eclipsed her weight loss percentage.
Sally, a former student in Rockhampton, says hers is a commonsense approach which centres on consistent daily effort.
Having tried without success a variety of weight loss plans and programs, she decided to develop her own.
She believes individuals need to be the "experts" of their own weight loss, engineering their own success.
"There is only one person who knows what is going to work for you - and that's you," she said.
Sally said the weight loss and fitness industries thrived on failure.
Before embarking on her life-changing journey in 2002, Sally had constantly struggled with her weight because she loved food and loathed exercise.
A self-confessed workaholic, she had little time to devote to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By age 29, she was 106.5kg. Morbidly obese, she was facing the stark reality that her weight could kill her.
Sally says her motivation was more about "getting a life" than expressly losing weight.
She learned about nutrition, made sensible changes to her diet, and set a realistic exercise routine.
"I found losing weight one of the most enjoyable, empowering experiences of my life," she said.
KEEPING IT REAL
Sally Symonds, who runs her own online weight loss business offers these practical tips:
Forget 12-week challenges. Thinking a 12-week challenge can fix the unhealthy habits of a lifetime is like trying to smell the colour nine. Successful weight loss is measured in years, not weeks.
We make more than 73,000 food-related related choices every year so you really need to educate yourself about how to make smart decisions in relation to food. Knowledge is power.
Learn how to transform yourself from an exercise loather to an exercise lover. It's all about exercising to stimulate, not annihilate.
It's okay to emotionally eat. I still do. I've just learnt how to do it in a controlled way - and you can too.
- Forget "all or nothing, go hard or go home" approaches to weight loss.