written by
Suzanne Culberg

Why I gave up on dieting: 30 years and 500kg later

3 min read

I was obese for almost 30 years. To condense my long dieting history down into a single blog will be difficult, but I do enjoy a challenge!

I grew up in a ‘fat family’ of lifelong dieters. When I was 4, I was being fitted with my flower girl dress for my sister’s wedding. At the fitting, I copied my mum and sister. I sucked my tummy in, thinking that’s what you needed to do.

So of course, when my dress arrived a few weeks later, it was MUCH too tight (unless I could hold my breath for the entire ceremony!).

Mum said we all needed to lose weight and so we began our very first diet. It became a pattern of every Sunday night we’d ‘empty the house’ eating all the junk food in a ‘last hurrah’ aka binge-fest. Then on Monday, we’d start our diet… only to fall off the wagon by Thursday. On the following Sunday, we’d start over with another binge-fest.

This became my cycle until I turned 18 and I was SO EXCITED because I finally reached the minimum age limit to join a popular weight loss program.

Can you imagine? A kid so desperate to grow up because she wanted to join a weight loss company?

I had great success on that program, but I couldn't sustain it and steadily gained ALL the weight back (plus interest).

A Hispanic woman wearing a Raiders hoodie and standing in front of user instructions waits to order at And Pizza with a vending machine in the foreground
Photographer: Obi Onyeador | Source: Unsplash

My adult life became an endless cycle of dieting, losing weight, binging, gaining weight – repeat!

In summary, I’ve lost in excess of 500 kilograms in my life. There are two noteworthy weight loss attempts.

In 2006, in my fifth year of medical school I shed 43 kilograms. I was so excited and thought I had found ‘THE’ answer. It was fitness. So I left medical school and studied my cert III and IV in fitness and became a personal trainer (PT). I loved being a PT.

In 2007 I got married, moved to Queensland, and in less than a year I gained ALL of my weight back, with interest. I had a lot of reasons (ahem excuses) but the truth was I was the biggest I had ever been. The weight gain left me feeling trapped and alone and I was hesitant to travel home to visit my friends and family because of my size. I was humiliated to have gained all the weight back.

After many more doomed weight loss attempts in 2011 I once again embarked on a noteworthy attempt to lose weight.

From 2011 to 2012 I dropped 60 kilograms. I was within 10 kilograms of my goal weight when I fell pregnant. I gained 40 kilograms back in my first pregnancy, then continued to gain weight. Then I fell pregnant again and ONLY gained 5 kilograms in that pregnancy, not that it’s anything to boast about as I was already 148 kilograms when I fell pregnant.

Once my son was born, I knew I had to do something about my weight, but I couldn’t face another diet!

After all, as Albert Einstein once famously said:

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
and expecting a different result’.

Finally I’d had enough. It had taken me nearly 30 years but here I was an adult, with two kids of my own, and I finally realised that the OLD way (binge, diet, force myself to do workouts I hated, waste money on weight loss programs and fad diets but always end up regaining everything I lost) didn’t work.

My breaking point was realising I was too overweight to keep up with my kids.

So I decided to try something else. I worked on my mindset.

The weight came off, and stayed off.

Now, I’m the person I needed to be. It just took a few mental switches.

If you are reading this and can relate to the relentless cycle of dieting. Or if you’re ready to let go of the person you don’t want to be and love the person you are then I invite you to check out my new module 'Uncover your overweight thinking.' In this course I guide you through changing your mindset to be the you that you have always wanted to be.