Life Health & Wellbeing

Monday 16 September 2019

'I've dropped five dress sizes' - childcare worker Jacqueline (27) on how she ditched convenience food and chocolate

Jacqueline, before and after her weight loss.
Jacqueline, before and after her weight loss.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Two years ago when childcare worker Jacqueline Caulfield (27) moved back to Ireland, she realised she needed to change her lifestyle.

After three years in Germany, immersed in a different culture where she found herself relying on convenience food, she realised that she'd forgotten how to take care of herself.

“My weight has always bothered me and I hated the feeling of getting dressed and nothing was fitting/”

“I had just moved home from living in Munich for 3 years. I was living at home for the first time in eight years and I was just not happy in myself.”

“I was going for the convenience foods instead of fresh foods. Being away from family as well. I wasn’t exercising and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was always thinking about others and how others would see me rather than putting myself first.”

“Just before I left, I started exercising and going to the gym. When I came home, it was about three weeks afterwards and I was with a friend and she was saying she was going to join Weight Watchers. I said I’d go with her. The second I stood on the scales, I thought right this is the beginning.”

Two years ago, Jacqueline began to set herself exercise and weight loss goals. She took up running, and trained so well that last October, she completed the Dublin city marathon.

“I will never forget the feeling of standing up on the scales in Oranmore with the leader, Phil, and seeing 15 stone 4.5 pounds written there. When I sat down for the class I felt really sad and embarrassed. But by the end of my first class I was feeling really motivated and excited to start this new journey.”

"I made the decision to go back running. I came into last year 43 and a half lbs lighter and feeling more confident, more like myself than ever before and feeling so positive.” 

“I was in the process of leading a healthy lifestyle that was maintainable and enjoyable.”

“I exercise regularly and have made small changes to my lifestyle that have made the world of difference. I began to set myself mini goals as the year rolled on. Goals that Weight Watchers set out in class like, to lose 10 lbs in 8 weeks, reach another silver seven milestone (after losing half a stone) before a certain time and as the pounds were going the right direction I began setting myself other types of goals such as going for a walk on my break and getting up a little earlier to get a walk in.”

“I usually cook my dinners for the week on a Sunday. I’m a vegetarian so I’d make lentil stews and stir fry, casseroles, all normal foods that would be in the cupboard anyway. Salmon and other fish.”

It's incredible that Jacqueline has changed herself from a person who shopped for size 18 clothing, to someone who ran her first marathan in under four hours last October.

“In October, all my training had come together and I completed my first marathon in three hours and 51 minutes. It was a great feeling crossing the finish line and knowing it was yet another accomplishment I had succeeded in for my personal journey.”

“The previous month, I had reached my weight goal of ten stone, 8.5 pounds. It was the best feeling.”

“All my hard work had paid off. I have dropped five dress sizes, lost four stone, 10.5 lb, and overall I am more confident and happy in my own skin.”

After nearly two years, Jacqueline says she feels fitter and happier than ever, and her improved energy levels benefit the children she teaches every day.

“I’ve no problems going around chasing them around the yard. I can be more positive with the kids. I find you have to have a quick mind for the kids so I’d be more alert for them now and well able to look after them. Everyone feeds off the positivity then.”

“It’s changed my outlook on life completely. I’m a lot more confident now. When I do eat healthy I approach things more positively. It’s definitely changed the way I am as a person.”

“I was a size 18, now I am a 10 and a 12. I love going shopping now. Before I hated trying on clothes. If I was going in with my mother, she’d get the brunt of it,” she laughed.

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