'I was 22 and my mum passed away from cancer. I felt very down and thought what's the point?' - Irish woman sheds five stone
A young woman who lost five stone by cutting out sugar and junk food has said the new sugar tax initiative should help encourage people to take stock of how much they consume.
Melissa Morley (25) said that although the tax will underline the amount of sugar present in fizzy drinks, there needs to be more of an emphasis on education about healthy diets and fitness.
Melissa from Kiltimagh in Co Mayo became determined to lose a healthy amount of weight in university.
“I suppose the pinpoint moment was the end of the last year in DCU. I cared a lot about how I looked,” she said.
“My friends could grab clothes from their wardrobe and go, carefree. I would have to plan everything in advance. There is the social stigma attached.”
Melissa, who is currently a social media executive at Hone Energy and a personal trainer, then wrote a blog detailing her journey and particularly focused on cutting out sugar. However, she said she found some obstacles in terms of losing weight at the beginning.
“When I was very heavy, I consumed a lot of sugar. Eating one square of sugar would lead to the whole bar. It's highly addictive,” she said. “Now I try to get my sugar from fruit and keep a low sugar diet. Veg is the way to go in terms of macronutrients.”
“I've lost five stone in just over a year. I've maintained it over the past four years.”
“I hadn't got a clue about Slimming World or Weight Watchers. I didn't know anything about nutrition until I did a degree. Another obstacle for me was going to the gym and feeling very subconscious about my body which I overcame by starting on my diet plan first,” she added.
Melissa said when her mother passed away it inspired her to work harder.
“I was 22 and my mum passed away from cancer. I felt very down and thought what's the point?” she said. “My mother was my number one champion. I did the mini-marathon for her and it inspired me to do a lot more charity work.”
Melissa believes that the sugar tax initiative will help raise awareness of how much sugar people are putting into their bodies.
“I think it's a good initiative. It definitely raises awareness. Who knew there was so much sugar in Tonic Water?” she said. “I think people will start to realise it's not just fizzy drinks that contain lots of sugar. Although I do think there should be a follow on in terms of education on nutrition awareness as people are not aware.”
Her advice to people who would like to lose weight is to “have patience”.
“You’re not going to gain five stone overnight and your not going to lose it overnight either,” Melissa said. “I would seek professional advice. Just take your time and go at your own pace.”