Anyone can do it, you just have to start

When Deadly Choices Program Officer, Tori Cowburn, moved out of home at a young age she didn’t know how to cook. She ate take away at least once a day and more often than not, three times a day. She wasn’t interested in exercise, and spent her free time drinking and partying.

She’d noticed her weight was starting to be a problem, but didn’t really take it on board. It was only when Tori finished working as a medical receptionist and started working as a health worker that she reflected on her health.

“One day I thought how am I supposed to tell people that they should be eating healthy and not drinking and smoking, when I was doing all of those things?” Tori said.

“I looked terrible but was supposed to be promoting a health service and being healthy – it wasn’t a good look”.

Once she had this realisation, Tori started speaking with people at the health service – particularly her GP who was a significant help.“Being from a small town, I didn’t really know who I could talk to or who I could trust, but my GP was great. She was really supportive and helped me get through it”, said Tori.

The final straw came when she ate too much Hungry Jacks one day. It made her throw up and she saw how much food came out, and how disgusting it was. It was startling and grossed her out.

After that, she decided to stop eating take away. It wasn’t easy, and took “ages” to stop all together, but she did. Tori started meal prepping, which was difficult at first, but got easier the more she did it.

She stayed strong through the withdrawals, swapping junk food for good food, and sugary soft drinks for soda water and sparkling water. She also reduced her meal portions and continued speaking with her GP when she was struggling.

For exercise, Tori took up yoga and it was this that made her start thinking about her insides – rather than just how she looked on the outside. She focused on feeling good, instead of just looking good, and this had a big impact on her progress.

“I never knew I could feel this good. You just don’t know how good you can feel until you try”, Tori said.
Since changing her diet and starting exercising, Tori has lost about 35kg. “It’s really helped me with everything. I deal with things better now, and my mental health is better than it ever has been”, she said.

Tori’s top tips:

  • If you’re going to change your food, you need to make it yummy – you can’t just buy a $3 pre-made salad from the shops and expect to love it.
  • Find an exercise you love doing
  • Just try. If I can do it, anyone can!