Dorothy Stephen's Story


It was March 2009.  My sister Mary had seen a poster at the local pool advertising T.O.W.N. Club and asked me would I like to go.  I had been overweight all my life with lots of health problems, including chronic back pain, blood pressure, arthritis, gout, gastric reflux and a liver condition.   I was on medication for all these problems.  Also in September I was going to take my grandchildren to the Theme Parks in Queensland and desperately wanted to go on the rides with them.  For these reasons I joined T.O.W.N. and it was the best thing I have ever done. 

I set myself some goals.  I decided I would try to lose small amounts of weight, up to 5kg in 4 to 5 weeks. Sometimes it would take longer and that was fine, because once that goal was reached I started working on the next 5kg lots.  I got myself a smaller dinner plate and reduced my portion sizes.  I learned not to use the word diet, instead saying I was working for a healthy life with healthy eating.

Exercising became important.  Starting off walking for 15 minutes a day, I increased it every few weeks until I was walking for an hour.  Now after 15 months I have walked 15kms and can run for 4kms.  This is something I would have never imagine I could do.  Not everyone has to go to this extent. Half an hour to one hour walk a day is enough to lose weight.  I also did little things like taking rubbish, one item at a time, out to the wheelie bin outside, and putting washing away, a few items at a time, instead of all together.  Every little bit of movement to your body helps.

Taking off weight is not easy and I have worked hard.  If something went wrong and I didn’t achieve what I wanted, I would get up the next day, start again and tell myself I could do it.  Also knowing I have to get weighed every week makes you stop and think about what you are eating, because the scales never lie.

I cannot express enough, how much the support and encouragement I have had from all my Lakes Entrance T.O.W.N. members and the inspirational talks given by our leader Debbie Saunders has contributed to my weight loss.  You can never underestimate how much this support means to you.

 I lost 20kgs by September and went on all the rides at the Theme Parks with my Grandkids.  What a thrill.

After 12 months I had lost 36.5kgs and was able to walk into a dress shop and buy a dress off the rack for T.O.W.N. State Night and I felt incredible.  It was the most wonderful feeling.  I had not been this size since I was twelve and could not remember the last time I had purchased a dress from a boutique.

State night was wonderful.  To be Club Queen was great, but to win 2nd Runner-Up Queen was extra special.  I really did feel like a queen.  I felt proud and very happy to share the night with my sister and Club members.   I have now lost 45.5kgs and have half a kilo more to reach my goal weight.  I am now healthy and off all medication except for a small dose for blood pressure.  I am looking forward to graduation and the challenge of maintaining that weight with the help of T.O.W.N.

I would like to thank every member of Lakes Entrance T.O.W.N. Club, and Debbie, our leader, my sister Mary, whose idea it was to go to T.O.W.N. and my husband and family.  Also I am proud of myself, and what I have achieved, (something I would not have thought or said 15 months ago). The combination of all these people has made my healthy lifestyle possible.