Aussie mum Alina shares her incredible results after years of struggling with health issues, weight gain and finally being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“I think my problems started after I had my son, David,” says Alina. “He was born during the mid-year break of my second year of university while I was studying [for my second degree]. Being the super-mum that I thought I was, I returned to uni 10 days after giving birth. On top of that, I thought I could also work on weekends and started a job as a pathology collector doing five hours a week.”

Juggling work, study and a newborn was Alina’s introduction to motherhood, and things fell apart very quickly.

“David was a terrible sleeper. After a few months, I ended up like a walking zombie, sleeping four hours a night on average, struggling with breastfeeding, overwhelmed by stress and constant worries that I was not doing enough as a mum and a wife, and of course, I was eating whatever I could put in my mouth with the smallest amount of effort. I eventually quit my part-time job but kept studying.”

After graduating, Alina started work as an audiologist and continued her hectic lifestyle. She says she was not being intentional with her nutrition and didn’t pay attention to her weight. Over time, her weight “skyrocketed” to a very unhealthy level for her height.

“I always had a bit of a tendency to either eat a little bit too much or eat what is not quite healthy,” says Alina. “My weak spots were chips, crackers and anything salty. I didn’t have a huge sweet tooth, but would enjoy the odd sticky date pudding or ice-cream from time to time.”

The day everything changed

Like most women, Alina recognised what was happening, but continued to make time for everyone else but herself.

“When I reached my heaviest weight, I felt a host of emotions like guilt, shame and hopelessness. I felt guilty every time I ate something unhealthy. I felt shame when trying to find clothes in my wardrobe to fit me. I felt hopeless at the thought I could never do something to change my hectic life and eat better,” Alina says.

“My rock-bottom moment happened one morning when I got on the scales and they displayed a number that was almost impossible to fathom. I wasn’t happy. I realised that if I didn’t do something right then, I would not be able to stop that climb. I cried.”

While her weight and how she looked in the mirror was all Alina cared about that day, little did she know that there were a whole host of problems she was facing and would soon face that were caused by her poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and exercise.

“If you asked my husband, I was basically like a bear with a sore head. Every morning, I would wake up exhausted after sleeping nearly eight hours,” she says. “I was always feeling angry and was significantly noise sensitive. I couldn’t stand to have anyone talking to me in the morning, make noise or heaven forbid, chew food near me. The morning headaches were horrendous. I was dizzy and not able to open my eyes due to pain. I was using Panadol every day just to make it through the day.

“My joints hurt. All of them. Every step I took was accompanied by aches and pains in my ankles, my knees and hips.”

Then Alina’s vision started changing. While at work, she found herself struggling to read what was on the computer.

“My first thought was that I’m in my forties now, so I’ll need reading glasses,” she recalls. “I booked an appointment with an optometrist.”

Her optometrist revealed that while her eyesight was showing normal signs of ageing, her vision issues were actually caused either by high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels.

“I knew my blood pressure was fine, but had no idea about my blood sugars,” Alina says. “The very next morning, I took a blood sugar test and nearly fell to the floor. It was three times the healthy level expected in a healthy individual. Two weeks later, I was sitting in my doctor’s office being told I have type 2 diabetes.

“That was the day when everything changed.”

Finding your healthy body weight

Everyone’s body shape and height is unique. However, there are various ways of intentionally monitoring your body to determine if your health is thriving or struggling.

Some simple ways to check are:

  • Waist circumference: 80cm or under is considered low risk for developing health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. (For men, it’s 94cm or under.)
  • Body fat percentage: total mass of fat divided by total body mass, multiplied by 100. There are body fat percentage calculators online to assist with this.

It’s important to be intentional about setting health goals so that you are able to flourish and enjoy the exceptional benefits of being healthy.

Changing habits

Alina with her family, before her body transformation.

At the point of her diagnosis, Alina was exhausted mentally and physically, and trying to manage her chronic pain.

“I am very fortunate my husband is a nutritionist and personal trainer, and he helped me understand the impact of carbs for someone suffering from diabetes,” she says. “I started eating a generally low-carbohydrate diet, incorporating a proper amount of protein and vegetables in every meal. I learned which vegetables were lower in carbohydrates, and therefore better suited for me to eat, and I started using Google and Pinterest for inspiration when looking for different food ideas or recipes. Now I am making my own low-carb bread, seed crackers and cakes.

“The hardest bit is when we eat out. I learned the hard way that even a simple salad might not be safe due to the added dressings which contain a lot of sugar.”

Along with dietary changes, Alina also started moving more.

“We have a small home gym and I started following the personal training plan my husband made for me. I also went for walks around the neighbourhood. I made sure that at least every day, I would do some exercise, even if it was a nice relaxing walk along the beach or a short 15-minute intense weight training session. I didn’t do any crazy cardio workouts, as I didn’t have the energy and also don’t enjoy them,” she says.

“I learned that it’s crucially important to build muscle not only for strength training, but that the higher levels of muscle mass you have, the better your body can manage blood sugar levels. I was working hard to get some lean muscle back.

“I also took a look at my sleep routine and made small changes so I could improve the quality of my sleep. I started incorporating simple things like reading a book, spending 40 minutes before bed doing some needlework or enjoying a nice warm cup of chamomile and lavender tea.”

Looking at the long game

“The journey took almost two years. I learned so much about how certain foods affect me. I didn’t count my calories. Instead I focused on eating less processed and sugary foods. I discovered how poor quality sleep and stress can send my blood sugars through the roof. It wasn’t easy,” Alina says.

“I tried to manage it all with exercise and healthy eating to start with. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. My body had been under so much stress and pressure that it was struggling to recover just with lifestyle changes. So I started medication which helped a bit, however, I still struggled. But I refused to give up.

“For any mums out there with diabetes, I started using a blood sugar monitor (the FreeStyle Abbott Libre 2). It sent the readings to my phone in real time, 24/7. I found it a life-changer, given that I didn’t have to use the painful finger prick tests and I was able to quickly see how my readings are changing depending on what I ate, what type of exercise I was doing and how my sleep quality was.

“I also had information about how my sugar levels were trending during the night. Based on that, I learned how much I should eat at night and what foods to avoid so that I can keep my levels down during sleep. Medication helped too, however it was always what I had for dinner that mattered the most. It also helped me learn a lot about my diet. It is easy to apply, as it’s just a small white patch with a tiny flexible needle inside (it doesn’t hurt I promise), and you can apply to the upper arm or thigh. It’s very discreet. The price is a little expensive so I make the most out of it and really use the information that it gives me.

Despite the challenges, food cravings, muscle soreness from exercise and her stubbornly high blood sugar levels, Alina was determined to change her life around.

“The encouraging sign was that my weight started going down, even from the first month. My clothes size started to change. It felt great seeing my body change. I had a renewed sense of confidence and felt happy seeing myself in family photos. The compliments people gave me were also such an encouragement and suddenly, I was the one getting questions about how to lose weight. Even my GP was blown away with my weight loss and recent blood results test. I felt empowered. I felt good. I felt proud of myself,” she says.

It’s the little things that produce life-changing results

Amazing results are the product of staying consistent and showing up for yourself. Even when it feels like you’re not doing anything phenomenal, you actually are.

Read: How to break unwanted habits 


  • If you spend 30 minutes each day taking a walk, over the course of 12 weeks, you will have spent 42 hours moving your body.
  • If you intentionally set up a relaxation routine before bed that helps you get one hour extra each night, at the end of four months, you’ll have gained 120 extra hours of sleep.
  • If you start skipping the added sugar in your morning coffee, at the end of two months, you’ll have avoided a minimum of 60 teaspoons of sugar.

Little things definitely do add up.

The transformation journey you can do too

Alina credits her transformation to taking care of herself holistically, realising that she is more than the numbers on the scale.

Alina’s amazing body transformation didn’t include starving herself or hitting the gym for three hours a day. Her overall health journey included a lot more than just fat loss. She followed a simple and nourishing diet plan, started taking care of herself holistically, realising that she is more than the numbers on the scale. Her body recomposition was really the result of a lot of little changes made on a daily basis, which created a much healthier lifestyle.

Today, she has no pain in her joints, enjoys a lot more sleep and the headaches have gone.

“I think the most important thing of all was that I was open about my diagnosis,” Alina says. “I told everyone: my family, friends and colleagues at work. This helped me feel more accountable with my eating and lifestyle choices. It was easier to say no to a cupcake offered by a good friend because they knew what my health goals were. It was easier to say goodbye earlier when visiting people, because they knew I was trying to improve my sleep.”

If you take a look at Alina’s progress pictures, you see a beautiful woman in both. But the second shows a woman who started to take time for herself and listen to her body and needs. The results speak for themselves.

“To all the mums out there who are struggling with health, I would say please do not give up. If you accept at the start that it will not be an easy or a short journey, you will be OK.

“Find people around you who support your choices and are ready to help you with either moral support or food ideas. Join groups online with people who are going through the same journey and you will find that you are not the only one who struggles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctors or loved ones, and be honest with what you find most difficult to deal with. Find time for yourself. Sip a cup of your favourite tea or do something that makes you happy. Ask your loved ones to join you in your journey, eating the same healthy meals together, going on walks or hanging out relaxing.

“Always remember that you are stronger than you think. It’s not an easy journey but it’s all worth it.”

Read next: How to lose the baby weight: The surprising facts about weight loss after pregnancy

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