At the start of the year Islay Mcleod was 29 kilograms heavier and suffered from migraines, nerve pain and a lack of energy.

Now, all those problems have gone and when the Whangarei woman catches a glimpse of her reflection, she feels proud.

The 29-year-old weighed 118kg when she joined Weight Watchers in January. Now she weighs 89kg and has won the Weight Watchers "Healthie" award for Inspirational Story.

"When I catch my own reflection, I feel proud. But I think the energy I have for my life is completely different. You get a feeling of self empowerment and belief - if I can lose 29kg what other goals can I put my mind to and achieve?"


At 19 Ms Mcleod was diagnosed with Crohn's disease - a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. She said a combination of the medication she was on and how she felt caused her to gain weight. Then, at 28, she was diagnosed with coeliac disease - an autoimmune disorder that causes a reaction to gluten. Before losing weight she suffered from a lot of health issues.

"I had what my doctors now think was nerve pain in my upper abdomen and it was a daily thing. Since losing the weight I haven't felt it at all ... I also had headaches, migraines, I was feeling fatigued - all of that has gone."

Ms Mcleod, a glass blower, said before losing weight she would feel tired working six hours in a hot room. Now she has much more energy.

She said she had tried losing weight on her own but couldn't manage it so joined Weight Watchers knowing it worked for her when she tried it in the past.

"It was more of a head space. If you're doing it on your own you will treat yourself to chocolate - and the feelings of guilt for me, I would almost give up and it would become a cycle."

Ms Mcleod said before she joined Weight Watch-ers she would eat large meals and treat herself to chips and chocolate. She said the weight loss service changed her attitude towards food and exercise.

"I'm likely to go for a run now to clear my head. It's got nothing to do with whether I can have that chocolate bar."

Ms Mcleod's goal weight is 74kg.

When she lost 10kg she purchased a new pair of boots. She's not sure what she will do when she achieves the end goal but when she reaches her 30kg goal, which she is aiming to achieve by her 30th birthday in two weeks, she wants to sky dive.

"I was over 110kg for a really long time and you can't sky dive over 100kg so it was something I always aspired to do the next summer," she said.