Woman loses 7st in 10 months and shares how to keep it off – ‘it’s a lifestyle change’

Gemma Ray shows off her incredible weight loss transformation

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Tejal was a self-confessed “carb-etarian”, whose healthy diet and exercise habits were “non-existent”. She spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about why she decided to lose weight, how she kept it off, and how other slimmers can too.

Weighing in at 222 pounds (15.8 stone) at only 5ft1, Tejal knew that she wanted to change.

She had tried rapid weight loss methods such as the Atkins diet, cabbage soup diet, and even the Beyonce diet, but none of those had been sustainable.

It was only after an incident where she couldn’t keep up with her children that Tejal decided she needed to do something transformative longterm.

“I remember being at the park and running in two different directions. I was completely out of breath.”

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A post shared by Tejal (@tejfightingfit)

This “lightbulb moment” caused Tejal to think: “I’m not a good enough mum. How can I look after them if I can’t even keep up with them?”

Tejal managed to lose an eye-watering 98 pounds (seven stone) in just 10 months by controlling her calories.

“I literally tracked everything I ate, and made sure I ate less than I moved. I was probably eating around 1,000-1,200 calories every day for 10 months.

“At the time it was fine because I started to see results. There were days where I was eating 800 calories and I’d see more results. So that kind of egged me on a little bit but then it gave me a bad relationship with food.”

She managed to reach a tiny 124 pounds through this method alone, avoiding exercise and the gym because she found it “demoralising”.

But she knew that once she started eating more calories again, she would have to move more too in order to keep the weight off: “I couldn’t just do it with food”.

Starting off with classes such as aerobics and body combat, Tejal moved on to lifting weights when she found a personal trainer to help her train for a coast to coast bike ride.

“The thing I struggled most with was that anytime I put on weight I would do more cardio, not realising that cardio makes you hungrier as well, and you eat more.”

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A post shared by Tejal (@tejfightingfit)

Nowadays, while she does do a park run once a week for heart health, Tejal focuses on lifting weights as her main source of exercise.

Her secret weapon, though, is racking up 12,500 steps per day on walks when she has breaks at work, which is something all slimmers can try to incorporate into their lives.

Tejal’s whole perspective on weight has changed, and she no longer fixates on aesthetics, but being healthy.

Having this knowledge even helped the slimmer navigate difficult conversations with her 13-year-old daughter about weight.

“She ended up getting bullied at school about it, and she wanted to lose weight, so we just started walking. She lost 45 pounds in six months just from walking, and we also made sure that half of our plates were vegetables.”

Tejal’s idea of family fun has completely changed too.

While she used to reward accomplishments with things like ice cream or meals out, now she opts for activities such as bike rides, indoor skiing, badminton and going to driving ranges.

Tejal acknowledged that maintaining weight loss is often much more difficult than losing it in the first place.

“You can say no to cake for a year, but as life creeps in, it’s about trying to make sure that the new habit’s you’ve learnt, you keep, and you don’t go back to old habits. That’s the hardest bit, I think.”

As for food, Tejal said that it’s “all about making smarter choices”, filling up her plate with vegetables or occasionally making “lower-calorie switches” with Lo-Dough meals.

Her advice to others embarking on a weight loss journey or hoping to maintain a substantial weight loss: “It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.

“And I think exercise is a huge thing. But you don’t need to spend hours on a running machine – because that will make you hungry.”

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