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"What life is like after starring in a weight loss ad."

Image via iStock. 

I was standing at my local Donut King outlet about to order a hot cinnamon donut to go with my skim cap when I was approached.

“Don’t do it love,” the older lady said to me. “I’ve seen your ad. You’re doing so well!” With that, she patted me on the shoulder and continued on her way. I wish I could say this was a lone incident.

The last thing I ever expected to happen after being featured in a weight-loss ad was to have my eating habits constantly scrutinised by strangers at my local shopping centre but it happens pretty much every day.

I’m not a celebrity. Most people have no idea who I am. It’s only in my local area that people recognise me eventually and can’t help but say something.

I was buying some thinly sliced mild salami at my local deli just yesterday and the man who served me said, “This isn’t for you, is it?” I lied and said it wasn’t. Hell yeah it’s for me! It’s not like I was buying a chocolate bar or a toffee apple or a donut! And I’m Italian. I was weaned on salami in crusty bread. My blood-type demands it!

"The last thing I ever expected to happen after being featured in a weight-loss ad was to have my eating habits constantly scrutinised." Image via iStock.

I’ve been using the weight loss product whose ad I now feature in for over fifteen years. I discovered it when I was young and in love with a super fit boy and desperate to get in shape. I’d also scored an awesome job that I wanted to look really good for. So I signed up and it worked like a charm. I continued to order the food every now and then and I used it after each of my pregnancies to get into the routine of healthy eating.

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What all my food-critic strangers don’t realise is that I am not trying to lose weight anymore and that I don’t eat just diet food alone. I’m in maintenance and have been for quite a few years. I eat what I want, when I want, within reason, and if I ever need to lose a few kilos I go on the program again and then move on.

The other myth going around is that the ad has made me rich. The lady who has been making my green juice at my local health bar for the past seven years said, “The royalties must be good!”

What royalties?

I am a real customer and my ad is a ‘testimonial’. That means I was not paid for the ad, nor was I paid for the ad I did for them five years ago. They flew me and my kids to Queensland for filming and paid for all of that, send me a couple of weeks of free food and now I get a discount on every order. I get about $10-$20 off each delivery. (Post continues after gallery.)

I’m also terrified of putting on weight. Five years ago when the first ad went to air I almost developed an eating disorder trying to look like the girl in the ad. I went a little crazy and refused to eat anything in public for the longest time.

This time I was more prepared. I took a few deep breaths and stuck to my usual routine which was five days of careful eating and two of more relaxed eating, one of which I was trying to fulfil on Donut Day and Salami Day.

A lot of people I know have also accused me of being an actress who was just pretending to need a weight loss program.

“You’ve never been big, the whole time I’ve known you,” they explain. I’ve taken to keeping a few ‘fat photos’ on my iPhone to show them.

I have one from my sister’s wedding, one from a family party and one from my last year of high school. I’m significantly larger than they have ever known me to be and their reactions range from complete silence to, “Wow, you look like a different person.”

I was. I was a different person. I was a very young and very stressed person who ate her feelings. I still eat my feelings, just not every day. I’m still stressed, I just handle it better.

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“Does it work?” is the other question I get a lot. “Yes, it works. All weight loss programs work, you just have to find the one that works for you.”

"I’m also terrified of putting on weight. Five years ago when the first ad went to air I almost developed an eating disorder trying to look like the girl in the ad." Image via iStock.

I’ll never completely go off the program. When you find something that works for you and your health it becomes part of your lifestyle. I go back to my choice of weight loss product, some people do a cleanse, some cut out carbs and some do a detox.

We all have our tricks and tips.

The overall message I want people to take is that we are not our weight. Our weight has nothing to do with our value. I am not a better person than when I was bigger. I’m not happier because I am thinner.

And I’m certainly not happy that I can’t buy a hot cinnamon donut at my local shopping centre as long as the ad is running, although I have found another shopping centre that is just a short drive from my home but far enough away that nobody recognises me.

Because life is too short to live without donuts.