Live Better

How my mother’s heart attack at my age encouraged me to LiveLighter

Find out how this mother of three got her health back on track.

Serving up some salad at lunchtime

Overweight and obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in Australia. Carrying extra weight dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

For Lucy, turning 50 – the same age as her mother was when she had her first heart attack – was a big wake-up call.

“I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Most of my clothes were too tight – my jeans were going to burst at the seams. But the real wake-up call was that my mother had her first heart attack when she was my age,” Lucy said.

As a mother of three, Lucy knew something had to change. So she signed up for the free LiveLighter Meal and Activity Planner.

“Thanks to LiveLighter and fierce determination, I lost 6 kilos over three months. This put me back in the healthy weight range (and saw me reclaim my wardrobe),” she said.

LiveLighter is a public health education campaign which encourages Victorians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active.

Campaign Manager and Dietitian Alison McAleese said the most effective way to achieve a healthy weight is to focus on small, sustainable changes.

“When it comes to long-lasting, healthy weight loss, slow and steady really does win the race. The free LiveLighter Meal and Activity Planner is a great way to achieve a healthy weight because it helps you make small, easy changes. Things such as eating smaller portions and including more vegetables and fruit in your diet can add up to make a big difference to your health,” Ms McAleese said.

Trying to reach a healthy weight? Here are Lucy’s tips for healthy weight loss:

1. Avoid fad diets (they don’t work). I’ve tried every fad diet under the sun but the experts are right – these diets don’t work. As soon as you go back to your normal way of living, the weight comes straight back on. You need something you can sustain for life.

2. Watch the LiveLighter ads. Honestly, these toxic fat ads are a real wake-up call and something everyone should see.

3. Sign up to the LiveLighter Meal and Activity Planner. It’s a free tool featuring delicious, easy recipes with exercises you can enjoy. It’s specifically designed so your new habits can become part of your everyday life. LiveLighter is designed and run by the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation so it’s not just another fad. Just a logical way of life.

4. Learn to cook from scratch. In my ‘old life’, a typical family dinner was something I could throw together after work. Things like pasta with bottled sauce, chicken curry made with a jar of curry sauce or a pre-packaged risotto or pizza. I now cook proper food from scratch every day. LiveLighter recipes like baked tomato rice, beef stew and even chicken parmigiana. I plan ahead and although that takes more time, I feel so much better for it.

5. Get moving in any way you can. The ‘new me’ uses every opportunity I can to move, on top of the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity. I now ride my bike or walk everywhere I can, take the stairs, walk for half an hour at lunch and only sit when I have to.

6. Choose healthy snacks. I could never understand why anyone would want a bowl of carrot sticks at 3 o’clock when all I wanted was chocolate. But it all adds up. LiveLighter has many healthy snacks I can eat, like carrot and parsnip muffins and date and muesli slice. After a few days I didn’t miss my afternoon sugar dose.

7. Be disciplined. Another key to my success was learning to say ‘no’. I’d always found excuses to eat that extra serve of dinner or avoid exercise. Big changes such as this are not easy but I had to take control of what I was eating, and take control of my life.

For more information, tools and recipes visit or watch Lucy’s story.

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