1. Tell us your story:
I'm from a cattle property in Mackay, and after finishing school and university, where I achieved a BA (Honours) in English Literature, I became a Speech and Drama teacher. I was very good at my job, but my health began to suffer. I worked over 100 hours a week, hated exercise and ate a family-sized block of chocolate every day. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure at just 29.
Eventually, I realised something had to give, so I threw out the junk food and started walking my dog instead of paying someone else to do it! Ultimately, I lost over 50 kilos - more than half my body weight - without using any plans or programs.
I genuinely enjoyed the experience, so I wrote a book (50 Steps to Lose 50 kg...And Keep it Off) and took the plunge to change careers, quickly establishing myself as one of Australia's leading fitness experts according to Good Health magazine. Now, I'm a healthy life mentor who gets to spend every day helping others achieve what I did: healthy, sustainable weight loss.
2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
Losing weight made me realise that all the stuff we're fed by the media about weight loss - follow this diet or that 12-week program - just sets you up to fail. I'm living proof that all you need to lose weight and keep it off is the right mindset and motivation!
3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan an d a deadline to achieve your goals?
I don't believe in setting goals, because I think they limit what you can achieve. I didn't set any goals when I lost weight, and if I had, I would never have imagined I'd be capable of losing as much as I did. You don't know what you're capable of, so why place constraints on yourself?
Sally Symonds, healthy life mentor, author of several weight loss books and the creator of Love Your Weight Loss
4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
When I was losing weight myself, walking into a gym for the first time by myself was one of the hardest things I'd ever done: a more anti-exercise, anti-gym person than me you could never have met!
5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
I love that my own weight loss experience has inspired so many others. It's something that really keeps me motivated and it's a big part of why I love what I do.
6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
First of all, don't set a goal! Stay motivated and see just how far you can go. You'll surprise yourself.
7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I hope to be able to keep inspiring others and helping them achieve their healthy living aims; more importantly, I want to show people that what the media tells them about weight loss (it's difficult, it's impossible, it's tedious) is so far from reality.
Check out Sally's website for more details: www.sallysymonds.com.au.