Real Life

Simone Anderson’s inspirational weight loss story

Two years ago Simone Anderson was 169kg, always tired, and too embarrassed to go out with friends. Now she has reshaped both her body and her life.
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If there’s one thing weight loss star Simone Anderson Pretscherer has learned from her incredible body transformation, it’s that anything is possible.

The Auckland-based makeup artist has spent time in the media spotlight both here and overseas for her tenacious battle with the scales. In the process, she’s lost 92kg, gone under the knife for bariatric and skin removal surgeries, and ultimately shunned her old ways to embrace a better, healthier way of life.

The vivacious 25-year-old, who shares all the details of her weight trials and triumphs on her Facebook page, Simone’s Journey to Health, says her life two years ago was a world apart from what it is now.

In August 2014, after a decade of gradual weight gain following a sports injury, she was 169kg and painfully aware things needed to change.

“For me it was a build-up of hundreds of tiny things,” says Simone, who works as a nanny in-between wielding a makeup brush. “Like not being able to sit on a plastic chair without fear it was going to crack under me, and struggling to take my rubbish bin up the driveway.

“I had friends who would ask me to go to the beach with them but I had to make excuses as I knew the walk up afterwards was quite steep. It was only about a 10-minute walk but I’d get really puffed and embarrassed. I had the realisation I was turning down so many basic activities and opportunities solely because of my weight. I was 23 and didn’t want to live a half-life anymore.”

The journey

Choosing health

In a bid to turn things round, Simone started a new regime, sticking to healthy foods and either walking or swimming for an hour every day. While the effort paid off – she dropped 20kg in two months – she found herself fixated on food.

“As I had stretched my stomach to an almost two-litre capacity, I was constantly hungry,” she says. “Food was the only thing I would ever think about, every day; food was controlling me.”

Determined to change for good and live life to the full, she began researching gastric sleeve surgery to reduce the size of her stomach, and paid to have the procedure done at a private clinic in Auckland. While the operation was a positive step, it was just the beginning of her journey. More hard work was still to come – maintaining her weight and not falling back into old habits.

Exercise was to become the cornerstone of her day, and she gradually built up a busy schedule after joining netball, water polo and basketball teams, starting fitness classes, and working out with a personal trainer every week.

Almost a year post surgery, the sports fan had halved her weight, dropping down to 84.5 kg and holding herself accountable by documenting it for her nearly quarter of a million Facebook fans. It was also the time when she started to notice the loose, excess skin draping her body, even showing candid shots of her changing shape online.

She soon caught the attention of a US-based surgeon, who offered to change her life with a skin removal operation.

“It was just mind-blowing, humbling and amazing,” she says of her whirlwind trip to the US for the procedure. “Then four days post-surgery I was invited onto The Tyra Banks Show! So my doctor and I flew to LA for the interview [with US model-turned-talk show-host Tyra], and I was still on so much medication, it all feels like a bizarre dream.”

Energy to burn

Since coming home, she’s been sticking to her guns, exercising daily and enjoying a healthy diet that is all about nutrition, balance and variety. She doesn’t follow any specific eating plan, and likes to fuel up on lean protein, fresh veges, fish, and wholegrains. Her new partner, Trent Forsyth, regularly joins her at the gym, and her online followers are still a constant source of motivation.

“I started the Facebook page to let friends and family know what I was setting out to do,” she explains. “I wanted it to be a lifelong change, not a fad, and this was a way to make me accountable to everyone I knew. It blew my mind how many people started following! The majority of what comes out of it is positive, I get so much motivation from it.”

With energy to burn, Simone’s busy reaping the rewards of her new life. The scale now stays around her goal weight of 77kg, and she’s even trained hard for her turn in the ring at a charity boxing match.

“Before I was so inactive it wasn’t even funny. I was so exhausted I’d need a nap at two in the afternoon. Now I’m in three sports teams, and I’m fitting 10 times more into the day.”

The confidence she’s gained has helped her pursue a new career direction too; she’s recently started online clothing store, Marble Boutique.

“After everything I’ve achieved with my health, I’ve proved to myself I can make things happen,” she says. “If I can drop half my body weight, I can make a business work, and fashion has long been a huge passion of mine.”

While she isn’t ruling out further surgery to tackle remaining loose skin on her lower body, it isn’t in her immediate plans.

“I’m covered head to toe in stretch marks, incision marks, everything you can think of,” she says. “It took me a while to come to terms with the scars, but they’ve faded a lot now and it’s not something I’m ashamed of. They are a part of me, and I wear them with pride.”

Words: Sara Bunny

WATCH: Simone Anderson’s full weight loss update

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