A woman who lost almost half her body weight has said she feels like a new person and is “so proud” of herself for turning her life around.
Jean Marais, originally from South Africa but now living in Donegal, was nearly 18 stone at her heaviest and suffering from diabetes and joint problems.
She shed a whopping 8 stone 9 pounds in about six months with the help of Dr. Eva, dropping from a size 24 to a size 6 – and can’t believe how healthy and confident she feels.
“I was very big, and I really felt very unwell,” she told RSVP Magazine. “I couldn’t walk far, I had arthritis, and my blood sugar wasn’t coming down even though I was on insulin twice a day.
“The doctors were telling me to lose weight…My husband admitted he was worried I wouldn’t see my 60th birthday.”
One day her husband was watching TV when he came across Dr. Eva and asked Jean if she would be interested in seeing if she could help her.
“Eva was shocked when she saw how poor my health was – she said she would give me five years, max,” she said.
“She immediately took me off my insulin and put me on a diet of 600 calories a day. That’s not a lot of calories, but I never felt hungry.”
The mum of three’s new diet consisted of porridge in the morning, a midday snack such as a sugar-free biscuit, soup or a salad with a small portion of protein for lunch, more protein for dinner (like chicken or fish) and two more snacks, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
She didn’t know a lot about nutrition before going to Dr. Eva, and had thought she was eating relatively healthily.
“Before I went to Dr. Eva, I would regularly skip breakfast,” she explained.
“Lunch would be a sandwich and fruit, maybe fruit juice, and I was eating a lot of yoghurts. For dinner, if I had a stir fry it would be one with those sauces that are loaded with sugar.
“There were things I didn’t even realise I was eating, like if I made sandwiches for my grandkids, I’d cut the crusts off and then eat the crusts. I might say ‘Oh I’ll just have a square of chocolate.’
“The dieticians taught me a lot about what carbohydrates are lower in sugar, and which ones are higher. I learned how much sugar is in fruit and yoghurts, and they gave me some beautiful recipes to try at home.”
Jean says her weight loss has totally changed her life.
“Before I lost weight, I would have avoided going out if I could. I didn’t socialise much – I didn’t want to eat in front of people, because I thought they would judge me for eating because I was so big.
“Even grocery shopping would tire me out…I would have had to sit down quite often. I felt down and depressed.
“Before, I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I’m now off my blood pressure medication and off my insulin.
“They wouldn’t operate on the arthritis in my knees because of my weight, it would have been too dangerous. But now I’ve lost the weight, I have no pain in my knees at all.”
She added: “I turned 60 in December and I feel healthy and happy. I can keep up with my grandchildren. I can go into a shop and find something that I like, and that fits me! I’m still trying to get over my attachment to black and try some colourful clothes!”
After her weight loss, she also had surgery to remove the excess skin, which was an added boost to her confidence.
“I’m so glad I had that operation – I have a flat tummy now,” she beamed. “Before Covid hit, I got back into the swimming pool for the first time in 30 years. I used to be a good swimmer in my day, so to have the confidence to get back in the pool was amazing.”
Jean says she looks so different now that friends and acquaintances haven’t recognised her.
“My GP didn’t know who I was…And one of my husband’s friends thought he had a new partner!” she laughed.
She shared her advice to anyone else who wants to lose weight.
“Think about your diet and your lifestyle. You can really make a difference by eating healthily most of the time – you don’t have to say ‘I can never have that again’.
“Eva is strict and she tells it like it is but she has a heart of gold. I really enjoyed the journey and I’m absolutely thrilled with what I have achieved.
“I wish I could tell everyone, go out there and lose that weight! You can do it, and you can feel like I do!”
Visit www.solaralvura.com for information about Dr Eva’s new health hotel in Portugal, Solar Alvura