Anisa Dunne lost two stone with Unislim ten years ago, but after re-joining eight years later, she realised she needed to put herself first for a while, and it paid off.
I’ve always had a weight issue. In 2009/2010, I joined Unislim for the first time and lost two stone. I felt brilliant, but I didn’t hang around to find out the importance of maintenance, and slowly but surely the weight crept back up. I was losing focus on myself, I was focusing on my family – my husband has ill health and one of my daughters was being bullied, so I didn’t give any thought to myself. I could feel a depression coming on, but I wasn’t paying attention to it. Then in 2017, my daughter was finishing up from secondary school, so she had graduation and her debs, and I remember during those events that I didn’t want to be in any photographs. Afterwards, I saw myself in the pictures and just didn’t recognise who that person was. That was September 2017, and I said, “Okay, I can do this”, but I was thinking I’d do it myself. Then Christmas happened and I put more weight on, and I had a moment where I said, “You know what, I’m actually going to do something for myself, for once in my life, and I’m gifting myself a year. And in that year, I want to lose the weight, I want to get my mojo back, I want to start going out again and doing all the stuff that had just disappeared to the wayside.” And just as I had come to that realisation, I saw a notice on Facebook about a Unislim class coming to Tallaght and I knew it worked for me before, so I thought, “It’s meant to be.”
I re-joined Unislim in May 2018, and haven’t looked back. I have the Unislim app on my phone, and I live by it. It’s a fantastic tool. It breaks down all your bites every day, gives you statistics, and you have access to the community on the forum, where there is a lot of support waiting for you. If I ate something, it would go straight on the tracker. My leader in Tallaght – Sarah Bourke – and I just hit it off from the first day. I honestly believe the leaders in Unislim have a vested interest in their members. They’re really supporting them when they get on that scale every week. Then there’s the private Facebook group and all the support via the social media platforms. So you are surrounded – you don’t feel you have to wait until next week to ask a question – you just pop it up and there’s somebody there all the time who’ll answer you – the support is constant.
I discovered that I am an emotional eater, and I’ve had a very emotional last couple of years. Because Unislim brought that to the forefront, I didn’t slip back into that bad habit. My mindset has completely changed. I’m able to recognise if I’m stressed, and just take the dog out for a walk.
Life for me now is pretty damn good. I’m smiling more. I feel like I’m getting the old Anisa back. My husband and I recently went on our first date night since the lockdown. I got my hair, make-up and nails done, and everybody who saw me said I looked ten years younger. My “before” picture is a very different me to my “after” picture. I feel glamorous, and I have my mojo back. Mentally, I’m a lot stronger too. I have two daughters, aged 16 and 20, and my girls say my mental strength and coping abilities have gone through the roof. Whereas before, I would have crumbled on a lot of things, and eaten to hide my feelings, but that’s not the way it is anymore.
The first thing I’d say to others considering joining Unislim is, you have to be in the right headspace and frame of mind; you have to come to that decision yourself that you want to do something for you. And that means putting the kids, the husband, the dog, and everybody else second. I gifted myself a year – that was in my mindset. It’s two-and-a-half years now, and I’m still going every week because I now know it’s important to keep track of my weight and food. I’ve tried other plans in the past, but I find the three meals a day and two healthy snacks is an ample amount of proper food, and I’m never hungry. You can still have your goodies within reason; as long as you’re responsible for them with your daily bites, you can have whatever you want on the plan. And the meals are fabulous. My favourite is probably the chicken madras – my family adore it. I’m not someone who would normally cook, but there are tutorials on the hub which gives you the motivation to try and make dishes you’d never have tried before.