By Peter Oglos.
It was on Jacqueline Mantzouratos’ holiday to Greece when she realised she needed to completely change the way she lived. One year on, she has lost almost 70kg and gained a tonne of confidence.
At 19-years-old, Jacqueline was an obese child, weighing over 150kg. In the planning process of travelling with her family to Greece, in August 2019, she realised something she had never considered in her life.
“I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t fit in an airplane seat and I had to buy two seats on every plane I went on,” Jacqueline said to The Greek Herald.
“And while I was over there, I went out for dinner with my family and we’d have to change restaurant because I would fit in a seat.”
“It was really embarrassing and quite upsetting.”
“So I told myself that I was doing the rest of my trip but once I got home, something would have changed. It was kind of like I hit my rock bottom and it was time for me to do something about it.”
On the November 11, 2019, Jacqueline scheduled a gastric bypass surgery; A highly intensive weight loss procedure which creates a small pouch in the stomach for food to easily be processed. Yet, weeks out from the surgery, Jacqueline decided not to go through with it, opting to carry out her weight-loss journey naturally.
“My mom asked the surgeon, what is the likelihood of completing my weight loss naturally. And he said 0.001 percent,” Jacqueline said.
In 2017-18, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey showed that Australia had the 8th highest proportion of overweight or obese adults aged 15 and over among 23. The National Health Survey also indicated that almost one quarter (24.9%) of children aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese in 2017-18.
At this point, Jacqueline had set out on her weight-loss journey with a goal: To beat the statistic.
“I had an end goal, and that’s what you have to keep looking towards. And for me, it was an enter my 20s my best, happier and healthier me.”
“I took my weight loss five kilos at a time and five kilos turned into 10, which over time turned to 20, 25, 30, and then eventually just went from there.”
Jacqueline gave credit to her incredible support group, made up of her family, friends and personal trainers. Powering her journey for a healthy lifestyle, she attributed the support to four key values: Mind, heart, body, home.
“Each of those things are crucial points to help your journey to succeed,” Jacqueline explained.
“For me, the home part was friends and family, and when I started to do my weight loss, naturally, it was all hands on deck.
“My friends, family, everyone was there to pick me up and to get me to keep going, even when I felt like I couldn’t.”
Since starting late last year, Jacqueline has lost an inspirational 60kg, on her way to hitting the massive 70kg goal. Jacqueline says setting a reachable goal and taking it ‘day by day’ and ‘step by step’, has helped her alter her entire lifestyle.
“I’ve hit like milestones… but I think it was probably my self-confidence that would be the best thing about it.”
“I wake up every day ready to do everything I possibly could to benefit myself.”
Her positive results and aspiration for change gained the attention of Fab To Be Fit founder Kevin Moultrie.
“We love to tell stories of children who have managed to beat their demons and who have succeeded in their journey, like Jacqueline Mantzouratos,” Kevin said to The Greek Herald.
Fab to be Fit Foundation’s goal is to deliver obesity education through fun, structured physical activity programs and introducing healthier eating choices as part of a school’s Personal Development, Health and Physical Exercise (PDHPE) studies.
“Obesity, Depression and Anxiety are three words that parents hate to acknowledge when it comes to their children or teenagers. Here in Australia, we are in growth phase across all three disorders, with no proven solutions or answers coming from state or federal government,” Kevin Moultrie added.
“This needs to be addressed early (at primary school age (5-12yrs) because if not, by the time children reach secondary school it can often be too late.”