When René Bligh was told that she would miss out on a life-saving kidney transplant if she didn’t lose weight, she became very motivated to shed 40kg.

Going to the doctor for another renal appointment, I jumped on the scales and was shocked when I saw that I weighed 107.7kg. At only 164cm, I was officially obese.

I had tried dieting on and off for years and even joined the gym, but the weight kept piling on. This was the heaviest I’d ever been and the doctor had told me if I couldn’t get my weight under control there was the real possibility that I wouldn’t be able to have the kidney transplant I desperately needed.

It scared me more than anything else ever has. Not having a transplant meant I could be on dialysis for a long time and become sicker.

I started my weight loss journey while sitting alone at home, watching TV and eating an unhealthy snack. An ad for Lite n’ Easy came on. I watched intensely, jumped onto their website to look for the testimonials and was inspired. Right then, I thought to myself, “I can do this, I have to do this to get more out of my life”.

When my family came home I asked them to help me and they agreed. My husband Trevor joined in on the lifestyle change as well. He also had to lose weight if he wanted to become my potential kidney donor.

The adjustment was very easy because we were disciplined this time. My life literally depended on it.

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My new diet

The first few weeks I had no treats. I ate cereal for breakfast, mainly WeetBix, with skim milk. Morning tea would be fruit and popcorn, natural course, and lunch was usually salmon, tuna or cheese with crackers and a small tub of fruit. Dinner was Lite n’Easy and every night was something different, it was almost like I was going out for dinner every night.

Initially, looking at the portion sizes I was certain we were still going to be hungry because we were used to eating large portions. Surprisingly, we were wrong.

The power of walking

We had Fitbits and put them to good use, calculating all our food and exercise. Lite n’ Easy meals came with nutrition information, so we logged it all to stay on track.

We began walking, slow and steady at first, then picked up the pace and distance. Soon enough we were walking up to 8kms twice a day. We’d get up at 5.30am to go for a walk before work and then another in the evening.

Exercise was something I never thought I would enjoy, but we quickly started looking forward to them. If Trevor or I were working different shifts, we made sure we would still go separately.

My happy ending

It took me less than a year to lose 40kgs and I’ve managed to keep it off while following the same routine.

Throughout our weight loss journey we were back and forth from various hospitals and doctors as we went through the live donor program for Trevor to donate one of his kidneys to me. There were some very low and challenging times, previously I would have turned to comfort food but this time I would go for a long walk to release any anxiety I had regarding my transplant.

I knew this was a matter of life and death. I had to make sensible choices.

By maintaining my weight for over a year I was able to get the kidney transplant I needed. The surgery was a success thanks to the doctors and the whole medical team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and recovery was a success thanks to my husband and I for changing our lifestyle in order to save my life.

Having the support of family and friends through my weight loss journey was essential, they helped raise me up and encouraged me. My husband was my angel.

We are given one life, we need to take care of it the best we can.