Regina-born woman's weight loss journey culminates in Women's World Magazine cover

·4 min read

Travelling made Rondi Neuven want to lose weight.

She would go on to lose more than 200 pounds by the end of 2016 and she's kept it off for more than five years.

Neuven, who was born in Regina and now lives in Redcliff, Alta., was recently featured on the cover of Women's World Magazine.

"It was never about how I looked and I was relatively healthy; I didn't have the typical things associated with obesity such as heart disease or diabetes," she told CBC Radio.

"But I did want to travel and I didn't fit into a single airline seat. They always say there's two truths about me: I love food and I'm frugal. Well, the frugal side won out."

While she lost over 200 pounds, her initial target was just fitting into an airline seat. She said once she hit her goal she felt she could keep on going and that's exactly what she did.

Getting there was a task, though.

She said between January and October of 2014 she worked on her mental self-talk by being more kind to herself and making small but sustainable changes to her lifestyle.

Neuven said she accepted the fact she didn't gain 200 pounds overnight and didn't put pressure on herself to lose 200 pounds overnight, either.

Instead of thinking she couldn't eat snacks or munchies, she said she convinced herself to think she was choosing to not do so.

She said she learned to treat food as fuel rather than a reward and improved the quality of food she was eating.

By October of 2014, when she said she had really committed to losing weight she had established the proper habits and "it wasn't like flicking a switch overnight."

The preparation helped but she said the mental work she did helped keep her on track through her journey but that's also something she said she has to remain vigilant about.

"I can slip back into old habits really easily," Neuven said.

"I think a lot of us say many things to ourselves that we would never say to another human being. We would never look at somebody and say 'you're worthless, you're useless, you can't do this...' but we say it you ourselves all the time."

Concerns about maintaining her body weight existed the entire time she was losing weight, she said, because the statistics behind weight gain after prolonged weight loss were "absolutely terrifying."

Neuven said she was proud of herself for losing the weight she lost but even more proud of herself for maintaining her weight as long as she has.

She attributed her diet change — she said she now eats a plant-based whole-foods diet — with landing her a magazine cover.

Neuven said her change to a plant-based whole-foods diet was part of what landed her on the cover of Women's World Magazine.

She said she found a website with free updates on nutrition research, looking at evidence-based eating, or what science says is good to eat rather than trying to promote diet plans.

"I realized that when I started reading it, much of what I had personally experienced and had started to work was backed by science," she said.

"I sent [the website] a testimonial; Women's World was doing a story on whole-foods plant-based and they asked [the website] for someone who might be willing to be in their magazine."

The rest, she said, was history.

She didn't find out she was going to be on the cover, until she got it in the mail. She said she was surprised and didn't expect to be there.

The cover shot serves as a reward for her years of work and dedication — and a fulfilment of a dream for Neuven.

"I would stand in shopping lineups and look at the magazines when I was big and think I want to be one of those people, who loses a bunch of weight and ends up on the cover of a magazine," she said.

"It just goes to show, if you want something bad enough and you believe in it long enough and you work hard enough, it can happen."

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