How Sam Wood’s Facebook ad triggered mum’s weight loss

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More often than not, Leslea McDowat and her partner would promise “tomorrow’s the day we change”, but Monday would roll around and the duo would continue their unhealthy habits.

Life got that bit harder when coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant the Melbourne mum was unable to continue her job as a product sales demonstrator at events.

“When corona reared its horrible head and we like so many others found ourselves unable to work, our health hit an all time low and our weight an all time high,” Ms McDowat said.

During the pandemic, the mother-of-five reached 85kg saying she was appalled she had let herself “go this far”.

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“I would look at myself with complete disappointment,” she told

“I was also angry that I didn’t have the tools or the willpower and couldn’t stop.”

Ms McDowat said with news of coronavirus dominating the news, she just wanted to stay in bed and do nothing — but that all changed when she stumbled across a random Facebook post.

“I was not happy with how clothes looked on me, so I stopped dressing up and caring about my appearance,” she said.

“In fact, I had to keep going out and buying new clothes as I wasn’t fitting into any clothes I had — I wasn’t in a great way to be honest.”

In April, during a weekend spent inside with her partner, Ms McDowat was scrolling through her social media feed when she spotted a post about a weight loss challenge.

“Troy and I were having a drink, eating KFC, pretzels, leftover Easter eggs, and cheezles,” she explained.

“It wasn’t unusual for us to decide on a Saturday and/or Sunday night that come Monday we would get fit and healthy — normally, by Tuesday we would be devouring chips, dips and lollies in front of Netflix or Stan after eating huge servings of pork belly or hamburgers for dinner, promising to start again next Monday.”

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But this time, the duo remained true to their word and lost a combined total of 40.3kg after signing up to The Bachelor Sam Wood’s fitness program — 28bySamWood.

“It appeared as I aimlessly scrolled through Facebook on that Friday night and knowing my lifestyle needed to change, but also knowing I needed guidance for that to happen, we joined then and there,” Ms McDowat said.

“My self-esteem was low, I was bored and I needed help, help came in the form of a challenge.”

Admittedly, the 46-year-old said the online workouts were “really hard” and she couldn’t do a lot of the exercises.

“The first week every muscle felt like it was on fire, just walking and going to the bathroom was agony,” she said. “I would limp out of bed and grunt and groan but after about a week the pain subsided and the muscles started to strengthen.”

In eight weeks, Ms McDowat went on to lose 12.3kg which included 14cm off her chest, 21cm off her hips and 25cm off her waist.

It was achieved through various cardio and resistance exercises.

She also cut out sugar, preservatives, high fat and fried foods and alcohol.

Ms McDowat’s diet now consists of plenty of fresh vegetables, salads with protein, lots of water and herbal or black teas.

Since turning her life around during isolation, the Frankston South local said she is mentally stronger and more confident.

“I have learned how to manage my anxiety now — I am more resilient and I am not so quick to give up,” she said.

“I understand my own mind so much better, when the little voice inside starts saying I can’t, I conquer it and get it done.”

Most importantly, Ms McDowat said she has now become a role model in her family, and she is “super proud” of herself.

If you’ve got a transformation story you’d like to share, get in touch with [email protected]

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