Skip to content

Conquering Hypothyroidism, PCOS & 63kg Excess Weight


Conquering Hypothyroidism, PCOS & 63kg Excess Weight

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen.

I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors Podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present and future who has helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to the Wellness Warriors Podcast. Today, I have invited in to chat with me, Jodie Siggers. Please make Jodie welcome.

I’m really excited to have you here today. So the theme obviously of the podcast is all about wellness, and talking about some of our patient journeys, is just so exciting to share. So first of all, let’s start with a little bit about who you are, Jodie.

Jodie Siggers: So I am 20 months, post sleeve, and I have lost 20, no, I haven’t, I’ve lost 63 kilos. I’m a mom of an eight year old. I work full time. I study, and I’m also a carer for my mum. So I have a lot happening, but I love life. So we’re at a good place.

Felicity Cohen: You’re wearing a lot of hats.

So let’s just focus. First of all, 63 kilos in 20 months. That’s a massive amount of weight to really lose in what seems like a relatively short space of time.

And I think the really interesting thing there is that so many people spend a lifelong journey of trialing so many different things that fail, but to achieve that level of success in such a short space of time, it’s pretty phenomenal. It really is. It’s quite, it’s quite overwhelming to actually think that you can lose that volume of weight in 20 months and transform your life in such a short space of time.

So I guess let’s look back to 20 months ago. How many times did you actually think about solutions for weight? And whether or not you were going to have weight loss surgery? At what point in time did that kind of play out for you?

Jodie Siggers: So I’ve tried as amongst many weight loss surgery patients, lots of different diets and potions and exercise programs and apps and everything under the sun, but they just wouldn’t work for me.

Well, they did work for a little while, but then I would put on twice as much, I guess, as I’d lost. I’ve had friends that have had the surgery. So I think I just, one day, something just clicked. Let’s just give a call, there’s no harm in calling. So I called up and I spoke to, somebody on the desk and then it just all happened from there.

It was a flow on effect and yeah, and then I’ve had my surgery. I love it. And I, yeah, I would never, ever regret it. Never have

Felicity Cohen: Fantastic. What were some of the limitations or things that you felt like you were being held back from, as a heavier person?

Jodie Siggers: I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I see runners everywhere on the coast and they just look so happy and healthy and loving life.

And I’ve just always wanted to be that person and never at my weight could I’ve done that comfortably or for very long or without, you know, losing breath. So that was one thing that I’ve really been able to do now. And, you know, I love running. So.

Felicity Cohen: You’re talking my language, I love running too. I love that that’s been part of what you’ve embraced. It’s really exciting to watch that part of your journey emerge and grow and change. And, you know, it’s such a vastly different lifestyle when you’re able to physically cope with that kind of activity, not suffer from the shortness of breath, but also all the other benefits that go with it.

You know, the positive endorphin rush feeling amazing, and enjoying that sensation of being a runner is pretty unique. And, you know, with 63 kilos on top of you now, you know, your risk of injury and all sorts of other things apart from actually being, feeling like you’re capable and competent to run any, you know, measure of distance would have been a challenge, I’m sure.

Jodie Siggers: Very much.

Felicity Cohen: So what events have you competed in so far?

Jodie Siggers: So I did the Q1 Stair Challenge early in the year. And that’s too many steps. I think that’s over 1300 steps up to the 77th floor. So did that with about two weeks training and I was quite happy with, progress with that. I’ve done many, a park run. So I love park runs now.

I’ve also done the 10km the GC Marathon. I have done the Color Run this year. I’ve just done the GC 50 and I will finish off the year with the Resolution Run at the end of the year.

Felicity Cohen: Fantastic. How was the GC 50?

Jodie Siggers: It was good fun. It was a beach run. I’ve never done beach running before. I knew it would be tough.

So what was the 5km run, turned out to be a 6km run, but it felt like a 10km run. So I was pretty exhausted at the end, but I just loved to look at my medal. So, I just love it.

Felicity Cohen: Exciting. That’s so great. And what about next year for the Gold Coast Marathon? Of course, you’re going to be on the WeightLoss Solutions Australia team all over again.

Jodie Siggers: Yep.

Felicity Cohen: Which of event are you going to head for?

Jodie Siggers: We’re stepping it up and we’re doing the 21km.

Felicity Cohen: Fantastic. Okay. That’s fabulous. You’re gonna love it.

Jodie Siggers: Yep.

Felicity Cohen: I guess the training, obviously you gotta step up your training to, to manage that and to be able to do it well, and to achieve that goal of not just completing it, but feeling good at the end, recovering well, so the training’s really important.

From a nutrition point of view, how do you actually manage with ensuring that you’re getting really good quality food in to manage that increase level of activity?

Jodie Siggers: So I’m very cautious of what I eat. I’m very much the person that eats to fuel my body. I really don’t give into cravings, much anymore. I won’t say I won’t give into them.

I’m still human. But moderation is the, you know, the key. So proteins, my, I will eat protein over anything else on my plate first. And I just balance it out during the day. So I eat, you know, six to seven meals a day. So I constantly feel like I’m eating, but always feel satisfied.

But if I’m ever in doubt, anyway, I’ve always on the phone to the dietitians, just to say, this is how much training and obviously stepping up my training and my fuelling, right because I don’t want injury.

Felicity Cohen: There’s so many key messages in there that I really love. Fueling your body it’s so important. And in terms of a message for wellness, you know, that’s how we need to treat our bodies. We need to fuel them well.

I love that you used the word moderation because my belief system is very much about, you know, everything in moderation and that you’re still allowing yourself to have those treats when you need them. And you feel like them, that’s normal. And it’s good and it’s balanced and using the word balance. I love that too.

You know, balance in life. And these are themes that are coming out through a lot of our conversations on the Wellness Warriors Podcast series, is that wellness is about all of those things, you know, balance and moderation being key factors. So I really like that. That’s fantastic.

How has your surgical journey impacted life for your family?

Jodie Siggers: It’s, I’ve probably been lucky. My husband is so supportive of me as well as my son, my son knows that I have a tiny tummy.

He doesn’t know why I have a tiny tummy and why I did it. But my husband’s lost a little bit of weight too. He’s lost probably about 10 kilos and that’s, it’s just, cause we, I said smaller meals now I don’t cook as much meals. We don’t eat, take away as much anymore. Yeah, so it’s really balanced and because I’m constantly wanting to move they constantly get dragged around, with me too.

So they get their steps up, they get their cardio in and it’s that incidental exercise, I guess, that we do a lot of together. Which also helps with them.

So my son did the 1km at the GC 50. He was in the line with me to register and all of a sudden he wants to run. I wasn’t stopping him. So he’d done it with me. So it’s that learnt behavior that he’s also picking up, which I’m really happy with and proud of him.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, that’s beautiful. And having that family impact as part of the story as well, that it only takes you to create that impact on your husband. 10 kilos is a lot of weight to lose by the way. That’s huge and that you’re all more active as a family, as a result of your change and what you’ve gone through, I think is fantastic.

I love that.

Jodie Siggers: They probably don’t love it all the time as much as I do, but I think it’s just that being together as a family that we just, we had so much fun. We you did a trip to Uluru early this year, and we walked around the base of Uluru, which is 11km and three hours long in heat. And I don’t think, I wouldn’t have been able to do it definitely, 63 kilos ago. And my husband wouldn’t have been able to do it either. So just those little accomplishments too, as a family were great to have. Push us.

Felicity Cohen: Fabulous. Did you have any major health concerns before your surgery or anything that you were concerned was a risk factor for your future?

Jodie Siggers: So we’ve got heart disease, in our family, but also had an underactive thyroid. So I was always pushing harder than I had to because of, my thyroid and not getting very far, but my thyroid is I don’t take any medication for my thyroid anymore.

I did have polycystic, as well, but I don’t have any signs of that anymore either. Yeah, so they were probably my own health issues underlying

Felicity Cohen: Fabulous. So tell me a little bit about, how wellness translates for you in life and what does it mean to you to embrace a wellness attitude to life?

Jodie Siggers: I guess wellness attitude to me is just the long term goal and being around for as long as I can with the best body and the best fitness, and mindset as well. So the overall package being fitter being stronger and being motivated, pretty much my motto in life these days.

Felicity Cohen: How do your friends relate to what you’ve been through and seeing you now, you know, and seeing that pretty amazing change in that relatively short space of time.

How does that look and how do your friends and family feel about it?

Jodie Siggers: I still get, people I walk pass, still now, that has seen me through my journey that will double check and go, “Was that Jodie?”.

But they’ve been so supportive. A lot of them, I think there are a lot of them are very proud of what I’ve done and what I continue to do.

And I’m pretty sure that I’ve motivated a lot of people just to have a, you know, a rethink of how they manage their day to day life as well in, we have now a gym, a group that goes to the gym. So it’s a social aspect as well. You’re getting the fitness benefits too. So, I don’t know if it’s because they see me doing it, that they can do it.

I don’t know if I make it look easy. I don’t know, but there’s been a big shift in the culture amongst my friends. So yeah.

Felicity Cohen: That’s fantastic.

So all of your friends going to the gym together, that’s something that you would never have done beforehand?

Jodie Siggers: Definitely not. Definitely not. So there’s now a big group of us.

I think there used to only be five of us and now I think we’re up to about eight. Eight people, so classes keep increasing.

Felicity Cohen: That’s gorgeous.

Jodie Siggers: Yeah. But we had the best time and it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun. Yeah. And that’s what fitness I think should be. It should be fun, if you don’t, if you’re bored and it’s hurting or it’s, you’re dragging yourself.

Then, you know, you’re not doing it, right.

Felicity Cohen: So that’s really impressive. Not only you’re having an impact on your family, but it’s your friend network as well. So not only are they accepting of what you’ve actually chosen to do for your better health outcomes, but they’re embracing it by being more active with you.

Jodie Siggers: Yeah, definitely.

Felicity Cohen: I think that’s brilliant. Absolutely love that. So yeah, the multifaceted impact on others, around you and your network is huge.

Jodie Siggers: It’s that motto of hanging around or being with people that are like minded and it’s the same when you go to the Gold Coast Marathon and the training for that.

Your mindset changes cause you’re with people that want to have fun and want to achieve at the end of it. So, yeah, it’s just fun.

Felicity Cohen: It is fun. And I love that aspect of what we do as a community and growing that as part of WeightLoss Solutions Australia for me is really important. You know, the, the running team, for example, grew from 32 to 63 to a 100 over three years.

So who knows where we’ll be in 2020, but I hope we’re going to have an amazing group. And I think it’s that whole sense of community, working towards common goals, and driving and motivating each other. I think there’s also a level of accountability in there.

Jodie Siggers: Definitely.

Felicity Cohen: Cause when you do it as a team and as a group, you know, you feel a lot more accountable.

You need, you have to show up.

Jodie Siggers: Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: You know, you show up for the team. So I think that’s really valuable and I, I mean, for me personally, I love that that’s what we do. And it’s one of the most rewarding parts of this business from my perspective, is not just about, you know, the surgical pathway, the surgical journey and everything that’s connected to that, it’s that extracurricular type activity that’s really life changing.

And that to me is a lot more about, you know, that wellness concept. That’s where it comes from. It’s the ancillary things that we do that become translated into how people live their lives. Which is a lot more of the longterm, I guess, vision whether it’s, you know, the cooking classes that we run or the training programs for the Gold Coast Marathon. I get super passionate about it, things like that. And it’s a lot of fun and I really feel like that’s what we should be doing for patients. And that this journey is, it is a much bigger picture journey.

And clearly you embrace all of that, which I so love about you.

How did you feel the first time you went to see your doctor for a referral? And what did your, how did your GP relate to your requesting a referral to have weight loss surgery?

Jodie Siggers: My doctor’s been quite supportive, and I had no issues, thankfully with his support and signing the forms and getting it done.

And he’s been great throughout the journey, as well, he’s seen the results. I don’t know if he was bit of a sceptic at first, but to see results, I think that’s really helped him. And then hopefully he’s had other patients in similar situations. That’ll help them as well.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, it’s a really interesting theme.

And one of our patients who I was chatting to, earlier today had surgery 18 years ago. And we were talking about, you know, the stigma then that was associated with bariatric surgery, 18 years ago. You know, GPs were not so willing to refer and they didn’t have the same level of understanding and it’s come through patients who’ve actually educated the medical community, because they’re seeing such positive behavioral lifestyle or health outcomes and changes. Which are influencing them around the value of bariatric surgery.

Jodie Siggers: As a bigger picture. It’s not just about your ego or being vain about wanting to be skinny or to look a certain way.

There’s underlying, you want to be healthy. You want to be able to move your body. So that’s the big picture, I think is just to be healthier, not skinnier.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, no, absolutely. But looking great is a fabulous by product.

Jodie Siggers: Oh, of course it is. That’s always a bonus, but yeah, not my aim in the game.

Felicity Cohen: No, absolutely. It’s not your first priority or your goal, but you know, emerging as a, as a healthier weight person, so often has those side effects of eating, enhances how you look and not just your health, but how you do look and how you feel. And then of course, you’ve got how that relates to your self esteem, and how you behave every day.

Jodie Siggers: That’s so true. I remember having to ring earlier in my journey that I was getting, it was a stage, I just was getting lots of compliments. I don’t know if I hadn’t seen people for a long time, or they’re just seen a drastic change and getting the different comments that we’re getting. And I was finding it really difficult to, “What do I say?”.

I’ve never had so many compliments in my life and I was really awkward. And then they felt awkward. I rang Leslie and had a chat to her. I was like, “I don’t know how to deal with this”, and it seems silly, but she put it at peace and all you have to say is “thank you”. And sometimes that was hard to say, but, it’s just cause it wasn’t my normal.

So once I’d said it a few times, it just became my normal and I can easily take a compliment now. So that was, that was a, that was unexpected, to have to deal with.

Felicity Cohen: I think that’s a really interesting challenge. And I really believe that it’s something that many people face, not just the fact that they’re not used to dealing with that positivite attention and the compliments, but, yeah, it’s not that easy to take a compliment and we’re not necessarily conditioned to accept that, that’s okay.

So I think it is definitely something that I see many people have to deal with and, you know, really good advice that you just have to learn to say thank you and, and be appreciative. And you know, and move on. So yeah, it is a learned thing to deal with. So, you know, you deserve every single one of those compliments and, acccept them because they’re awesome and it’s nice that people acknowledge you in a positive way. You know, we’d much rather that than anything else.

Jodie Siggers: For sure. That’s right.

Felicity Cohen: What are some of the other challenges that you feel you’ve faced along the way?

Jodie Siggers: My, I don’t like to say the word journey, but it is a journey because you do go through so many different stages, you know, to come out at the end and I’m still yet to come out at the end.

I’m not where I probably want to be yet, but I haven’t had a lot of body image issues. Obviously I’ve got some loose skin and, I was really worried about that, that I’m not having weight loss surgery because I don’t want the loose skin. But I’d rather loose skin then, you know, an extra 63 kilos. So, but it hasn’t stopped me from doing anything.

So I haven’t had a lot of other issues, in that so. I and then I sort of lost the question.

Felicity Cohen: How do you find dealing with your mom being a personal carer?

You know, it’s a really challenging job for anybody. Do you feel that physically you’re more capable and competent of managing all of her needs?

Jodie Siggers: Yes, for sure. And mum’s had a few cancer issues over the last couple of years and she’s come out on top. But nutrition has obviously been a big part of her wellness and to become healthier again. So to be able to know what I’ve learnt from health, the different, healthy options.

She’s also lost weight because she’s put on weight from chemo, but living with me, we have smaller meals. We have healthier meals, we have more nutritional, meals. So she’s really benefited from that. And again, she’s also lost weight and she’s thankful. And she’ll tell her friends that, you know, since living with Jodie, I’ve lost this amount of weight because we only have smaller meals.

And, so that’s really good. So then that gives her more mobility, as well with obviously the less weight she’s carrying.

Felicity Cohen: So a really interesting question around the financial calculations of how that impacts, life post-bariatric surgery. So you mentioned before. That you don’t go to, you don’t have as much take away.

You cook a lot at home. Your meals are smaller. How do you find that on the family budget? Do you think it’s made a difference?

Jodie Siggers: It has on the food budget, I guess, but on the wardrobe, it’s sort of shifted towards the wardrobe budget because I can wear more clothes. And I can shop anywhere and everywhere now. So I guess that’s that benefit that we’ve just transferred or I have transferred that money to the wardrobe. But it has made a definite, a big difference in our food budget, which is great for my wardrobe.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, I love that. I just think it’s interesting. Cause I think people don’t actually understand how much money you can save long term.

When you look at how much you’ve probably spent on multiple solutions in the past that maybe have not given you what you wanted, or they may have been short term band aid solutions, whatever they might’ve been, but having something that’s permanent and sustainable, the financial impact can be really significant and it can have other, resounding kind of benefits as well.

So in terms of reducing medications or doctor visits or allied health, other visits, whatever it might be. Management of injuries, whatever that might’ve looked like in the past. It is quite interesting. And I think long-term, you’re going to be way out in front financially. If you don’t spend all the money on your wardrobe.

Jodie Siggers: Well, I’ll never be in front then. But even saying that, like I haven’t had a flu, touch wood, for, or a cold or anything like that for, since I started my journey. So that we’re almost two years, and I really think that that’s just down from, you know, being healthier, eating better choices, fruit, more fruit and vegetables, and things like that, and just moving my body. So I think that that’s been a real benefit, and cold and flu medication is quite expensive. So definitely saving, you know, lots of money over the last two years.

Felicity Cohen: Oh and productivity from downtime if you’re sick as well.

Jodie Siggers: hat’s right. Yeah. And then I guess, time off work and then it’s extra stress trying to catch up, from not being at work while being sick. So yeah there’s those hidden benefits too.

Felicity Cohen: So what about in the workplace? How has that changed your life?

Jodie Siggers: I’m more confident. I get that a lot, that I’m a lot more confident. And I hold myself differently apparently.

I don’t obviously see it, but I’ve had that comment quite a few times, is that I hold myself different. I’m a lot more confident. And I do, I guess, thinking that I do speak to people, differently and maybe a little bit calmer and nicer. And just, I think that was just my internal, just, I wasn’t happy probably on the, or definitely wasn’t happy on the inside.

And that I guess, externalised talking to different people. So, and even at work, we’ve got a lift, but I choose to take the steps or the stairs, up to the fourth floor, and again, we’re just getting more people at the gym as well with our group. So yeah.

Felicity Cohen: I’m just going to take that thought a little bit further, because for me, when we’re talking wellness, that self confidence, that happiness, you know, feeling happy in yourself as well, is a big part of wellness and how you feel, because that is obviously your mental health overall as well.

So you know, that’s fascinating how that translates to your interactions with so many different people at different, in different spaces within your life, your family, your friends, your work colleagues. When you’re feeling happier and calmer, those interactions and relationships are going to be so much better as well.

Jodie Siggers: They definitely are. And I’m a person that is prone to depression and anxiety. I know my symptoms and I know my signs. But these days, instead of going for medication and things like that, I just really need to take myself for a run. I just need to get outside and just be free and feel free. And that seems to lift a lot of that extra pressure off me and calms me and my, you know, calms my anxiety a lot.

Felicity Cohen: Love that. And I think that running really can be, you know, a therapy for depression and anxiety and help you keep it in check. You know, there’s so much research on the benefits of running for treatment of depression and anxiety, not just being outdoors and fresh air and everything else, but how that physiologically changes you and helps you cope better with depression and anxiety. And you’ve taken that onboard in such a big way. So it’s clearly having, you know, a massive impact on your overall wellness.

Jodie Siggers: Yeah, definitely. I probably get a depression if I don’t go for a run. So it’s completely,

Felicity Cohen: I relate to that!

Jodie Siggers: The tables have turned.

Felicity Cohen: I love that.

Jodie Siggers: If it rains, it’s not going to be good.

Felicity Cohen: So tell me a little bit about, you know, looking into your crystal ball the next 5 to 10 years, what do you think you can see happening for you?

Jodie Siggers: Lots of runs. I’ve already planned out quite a few runs for 2020. So I’m looking forward to doing that. I’m looking forward to doing it right though.

So I’m looking into getting a running coach. I also want to do triathlon. So I’m starting to learn to swim laps. I can swim obviously, but actual laps, swim, so hopefully Santa brings me some goggles. So that’s for next year. And then it’s just to, can it continue on, I’d love to inspire other people to look into other options and no more potions and shakes and things like that. Because I don’t think long-term that they’re a benefit.

And it’s just to keep moving. I don’t want to go back to the old Jodie. I want to stay this new, happy, excited, person. I don’t want to lose that momentum.

Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. And you absolutely are embracing and living life to the full so on the running calendar next year. For us apart from Gold Coast Marathon, I’m hoping that we’re going to have a team do City to Surf. Is that on your agenda?

Jodie Siggers: Yes, definitely.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, beautiful. Cause that will be a really special event in memory of one of our special patients that I’m excited about.

So that’d be awesome to have you on that team.

Jodie Siggers: That will be fun to just go away for a weekend.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, absoutely. And it’s Sydney and it’s such a great run, finishing at Bondi on the beach. It’s awesome.

Jodie Siggers: Yeah, definitely on it.

Felicity Cohen: Fabulous. Well, I love everything about your journey and I love that you’ve been able to come in and share your story with me today.

And I’m really looking forward to doing an update 12 months from now will be really fun, Jodie, and congratulations. And looking forward to your, hearing about the two year celebration. I hope you’ve got something planned for that.

Jodie Siggers: I just thought I should.

Felicity Cohen: Yes, you should.

Jodie Siggers: I’ll get back to you on that.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, definitely to celebrate.

It’s been an absolute pleasure having you in on the Wellness Warrior Podcast today and look forward to chatting again soon.

Jodie Siggers: Thank you.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors Podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoyed the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow it.

And we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

Meet our team


Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

Isabelle Cole

Nutrion Coach

Joshua Chambers

Nutrion Coach

Laura Barrett

Nutrion Leader Coach