It was a Symple decision for teen struggling with her weight

Melissa Maurer at her new healthy weight.
Melissa Maurer at her new healthy weight.

THROUGHOUT 2008, Melissa Maurer, like any other girl graduating from Year 12, was thinking of the dress she planned to wear on the most anticipated night of the school year.

But at 110kg, the 17-year-old's self esteem was at a record low.

A friend had offered to lend her a dress to wear to her formal, which her mother was going to alter as it was too small for Melissa.

But Melissa made a life-changing decision there and then to take control of her health "not for the world, but for me".

She began a lifestyle overhaul.

It involved a combination of regular exercise, positive thinking and the Annette Sym 4 Week Menu Plan from the Sunshine Coast-based, low-fat cooking queen.

That turning point resulted in Melissa losing half her body weight.

Melissa before she overhauled her lifestyle.
Melissa before she overhauled her lifestyle.

It also earned her a place as a special guest speaker at Annette's latest workshop from May 24-26, Symply Slim and Healthy.

Annette, herself, is no stranger to the weightloss challenge.

After seeing a photo of herself on the beach as an overweight adult, she began her own battle against the bulge, losing a total of 35kg and transforming her life, before going on to produce the highly successful series of six Symply Too Good To Be True cookbooks.

Annette's story hits close to home for Melissa, now aged 21 and weighing a slim 55kg.

Melissa's bubbly demeanour and quiet confidence are a far cry from her high-school persona, which she describes as very shy and constantly aware of her weight issues.

"I'm definitely a lot more confident now and I think it's important to have people around who love you for who you are," Melissa said.

She said a key element in her journey to health had been the support of her family and church group.

"There were heaps of points where I got frustrated or went backwards but you just have to pick yourself up and go on from where you fell off," Melissa said.

By chance, Annette was an acquaintance of the Maurer family and after a few email conversations, she and Melissa met to discuss their weightloss journeys and how they could help others.

Annette Sym
Annette Sym

Melissa will join Annette at her Symply Slim and Healthy workshop, which runs at Oaks Oasis Caloundra Resort from May 24-26.

"At first, I was just going to write an article, but Annette eventually asked me if I wanted to be a part of the retreat," Melissa said.

Across the three days, workshop participants will take part in low-fat cooking classes, practise goal-setting techniques and have the option of morning workout sessions.

Annette will take attendees to the supermarket to see first hand how easy filling the shopping trolley with healthy, nutritious groceries can be.

Each participant will receive a personalised menu plan.

"It will be good to help as part of the team," Melissa said.

"I haven't been in a situation like this before but I'm excited to share my journey."



1. Social exercises such as hiking and team sports are a great way to stay motivated.

2. Nuts are a healthy snack for when you get peckish.

3. It is okay to have a biscuit or "bad" treat every once in a while: everything in moderation.

4. Never give up: find active things that you enjoy and stick to them.

5. Don't make everything about weight or food: get out, have fun, live life.


>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  annette sym cooking diet food health lifestyle weight

State steps up to tackle Swanbank's big stink

Ipswich City Council has fined Wood Mulching Industries at Swanbank $11,000 for development application breaches.

Odour detecting device to be in place by 2017

SUV passenger attacks pedestrian in city assault

Police Remembrance Day march to Brown's Park in North Ipswich on Thursday.

The assault is alleged to have occurred at about 10am in Ipswich

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

This week's community billboard

Learn woodworking and crafting with the Ipswich Woodcrafts Club.

A daily guide to what's on in Ipswich over the next seven days

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Things to do this week

Dragon play Ipswich Civic Centre on Friday October 28

What's on in Ipswich

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals