21 May, 2024

If you’ve ever embarked on a weight loss journey, health has likely come at the top of the reasons why. In addition to several other conditions, obesity in postmenopausal women has been found to cause around a 30% increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Mother of three, Rachael Sacerdoti struggled with being overweight her whole life after developing unhealthy eating habits as a child. In 2019, Rachael became determined to make her health her number one priority so that she could be in her children’s lives for longer by preventing disease. In the years since, her solo journey has blossomed into a community.

Based on her own experience and passion for health, Rachael created It’s So Simple. The innovative health programme combines nutrition, strength training, and accountability to help women build sustainable, healthy habits and future-proof their bodies against illnesses. From humble beginnings in her bedroom, the programme currently supports 4,000 clients on their health journeys and continues to grow.

Breast Cancer UK sat down with the North West London-based personal trainer to discuss her journey.

‘I’d tried every diet, and none of them worked’

“I didn’t have the best education on nutrition. To be honest, health and exercise were never the focus of our conversations at home. My parents worked long hours, which meant that they weren’t always present.

They’d compensate for not being around by stocking the cupboards and fridge with sweets and fizzy drinks. It was their way of showing my siblings and me love in their absence.

Things like portion control and balance were alien concepts to us because we were never educated about them. I didn’t know that being overweight could lead to health complications later in life.

These poor eating habits would follow me throughout my adult life, especially excessive snacking. By the time I was 30, there wasn’t a fad diet I hadn’t tried at least once. I had results, but they weren’t sustainable because they created an obsessive relationship with food and fitness, and I’d burn out. During this period of my life, my weight would yoyo a lot.

‘I couldn’t take my children to the park’

“I was always conscious about my weight. But having children was the life event that made me conscious of my health. I have three beautiful children, and in the months after the birth of my youngest child, my weight had crept up to around 90kg (14 stone). This was big for my build and height.

“I remember the moment vividly. My kids asked me to go to the park, and my back was in terrible pain that day. I knew that my body couldn’t cope with the demands of that trip, so I told them that we should do a puzzle on the living room floor instead.

It broke me. I had big plans to take my children skiing and surfing, but I couldn’t even walk 8 minutes to the park without my feet cracking. The thought of not being in my children’s lives because of issues related to my weight was heartbreaking. I knew that obesity increased my risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and having a stroke.

‘It’s all about prevention and futureproofing’

“At the age of 39, I decided to make a change. I found some exercise videos online and started with 20 minutes of exercise a day. 95% of what they were asking I couldn’t do. But I kept trying.

I also made simple changes to my eating, such as cooking my own meals and cutting out sugary snacks. As the weeks went by, I found myself being able to do more, and the change in the shape and strength of my body blew me away.

“Today, I am 45 with three children, and I am healthier than I have ever been. I achieved my ‘dream body’ years ago, but my motivation for staying healthy goes beyond how I look. It’s all about future-proofing my body to prevent illness and put myself in the best position to recover from any diseases that could come my way.

I started with a lot of HIIT (High-intensity interval training) and body weight exercises, but now I do more weight training because of its limitless benefits to women as we age.

“The hardest part of the journey was that I had to do it alone. I made many mistakes that I didn’t have to. That’s why I created It’s So Simple and why I want to open up a foundation to educate children on the benefits of being active and healthy eating.

“My dream is to make healthy living a simple lifestyle for everyone.”

If you want to read more about the steps you can take to manage your weight and reduce your risk of breast cancer, check out our weight and breast cancer page.

Follow Rachael’s journey and be part of the It’s So Simple community on her Instagram page and website.

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