Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will tell you that it's an arduous and frustrating process. Countless quick-fix diets and exercise regimes dominate the internet and there's more #fitspo than you can shake a stick at. But, as we all know, when it comes to losing weight, there's no one-size-fits-all approach and a lot of diets end up doing more harm than good.
The perfect example of this are designated weight loss food brands. Companies make millions on people's desire to lose weight, convincing them to fork out more cash for supposedly slimmed down versions of their favorite meals - when, in reality, they'd be much better off cutting down their portion sizes or taking the time to cook a healthy alternative from scratch.
Quick fix-diets and exercise regimes aren't much better. While companies might not be benefiting financially from them, they are extremely difficult to stick to and many misinformed people are left feeling disheartened when they're unable to stick to these unreasonable plans, or when they find themselves not losing weight as quickly as they had anticipated.
Aside from the obvious health complications which can come from being overweight, even though we are living in the age of body positivity, it can have a huge effect on a person's self esteem, especially if they are young and surrounded by peers who have a less than accepting attitude towards different body types - something which 18-year-old Josie Desgrand discovered first hand.
Knowing her life had to change, she bought a slim formal dress at the age of 16 and went on a mission to lose weight to fit into it.
At the height of her obesity, Josie weighed 127 kg. Not only was the then 16-year-old overweight, but her life was blighted by the fact that she was being bullied and she said she decided to change her diet not to lose weight, but turn her life around.
To discover how she lost half her body weight in less than 12 months, check out the video below:
"I do not see this as a diet to lose weight, I see this as my new lifestyle change," Josie wrote on a recent Instagram picture.
Explaining how she was able to lose an incredible 63 kg in less than 12 months, Josie said that her lifestyle change began when she vowed to eat fewer carbs, eliminate sugar from her diet and stop eating processed foods.
"I stuck to a low carb, no sugar diet for TWO WHOLE years. I began to eat natural sugars about six months into my journey. In the first 12 months I lost 63kgs," Josie revealed, before adding that she did minimal exercise at the start of her transformation.
Now that the 18-year-old has slimmed down, she regularly works out with the help of a personal trainer. Her fitness routine currently consists of working out at the gym three to four times a week, and her focus is on toning muscle.
While Josie's transformation might look like it was a piece of cake, she said that her journey has not been without its challenges.
"In these two years I have faced some very difficult challenges but I have chosen to pick myself up and keep moving," she admitted. "Everybody has bad days, never let a stumble be the end of your journey. Stay positive."
Josie said that when she started her weight loss journey in 2016, her self-confidence was almost nonexistent, revealing, "I hated myself and the way I looked. I didn't have any friends and I just didn't like going out in public."
Like so many other people who want to lose weight, Josie had tried to shed her extra pounds in the past, but nothing had worked. The situation actually got so bad that Josie believed the only way she'd be able to lose weight would be surgery.
"Before losing weight I would constantly eat bread and wraps, ate huge portions and went back for seconds and thirds all the time," she told the Daily Mail Australia.
Because Josie's transformation was so rapid and inspiring, she has understandably won fans from around the world, and she captioned one of her Instagram posts, "I've been so honored to have inspired other people and help motivate them throughout their journey's as others did for me. I know now, without doubt, that diet is the number one factor in weight loss."
In a bid to help others, Josie has created an online meal planner. Along with this, she has stressed to her many fans that they should not think of the end goal of weight loss, but rather view it as a lifestyle change.
"I don't see it as a diet now, I see it as a lifestyle. The first two weeks of eating healthy were so difficult but now it's easy for me," she told Daily Mail Australia.
Josie's family are also delighted by her transformation and her mother Catherine said that it's been a lot more than just a physical change: "It hasn't just been a change in her body, it's been a change in her life."
"There's no better feeling watching my daughter turn her life around like this - and she's had so many teenage girls reach out to her too and look at her as a source of inspiration," she continued.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Josie all the best on her continued fitness journey. Hopefully, her story will inspire other people who are unhappy with their bodies to switch to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.