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Maria Conneely-Dillon, Before & After

As a preteen I was a bit bulky looking and as a teenager I wasn’t much better. By the age of 20 I had my weight under control. I was always curvy at a size 14, but had healthy habits & I was comfortable at this size, it was normal for me.

I walked few times a week, ate healthy and drank water. This was part of my usual routine and I didn’t find it difficult. Even after the birth of my son in 2004, I dropped the baby weight fairly easily. In 2007, I opened my own business, I was excited, nervous determined all at once. It was my dream and I was doing it. I put my heart and soul into it & worked every hour I could to make it work. The business flourished and my weight went up, dramatically! I ballooned to a size 18-20.


All those long days, fueled by convenience  foods, took its toll. Despite being a hardworking determined career driven single Mum who had almost everything under control. I forgot one crucial component- I didn’t look After myself.

Gone were the long walks, the healthy meals, the 2litres of water a day. Replaced by cappuccinos, chicken fillet rolls and chocolate to “get me through my days”. So the lbs piled on, and I was too busy to notice. By 2011 I knew I was “too big” I no longer felt like myself.

I started exercising again and trying to eat healthy. I did manage to halt myself from gaining anymore, but there was little or nothing coming off. I tried everything, all the slimming groups, every diet, fitness class, fitness app. I even hired a personal trainer. They all helped a little bit, but I was caught in the grip of sugar addiction and in a vicious circle of negative thinking.

Every time I tried to drag myself out, I was pulled back in.
Temptations come in all forms, A night out, a take away, a bottle of wine, crisps, chocolate , cake the list goes on. In 2013 I got engaged to my now Husband Patrick.

As we planned our big day, I couldn’t bear to think of myself in a wedding dress & tried even harder. I did lose almost a stone & kept it off but I needed to lose a lot more.
As for the dress shopping situation it was horrendous. I hated how I looked so I hated every dress.

In May 2014 out of desperation I joined up with our local weight management clinic here in Castlebar. The diet plan was strict and it was hard. I had to put in the work. Prep my meals, get out & walk- There were no more excuses it had to be done. I had to be retrained, on how to manage my life.

Replacing my bad habits with good ones and replacing negative thinking with positives. I meal prep all the time now, and exercise. It’s part of my usual routine. In total I’ve lost 42lbs. I’m following loads of fitness pages on Instagram and Facebook including Gymbunny, for inspiration.

There are times when I struggle and I have a blowout every now and again. If I fall off the wagon I try and just move on and start fresh the next day. Going for an extra walk can lift my mood and keep me focused. I also find writing down goals can help me to stay on track.


We got married on March 14th 2015.
I couldn’t have been any happier on the day if I tried. I loved my look in a fitted dress. I felt brilliant & I love looking at our photos and video. Since the wedding, I have been concentrating on building muscle and dropping my body fat percentage. I’ve began a couch to 5k training program- I never thought I could run but I’m doing ok…

My advice to anyone on a similar journey is “life is short don’t wish it away feeling miserable”
It takes a lot less effort to make a healthy meal & get out for a walk than it does to feel guilty all day for not doing it. Surround yourself with positive things that remind you of your goals and why you want to get there.

Thanks for reading my story, I hope it inspires someone to change for the better.

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