I’m pretty chuffed, I have to say, having lost eight kilograms since January.
The last four years have been turbulent for me and looking back, it all started when I realised how miserable I was at my place of employment. From there, my weight skyrocketed slowly…creeping up on me as I turned to fast food, sweets and incredible “Superman” proportions. Comfort food, if you will.
In January, I took a trip to the beach with the family and my dad took some photos of us all having fun on the sand, in the water, playing with the dogs. When I opened that zip file of images he emailed me the next day, I was disgusted with myself. I hadn’t seen myself in the mirror but the pictures spoke more than a million words to me – I was the epitome of unhealthiness.
And it was bad.
I have a belief – weight isn’t everything. It doesn’t matter how you look, it’s your personality that counts and the way you interact with people, animals, life and the environment.
But being 15 kilograms overweight was dangerous for me. My grandmother had diabetes and heart problems; I have the genetic blood mutation Factor V Leiden and have suffered previously from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms (PE). And the kicker? No one in my immediate family is overweight or even slightly pudgy.
After going through these horrendous photos, something clicked in my head. Perhaps it was a sudden chemical imbalance gone right but I found myself joining an outdoor training group in my local suburb and kickstarting my exercise regime. Twice a week was all it took to fall in love with running again (I used to run years ago) and found new friendships with people who had similar health goals.
The food is probably what I want to talk about the most. You’ve all seen my posts about my running and how I managed to run 14 kilometres in a May fun run, but I really want to share what food changes worked for me.
No diet programs, for starters. Okay, I lie. The only way I thought would help me begin the journey to healthy eating and portion control was Lite n’ Easy, so I signed up. I found the food average, as you do with frozen meals, and shed three kilograms over about two months. By my March birthday, I was feeling better already with my achievements.
So the first two months was fitness and portion controlled frozen meals/pre-packaged food. It worked, but something wasn’t right with the foods I was eating…by then I had already been a vegetarian since late 2011 and yes, in January I felt slightly better however didn’t know if I was losing any weight. I was too frightened to hit the scales back then but when that first eskie of Lite n’ Easy arrived, I dared myself to step up (I’m not going to reveal any weight numbers until I’ve achieved my goal weight!).
So…two months on Lite n’ Easy with as many vegetarian options as possible, I freaked out about the amount of frozen food I was eating so I scrapped the plan. That much microwaving in my view simply can not be good for the body.
Project Fresh began – nothing but healthy, home made foods and water, water, water.
The concept is common sense. I bought myself a small, individual orange-with-white-polka-dots plate to hone in on my portions and made sure that my food was good for me. The great thing is that I’ve never deprived myself of something I want. If I want to make a mushroom, spinach and eggplant lasagne then I’ll make one on a Sunday night, cut the rest into dinner size portions and freeze it all. Quick and easy for when I get home from work as it’s defrosted naturally in the fridge, then popped in the oven for warming up. The carbs are there but they’re controlled.
I LOVE Tim Tams and coconut M&Ms. Every third or fourth day, I’ll have three Tim Tams or a couple handfuls of M&Ms. Why should I deprive myself of the snacks I love!? My mentality is that I’m not dieting, I’m making lifestyle changes that will be for the benefit of my future eating habits – and it’s worked! Here’s a sample of one day of my meals:
Breakfast: Handful of cherries, a banana or yoghurt with muesli, tea with honey and lemon
Morning tea: John West tuna to go sweet chilli flavour or half a capsicum
Lunch: Homemade vegetable soup (exactly like chicken soup)
Afternoon tea: Handful of almonds or soya crisps
Dinner: Lentil dhal with rice and vegetables or omelette with spinach, mushrooms and cheese
If I don’t want fruit or yoghurt, I’ll have one slice of Helga’s bread with peanut butter and chopped up banana for brekkie. If I haven’t made soup for the week, I’ll have a sandwich (but only once a week to stay away from starchy carbs) otherwise, a salad is great. As many fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and spices as possible. A supply of Yakult is always in the fridge to down a bottle every second day for my digestive tract. I stopped drinking sports drinks, ice teas, juices and unbelievably – coffee! Yes, I swapped coffee for tea. I was consuming so much milk and sugar in the takeaway coffee market, my belly had been screaming at me for years! I’ll enjoy one every weekend though if I’m catching up with a friend and I had also moderated myself on my fast food intake like pizza, gorging myself perhaps once every three weeks. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol so no problem there. On occasional weekends my friends and I go to food and wine festivals, indulging in cultural food made in oil and all sorts of things. So why have I not put this weight back on?
Because it’s all moderation and I know how to control how much I now eat!
I’m not a doctor, nor a nutritionist or dietician – but I do know the importance of good healthy foods. If anyone wants a weekly list of what I eat, let me know, happy to send you something, no problems. If I can motivate someone to be healthy and share their success story with me, I’ll be ecstatic!
I’d love to hear how other people have learned to control their portions and what adventurous foods they’ve discovered on their weight loss journeys. Swap recipes with me, what form of exercise do you enjoy the most, how much weight have you lost? Perhaps, what do you think is an unhealthy weight?
I’ve still got a minimum of 10 kilograms to lose before I hit my goal weight but at this stage, I’m so incredibly happy that I’m maintaining my current loss, that eight kilos is a WIN!