*I’m not intending this to sound like I think it’s the only way, or the best way to loose weight… it’s just what worked for me!
Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and thought... "OMG is THAT what I look like????". That is what happened to me in February last year (2010). It was muscles first day at ‘big’ school; I’d had some pictures taken of the big day by our neighbor, the Catman. Usually it’s me behind the camera, but on this day I got to see what I really looked like in the picture! Also, Grumpydaddy’s father’s heart had deteriorated such that he was not expected to live trough he year (Grandpa passed away this April…). It got me really thinking that I needed to make changes so that Grumpydaddy and I would be around to see the kids grow up!
So, in my all-or-nothing way, I set about trying to loose some of the weight that had accumulated after having the three babies and stopping competitive sport. I also hoped to help my family to be healthier and live longer lives!!
I have heard that it’s best to eat many smalls meals a day to keep your metabolism working. I have to say this just did NOT work for me. I have not got the will power to start eating and stop. I would end-up eating 6-8 large meals a day! I decided to eat 3 times/day- a small breakfast, Small lunch and a normal dinner. I had a normal dinner because I wanted to eat the same thing as my family. I didn’t want the girls thinking I was on a ‘diet’ because I don’t want them thinking that’s what one does and copying me later on! I also never used the word diet around them. In fact, I don’t really believe I was on a diet. I was just trying to change my eating habits! I just really started eating healthy foods and hoped that the family would follow by example. As I was the one cooking them dinner, they really didn’t have a choice. I would modify my own meals though and have a very small carb component i.e. hardly any rice, pasta, potatoes or bread.
A typical day would be
Breakfast: -1 weekbix with shape milk and fruit or
-¼ cup oats made into porridge with water and fruit or
-Apple and small tub low/no fat yoghurt
Lunch: -Soup-usually vegetable or
-small tin of salmon with lots of chopped up vegetables
Between meals I’d drink lots of water, green tea, tea and coffee made with skim milk, no sugar. Whenever I felt hungry.
Dinners: - normal dinners for my family.
· Lots of slow cooker meals, casseroles, spag bog! shepard’s pie lasagna, stir fries.
· Usually I reduced the fat in the recipies as much as I could by reducing the amounts of cheese or butter and using low fat alternatives. I often substituted up to 50 % of the meat content with veggies.
· Only served myself small portions of carbs
· Used lots of spices ie cinnamon, cumin, wostershire sauce, or soy as extra flavor to make up for the drop in fats.
· Tried to incorporate as many super foods as I could to make the meals nutrient dense.
· Whenever I desperately wanted chocolate, I’d substitute a lower fat option such like Jarrah hot chocolate, home made low(er) fat chocolate sauce on low fat ice cream.
· I had a dessert night every Sunday where I would usually bake something YUMMY with the girls…and tried to eat a small portion (ha!!)
· I made a meal plan every weekend with a shopping list so I only bought the ingredients I required for the meals. It also helped planning in advance around the kids afternoon sport. For example, if it was a late gymnastics night I’d do a slow cooker dinner.
I have to say that the biggest challenge for me was to walk past the pantry and not grab something to eat. This is the habit I’d fallen into which I think was mostly responsible for my weight gain, and the one that was the hardest to break!!
I was doing quite well with this except I was incredibly hungry at night, after the kids went to bed. I tried eating more throughout the day but I was still just as hungry in the evenings. So I decided to stick to my eating plan for the daytime but add a snack at night. Usually I’d have yogurt and berries (fresh, or frozen).
Everybody knows that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. But I couldn’t figure out when I could escape from the kids to exercise. And I couldn’t justify paying to go to the gym. Instead of formal exercise, I tried to increase my daily activity levels. I’d jump on the trampoline with buster, take the kids on lots of walks and bike rides. I even did lots of house work (the house had never been so clean and organized!). These activities also served to keep me distracted form feeling hungry and wanting to eat!! I’d also take buster to the shops during the day to get skinny coffees and carry him around to distract myself!
Doing this, I’d would be loosing about 1kg/week! But I couldn’t sustain it. After I’d lost about 20kg, I started running. I’d wake early and go before the family woke up. I figured If I ran, then I could eat a little extra. I added a lot more fruit, nuts, bread for lunch and dark chocolate for a late night treat! However, I quickly fell in love with running and was motivated to loose even more weight to get faster at running!!!
By Christmas time I had lost almost 30kg. I felt great but there was lots of things that I missed. I missed enjoying an ice cream with the kids on a hot day. I missed having a few ‘drinks’ at a BBQ. I felt guilty about having birthday cake and going out for dinner or having takeaway. So, after doing everything I could to loose that weight, I am now re-focused on sustaining a healthy weight. I don’t want to gain weight like I did before, but I would also love to enjoy life with my family. So now it’s all about balance. I try to eat well and healthy to fuel my body and the running I do. It’s important to be to also set an example of healthy eating and exercise for my children.
* I really enjoyed modifying and developing recipies that were healthy, nutritious and lower in saturated fats. As well as helping me lose lots of weight, this new way of cooking was also healthier for me and the entire family. I was thinking of adding some of these recipies to by blog…..please try the recipes tab if you'd like to know more!
So here are the before and after pictures