Keep on Keeping on: Health and Fitness
It isn’t a great heading for this post and I know it. There’s a lot of noise about weight loss around these days, and much of it is sensationalised. If I really wanted to get good click throughs to what I’ve written here, I probably should have titled it something like:
How I Turned from a Frumpy Mummy into a Yummy Mummy
The Secret to My Weight Loss
5 Tips to Lose Weight
Be a Hot New You
Ack! No, no, no! I’m sick of sensationalism. But I am interested in health and fitness, and sharing the story of my journey. Here’s another headline:
I was overweight and I’m grateful for it
Stage 1: Realisation aka a crash (1 year)
You see, I never had an issue with my weight before. Not even during my pregnancies. Then my mum died, and it was like a brick that…fell…crashed…and life suddenly overwhelmed me; it caved in on me, and around me. I was depressed. The weight crept up on me slowly as did the heaviness in my person. Anxiety turned into an undercurrent of permanent fear.
I had to learn an entire new set of skills. It was tough when the usual challenges of life didn’t let up. Still four children to care for. Still moving every year at that point of my life. Still with a husband working very long hours. Still motherless. Nothing stopped and I felt like I was drowning in bricks, with life throwing more bricks, never stopping. That peek was over five years ago now and I am different now. I am different than when I was under a cloud…sure — but what I mean is I am different now, than before was depressed. And I’m glad for the experiences I’ve had and the opportunities to learn from them.
Stage 2: Small Changes (+2 years = 3 years)
People who haven’t seen me for a while say, “Wow, you’re looking fantastic,” and it always surprises me. Why? Because losing weight wasn’t my goal. I didn’t weigh myself (I don’t own scales) or track my progress. I simply changed my life in small and simple ways: learned more; stressed less; moved more; ate better. Losing weight was an outcome, a consequence, not a goal. I can’t even tell you how much weight I’ve lost between these pics, but I was surprised at what small sustainable changes DO over a long period.
In the first pic below, that was probably close to 2 and a half years ago now, and I think I had already lost some weight at this point. I tend to carry weight evenly around my body (rather than having problem spots)…which is good — and bad. Good because I tend to hide weight well…and bad for exactly the same reason!
Stage 3: Mindset (+1 year = 4 years)
Changing my mindset has taken much longer than simply making small changes. (It’s taken more than a year — ha — many, many years — but there was a fixed year that I had enough space in my head and seeing the outcome of small changes helped it all click.
I changed my mindset—> that affected my choices —> which in turn changed my body.
Five Don’ts That Worked for Me
1.Don’t try and lose weight
Do aim for a healthy life.
2. Don’t focus on the number on the scales
Do look forward to feeling well, and strong, and having the freedom to wear swimwear so you can swim without a care with your kids. Don’t focus on how you look (don’t buy into the RUBBISH society loves to splash around – just don’t). Do focus on how obtaining health feels and the freedom that comes with that.
3. Don’t do low fat
Do eat good food. Whole food is good food. It it what it is. What matters isn’t high fat, or low sugar, low carbs or other marketing ploys. Over the years, I’ve been trying to introduce more whole fresh foods in my diet, and you know…my ‘fat’ intake may even be higher now. It’s when we mess around the gorgeous food, change it and warp it beyond its form, that it’s wrecked.
With the risk of appearing like I’m contradicting myself here, I do eat low fat yoghurt and milk sometimes, but the point is I don’t worry too much about ensuring food is low fat, because when you treat each food with respect, you just accept it for what it is and how it fits in the big picture of overall health. For example, I love a creamy brie and I’ll enjoy it sometimes in the big picture of my health. I don’t want a low fat version!! Haha.
4. Don’t make big changes
Do make small sustainable changes…and keep on keeping on. For example, buy natural yoghurt and have it with fresh fruit rather than buying ‘low fat’ (usually WAY higher in sugar) flavoured yoghurt. Swap whole nuts for biscuits. That sort of thing. There are a million little ways that make up to big changes.
5. Don’t follow anyone’s ‘plans’
Do learn to listen to your body. I’m not against plans. In fact, I’m doing one at the moment. However, I follow my own path, and I use programs as a tool, not as a goal. If you don’t have your OWN big picture, a plan will most probably become a fad.
Stage 4: Challenge (+1 year = 5 years)
So this is the fifth year now, and made many changes to the choices I make, and how I approach life in terms of health. I’m always looking to push myself further. I found a wonderful PT group here in Brisbane, Phyzique by Lauren Phillips, and I attend 3 classes a week. I’ve been with Lauren for over a year now. When it came to the start of this year, I recognised the need for some support when it comes to putting more fresh food in my diet so I’m doing a 10 week challenge which will help me to be disciplined about the food choices I make. It’s just another step.
Breakfast: Whole apricot
Snack: Blueberries with small amount of greek yoghurt
Lunch: Quoina & almond salad with egg
Snack: Almonds, carrot & celery sticks
Dinner: Black Rice, whole steamed vegetables, tuna, drizzle of soy sauce
Breakfast: 1 piece of 9 grain toast with peanut butter, lady finger banana
Snack: 1/2 cup fruit smoothie
Lunch: Black quoina & rice salad with a carrot
Snack: 2 chocolate date balls
Dinner: Deconstructed taco: lean mince, cooked with onion, herbs and baked beans, raw beetroot, raw carrot, lettuce
Breakfast: Natural yoghurt with blueberries with half an orange
Snack: Tuna sushi (out)
Lunch: Roast vegetable cous cous (150g)
Snack: 1 homemade ginger biscuit
Dinner: Warm chicken salad: with avocado, capsicum & vinaigrette dressing (out)
Breakfast: Porridge with sunflower seeds, wheat germ & small lady finger banana
Snack: Carrot & celery sticks
Lunch: Black rice with corn bok choy, dressed with cream cheese and a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce
Snack: 6 cherries
Dinner: Homemade chicken & ginger wonton soup with carrot and bok choy. After dinner: Apricot & oat ball
Breakfast: Porridge with blueberries and sunflower seeds
Lunch: Black rice with tuna, cherry tomatoes, corn and kale
Snack: 2 chocolate date balls
Dinner: Ham, spinach, avocado & fetta with sweet potato chips
Breakfast: High bran weet-bix with sunflower seeds
Snack: Almonds plus a few dates
Lunch: 9 grain bread with ham, avocado, cottage cheese, spinach, cucumber & tomato
Dinner: Warm chicken salad (out)
Breakfast: Porridge with blueberries, natural yoghurt, sunflower seeds
Snack: Celery with peanut butter & snow peas
Lunch: Black rice, tuna, spinach salad, parmesan cheese (instead of dressing)
Snack: Apricot & Oat Ball
Dinner: Wholemeal muffin with lean bacon, egg, wholegrain mustard and spinach
3 Group PT Sessions, 1 x 7K Run
Note: I have more time to exercise now my kids are older. When they were younger, I couldn’t manage as much, but still found ways to maintain fitness and I shared some in this guest post for Diminishing Lucy.
Changes and Observations
Week one down. I honestly like the food I’m eating and it hasn’t been too difficult because I’ve already made many small changes to the way we eat as a family so for my meals, I’m just tweaking them a little. The trick is taking the time to fit in more (smaller) meals during the day and being smart about preparing food (so I don’t get caught out). I don’t have a diet to follow or anything like that — I choose my own food — but am trying to eat more whole foods, less refined, and making the calories count (like choosing quinoa instead of white rice; that sort of thing).
After a week, I’ve noticed a difference in the clarity of my skin.
I’ll update again next week.
HERE’S THE SECRET TO MY WEIGHT LOSS!
Five hard years learning, changing & growing. It’s as simple as that.