After having two children it was no surprise to me that my body would never be the same again. I’d packed on pound after pound which later turned into stone after stone! As a teen I was never satisfied with the way my body looked (could you blame me with all these expectations flying around of what a woman SHOULD look like!?) I only wish now that I appreciated my body back then! I don’t have a fast metabolism, I don’t exercise regularly enough, I love my food (especially the bad stuff!) & I’m certainly not like all these other women that can pop out a baby and weeks later be wearing pre pregnancy size jeans again! After pregnancy I was a UK size 16 so I’d gone up 2 dress sizes and my BMI was in the obese category. As a size 16 I couldn’t wear jeans because my tummy hadn’t gone back down from the pregnancies, instead I was left with this saggy mess that once resembled a stomach. My shirts would often pop open (probably indicating that maybe I should have been wearing a size bigger). I couldn’t shop in the places I once could, most of my favourite online stores only stocked up to a size 12 or 14! I’m not embarrassed of my truth any more because I decided to do something about it!! I now currently wear a size 12 again but I’m still not finished on this journey just yet!
I promise this photo is me!! I just don’t have brown hair anymore!
Losing weight is all about lifestyle. With good health knowledge and strong willpower there are new habits you can put into place that will help you to lose weight and stay healthy. It really is that simple! There are so many companies out there that are making money out of people with little health knowledge, they often sell a magic pill or potion that claims to do all the work for you! Lets be honest if it sounds fishy it is fishy, you don’t need these and thats why I’ve put together a top tips list for you. All of the points listed below are tried and tested (by myself) and have worked wonders for me so far on my own journey – I hope they can help you on yours!
Top tip 1 – Cut the crap!
For you to successfully stay on track you need to be strict!! Sift through your cupboards and any junk food you find (chocolate, crisps, biscuits) get rid of. These will only tease you on your journey to a healthier life and make the process of losing weight a longer one! This isn’t to say you won’t be allowed these indulgences ever again, but binging every day is a no no!! From my experience if I know there is chocolate in the cupboard I will with all doubts aside dive in, when its not there that problem no longer exists!
Top tip 2 – Find an alternative!
You’ll be glad to know that snacking is allowed (Don’t over snack though)! For myself I limit myself to breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks in the evening (you don’t want to over do this over an evening as you are more dormant at this time so won’t burn off a lot of what you eat). Finding a healthy alternative isn’t as hard as it seems, for example when snacking my go toos would be either homemade popcorn, almonds, raisins, plain yoghurt, fruit, a protein shake or a couple squares of dark chocolate (as high a percentage of cocoa as possible). A little bit of research into healthy eating can go a long way!
Top top 3 – Utilize Pinterest!
Pinterest has seen me through the darker periods of my weight loss journey! Pinterest offers hundreds if not thousands of ideas, recipes, motivational quotes and even excersize tips and tutorials to help you on your way. When I’d get stuck and have no idea what to make for a healthy dinner I’d look for inspiration on pinterest, without fail I’d always walk away with something new to cook! Sometimes if there is one particular ingredient I want my meal to be based around (say for example lentils) I’d type in something like ‘healthy lentil recipes’ and tons of pins will appear. So get on Pinterest and use it!
Top tip 4 – Set yourself goals!
Setting myself a few goals was a big step. For me this meant I was taking this process seriously, it helped me to get into the right headspace and motivate myself to losing weight. I decided to download an app called myfitnesspal, this is a calorie counting nutrition app. (Please bare in mind that counting calories will only work effectively if you are eating the right foods! You can’t use up all your calories on pizza, cake and burgers!!) Myfitnesspal helped me immensely, it forced me to stay strict so once all my calories were done for the day I’d make do with a green tea or a glass of water. (Did you know that sometimes when you think you’re hungry its actually thirst!?) Even if you decide not to use this app just set yourself a goal weight and how much you would ideally like to loose each week and work towards it!
Top tip 5 – Make homemade!
This is one of my most important tips! If you are usually a person that buys jarred sauces to create your meals why not try to make your own from scratch instead? The reason why I say this is important is because pre-made jarred sauces contain lots of salt, sugar and fats, by making your own you can control exactly whats going into your food without any nasty surprises! We love making from scratch in this house so this is something really easy and normal for us. You can easily get into your own stride with it, once you start you’ll realise how easy and inexpensive it really is!
Top tip #6 – Prepare in advance!
You’ve all probably seen these ‘health freaks’ online going on and on and on about meal prep, posting photos on their Instagrams of cooked ready-to-eat meals in what looks like weeks worth of tuppawear boxes… Well, they’re right on the money! Meal prep is key to not straying from your healthy eating plan. We are all guilty of having those days where the last thing we want to do is go into the kitchen and prepare dinner, this usually results in going to the local chip shop or ordering a pizza! Quick, easy and delicious right!? Well this behaviour will just set you back! Having meals ready to go in the fridge or freezer gives you no excuse and helps you to stay on track. (A takeaway is still allowed every now and then but I would recommend not making this a weekly thing and more of a once or twice a month type thing instead!)
Top tip #7 – Make protein number one!
Getting enough protein in your diet will help you tremendously with weight loss! Protein offers a lot of benefits to your body like helping you to stay fuller for longer, curbing your need to snack or over eat. Protein also burns off calories just by your body processing it. Your body also can’t effectively burn off fat without the use of either carbs or protein, because of this I decided to up my protein intake and reduce my carb intake which has proved the most effective way for myself to lose weight. I would recommend using protein powder, I’d usually have a protein shake in the morning for breakfast (just one serving, you don’t want to double up servings as your body can only process so much protein at once anyway. Having too much protein can also lead to weight gain instead of loss!) This for me is a key part of my day! I’ll then usually have some sort of egg based lunch so that I’m getting more protein throughout the day. You can research into what foods are best for protein and incorporate them into your meals.
Top tip #8 – Cleaner carbs!
When I evaluated my carb intake I was shocked! I didn’t realise how many carbs I’d eat per day. My diet was full of bread after bread after bread, tons and tons of pasta, loads of potato and heaps of rice! I significantly reduced my carb intake as well as choosing better for you carbs. Instead of choosing white rice or pasta opt for brown. I actually will not eat any pasta during my really strict periods (and I’m Italian so thats really difficult) and instead of rice I’ll have quinoa. Quinoa is packed with protein and is one of the best carbs for your body containing loads of good for you vitamins as well as being wheat free. Porridge is also a great carb to eat as it helps you to stay fuller for longer, if you don’t like porridge look on pinterest for other healthy oat recipes, one of my favourites has to be overnight oats!! Delicious!
Top tip #9 – Drink water!
We often confuse hunger with thirst so drinking water needs to be high on your priority list! I feel much healthier when I’m drinking plenty of water and my skin looks it too. Drink water instead of drinking a fizzy drink or fruit juice, even when you want a glass of alcohol have a glass of water instead! Drinking enough water can stop you over eating and snacking so your intake of calories will be lower.
Top tip #10 – Get active!
There is no doubt about it healthy eating and what you consume is 90% of your weight loss journey, the other 10% is exercise and working hard to make a permanent change. If you don’t regularly exercise start off small. Start by attending a regular fitness class, once you get comfortable with that you can start visiting the gym regularly. If you’re a runner, go running more than once a week, if you’re into swimming make that a priority and swim a few times a week. Its all about pushing your boundaries and changing your lifestyle to a much healthier one!
Once I was comfortable with making my first few changes I challenged myself even more. One of the permanent changes I made was decreasing my meat intake, 90% of what I eat now is meat free. This was hard for me because I wasn’t satisfied with any meal unless it involved meat! I do eat meat every now and then (I could never completely strip myself of that!) but it isn’t a must have like it once was. This change helped with my weight loss and energy levels significantly, Its one of the best changes I’ve made. Now I challenge you to create changes to your lifestyle, stay committed, stay positive & don’t forget that it will all be worth it in the end!