In 2014 I decided that I needed to take my health seriously. I’ve always been overweight and like many I tried, and failed, to diet many times. When I was in school I used Slim Fast shakes, which worked for a while but I never lost anything significant. In my late teens I didn’t really care what I ate and was extremely lazy. I’d eat anything I wanted and didn’t care that in that moment I was sending fat straight to my thighs, arms, stomach and back, the same goes for when I was at University, however I did try to diet and regularly went to the gym in my last year, but when classes ended so did my love of the gym. I do think how different my life would be had I stuck with it that time. I was spending an hour on the bike, competing with myself, trying to get the best 5K time I could. If I recall correctly I got it down to just under 13 minutes, and I lost some weight and I would guess it was roughly a stone but I didn’t own scales at the time so your guess is as good as mine.
It wasn’t until last year though that I decided that enough was enough. I think there does come a point when you are left with two choices, carry on the way you are and be unhappy or make a positive change. I choose the latter, and I’m glad I did.
I decided to do my research first and pick a path that would work for me and my attitude and lifestyle. I say attitude because while I had good intentions I knew I was going to try and change a set formula that I had had for the past 10 years. I was lazy, so I needed something that would ease me in and motivate me without being too much of a change from what I did before. I think knowing yourself and what works based on your behaviour is the only way you’re going to achieve results.
In the past I had changed my diet and started to exercise at once – so going from nothing to everything with full steam – so naturally I lost interest quickly. The longest I stuck to a diet before now was six weeks – that was my New Year’s resolution 2014, so I knew I needed a new approach this time.
I began using Instagram as a research platform, I started following some popular handles and would regularly read their stories, building my confidence because if these women and men who had weighed more than 300lbs could make a change, well then so could I.
Motivated by what I’d seen I started to look at diet plans, one that I could make an achievable and maintainable lifestyle change with. I realised that was a bit optimistic after a few months but my first choice was definitely a stepping stone to better things.
Now you’re probably wondering what I did first, well, I decided on meal replacement shakes. I know, I know – FAD DIET – I know! However, at the time it worked and I lost two stone which I will always be grateful for. As I said, it is about knowing yourself and your attitude and overhauling your life is easier said than done, so why completely change your way of life when the likelihood is you’ll fail?
I knew that my downfall was predominately lunchtimes. At the time I hadn’t eaten breakfast regularly since I was about 15-years-old, so it would get to 11am and I’d be hungry, this meant sandwiches bursting with rich fillings and extras such as a bottle of coke, crisps and chocolate or more elaborate meals that should have been dinners. This unhealthy food had slowly moulded to my body and over the years it had seen me balloon, and in December 2014 I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Therefore meal replacement shakes ticked all my boxes.
Easy to prepare – just add milk (or water, but that was highly unpleasant)
Budget friendly – £25 per tub (each one lasting a week and a half to two weeks)
Easy to store – one container in the cupboard, and I could take the powder with me for convenience
Easy to eat – shake and drink
Only 220 calories per shake – weight comes flying off
Flavoursome – cookies and cream, strawberry, mint chocolate… all flavours I enjoyed
I began having shakes for breakfast and lunch, with fruit for snacks as well as some nuts, and then rounding the day off with a dinner of chicken and vegetables. I like plain and simple food, I ate that sometimes when I wasn’t even trying to lose weight as chicken and veg to me is a nice dinner, however curries, pasta bakes, lasagne, burgers and pizza was just so much more appealing.
I did well with the shakes however my job – I’m a journalist – got in the way and I would have to go on trips to hotels or to events where the food is very rich and normally highly calorific, so after several months of shakes I had a two month patch where I was struggling to stay focused on shakes because I was having things that weren’t on plan.
I decided to make a change and again did research into what might be a successful new change for me, something that actually involved eating rather than liquid lunches. I came across The Body Coach. His name is Joe Wicks and he has taken Instagram by storm with his approach of fuelling the body and eating copious amounts of things that are good for you along with HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) to get the heart rate pumping and your body burning fat. He seemed to be getting results and I’m currently devising my own meal plans based on his philosophy, to which I’ve lost another half a stone.
I’m still struggling here and there, my work life doesn’t stop because I’m trying to eat healthy and the same time I do still have a life. Right now I’m visiting my parents for my dad’s birthday and the plan is a birthday curry, but everyone knows that weight loss journeys don’t happen overnight and I’ve set myself a target of Christmas 2016 to be at or at least near where I want to be.
I don’t have a goal per say I’m just going to go until I feel I’m happy and then try to maintain.