I’m going to TRY and keep this short and sweet (OK, we all know that’s impossible because it’s me #motormouth) but I will try and get to the point of the post pronto but please bear with me as it’s important I firstly share that I’m not a doctor nor am I a registered dietitian so please ask a professional for advice if you have any health concerns over weight loss, and do note that this is a personal post where I’m simply sharing what worked for me.
We are all unique and different, and what has worked for me, might not for you.
I also need to provide a little context to my weight loss journey.
I suffer from PCOS and my weight has pretty much yoyo-ed since I was a 10 year old battling puppy fat.
A naturally slim child until I grew boobs and what is now known as an hourglass figure, being a tween with jumbo eyebrows and lumps and bumps in places that made me hate myself, wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting when adolescence hit. Adolescence is hard at the best of times, but add to that the fact no one looks like you in the media, and it was a pretty solitary time for a British Greek Cypriot girl growing up in Yorkshire.
I regained a slim figure by the time I was 13 (and I ‘shot up in height’ as my Dad would say, but just a few years later had started a life-long relationship with dieting as I tried everything under the sun from Slimming World to The South Beach Diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers and beyond (the Cabbage Soup Diet being a particular low in my Uni years)- and whilst I love food and cooking, I did and still abhor the way my body instantly reacts to ‘the wrong kinds of food’: white carbs and sugar, meaning I’d put weight on just by peering into a bakery. Sad times.
My weight fluctuates thanks to PCOS, meaning my wardrobe has and is currently home to clothes ranging from a UK size 6 to 12. Not big by any means but baffling.
I was a UK size 12 before my first baby came along in 2010, and I actually went down to a 10 once I lost my baby weight and fell in love with bouts of HIT exercise and walking for miles pushing the pram along as I went.
My post C-Section mumtum (now, twice over) has never fully recovered although it has minimised thanks to my recent weight-loss but I’ve accepted there’s no going back and I’m honestly happy in my (stretch-marked) skin.
I respect that it’s housed two babies and it might well nurture some more in the future… (that’s the sound of my husband running you can hear!).
For the most part though, in many ways, I’ve never felt more content in my skin than in this, my 36th year. Perhaps it’s not about being happy but it’s down to caring less. That’s getting ‘old’ for you!
I go make-up free most days of late which used to be totally unheard of for me, and whilst it’s taken it’s long, sweet time, I think the pressures of my twenties have evaporated along with finding myself after kids and my #mumboss years.
I’ve discovered a new-found respect for myself which in part has been down to the fairly traumatic 18 months my family and I have endured as a close relative has been very unwell proving (again) that you only know how strong you actually are, when being strong is the only option.
I must add that I also LOVE make up, and won’t ever stop wearing it, I just don’t freak out now if I don’t have time to pop lippy on for the school-run or find myself doing the weekly shop, barefaced.
I cannot lie though and say that a body which fluctuates weight-wise, sometimes month to month, or even day to day hasn’t been frustrating, because it has, it’s just affected me less than say when I was in my 20s. Frustrating, yes. Soul-destroying: no.
Now, whilst there are far more important things in life than losing a stone in 3 months, and the onus shouldn’t of course be on conforming to a single notion of body shape, size or beauty, my priority, particularly as someone suffering from PCOS, has, and is always about putting my health first and foremost and feeling strong.
Seeing and supporting a relative as they’ve been so unwell undoubtedly affected my weight as I reached for biscuits and cakes to distract from the pain, and this cycle of emotional eating took willpower to break.
It was around 3 months ago that something changed in me. A light bulb moment if you like, that self-care meant exactly that. Not haphazard self-care of me oscillating between a day of healthy eating and yoga, and white carbs on repeat.
I’d had enough of feeling bloated and unhappy- in finding supposed solace in foods my body and mind literally hated. I suddenty accepted temporary relief for what is was: temporary relief.
We are what we eat after all and it was time to find a happy medium, to confront my food issues and get back to a healthy and happy life, body and mind even if I couldn’t control the external forces causing me pain.
So I did these 3 things to lose a stone (14 pounds/ 6 kilos in 3 months)-although I never set myself a goal, it happened organically…
- I took an intolerance test and isolated the foods which showed up as trigger foods causing inflammation. My tests revealed the culprits were eggs, gluten, yeast, wheat, soya and cashew nuts. Within days of eliminating these food groups/ ingredients (I didn’t eat nuts anyway), I felt as if a fog had lifted. I slept better, wasn’t as bloated and whilst weight loss wasn’t immediate, it kicked in a few weeks later and was mostly down to this elimination diet. The weight loss has felt easy and on-going. I am now a small UK 10, often buying a size 8 on the high street, and I’m slimmer than I have been in years. I just wish I’d taken the tests earlier as they’ve helped my physical and emotional wellbeing. Bye bye IBS style symptoms and constant tummy upsets.
- I upped my exercise regime. I see a good friend of mine, Caroline Asquith of ShapeShifters in Leeds, for a PT session every Tuesday (a great motivator for the rest of the week) and on 4 days each week, I do a series of weights daily using kettle bells plus cardio (which might be a power walk or run), resting on the weekend. I’ve also implemented more exercise into my day-to-day life opting to do yoga or heading for a run first thing in the morning or in my lunch break as a welcome relief from being stuck at my desk for most of the day. Now that the weather is brighter and the days are lighter for longer, I find it so easy to get the whole family out and about making physical activity a natural part of our day.
- I naturally eat smaller portions as my body feels it’s reset itself somehow (probably from all the food that agrees with me) and I know when I’m full and stop when I am. I’ve also stopped ordering starters and lots of side dishes in restaurants, simply opting for a main course and making healthy choices with it. I drink more water too, and make sure I take a high quality multivitamin, usually with my biggest meal of the day. I rarely feel hungry in between meals (I was a serial snacker before) and if I do, I never deny or limit myself. I listen to my body and now it’s receiving the foods it likes, I trust what it’s telling me.
All in all, the biggest game-changer has been taking the intolerance tests and removing the foods that were causing problems for me.
I was advised doing so would help me lose weight yet I still can’t believe how much I’ve lost and in such a short time. I know it sounds odd but I feel like I have a brand new body.
I now opt for slow-releasing carbs, good quality protein, lots of veg and some fruit, limiting sugar and empty carbs.
I don’t limit carbs in general though-I eat balanced meals and feel full and happy thanks to doing so.
So there you have it (eventually)-exactly what helped me to lose weight and feel great.
I hope it inspires you.