FOOD | New Year, new approach to dieting? Dieting FAQ

Whilst at university I lived with an amazing girl named Amy. We met at secure a home and were instantly drawn to each other because of our ‘alternative style’. That night we got extremely drunk and about a month later we had moved into our first uni house.

The two of us had quite a lot in common, similar music taste, style, love of men with long hair and we were always in hysterics, almost to the point of passing out.  But the main thing we had in common was our unhealthy relationship with food. Not only did we eat unhealthy food, we ate loads of it and washed it down with high calorie alcohol.

It is common knowledge that people put on weight at university, but Amy and I weren’t exactly small to start with. Neither of us felt as if we could ever actually be slim again.


So here we are at the start 2012 (uni started Sept. 2003) and my incredible friend Amy has lost over 89lbs which equates to over 6 stone in about a year.

Following her weight loss journey on Facebook has been amazing. Everyone has been asking her questions so Amy released an FAQ about how she went about losing all that weight, and i have decided to share it with you.

All this is down to my own experience, so maybe it won’t work for everyone. I also had a LOT to lose.

 What made you start losing weight?

I was sick of the way it made me feel being very overweight, inferior to others, self-conscious all the time, literally taking up space. Also being tired a lot and starting to get aches and pains in my back, being very unfit, like a tub of useless lard no muscle tone etc, being detatched from my body. Also health concerns about the future such as starting a family, being a fat mum, fat bride.

What was your starting and end weight?

*Breathe* 17stone 4/110kgs/242lbs. After: 10stone 13/68.9kgs/153lbs

(I am still very ashamed of my start weight!)

How the hell did you get started?!

I started to eat what I thought was healthy (without counting calories at first), such as wholegrain only rice, pasta and bread. Chicken and fish, salads, smaller portions. I then started to exercise on my spinning bike for 15 mins 3 times a week, and also went for a walk daily. This caused me to lose 10kgs/22lbs/1stone8) fairly quickly. I started to slip back into old ways, and then had a health scare in March 2011 which made me get serious. I downloaded a calorie counter app and started to count calories, I believe I started at 1500 a day. Still no white carbs, etc.I started to work out on the bike 15-20 mins, 5 days a week, with walking still. The weight started to come off steadily. I got fitter and could go longer on the bike. I also tried some DVD’S, Jillian Micheals 30day shred (really difficult!) and pilates.

How do you keep motivated?

It differs for everyone of course, but the first thing I must stress is, you have to WANT this. Badly. Going at it half arsed will not get you far. Set your goals and work towards them. Take it one day at a time. If you mess up, accept it and move on, continue with your healthy lifestyle, don’t just give in and start eating crap again because of one slip up. Read up on everything weight loss related whenever you can. Keep it on your mind.

What about all the sweets/chocolate junk food?

For me, it works to sometimes have a small (135 cals) chocolate bar. That was my main treat at first as I love chocolate! It depends on what kind of person you are. I find it easier not to have anything bad in the house. This is a lifestyle change. You must accept you cannot eat that shit regularly if you want to succeed. The good thing about calorie counting, is you can factor in a small amount of any ‘bad’ food if you really want to, but as time passes you probably won’t want to. I allow myself one ‘cheat’ meal a week. Every Saturday night I have something I might have been craving, a small pizza, a light dinner and then a dessert, some chocolate or whatever. A lot of people believe this sudden intake of more calories can also kick your metabolism, I do tend to agree. But don’t go mad and eat EVERYTHING you want. For me it was easier simply to not drink alcohol. I did drink on some occasions but not regularly. Yes, you do have to pass up on things at social occasions etc. It’s very hard, but worth it.

What do you do now?

I have played about with the calories often and now eat approx 1350-1400 a day. I work out 30 mins on the bike or run 30 mins, 5-6 days a week and I use free weights and body weight exercises (plank, push ups, crunches,squats etc) 3-4 times week. I will lessen my cardio towards the end. I walk when I can and try and stay active. This has not been a ‘diet’, it has been a change of lifestyle, and I will have to continue to keep my weight in check for the rest of my life.

What is your end goal?

After reassessing, I plan to get down to 64-5 kilos,10stone4, 142lbs, meaning I have lost 100lbs. I also want to add more muscle and lose a little more fat.

How about loose skin/stretch marks/cellulite etc?

Stretch marks are less noticeable now, cellulite is pretty much all gone. I do have some loose stomach skin which I hope a further loss and weight training will help. Either way, it’s better than being obese. Yes, my boobs have shrunk too.

So, what’s the secret?

Nothing but hard work and determination, and willpower. This will not happen overnight. Keep working and working at it and you will get there.

There must be some tips? 😉

  • Water, water, water. Drink a lot of it. It will keep you full and keep everything working. Plus dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.
  • If you have a lot to lose especially, you will need to work out- hard. Cardio until you can go on no longer and you’re sweating buckets. Add some weights in too.
  • Learn what a proper portion size is, and track everything.
  • Eat plenty of different fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat good fat, salmon, olive oil etc
  • Keep your protein up.
  • Dark chocolate if you need a treat, or fun size items and promise yourself one.
  • If you are eating out/drinking etc, plan ahead how much you will consume.
  • Eat a good breakfast.
  • Don’t leave too long between meals.
  • Allow yourself a little ‘cheat’ now and then.
  • You get out what you put in, there is no magic wand.
  • Work through plateaus, as frustrating as it is, they should pass.
  • NO EXCUSES.

I forgot the add a bit about the psychological implications, which obviously are very important! This journey is not just about getting the weight off, it’s about changing your relationship with food too. I think it also makes you delve into your past. I realised I was definitely an emotional/comfort eater, stemming from childhood. I also was always told to ‘eat everything on my plate’ which is a habit I still find hard to break! Also, there was always fairly large meals when I was a kid, so that stuffed to bursting feeling after eating was kind of a learned behaviour, I realised when I rarely felt it anymore, how ridiculous it is. Losing weight is tough on your mind too, when you have to abstain when everyone else is eating/drinking, when you have to cope with disappointment on the scales, guilt from eating something ‘bad’ etc, so it’s not just a case of losing the weight, but readdressing things, and facing up to them. I always convinced myself I wasn’t ‘that fat’, I could still make myself look quite nice, I was in denial. Getting on the scales, seeing that awful number, facing up to it and saying ‘I can beat this!’ and admitting I was eating too much at meals and too many sweets etc was the start of my journey 🙂

Lastly, some tools:

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

you will need to work out your BMR, then create a calorie deficit.

http://www.mynetdiary.com/

The calorie counter I used!

Love Lilla xx