As I mentioned on my Facebook recently, I lost a lot of weight in preparation for our wedding. 3 ½ stone/ 22 kg/ 49 pound to be exact. In terms of dress size, I went from a 14-16 to a 10-12. Most importantly, I haven’t put any weight back on (besides that 3 pound at Christmas!). That’s because I didn’t lose the weight through some fad diet (I’ve tried a few), I lost it through hard work but above all, discipline. So if you’re hoping I’m going to tell you that it was easy, that’s not the case. However, if you’re like me and hate exercise, you’ll be happy to know that I lost most of it as a result of changes I made with food.
I think it’s important to note at this stage, I didn’t diet. I never once counted calories and I was never unusually hungry. I literally changed my lifestyle which, in my view, if you want to lose weight for good, that’s what you need to commit to.
I didn’t take any “before” pictures but I have a few from social media (I deleted the rest when I lost the weight because I was embarrassed!) and I’ve done a comparison throughout this post. I never did a before and after picture before but I’m delighted now that I have. It’s worth noting that I’m 5 foot 11 inches so me losing 3 ½ stone probably wouldn’t be as drastic as someone who’s shorter.
The most important thing for me on my weight loss journey was educating myself about food. I had heard about James Duigan through a friend at work and subsequently ordered his book the Clean & Lean Diet. I want to highlight that I didn’t do this diet, as in the 14 day plan he outlines.
The first half of the book goes through each food group and educates you on the good, the bad and the ugly. Honestly, what I learned in that book changed the way I look at food and ultimately helped me decide that I wasn’t going to eat those things listed in the following section anymore.
I didn’t cut the following out all at once, I did it slowly. In fact, I couldn’t drink a can of Diet Coke now if you paid me. It’s so gross to me now. Before, I was drinking 2 to 3 cans per day! My taste buds, and body, just adapted to the changes over time. I’m not saying I never eat the things that are on this list, I do, if I really want lasagne or a bowl of cereal I have them!
Tip: Start cutting these out gradually. 2 things this week, another 2 in 2 weeks time for example. You will be absolutely shocked at how quickly you adapt.
- No Salt (makes you retain water and is not great for the heart).
- No Sugar (I use to have 2 sugars in my tea. If there were 2 grains of it in my tea now I couldn’t drink it!).
- Switched from a Latte/Macchiato to an Americano with a drop of milk (now I can’t stomach a latte).
- Switched from full fat milk to low fat milk.
- No Sweets of any kind.
- No Potatoes (why is it not spelled “bidatas”?).
- No Bread (including wraps and bagels).
- No Butter.
- No Condiments (ketchup, mayo and the likes).
- No Sauces (Except Passata which is 99.9% tomatoes and Curry Sauce made from scratch).
- No Pasta.
- No Fizzy drinks.
- No Cereals.
- No Cheese.
- For my 5 a day, I’ll have 4 parts vegetables and 1 part fruit because fruit is still sugar albeit a natural one.
- No Takeaways (When we get a takeaway, we get black bean or a red/green curry with boiled rice).
- No Alcohol. I very occasionally drink. When I do, it’s Coors Light or Corona Light. This isn’t saying that I don’t have the odd glass of white wine but if you’re looking to lose weight, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible.
When I tell people this, the first thing they say, always, is “jaysus, what do you eat”? My answer is, everything else! You see with me the secret is to make sure I’m never hungry and here’s what keeps me full.
This isn’t a definitive list of everything I eat. I’ve picked my favourite meals to give you an idea of how much I do eat including snacks and treats!
I start my day every day, with a cup of coffee. It wakes me up, it’s full of antioxidants and it kick starts the bodily functions 😉 I have no more than 2 cups a day because any more than that is said to toxic.
You have heard it a million times, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For me, that is definitely the case. I know there is a lot of science around how important breakfast is for your metabolism and the likes, but all I know is that when I don’t have breakfast, I am hungry all day, no matter what I eat! It’s important not to be hungry because that’s when you make bad choices and binge.
My Favourite: Porridge oats with a heap spoon of full fat Glenisk Greek Yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and some Golden Linseed (from Aldi). This is literally one of my favourite things to eat in the whole world. It is so tasty and it fills me up right until lunch time.
Hunger is how your body tells you that it needs something. If you’re giving it everything that it needs, in terms of nutrition, you shouldn’t be that hungry between meals. I’m not a huge snacker in general but I do snack when I’m feeling a bit peckish. Here are some of my favourites.
My Favourites: Mint chocolate rice cakes, a square of dark chocolate (at least 75% cocoa), apple slices with peanut butter, a handful of non-salted cashews or almonds, or if I’m having an extra peckish day, I’ll have a bowl of tuna with some bell peppers, red onion and jalapenos.
I eat just as much for lunch as I do for dinner. I have a protein, either fish, meat or chicken, and a load of vegetables.
My Favourite: A tuna salad with mixed leaves, mixed peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and jalapenos.
If I have fish for lunch, I’ll have meat or chicken for dinner. Salmon and cod are my favourite types of fish and steak and mince are my favourite meats. I cut all the fat off meats and if they come with skin (chicken for example), I’ll remove it after it’s cooked.
My Favourite: A peppered fillet steak with mushrooms, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.
I haven’t ruled out goodies completely, I just go for the healthier options. Even when I go to the cinema, which is usually a good excuse to binge on junk food, I usually get Propercorn Sweet & Salty and an Americano.
My Favourites: Greek yoghurt with mixed berries, seeds and a drizzle of honey (you’ll probably have seen this on my Snapchat a couple of times!). Another favourite of mine are the healthy blueberry and banana protein pancakes that Darren makes. They’re scrumptious so you should definitely try them. You can read the recipe here.
As I said, most my weight loss is down to changes I made with food, rather than from exercising. However, the last few pound is always the hardest to shift and when my weight loss started to slow down, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to break a sweat!
I am not a fan of the gym. I hate the repetitive nature of it. I do however enjoy classes like Zumba, Yoga and Circuit. I go to Ben Dunne Gyms, it’s about €19 a month, so even if I only go to 2 classes per month, it’s worth it. You can pay by direct debit and cancel at any time so if you want to give the gym a try, but don’t want to commit to a long term contract, this is a great option.
About 3 months before our wedding, I signed up to The Body Coaches 90 Day SSS Plan and while I found his food plans to be very inconvenient (I’ll write about that another time), I did enjoy the HIIT sessions that are required. With work and other commitments, I just don’t have 2 hours to dedicate to the gym every day so these suited me perfectly. HIIT sessions are so effective and take about 30 minutes in total. I shifted the last of my weight doing these at least twice per week. Even if you’re not in a gym, you can do them at home! The Body Coach has an awesome YouTube Channel with lots of different HIITs recorded. Full disclosure- I haven’t done one in a couple of months but I’ll be starting them again soon, so if you want to see how they work, follow my Snapchat: livelavishlycom.
I started to walk a lot more. This is easier in the Summer months for obvious reasons but even on my journey to work, I started to walk faster and even jog to and from the bus!
Tip: The next time you’re walking anywhere, pick up the pace and fit a little cardio in!
I find it much easier to exercise outdoors and it’s so good for my mind as well as my body! I have loads of ideas I want to share with you on this so I’ve written about it separately here.
So that’s exactly how I lost the weight, inches and body fat. I lost the first stone over the course of a year by making small changes and I lost the other 2 ½ stone over an 8 month period.
My advice to anyone struggling with their weight would be that there is no perfect day, month or year… JUST START. Trust me when I tell you, that starting is the hardest part, but you’ll be so happy that you did.
Tip: Pick an event that you have coming up and set a weight loss target. Then find another event after that and so on. It always helps when you have a goal. My goal was my wedding dress and I thought if I didn’t lose it for my wedding day, I’d never lose it!
If you have absolutely any questions at all, please let me know, I’d be happy to help.