How I lost 40lbs Without Going Hungry

What I Discovered

DO YOU LOVE FOOD?

Yeah me too, I love it.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

I know, who doesn’t you just have to love cake, chocolate? yes please, full bar.

Now I don’t eat like this all the time, mostly we ate really well it was just on weekends we would go out for a walk often to a National Trust place, anyone who has been to a National Trust will know they pretty much always have a café which sells cakes.

Cakes and chocolate with coffee on a weekend, with a nice brisk walk, nothing wrong with that. But it all came to a head one Saturday when we bought five cakes between the two of us. That same weekend I also looked back at our winter holiday we had had only a few short months before cake gate. A great trip to New Zealand, amazing views  it was beautiful.

We spent Christmas and New Year in New Zealand and on New Years Day carrying Benjamin we climbed the hill to Queenstown's skyline Gondola. It was one of those walks where you think you are near the top but guess what you are not. There was a picture of me and Benjamin on my back when we reached the top, I looked shattered, bloated and my stomach was hanging over my shorts.

Even though we ate what  we thought was healthy food it was only when I took a hard look at myself I realised I needed to do more. With small children I decided I'd best get my act together. I needed energy to run around after them, I'd already been lucky to be still standing after a serious illness. It all started with wanting more time to exercise.

Exercise I thought would be the answer, I used to pump iron lots when I was younger, I just needed time to train and I would be okay. So my quest for more time began, if I could just squeeze more in, having a full day this meant either staying up late or getting up early. So less sleep it was to be, I'll get up even earlier and train.

When you have less sleep you need more energy to keep you going. So how do you get more? I'll need it. My research went down a slightly different path as it would be madness to flog myself in the gym if I was only to fall asleep in my tea, especially since I have done that before.

The internet is so full of information, too much! I would say you could spend the rest of your time trying to find something. But I slowly started to piece things together and experiment. Luckily my partner was busy researching her book; Rocket Fuel For Busy Mums, 9 natural ways to boost your energy. A stroke of luck.

What you eat being one of the ways to get more energy was a great place to start. When I trained previously I would weigh everything out to make sure my calories, carbs and protein were all right.

But weighing all my food out and counting was so time consuming, time I just did not have, there must be an easier way.

There was, without realising it I struck on something, switching my diet on its head, you see not all food is the same. A calorie of sugar is totally different to a calorie of protein like from fish and a gram of bread is totally different than a gram of cauliflower.

And to add even more, the time you eat your food can also have an effect on your body.

The effects can be:

Weight gain- mainly fat
Inflammation, like bloating
Zapping your energy

I just did not realise it, and it was only afterwards it really struck home.

I went from eating a big bag of food each day of healthy foods, well so called healthy food to a well thought out meal plan and one so simple. With experiments you must be prepared to take the good with the bad, some things work and others don’t.

My main concern was going hungry, I love my food including chocolate, and if I was not eating enough I wondered would my energy levels drop?

I made the switch and within a couple of days I felt totally different, I could think so clearly, my focus was laser like, I felt so alive, and I just didn’t crash later in the day. I was on fire! Work was a breeze and getting in by 630am meant I was awake and on top of my game before anyone else arrived.

And it wasn’t just me, my partner made the switch too and having a toddler to run after requires lots and lots of energy especially since he hardly slept!

The way we were eating made a massive difference, I could eat as much as I wanted without counting calories until I felt full. Eating until I was full meant I didn’t feel hungry later on, my body was telling me I had enough until my next meal.

I hadn't started training yet as I decided I need to get my food right first, and without any training I started to lose weight after just over two weeks we had lost 28lbs between us.

By eating the right foods, at the right times we were losing weight without exercising and at the same time feeling great.

Others started to notice the change in my appearance, and would comment saying how amazing I looked, a great confidence boost.

People noticing how different I looked reinforced it was working but by accident I noticed how good it was making  me feel. We wanted to keep eating healthily and decided to have lunch out at a local organic farm shop. Organic we thought would be healthy, we made some good menu choices to stick with our new found way of eating.

After a fork of beetroot salad I noticed a slight burning tingling feeling on my tongue and shorty after finishing the dish I felt a little bloated and my energy levels starting to drop.

It confirmed not all seemingly healthy food is healthy! Eating out or pre-packed foods have hidden ingredients and having something even slightly naughty made me feel terrible, I didn’t want to feel that way again.

I wanted to keep going, because I knew I would :

Feel great
Have lots of energy, and
Wanted to keeping the weight off

Feeling great was the most important thing, it was only after eating even something only slightly bad and feeling terrible did the penny drop. I must have been feeling this bad or even worse most of my life and I did not even know until now.

If I felt good from food I knew the weight would stay off

Life can be challenging, and I wanted to keep this going to make sure I needed a few things

Food had to be tasty
Easy to make
Chocolate or puddings are a must
We needed a plan of what we were going to eat

We set about making this happen, how often have you been on a diet where the food is just so bland and tasteless, it is hard work eating it, every time you have to put some in your mouth your busy thinking of something else to eat.

Tasty food does not have to be complicated or hard to make, I have read lots of recipe books and then tried to make them, most are so hard, and never look like they do in the book. I just do not have the time to make most of these recipes.

I would rather find tasty easy to make food that I know I will make and spend my time with my kids than try and make something once and give up.

My favourite has to be the veggie layer thing, you can find out more here. I am over the moon when she makes it, and a top tip is to always make more than you need, freezing the rest down for work meals.

Bulk cooking is part of the plan, it helps keep you on track as you always have something in the fridge or freezer tasty to eat. If you have a canteen or coffee shop at work for lunch, breads and cakes are a staple but I always have a good meal with me that gives me lots of energy and helps to burn fat.

Supermarkets are laid out to make you impulse buy, look at the items at the end of the isles, when you have meal plans with ingredients to follow we found we also spent less when shopping.

What we also discovered was we spent next to nothing eating out, either at restaurants or takeaways, did you know the average home spends about £140 per month eating out at restaurants or takeaways.

Over £10,000 per year that is a lot of money that could be spent on something much better.

I still eat chocolate and puddings but we have just put some more thought into it, creating You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it recipes, most nights eating at least chocolate. Yep 40lbs off and feeling and looking great eating chocolate.

We wanted to help others too and started with family and then further afield

You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.” (Chinese proverb.)

We had built up a lot of knowledge, having it made it easier to understand why we eat what we do, but it also made making choices, when shopping or if you eat out so much better. With the knowledge you can make the right choices to achieve the goal.

I am a system thinker, a system just needs good inputs of food, recipes followed to get the desired outputs from the other end. In this case good healthy food which helped me lose 40lbs.

Trying to memorise each step of the system takes up too much time and energy so we wrote down the key action steps we needed to follow. The hardest part was trying to think what to eat so as part of our plan we created meal plans we could simply follow.

I would say I have not been on a diet but found a new way of enjoying food that makes me feel and look better. It has given me so much.  I have so much more energy to play with my kids even after a long day at work. I feel so much healthier, I wish I felt this good when I was in my twenties instead of having 20 years of feeling bad and not knowing it.

Looking back I think was spending all this time doing all this research and experimenting worth it to feel so much healthier?

Was it worth it to lose weight?

And having more energy to play with my kids?

The answer is always yes, I wish there had been a short cut for me to follow as time is so precious but I made the choice I could be a parent with average energy or make a choice to improve myself so I can give my children the best - I chose my kids.

I want you to make the right choice so here is the short cut.

Bad Habits

I needed to break my bad habits, and replace them with good ones, with routines and tastes that satisfied me, that made me feel good. And I did, these are my new good habits.

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