How I Lost 11 Pounds (5kg) During Lockdown
In March, at the beginning of lockdown, I weighed in at 60.1kg, the heaviest I've been, except for when I'm pregnant/have just given birth. I think it was a combination of moving house, fatigue and doing the bulk of the parenting alone (my amazing, very hands on husband travels for work) which caused me to massively feel sorry for myself and drown my sorrows in junk food. I'd also stopped working out a couple of months before.
It wasn't so much the number on the scale that bothered me;I started to feel very uncomfortable in my skin, my clothes were no longer fitting nicely and I knew that I'd have to take action. So throughout March, with lockdown just beginning, I followed a low carb fad diet. This diet has helped me lose the baby weight every time, yet the price I paid was pretty high- I always had headaches and had low energy- this is obviously not ideal when you have kids! Almost a month in and not only did I not lose any weight, I gained weight!
So here's how I lost the 11 pounds and how I plan to continue for the foreseeable future:
Eat healthy, balanced & non-processed foods as much as possible
I didn't eliminate anything from my diet but I did drastically reduce my gluten, dairy and red meat intake. We didn't cook much red meat at home to begin with so that wasn't difficult. It's fairly easy to get gluten-free options these days and I swapped out cow's milk with almond milk for my morning coffee. Since we were on lockdown and takeaways were off limits, we had no option but to cook at home anyway. I searched high and low for healthy recipes I'd enjoy. Everyone on YouTube has their green smoothies and their avocados every day- I hate both so I just made whatever would work for me instead of following someone else's meal plan.
It makes such a difference when you truly enjoy the meals you're making- losing weight and getting fit is just a bonus really.
One of my friends @annasaccone, an amazing mama of 4, works out 5 days a week and from what I could see, she ate healthy, balanced meals with treats, most of the time. I was really inspired by her to start my workouts again and I started using weights in my sessions.
I'd do weights 3 times a week (mon/wed/fri) and cardio twice a week (tue/thu). Saturday and Sunday were my rest days! Still, there were days when I didn't feel like working out (mostly due to PMS) so I'd rest and workout on the weekend. Or I'd go for a long, leisurely walk instead of completing a hiit/cardio session. I know my body and didn't want to push past its limits.
Do it with a friend
Okay, this really helped me. It was so nice to be on this journey with Anna as we'd vent to each other on our off days, celebrate our small (but significant) milestones and just give each other a boost when we needed it. Funnily enough, around the same time when I had started my health/fitness journey, she had also switched up her meals slightly (like I said, she was already eating pretty well) and started incorporating weights into her workouts. Sometimes other people can see your progress even if you yourself can't.
I'd highly recommend getting together with a friend/a group of friends and sharing your progress, achievements and "I feel like crap" moments with them.
The 80/20 rule
I LOVE chocolate and the occasional junk meal so in order for this lifestyle to become sustainable, I had to implement the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, so roughly Monday-Fridays, I eat pretty healthily with a piece of dark chocolate or a chocolate biscuit every evening after dinner (the only way I can survive this). On the weekends, I allowed myself treats here and there, but I wouldn't go crazy. For example, I'd have a well balanced breakfast and lunch but have pizza and dessert in the evening. Honestly, I have too much of a sweet tooth and would be so unhappy if I couldn't have treats. I'm sure I would've lost a lot more weight if I completely cut out sugar too but my happiness and sanity is way more important to me! Life is too short!
Don't let yourself get hungry
Keeping healthy, ready to grab snacks is really helpful when you're feeling peckish and are normally drawn to unhealthy, quick snacks. Usually we have cut up pineapple, watermelon and mangoes in the fridge which is handy for the kids too. Other snacks I'm loving are gluten-free rice cakes with a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter, gluten free and vegan chocolate and almond biscuits. Again, it's important to enjoy the snacks you're having throughout the day. I also have a huge cup of green tea in the afternoons cutting back my caffeine intake to one cup of coffee a day. I'm not a huge coffee drinker so cutting down wasn't particularly hard for me.
To end this blog post
I know I mentioned my weight at the beginning of this post but the number on the scale really isn't important. It's how you feel in yourself and how comfortable and confident you are in your body. You might be 70kg and perfectly happy with your body, you might be 50kg and not love your body right now. Everyone is built differently and everyone should do what works for them. It's easy to get too focused on the scale (I do it too), I for one am happy with where I'm at right now but there was still a voice niggling saying "you're at your pre-baby weight but not at your pre-wedding weight". To get to that, I'd have to lose another 5kg which to be honest will not look healthy on me. Also, my wedding was 12 years ago, I am now 33 and I've had 3 beautiful babies- I want to continue working on my strength training and discovering new, delicious, healthy recipes for myself and the whole family.
If you are looking to get fit and healthy, I hope that this was useful for you. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below :-)