Being able to walk into a clothing store, pluck an item off a rack and confidently head to the fitting rooms is a feeling Kate, a civil engineer in her 30s, cherishes since losing 12 kilos and keeping them off over the past year. Kate shares her story with us.
What inspired you to lose weight? And what kept you motivated?
I was originally inspired to lose weight by setting myself a challenge to run 10km. I was having trouble running any further than 5km and believed this was due to the extra kilos I was carrying. I started to drop some weight and increase my exercise and all of a sudden I was able to go further in a shorter length of time. This was a key motivation for me.
I also managed to keep motivated by going into clothes shops and watching my dress size change over time. I love fashion so it was inspirational to be able to pick anything from the rack to try and not just things that were made on the ‘big' side of size 14.
How much weight have you lost and over what timeframe?
I have lost 10-12 kilos over 10 months. I have also dropped my body fat percentage from 41.5% to 32%.
How did you do it?
I changed my diet completely. I substantially reduced the amount of dairy I was eating per day and I also reduced my portion sizes for each meal. I then stopped drinking alcohol on a regular basis. I try to restrict myself to drinking only once a week. I still go out, I just adopt the ‘rage without alcohol' approach. I have also made sure that I drive to social functions which is another good way of restricting your alcohol intake.
I increased my exercise regime from a visit to the gym twice a week to three times a week, and I now include one day for a run outside. This means I exercise four times a week. It is true that you become addicted to exercise. When I don't work out, I feel that I have very low energy levels and I need to get back out there.
What tips do you have for people who struggle to maintain a healthy weight or keep weight off?
A healthy diet and exercise must be done in combination. There is no point in just doing one of these; your inputs (food) must equal your outputs (exercise). Anyone can lose weight by eating less, but to keep it off I believe you need to be physically strong. Likewise, increasing your exercise does not give you license to eat more. It is important to know also that the ‘no carbs' diet is a myth. You will lose weight sure, but you will not keep it off. My body needs carbs to be strong for exercise.
Do you have any moments of weakness? How do you deal with them?
I have moments of weakness all the time. I try to deal with it by negotiating with myself. If I feel like chocolate with a glass of wine, I will let myself have just one of these, but not both. Little treats now and then seem to work with me, and then I don't have the guilt of having an all-out binge session.
I also try not to punish myself if I overeat or eat the wrong food on a once off. I don't let a moment of weakness become an excuse to eat badly for the rest of the day/week. If I have a chicken parma at the pub on a Friday night, I make sure I have a run or gym session planned for the next day.
Is there anything you really crave or miss?
I really miss cheese. Prior to losing weight, I think I would have cheese every day in my sandwich or in a salad. I now have it once/twice a week and always the low fat version.
Have you noticed any other positive side effects of losing weight?
The positives are numerous. My confidence has increased dramatically at work and socially. I also feel strong inside which means that I have more energy for extra activities and I don't seem to get sick. My metabolism has changed to where I now feel when my body needs or does not need food. This has been instrumental in keeping the weight off. I never used to listen to what my body wanted and would eat because it was the right time or the food was there. Also the ability wear any clothes I want has opened me up to receiving lots of lovely compliments about my appearance.
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