How a healthy eating and exercise program changed my life
by Guest Author,
- November 1, 2016
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- Healthy eating
- Physical activity
- Top Tips
- Case studies
- Weight Management
- Meal Plan
- Personal Stories
- Smart Swaps
- Healthy Champion
If you are reading this, then perhaps you, much like me, have spent any years searching for the key to eternal happiness through weight loss! Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but what I am about to tell you is something we have all heard before. If you have a few kilos to lose, it all comes down to common sense, with a side-serve of self-discipline.
I’m not blessed with great genes. I have a lot of overweight relatives and longevity of life is not something our family has enjoyed.
I began to really worry about my size late last year. I was turning 50 soon and was the heaviest I’d ever been, smack bang in the middle of the ‘overweight’ category for my height and weight. Most of my clothes were too tight – my jeans were going to burst at the seams. But the real wake-up call came when it dawned on me that my mother had her first heart attack when she was my age.
Something had to change. My three children need their mother! I knew I had to do something, but what?
Then I discovered LiveLighter – a free program run by the Cancer Council. With help from the brilliant resources provided by LiveLighter and some fierce determination, I achieved a slow and steady weight loss of 6 kilos over three months. This put me back in the healthy weight range category (and saw me reclaim my wardrobe). I’ve moved out of the ‘red’ overweight section and into the green, and this is where I intend to stay.
Here are my top seven tips for losing weight the healthy way:
1. Avoid fad diets (they don’t work)
I’ve tried every fad diet under the sun. And I’m afraid to say that the experts are right – these diets don’t work. As soon as you go back to your normal way of living, the weight comes straight back on. You need something you can sustain for life (Hallelujah, I hear those experts say).
2. Watch the LiveLighter ads
Honestly, these toxic fat ads are a real wake-up call and something everyone should see.
3. Sign up to a LiveLighter Meal Plan
One key feature of the LiveLighter program is the Meal and Activity Planner – a free tool featuring heaps of delicious, easy recipes with exercises you can enjoy. It’s specifically designed so your new habits can become part of your everyday life. LiveLighter is designed and run by the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation so it’s not just another fad. There’s nothing fancy, nothing crazy, no pills, potions or expensive meal plans. Just a logical way of life. Something I could do forever.
4. Learn to cook from scratch
In my ‘old life’, a typical family dinner was something ‘fast’ I could throw together quickly after a day at work. Things like pasta with bottled sauce, chicken curry made with a jar of curry sauce or a pre-packaged risotto or pizza…you get the idea. Short cut cooking, I like to call it. Thanks to LiveLighter I now cook proper food from scratch every day, and the huge array of recipes on the plan are family friendly meals that are easy to incorporate into our busy lives. Things like baked tomato rice, beef stew and even chicken parmigiana. These days I plan ahead and although that takes more time, I feel so much better for it. I buy real wholemeal bread and fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. No jars or sauces here.
5. Get moving in any way you can
Although I’d always been a moderate exerciser, the ‘old me’ would do an aerobics class and then chill out for the rest of the day, thinking my exercise was done and dusted. The ‘old me’ would jump in the car to meet my friends for coffee. The ‘new me’ uses every opportunity I can to move, and that’s on top of the 60 minutes of physical activity a day recommended by the program. I now ride my bike or walk everywhere I can, take the stairs, walk for half an hour at lunchtime in the middle of my working day and only sit when I absolutely have to.
6. Choose healthy snacks
The ‘old me’ was an afternoon snacker. Like many of you out there, I could never understand why anyone would want to dive into a bowl of carrot sticks at 3 o’clock when all I wanted was a row of chocolate. But every day, it all adds up, and LiveLighter helped me realise there are so many healthy snacks I can eat without feeling guilty. Great LiveLighter snack ideas include carrot and parsnip muffins and date and muesli slice. After a few days I didn’t miss my afternoon sugar dose, it was a habit I could do without.
7. Be disciplined
Another key to my success was being tough on myself and learning to say ‘no’. I’d always been a bit easy on myself. Finding excuses to eat that extra serve of dinner or avoid exercise. Big changes such as this are not easy but it all came down to me, no-one else. It had to take control of what I was eating, and take control of my life. Although this was really hard at first – I slowly became used to a much healthier way of life and that was more empowering than ever.