I have spent a large portion of my life fussing over my weight. I felt fat as a kid. In high school I had issues with eating and passed out because of it a few times because I felt fat. My weight has fluctuated drastically since my teen years yo-yoing from 60kg to over 100kg. This year I changed my attitude and changed my lifestyle. I am the same weight as I was in 2012, but I am 2 dress sizes smaller, eat more, feel internally better and cannot believe the difference! I’ll explain how and why.
This is me at 78kg in 2012. I was speaking at FinCon12 and I had lost 30kg at that point after having my daughter. I felt pretty good about myself.
This is me June 28th, 2015. I weigh 78kg again but my body is extremely different.
I am aware the poses are different eg angle, body pose, one I am speaking on stage, the other I am at home, but the fact remains my physical body size is vastly different. My clothing size is different. I don’t look slimmer purely because of how I am standing. I AM slimmer.
How is it possible to not lose weight but still get thinner?
This year I was introduced to the 4 Hour Body. I knew about it, but had never read it. The person who introduced me had a total body transformation, is highly disciplined and very passionate about it, so I decided to try it. I am not as vigilant as they are, but you cannot deny the results.
We know 1kg of muscle and 1 kg of fat are not the same. Muscle is denser than fat so occupies less space. People often say muscle weighs more than fat, that’s false. 1kg is still 1kg whether it be feathers, muscle, bricks or fat. The weight doesn’t change but the size or how much space things occupy varies from item to item.
I changed what I ate, some of when I ate, tried certain exercises (I hurt my back in May, so have been unable to exercise since). I implemented the 4 Hour Body, not completely, but clearly even my effort has made a difference.
I’ll be honest, I was disappointed I was not dropping weight. I felt fat. I was unsure this worked for me. I looked up articles and many said it takes women longer than men for this lifestyle to be effective. I would go hard out and disciplined, then get disappointed and stop. I hadn’t properly measured myself like the book says, so I didn’t realise my body was changing so much until May.
In May I had a ball to attend. I have an amazing designer and personal stylist who made my dress (and the purple skirt above). I was frustrating her a lot because every time we had a fit, she had to alter the dress. In the end, it was only finished on the day, as I was walking out the door to the ball. My body measurements were changing drastically, but I still didn’t see it myself because the scales told me I had put on weight.
What do I eat?
The premise of the 4 Hour Body is there are things you can eat and things you can’t but you have one cheat day a week. You aren’t fully depriving yourself of anything, in fact I feel fuller for longer eating this way. It is a lifestyle, NOT a diet. I hate diets. Diets make you think there is an end to it and more often than not you finish the diet and go back to your bad eating habits.
We eat fairly simple then whatever we want on cheat day. Throughout the week, if we are craving something, we write it down then purchase it on our cheat day. Cheat day in our house combines with family fun time. This is where we do something together as a family and my daughters are allowed to sleep in the lounge, which for some reason they think is the best thing ever.
We eat within half an hour of waking and it is packed with protein. Eggs with mushrooms, spinach capsicum and other vegetables is a favourite. Occasionally it might be chicken, eggs, avocado, mushrooms and spinach.
Sometimes breakfast is a protein shake, but more often I am for a proper meal. Yes, it might seem like a bit of effort to cook breakfast, sit down and eat it but I am more conscious of what I am eating. I feel satisfied and I snack less.
Lunch depends on where I am but is usually a meat such as chicken or steak with loads of cooked vegies or salad. Sometimes it is chilli with mince, vegies and kidney beans. Dhaal is popular too.
Again, similar to lunch it meat or eggs, with vegetables or salad. It is a lot of protein, slow carbs such as kidney beans and lots of vegetables.
A handful of nuts, vegetable sticks, protein shake or spicy broad beans are the most common snacks we have.
Loads of water is needed and by this I mean way more than the ‘recommended’ 2L a day, more like 4L. We sleep with a drink bottle next to our beds and while at first you will feel like you are going to the toilet a lot, your body adjusts.
A small can of sugar free fizzy (eg Pepsi Max) is ok each day, but if you drink too much or have it a lot it can impact on your health and stop progress.
Other notes on food
I like salt and pepper or Tabasco sauce on pretty much everything. Sugar has been eliminated, along with other sweeteners. Did you know most stock cubes have sugar in them? Also, I am gluten intolerant, so my diet was limited anyway. Read the labels on everything, it will shock you how much sugar is hidden in all our food and if not sugar, additives, sweeteners and so on.
What about when I eat out?
This can be harder, but since I am gluten intolerant, my meal often has to be made slightly differently anyway. I look for reasonably slow carb, healthy options which are high in protein and no sugar/wheat etc. So I will eat steak or chicken and vegetables, Mexican food (particularly Zambreros rice bowls, with no rice, just beans, salad, salsa and guacamole) or Indian eg chicken Tikka Masala is a favourite.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick completely to the slow carb lifestyle. Pick what you feel is the best option if eating out and go with it. Don’t use going out as an excuse to blow out your lifestyle though.
I am pretty bad on the exercise front. I love to run, I love yoga, pilates, pole dancing and now kettle bells. I was introduced to them this year and I love them. I am not as diligent as I should be with exercise, but I aim to walk as much as I can instead of drive. I do squats before jumping in the shower. I do a 7 minute yoga routine in the morning. I will do lunges or something when waiting for food to cook or heat up. I work standing up at times.
Since hurting my back at the end of May I have been unable to exercise much which has been frustrating. I have focused on tensing and relaxing muscles, doing the exercises I have been advised to do and I look forward to being healthy again to be able to get fully back into exercise.
We have a gym set up here. I have a treadmill inside, we have a weight bench outside with kettle bells. I have a step, a boxing bag (which needs to be hung up), a few apps on my phone for the yoga and pilates and while I am not 100% perfect as using what I have, I try.
We also have a swimming pool so in the warmer weather I make it a goal to swim 1 -2kms a day plus run 5kms. Not easy in a small pool, when you are not using the edge to push off at all and it is only a few strokes before you have to turn around, but it was something I could do while my daughters played in the pool or practiced swimming too.
There are specific workouts in the 4 Hour Body as well. I haven’t stuck to these, but will be doing more of them once my back has healed. To me, you need to find exercise you enjoy and realise you don’t need to spend a few hours in the gym every day. You can use your own body weight for a lot of exercise, plus things around you.
Stop focusing on your weight!
Seriously, weight is irrelevant. Your health is what matters. Instead of weighing yourself, do this:
– Measure every part of your body such as biceps, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves. Write them down so you can compare later.
– Write down your clothing size
– Take a photo of yourself in your swimmers or underwear. You don’t have to post it online, just do it for yourself.
– Track your progress. You can measure weekly if you want, but ideally, check back in a month or even two months. For women, it is best to do it at the exact same time each month. We fluctuate so wildly with our cycle. I can go up 5kgs and a whole dress size at times when I am having my period or due for it.
– Focus on your health.
– Work out your why. Why do you want to be healthier/slimmer/fitter? If it’s for someone else, you won’t last. I wanted to change my lifestyle because I wanted to be able to do more with my kids, have more energy and love what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I wanted to be healthy, toned and happy with my body.
Body image, why do we fuss over it and how can you change?
I’ll be straight up… I have struggled with my perception of my body for a long time. I see myself as the platinum blonde size, not the purple skirt size. I see my stretch marks from the weight I gained in my second pregnancy. I see blotchy skin, a mummy tummy, flabby arms and a saggy bum. I have quite a few body hang ups, but I am getting better.
I still have days where I am not a fan of my body and the day the purple skirt photo was taken was a huge eye opener.
1.) Stop berating yourself in the mirror
When you look at yourself in the mirror, love yourself. Tell yourself you are beautiful, select features you love at first to make this easier and genuine. For example, I love my eyebrows. I don’t wax or shape them, they are just like that. I love my eyelashes because they are long and curl up. I like my blue eyes. As time has gone on, I have managed to love other parts of me, including my boobs when all I used to want was a boob job.
2.) Take photos of yourself
Don’t take selfies to post online, but do take pictures of yourself in different poses and different angles. Find what you feel comfortable in, what accentuates your features and how to minimise things you don’t like. I have so many photographer friends an am still no good at this but I have had quite a few photos I have taken of myself, just for me, that I have loved.
3.) Do a personal styling session
I went and saw Jac Lambert, she is my personal stylist and designer. She now makes clothing specifically for me and my body, but before she started doing that, she overhauled my wardrobe, showed me how to dress, what suited me etc. I was then able to shop with confidence and stopped buying things that made me look fat. She gave me confidence. If you want to change your perception, have a session. (She has not paid me to say this, but I am related to her. However, I have tried other stylists and she is by far the best.)
4.) A photoshoot
I looked into boudoir photography and getting some images done. I didn’t end up doing it, but I still think about it. I know many other women who have and they are amazed at how good they look. How we see ourselves is so far from what we really look like.
5.) Take some pride in your appearance
I know when I was a lot fatter, I just wanted to cover up. I often had my hair in a pony tail and wore mainly track pants and baggy tops.
Now, I love to dress 1950’s or in dresses, pencil skirts and heels. I love to do basic make-up (usually BB cream and mascara) plus style my hair. I experiment with different styles and have fun with my look but I always make an effort to look nice for myself, not for anyone else, but because I want to look a certain way.
Take back control!
Stop weighing yourself. Start putting yourself first. Talk to yourself kindly. Love yourself and focus on living a healthy lifestyle.
Weight is irrelevant. Your health and size matter more.
What do you think? How have you managed to gain confidence or love your body? How have you dropped dress sizes?