A couple of months back I met a group of old friends for dinner and we were all eager to hear each other’s news. We were chatting all evening but I realised that one of the girls was very quiet. She was always wearing the brightest smile, a very beautiful girl, of a sweet nature, always helping others and always happy and positive. But it was clear that she was upset. She was never skinny but now she had gained even more weight. I didn’t ask because I tend not to “sell” myself to people.
The wish to change must come from yourself – I can only give you the tools but you are in control, you are responsible.
At one point that evening she told me that she was diagnosed with high blood pressure and her doctor prescribed pills. I asked if he discussed her lifestyle and if gave any other advice and she said: “No, only the pills”
At this point I got angry. Not with her but with her doctor. How is it possible that a doctor was prescribing pills whilst ignoring the obvious, that losing weight and adopting an exercise programme would have had a much longer-lasting effect than taking some pills??
She became very emotional when she told me that she has almost given up because nothing seems to work. She was tired all the time and had difficulties to concentrate. So we agreed that I would develop a 12-week plan for her. The long term goal was to loose 3 st and bring the blood pressure down but of course it was important to keep the weight off and the blood pressure at a normal range.
Her initial weight was 15st 2.4 with a blood pressure of 154/101
Before I started to write her plan we discussed her lifestyle: she got a busy but mostly sedentary desk job, lots of social gatherings with friends and family, a boyfriend who can eat whatever he likes without gaining weight (men! I’m so envious!) and lots of take out meals..
After that we looked at her capabilities and preferences in regards to exercise: she likes swimming and being outdoors, which is great because of her weight we had to look after her joints and we started with a very light exercise plan which got a little bit harder every week.
After filling in my questionnaire and food diary (which you can find here) it was clear that her diet was lacking Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Iron and B Vitamins. Her blood pressure would benefit from additional Selenium, Potassium and Omega 3 and 6, as well as Magnesium and Calcium.
I asked her to reduce her coffee intake to one per day, no more fizzy drinks (not even the diet version), no salty foods and no processed meats. I added recipes to the plan which were quick and easy to cook.
To even out her deficiencies and help her energy levels her new way of eating now included: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, diary, green leafy vegetables, peanuts, salmon, lentils, wheat germ, spinach and the occasional banana.
Her exercise plan for the first week simply started with a daily walk after lunch with her iPod and she committed to go swimming twice a week in the evening after work. We kept in touch on a weekly basis and I amended her plan when necessary.
After 4 weeks her blood pressure had dropped to 149/97 and she had lost a stone!
I was so happy for her and she was over the moon! We knew this was only the beginning but it was so very motivating for her so she kept going.
After helping many people to lose weight and live a healthier life I realised that changing your diet is only half the story. There are a few things that are as important.
Be determined yet relaxed
It’s about you and your goals. You have a way to go and you know that it needs time. Be gentle with yourself but don’t let yourself fall off the wagon! Keep your eye on the result, visualise your new You and how much better you will feel. But don’t put yourself under too much pressure, don’t weigh yourself every day (especially when you’re a woman!) – there are so many factor determining your weight, scales certainly won’t measure how much more energy you have!
Our body makes us think we are hungry when sometimes we are just thirsty. Drink water, water and more water. Especially about 20 min before you have a main meal – it will fill up your stomach and you will eat less.
Plan your meals
In the beginning adopting a healthier lifestyle needs some planning. Of course it’s easier to grab a sandwich and some crisps from the supermarket but if you commit to 15 min of planning your meals for the next day every evening there is a chance that you make healthier choices.
Eat enough during the day but have a small dinner
If you are hungry during the day chances are that you are giving up. It’s important that you have substantial meals for breakfast and lunch but make sure that you have a light and early dinner to help your body digesting it before you go to bed. It’s a good idea to stop eating dinner before you are full and go to bed slightly hungry!
Sorry, there is no way around it. Don’t fear that exercise will make you hungry. There is evidence that the endorphins your body will release during exercise will actually suppress your hunger! Exercise will not only speed up your weight loss, it gives you energy, improve your self-esteem and boost your mood. Make sure your programme is challenging but achievable.
Give your body all the nutrients it needs
If your body is lacking nutrients it will let you know, you will feel hungry. By following your personalised plan which includes all the nutrients you need, you will feel less hungry.
Please see my website for more information and get in touch if you would like me to help you with a nutrition plan.
Life is Good!
NB: Please note that weight loss depends on your body composition, diet and lifestyle.