Only a few nights ago, I was sitting at my computer after dinner, with a glass of whiskey and soda water and a packet of double chocolate Tim Tams. I demolished the entire packet that same night. I’m not proud of myself at all.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been obsessed with food. And I’ve always been a big eater.
At the age of 9 I was already 58kg. I’m pretty glad all my childhood photos are back in Perth because they’re pretty embarrassing.
Throughout my primary and middle school years, I’d go home and devour into 6 or 7 cheese on crackers. Each day I’d average about 12 slices of bread. If there was leftover pasta from the night before, I’d eat it for breakfast. On toast. Pretty awful I know.
At the end of 2015 I started an Optislim diet which went for about 2 months. During that time I managed to lose 10 kg and reach my lowest weight of 66kg.
However my weight starting slipping back up again and by the time I made it to Thailand for my fitness bootcamp, I was up to 72kg (pigging out on butter chicken and McDonalds in Singapore beforehand didn’t help), managing to make it back down to 69kg after only 10 days at bootcamp. In saying that, I really struggled with the food we were served in Thailand. It was really good food, believe me. But I acted like a little 4 year old having a tantrum and refusing to eat dinner some nights because all I could think about was a good piece of steak and chips on the side. That’s just how much power food has had over me.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve put on a lot of weight around my waist/stomach area, which is one of the most dangerous areas to keep fat. Not only does it look bad but I actually don’t feel all that comfortable or good about myself at all.
Additionally, I’ve been suffering from a hormonal balance for years, having discovered I have high levels of testosterone. As a result, I suffer from hirsutism, where I experience excessive body hair growth. While I was taking oral contraceptives as a means of reducing the hair growth, I could no longer tolerate some of the side effects of the pill, especially all the bloating and weight gain. I decided there had to be a way to help heal or at least reduce this condition naturally.
Therefore, I’ve decided to have a good go and eating more wholesome, natural foods and reduce the amount of processed food (especially sugar!) that goes into my mouth as much as is realistic. Aiming for 100% is not realistic, so for starters, I’m going to aim for eating well 70% of the time and build that up.
To help me with eating healthily I plan to do the following things below. It’s not rocket science, and I’m sure you’ve come across millions of articles with the below advice for losing weight. But it’s basic and I think keeping things basic and simple is the way to go.
Start keeping a food diary
When I was getting personal training last year, I was encouraged to keep a food diary. This was a really good way to keep me accountable and to actually realise just how much food I was putting in my mouth and understand what foods were triggering me off. For example, I found apples had a tendency to give me gas.
Keeping a diary is something I’ve just started up again and I’m hoping it’ll be just as effective with holding me to account this time around.
Plan my meals
I know that when I plan my meals I waste a lot less food. I also make better choices and know that if I prepare enough food, there’ll always be something in the fridge on those nights when I’m too tired to cook and would rather just go down to the fish and chip shop.
This week I have the following meals planned:
- Chicken and vegetable stir fry.
- Beef stir fry
- Chicken curry
- Pork chops cooked with honey and smoked paprika and a salad.
I’m wondering if there may be a bit too much red meat in this week’s planned meals but we’ll see how I go there.
During the weekends, I’ll do my food prep, cooking a few meals in advanced so I don’t have to worry about finding the energy to cook after work and having excuses to go and buy take-out.
Keep alcohol out of the house as much as possible
A habit I’ve started slipping into is buying alcohol and drinking at home. Oyster Bay Sauvingon Blanc is a particular favourite of mine (in case you don’t know what to buy for my birthday or Christmas present). It’s gotten to the point where I’ve started having a drink or two every night.
While I’d love to go cold turkey, I think it might be more realistic to cut down to at least every second night until eventually I’ve cut down to maybe only 2 or 3 drinks a week.
Find better ways to deal with my stress
Instead of using food (and alcohol) as a coping mechanism, I am going to proactively work on finding more positive ways to deal with stress. Some ideas:
- Download a meditation app and start meditating on a daily basis, even if it’s for only 5 minutes at a time at first.
- Do some sort of craft or artistic activity when I’m at home. At the moment I do spend a lot of time at home still as I slowly manouever my way into the social scene in Brisbane so in the mean time instead of spending hours playing games on my phone or reading clickbait articles, perhaps I’d be better off doing something productive and meditative.
Drink lots of tea and cut down on the coffee intake
I was never really a coffee fan until I started working. By late last year, I was easily downing up to 3 cups of coffee a day. Not a good thing at all.
I’ve always been a big herbal tea fan so I think it’ll be good to start getting back into drinking more tea. I’ve been reading about the health benefits of spearmint tea in particular. Apparently just two cups of spearmint tea a day is a good remedy for hirsutism and can help with balancing hormones.
Experiment and try new recipes
I love cooking but I can be very lazy and tend not to spend that much time in the kitchen if I can help it. It’s also not overly motivating just cooking for one all the time.
However, this is a good opportunity to experiment and try all sorts of delicious and nutritious recipes. I really want to have a go at making my own bone broths.
If anyone has any recipes they’d like to share, please feel free to do so!
Start taking supplements
My mother spent years hounding me to start taking supplements but being the stubborn person I was, I refused to listen.
I’ve finally relented and have started taking the following:
- Blackmores Executive B: This is meant to help with coping with stress, reducing nervous tension, support healthy functioning of the nervous system and help convert food to energy.
- Swisse Magnesium: This should help with healthy muscle function, nervous system support, PMS symptom relief and energy production (i.e. help the body metabolise food into energy and assist with cellular energy production).
It’s not going to be easy. No doubt I am going to trip up a fair few times. But as long as I keep going and don’t give up then I know it’ll be OK. I’ll be regularly evaluating my results and progress and see if there’s room for improvement.
I just want to get to a point in my life where I see food as a means to fuel my body and keep it in good shape rather than a crutch to help me deal with life when it gets a bit too tough for me and I am looking forward to seeing how things go.