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That was me ^, as you can see I had just completed the Mount Maunganui Half Marathon. I was 86 kgs at 24. Apart from avoiding P.E at school and a few of my teenage years I was always active. I played outside as a kid, I walked 6-9 km a day to get to and from school (age 11-13). I walked my dog, I delivered pamphlets and I obviously trained for a half marathon.
All that activity didn't stop me from gaining weight. Why? Because nutrition is the most important part of weight loss. You can't out run a bad diet.
"Get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen."
In 2014 I managed to lose 10 kgs going through a stressful time in my life. I didn't lose it the right way and ended up gaining back 4 kgs.
That's me at 80 kgs. As you can see, I was still active, this photo was taken at the top of Papamoa hills.
Without even realizing it, my husband was the one who put the wheels into motion. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. He was the one that encouraged me to join a gym. I'm a bit of an introvert so working out in front of people is scary for me but because of him I went.
We went to the gym regularly for over an hour and followed the programs we were given. I lost no weight. I was spending over 2 hours of my life a day (including travel) doing something that just wasn't working.
Then this poster showed up at the gym and changed my life. If it wasn't for my husband I would never have known about this challenge.
I started incorporating the recipes into my day to day life as soon as I downloaded the plan. I lost 6.2 kgs the month before the challenge started just from following Mark's nutrition advice. Over the next 12 weeks following both the nutrition plan and exercise routine I managed to lose another 8.7 kgs and come in at 3rd place with a total of 15 kgs (12% of my body weight) lost.
Note how uncomfortable I look in the first two photos
The best thing about this program is it's easy. It doesn't require a massive amount of time spent exercising. (30 mins cardio twice a week, 45 min strength training 3 times a week and 45 min cardio in the weekend). I did all my workouts at home. All you need is a cross trainer (or other cardio equipment), a set of adjustable dumbbells, swiss ball and yoga mat. I made time to workout in the evenings when my kids were in bed rather than watching tv.
As a bonus recipes are yummy. Even my kids like them and you don't even have to count calories. Mark provides portion sizes and meal plans.
If you are time poor then this is the program for you. When I started I was going to polytech, I was leaving home at 8 in the morning. I not only had to organise myself, but my two children as well. Quite often I was prepping lunches and dinners the night before as we often had after school activities that would mean we didn't get home til later. If you want this you will make time for it. Eventually it becomes a way of life.
When I finished this program I was back to the size I was before kids. I started at a size 14-16 and finished in a size 10 pants, size 8 dress. I wasn't finished yet. I set myself a goal of reducing my body fat percentage.
This is my progress between challenges
In 2016 I signed up for the next 12 week challenge. This one is set up differently than the Biggest Loser. It's designed to help you lose body fat and replace it with firm, toned, lean muscle. All with only 3 hours exercise per week.
Here are my before and after shots from the 12 week challenge. Although I still weigh the same as when I started. You can definitely see a change.
I now no longer focus on what the scales say. I weigh myself about once a month. Although it started out as a weight loss thing for me, my direction and focus has changed.
Good nutrition is what I concentrate on now. If you follow me on Facebook you probably see my posts about my lifestyle. It's never been a diet for me. Mark's nutrition plan pushed me in the right direction but a bunch things shaped the way I eat today.
Watching the Food Matters documentary was a major eye opener. It focuses on how nutrition plays a key role in treating health conditions and how the processed food we are consuming is contributing to the degenerative diseases we are seeing today. I recommend it as a good starting point to anyone who wants to change there lifestyle.
The second thing that really changed my view on food was the I Quit Sugar books. Sugar is a massive contributor to the obesity we see today. It's in everything. These books along with That Sugar Film, That Sugar Book and What the Fat are really good reads.
Other recipe books I love at the moment include Trim Healthy Mama. This book contains so many family friendly recipes. It includes soups, crock pot meals, snacks, shakes, drinks, baking and of course desserts. And they are all HEALTHY. Lose weight while eating well.
Pete Evans Paleo books are also some of my favorites. We love his butter chicken recipe, all the others we have tried have been good too.
Over all my diet can be classed as a very traditional one. I avoid modern, processed foods and chose whole natural foods. I focus on making sure my meals are nutrient rich and not just something to fill me up and I prepare meals from scratch. No packet mixes or tinned meals in this household. I even make my own bread.
I also highly recommend the Nourishing Traditions books if you want to take this approach.
Check out my over all progress. The second month of the biggest loser challenge compared to 2 days ago.
I am the strongest I have ever been and I love it. My stomach is flatter than it was before kids and I didn't have small babies. I haven't made goals for the future yet but I know I don't want to ever go back to how I was before. I urge anyone thinking about losing weight to focus on it for the health aspect. I feel so much better than I did. I have more confidence and I am sure that shows in my photo's.
I workout to be strong, not skinny and I eat for health not weight loss.