What does it take to lose more than 10kgs and keep it off?
To look at me now, you might never realise that I struggled with my weight in the past. I’ve gone through two weight loss journeys in my lifetime, once when I was 23 and lost ten kilos, and once following my pregnancy, when I lost 30 kilos. Yep, you read that correctly: Three. Zero.
To put that into perspective, I am only just nudging 5’1 and a healthy weight for me – as someone that trains for strength, agility and power - is between 48 to 50kgs. So an additional 30kgs on my frame was pretty significant and more than ½ my body weight. Needless to say, it was very uncomfortable and it felt like I was carrying around my conjoined twin with me every day.
My techniques for losing weight are not radical or extreme. I focus on long-term results that are sustainable, safe and kind to my body while also limiting the health risks of quickly and dramatically losing weight.
For me, getting back into shape wasn’t a number on the scales and it most definitely wasn’t about pushing myself to extremes with low calorie restrictive diets and high amounts of cardio and exercise. It was about reconnecting with my body, using food as fuel, discovering my passion for exercise and learning about rituals to support my health and wellness.
It took me six months to lose ten kilos when I was 23. After my pregnancy, I managed to lose the 30 kilos quite steadily over the course of nine months. I also regained my pre-baby strength and toning and, if I do say so myself, look and feel even better than before!
Ready to feel the same? Here are the go-to’s I personally used on my journey back to health:
#1 Put your safety first.
Get medical clearance and a check-up before you start your health journey. It’s always good to know what your internal health is like, as we often forget about things like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, cortisol and other health measures that could impact how and what you do in the short and long-term.
#2 Make a commitment over a period.
Understand that change takes time. Give yourself at least 12 weeks to see marked improvement and focus on four week blocks to make it simpler for your brain and body to adjust and manage the changes. Commit to reviewing your progress every month and promise yourself that you’ll continue this journey for up to 12 weeks. It doesn’t matter in the long term if you slip up here and there. Having a window of effort is better than no effort at all.
#3 Write down your goals and action steps.
Bonus tip: Make them SMART, that is: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. Not, “I want to lose 50 kilos and become healthy”. Is this even achievable or realistic – what is your baseline? How will you measure it and in what given time? Instead, focus on four week blocks, e.g. I want to lose four kilos in four weeks (insert date) and I’m going to do it by:
Exercising every day for 30 mins minimum.
Eat healthy meals - cook at home more often, more veggies and fruits.
Limit my alcohol to two drinks per week.
Drink a green juice – low sugar – or lemon water every morning.
Reducing caffeine consumption to two x drinks per day, including tea, coffee and other artificial stimulants.
Get seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night.
Take weight and body measurements at the end of each four week blocks.
#4 Stay hydrated.
Drink 500ml’s of water upon rising, before lunch and before dinner. I am not saying that drinking water is a magic tonic for losing weight, but if you are thirsty this is a sign that you should have drunk water well and truly before the thirst kicked in. Carry a water bottle with you (either BPA free plastic, preferably stainless steel or glass) and sip water throughout your day to stop you from confusing hunger with thirst. Aim for about 3 Litres per day.
#5 Exercise for enjoyment.
Our bodies are designed to move. Make It happen and make it last for at least 30 minutes every day. If you want to see more definition, toning and strength, understand that muscles need time under tension – this will happen based on the type of exercise you do. Resistance training is so important and helps to create definition and strength in your body. Be patient and focus on your diet, exercise and sleep. The trifecta to a happy and healthy body.
#6 Get in the right mindset.
I can’t stress enough how important mindset is when you’re losing weight. How you think and feel about your weight loss journey will deeply impact what you do. Don’t feel guilty if you slipped up, you are human, life is meant to be lived and things happen. Just get back on it the next day. This is where my Body by Ashanthi Four-Week Holistic Health and Fitness Kick Start is a great option to get you in the right mindset and support you in looking and feeling your best. Sometimes you need a little more structure and guidance to get you on your way.
#7 Be consistent.
This is a lifestyle change not a quick fix. It’ll be harder at the beginning because you have to do more work to start forming better habits – but with time you will get stronger, fitter, learn what your body and mind is capable of and discover your tipping points, i.e. things that feel hard and make you want to give up. We all have them and it doesn’t get easier, you get stronger and you get wiser about what suits you on your health journey.
#8 Learn to cook more meals at home.
Restaurant and fast food is not a great choice on the regular, no matter how healthy they appear. The key to sustainable weight loss and health is understanding nutrition and being consistent in meeting your nutritional needs. There are a lot of diets and ways of eating these days and the best approach I have found, is to stick to eating balanced meals consisting of proteins, carbs and fats and knowing your portions. Don’t over complicate your meals. Choose real foods (like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains) over more processed foods, like breads, pasta, biscuits, chips, cakes, desserts. Limit foods that come in a package with a long list of ingredients or which are mostly unrecognizable. This is a big topic and will break down the key to eating healthy in a further blog post. Just keep your meals simple and under-dressed.
#8 Keep going – no ifs or buts!
If you want something bad enough you have to try and keep trying. Your body, your decisions. Don’t make excuses. Losing weight and getting fitter is all about habit formation and mindset. Do your bit everyday. Eat well, move your body, get enough rest and hydrate as the first steps. You can do this!
Need support losing weight and building your dream body? You don’t have to do this by yourself. Make sure you check out my 1:1 personal training and four-week kick start packages. And if you have any more questions or want to share your story and journey, be sure to leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!