So I have arrived back from Hawaii after a much needed holiday with my darling.
Prior to our holiday my boyfriend and I decided to go on a diet to lose a ‘few kilos’ just to look and feel a little more ‘fitter’. Through some hard work and dedication we achieved a combined weight loss effort of approximately 12 kilos (he lost a little over 7 kilos, I lost a little over 5 kilos).
Now you must be wondering how we did it? A magic pill? A vibrating belt strap thingy wrapped around our waist and hips while standing there and doing , well, nothing? I’m sorry to disappoint you but it was just good old fashioned HARD WORK!
Diet, exercise and determination! Yes I sound like a broken record. You’ve heard it all before, what’s new right?
It started off when we invited a lovely lifelong friend over for dinner. She always looks fantastic but what I had noticed in this instance was that she had a bit more of a bounce in her step. She had mentioned she had recently embarked on a, what I would refer to as a somewhat ‘sugar-free diet.’ She went on to explain what that exactly involved. I’ll paraphrase what she had mentioned.
- The obvious was to eliminate adding sugar to your diet. That’s easy, no sugar in your coffee and/or tea. This is something that I took to quite easily like a duck to water.
- To eliminate complex carbohydrates such as rice, bread and pasta. Oats are allowed and so are sweet potatoes however I find that I eat sweet potatoes sparingly and I’m not a massive fan of oats. It’s best to limit these to a few times a week.
- No cakes, biscuits, ice cream, chocolates, custards, basically all sweet treats.
- Yogurts with sugar (Greek Yogurt is preferred).
- Eat fruit and vegetables. Reduce the consumption of the following fruits and vegetables such bananas, pumpkin and carrot although I do eat these and I will explain my reasons later on. The preferred fruits are pears, berries and kiwi fruit (just to name a few.)
- You don’t need to count calories.
- Dairy is allowed. It’s best to go for the full fat option as opposed to the skimmed variety as these options tend to have added sugars.
- Eat regularly.
- Drink plenty of water.
- No soft drinks.
These are some of the many pointers.
As mentioned in a previous post, my boyfriend and I had previously embarked on a Paleo/primal/low carb diet early last year. We had a small amount of success. We teetered off and gained most of it back.
So whilst my friend was still there my boyfriend went out and bought some Greek yogurt, berries and walnuts. To tell you the truth, I didn’t enjoy it at first spoonful (I acted like I enjoyed it) and I didn’t think I could continue on. But I had decided that come Monday I would give it a go. The only difference is that I decided to tweak it slightly.
So that’s where the watered down Paleo/primal/low-carb/sugar-free diet began.
So here are the tweaks. My boyfriend and I implemented the above points but we allowed the following:
- One or two cheat meals per week not full days. The idea of this is when you allow yourself a full day to eat anything you wanted you could easily consume more than what’s required. That than could result to regaining what you had lost (by eating less and/or exercising off) previously. Also, your meal tends to taste a lot nicer therefore you have an appreciation of what you are eating even if it’s just good ol’ fish n chips.
- When we prepare steaks, chicken breasts (without skin) or any other cuts of meat we do like a little flavor so we allow ourselves to include some gravy or barbeque / tomato sauces. (We try to control the amount.)
- We do eat bananas, pumpkins, carrots, peas, corn and other starchy fruits and vegetables. My reason for consuming them is because I’m quite active with relation to going to the gym regularly. My gym workouts tend to vary in intensity so I do need those extra carbohydrates to fuel my workouts. I do however limit the amount of these types of foods daily.
- P.S. Don’t get me wrong we occasionally fall of the wagon but we try our hardest to get back up on again.
These are only a few tweaks. I’m sure there are more.
Now while embarking on these new diet changes it wasn’t all sunshine and lolly-pops (obviously no lolly-pops). The first week or so, my boyfriend and I felt lethargic at times (well, I got hit the worst. My boyfriend? Not so bad.) I would often stay in contact with my friend. She would ensure me that it was normal. The key is to continue to drink a lot of water and to eat small regular meals (protein rich with veggies and the like -paraphrasing of course.) I found that this transition from my old way of eating and readopting this new way was a very slow progression but after a couple of weeks my body began to get used to the changes. This phase tends to vary amongst people. Just be aware of it.
Blood, sweat and tears? No just SWEAT, SWEAT and SWEAT!
You’ve heard it all before. Exercise is very important. It truly is. For a number of years I had embarked on so many weight loss ventures. Regardless of the amount of time I put in I would lose a little then it would creep back on and then some. This is what I had found worked for me this time around.
- Workout 5-6 times a week.
- I would usually workout 6 times a week on average. The sessions would go around an hour at a time. I would incorporate weight training and cardio work (skipping, running on a treadmill, X trainer, stepper, stationary bike etc)
- I increased my sessions a few times a week where I would attend the gym twice a day.
- The key seems to be consistency and variety (I.e with exercises, intensity etc)
I started this diet and exercise regime around mid March 2014 and finished it by late April 2014. My boyfriend had only started working out towards the end of the time frame a few times a week for around 45 minutes – 1 hour at a time. Most of his workouts were cardio based. Although he didn’t workout regularly he did lose the weight, however (now here is a disclaimer) he tends to lose weight quickly (if he puts some effort) but on the same token he can put it straight back on if he is not careful.
Now where to from here?
We had arrived back from our holiday a couple of weeks ago. Both my boyfriend and I had put on a few kilos during our holiday but to date we have lost most of it. I have ever so slowly gone back to our diet and exercise regime. My boyfriend hasn’t gone back to the gym but he too is slowly incorporating the diet, we had previously embarked on, back into his life.
Last week I went to the gym 6 times (1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes) each time. This week I will be visiting the gym 4-5 times. I will aim to add two extra sessions onto two of those days. I also have a 5km MS charity fun run I will be competing in this Sunday.
I guess my next goal is to continue what I had done to lose the last 5 kilos and aim to lose another. Let’s see if it will work this time around.
We have had quite a few slip-ups but all in all we are slowly getting back on track. We are finding it a little harder to stay motivated as I guess we don’t have a tropical island to visit as our first mini goal/incentive. What keeps us going and learning from our mistakes is staying focussed on our major goal of losing the excess we have accumulated over the years and to change our damaging eating habits we had adopted. It takes time and trial and error but I guess if we work together we will get there.
Author of The Papakittens Adventures: Reach for the Stars
Disclaimer* This is in no way diet advice but our own personal journey and experience. I’m not a dietician. Please seek professional advice when embarking on any diet and/or exercise regime.
#paleo #lowcarb #sugarfree #dieting #success