Sarah's knowledge and determination helped her lose the baby weight... again!
11 stone 3 lb
8 stone 9lb
|Sarah's Lost||2 stone 8 lb||3 dress sizes|
|Time Taken||4 months 1 week|
A bit about me and my lifestyle...
What happens when life suddenly throws you a curveball - or three?
Yes, I know there are plenty of healthy, sensible, non-food-related ways to deal with adverse circumstances...
"I do confess however that my coping mechanism of choice is to start baking cakes!"
It’s partly that the creative side of baking allows me to ‘switch off’ and relax but there’s just something about a cup of tea with generous slice of homemade cake, whether it be chocolate, carrot, coffee, banana, bakewell, or buns - which really hits the spot, especially when I feel like I need a pick-me-up.
But before you go, “ahh, that’s the fatal error here”, here’s the thing:
"WLR is the only method I’ve discovered which enables you to literally have your cake and eat it - as part of a calorie-counted approach to managing your weight."
It has been 8 eventful years since I posted my original success story on WLR...and at first I wasn’t sure if it would be interesting or relevant if I wrote another one. After all, I used almost exactly the same approach and tools to lose weight this time, as I did when I first signed up in 2012.
But then I realised that it might be helpful to show that reaching goal weight isn’t simply the final destination on our weight loss journeys. Sometimes life is just going to rear up, slap us in the face, and throw us off track, despite our best intentions.
But the good news I’ve learned is, the self-knowledge gained and the tools available on WLR stand you in good stead when you go through a blip.
There’s more to life than worrying about your weight, but the knowledge that with the help of WLR, at least ONE thing is manageable when everything else isn’t, does feel reassuring to me. The lessons I learned on WLR 8 years ago have allowed me to dust myself off and plough on through many life-changes and upheaval in recent years.
In a nutshell: around 2 and a half years after I reached goal and was successfully maintaining, in the space of a few weeks in 2015, my father died very unexpectedly and my marriage (less unexpectedly) broke up; in the ensuing months, I got divorced and sold my house; took the necessary courses and passed the exams in order to adopt the Luxembourgish nationality to avoid potential work issues due to Brexit, and then moved to Germany, which meant that my children had to switch schools and we all had rather a steep learning curve brushing up our German language skills.
Then, just as I thought I was over the worst of it, I had to take my ex-husband to court again.
In the midst of all this I met a wonderful, kind, and supportive man and I’m now happily re-married.
Four years ago, we bought our dream home together and then, after 2 miscarriages, we went through 4 failed cycles of IVF. Last year, we finally welcomed my third daughter, (my husband’s first child) - conceived naturally after we had given up all hope....
Some things have also stayed the same in the last 8 years: I still work shifts full-time as an airline pilot and still have a very busy home life as mum to my - now 3! - girls.
I’m still dashing here and there and juggling madly to keep all balls in the air, but I’m very glad to now be able to say that despite the new challenges that Covid brings, life - finally - feels settled again and on an even keel.
My weight journey...
So what happened to me weight-wise during all of this? Initially, not much. I did temporarily lose a few kilos which I put down to the stress of my father’s death and my marriage breaking up, and although weighing and logging was definitely taking a backseat, I was still paying close attention to portion size and to what I was eating, (mainly cake!) and was maintaining successfully, give or take a couple of kilos.
The first thing which threw me properly off course, was when I first started dating my new husband. Ironically it wasn’t cake which was the culprit. What I now ruefully refer to as “The Cheese Issue” was the problem.
In short, when he discovered that I have a love of, and a weakness for, all cheese, he filled his fridge full of every cheese under the sun, very sweetly cooked me a lot of delicious cheese-heavy meals, (on one occasion I do remember feeling slightly overwhelmed to be faced with a delicious, but enormous, homemade 4-cheese pizza waiting for me when I got home at midnight after a flight), and he even whisked me away for a romantic, cheese-fondu-filled weekend in Switzerland. I was in cheese heaven.
However, the net result of living several months in this cheese heaven, was about 7 kilos and some quite serious IBS-type stomach issues.
Having been to the doctor and ruled out anything more sinister, and feeling increasingly fed up of having to shoehorn myself into my favourite jeans, I was forced to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth...
"Eating vast quantities of cheese and maintaining a svelte figure does not compute."
Although I was rather annoyed to have gained over a stone, I knew I had only myself to blame. My husband is over 6 foot and his hobby is mountain biking. He could afford to eat all that cheese. I couldn’t, and I knew it.
But it wasn’t yet panic stations. I was still within the healthy weight range for my height and quite frankly I had enough on my plate dealing with the various issues as detailed above, to not have the impetus to address my weight directly.
I did dial back significantly on my cheese intake and that was enough to stop any further weight gain and improve the stomach issues.
At a certain point I did start logging and weighing again, but had barely made a dent in the extra 7 kilos before we started IVF.
I found IVF to be gruelling. You have to inject yourself with the IVF drugs during specific time windows and if this happened to be during a flight, I had to do this in the aircraft toilet. (As you may imagine, it is not the most inspiring environment for such a task). But most of all, I found the whole process of the building up of and then ultimately dashing of, hope, mirroring the hormonal ups and downs, emotionally draining.
I had very little left over of myself to focus on other things, and I do recall baking a lot of cakes, often during the night when I couldn’t sleep!
Throughout the IVF process, paying attention to my weight was simply off my agenda and I gained another 5 kilos.
"I was now 12 kilos over my ideal weight, and I didn’t feel good about myself anymore."
Thinking to myself always, “I really MUST do something about my weight” was an added stress during an already stressful period.
After one year and the fourth failed cycle, we had to give up on IVF due to my having reached the age threshold. I’m sure you can imagine how overjoyed we were when I fell pregnant naturally just 2 weeks later. We welcomed Callista in August 2019.
Tackling the weight gain...
I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and it’s no exaggeration to say that my thorough enjoyment of the changes taking place to my body and calm frame of mind as I watched my weight creep up to and then just over the 80kg mark towards the end, was the knowledge that WLR was waiting for me afterwards to help me get back in shape.
Because I had lost the baby weight successfully after my previous pregnancy, I knew exactly what was involved and also that I would be successful if I focussed properly on it and weighed and logged everything.
The only real concern I had, was because I was 8 years older, I assumed that it might be more tricky to lose weight now I was in my forties, but reading other people’s success stories reassured me on this point too.
By the time Callista was 6 months old, I had finished breastfeeding and could finally claim my body back.
I had completed the necessary long-absence training and was back on the line at work.
"I found myself hovering around the 70kg mark, with around 15kg to lose, but I was now rapidly getting into the right frame of mind to do something about it."
When the Corona-virus lockdown started and our flights were cancelled and we had to stay home, I suddenly realised that there could be no better time to take back control of my weight.
Normal life being ‘on hold’ meant no parties, weddings, vacations or trips to the restaurant were on the horizon.
The silver lining to this crisis for me therefore was that for the first time in years I had time on my hands to focus on myself and get back into healthier habits. To this end I started signing into WLR again everyday and reading the forums, (it was nice to see some familiar faces after such a long time away)!
I started cooking healthy, low Glycemic Index food, weighing and logging everything and I also started to exercise.
How wlr helped...
The aspect of WLR which has helped me the most this time, is again the food and exercise diaries.
"They show so clearly the benefits of exercise and the relationship between what you eat and calories earned and spent and this for me is invaluable."
Everyone trying to lose weight is familiar with the concept of ‘eat less, move more’, (easy to say...not so easy to do), but the diaries do take the emotion out of this equation and give it to you in simple maths.
I had got my head around the ‘eat less’ part 8 years ago, but it’s the second part of the equation, the ‘move more’ part, which has been the biggest revelation for me this time around.
"I hadn’t fully appreciated how much easier it is to lose weight as an average-sized, middle-aged woman if you earn an extra 300 - 400 calories, just by doing an hour or so exercise each day."
It doesn’t have to involve a lot of bother: an hour’s brisk walking will do the trick. We live on the edge of a big forest, so I dusted off my ancient hiking boots, strapped Callista into my new Ergobaby sling and started walking every morning.
"At first I could barely trudge 1 km without feeling like I had run a marathon."
But now we walk a brisk 7km together almost every morning, come rain or shine, which takes just over an hour.
I also picked up my old weighted hula hoop once again and started hooping, aiming for 20 min a day. After the third baby, I had a distinctive ‘mum-tum’ and my stomach muscles had failed to knit back together naturally.
My doctor said that I may have to have surgery to close the gap, but the daily hooping really helped to tighten the muscles and now both the hernia and the mum-tum are history.
Of course there’s no getting around the fact that making smart food choices and weighing and logging everything are paramount. But my daily walk and hooping sessions lift my mood and give me a sense of achievement.
"It has also enabled me to fully enjoy eating foods of my choice - including cheese (in moderation now!) and a piece of guilt-free, homemade cake most days, as well as the odd glass of wine."
It’s not too much to say that I have really enjoyed the journey back to my ideal weight and this is largely due to having rediscovered the many benefits of exercising regularly.
How I stayed motivated...
I personally stayed motivated by choosing the max healthy rate to lose weight of around 1kg/week. I know it’s not a race to the finish line, but I do like to see definite progress and it suits my personality to have a clear timeframe where possible.
"I love how WLR tells you the date you should reach goal!"
For me personally, it was highly motivating to regularly remind myself, “if I apply myself properly, in X months from now I’ll reach my goal weight. I might as well spend these months working towards this - the time will pass anyway, and I will have used this time productively and achieved something worthwhile”.
"Seeing the blue ‘weight line’ in goals and results move incrementally downwards and finally hit the pink ‘goal line’ was highly rewarding"
I also liked having more ‘margin’ at the max rate. That meant that there was room for an occasional blip, or miscalculation, because of the larger difference between my calorie allowance for weight loss and for maintenance at the max rate of loss.
I set myself a (realistic) goal to be back in shape by my baby’s first birthday and I was happy to achieve this with a couple of weeks in hand.
Updating my weight every morning helped me stay focused throughout.
I have also enjoyed participating in the Walk The Weight Off Challenge.
How losing weight has had an impact...
Since reaching goal and having maintained for a few months...
"I’ve felt much more at ease in my own skin."
I feel less self-conscious and more confident in myself in general.
Getting dressed is quick and easy in the morning and I no longer have to root around to find that pair of work trousers which were somewhat comfortable.
Despite Covid, shopping is fun again and it was nice to replace my maternity clothes with some new things.
"I feel fit and healthy and full of energy"
thanks to the daily walks, and I now often find myself accompanied on them by my husband.
Having quickly gone from sceptical to impressed as he saw the progress I made, and noticing the benefits of the structured approach to weight loss that WLR provides, he signed up and has lost around a stone himself.
My Au Pair is now also on board!
My top 3 weight loss tips...
Top Tip #1
Make smart food choices and plan your meals. If you consistently go for low GI foods which fill you up and release energy slowly, but which are not highly calorific, it’s much easier to stick to your allowance.If you plan in advance, its easier to make good choices when you feel hungry or tired.
Top Tip #2
Weigh yourself often, if not daily, and log it in the goals and results section. It keeps you accountable and helps you understand your body; the graphs enable you to see an overall trend even when the scales don’t cooperate on any one particular day. I found it helpful to weigh myself daily and measure myself with a tape measure once a week.
Top Tip #3
It helps to be more accurate figuring out the calories you burn throughout the day and using a Fitbit integrated with wlr adds a fun, informative element to exercising. Gaining an extra 300-400 calories daily through exercise makes all the difference to properly enjoying your food. (For food, read ‘cake’)!
Getting the best out of wlr...
I highly recommend working out your portion size as accurately as possible, especially when dealing with a lower calorie allowance. For example, rather than cutting e.g. a lasagne, into 8 equal portions, and logging 1 portion, before starting to cook, simply weigh the dish you intend to bake it/serve it in. Then add the ingredients, (weighing and logging them in the ‘create recipe’ function), and put them in the dish.
Once the lasagne is cooked, then weigh the entire thing and subtract the weight of the dish, to work out the weight of the cooked ingredients. Input the result (eg. 1700g) into ‘number of servings’ in the ‘create recipe’ function. Then when you eat a slice of say 350g, in your food diary, you select the lasagne recipe from ‘my recipes’ and input 350 as the number of portions you consumed.
By doing this, you can see the calories you ate very accurately and can easily adjust the size of your portion up or down according to your calorie allowance as well as your levels of hunger! This method is also very useful since different members of your family will likely eat different portion sizes from you, and you can apply it to anything: cakes, soups, pies, salads.....
Finally, do fill in your food and exercise diaries daily, read and post in the forums and join a challenge or two.
WLR provides the framework and information you need which makes managing your weight so much easier and more rewarding than going it alone. With WLR, you CAN have your cake and eat it!
The Weight Loss Resources tools can help you break the yo-yo diet cycle. Keeping an online food diary and learning about eating healthily really puts you in control. You can try it free for 24 hours