Hi! I’m Mere, a stay at home mum to three tiny terrors, a wife to a very hard-working husband, I run a little lifestyle photography business and somewhere in amongst all that, am best friends with Kelly.
She asked me to write a few tips for Weigh-in Wednesday, because over the past three years I’ve lost 30kg – something I can’t quite wrap my own head around most of the time, because so much of my life’s focus was on trying to shed weight, only to have the meagre amounts I managed to lose pile back on plus some. I definitely haven’t found a ‘miracle’ weight loss cure, but I did change my mindset around food and exercise which has made a phenomenal impact on my health and wellbeing.
After my first son arrived, our second child, I found myself at my lowest weight in a long time, about 5kg lighter than I was pre-pregnancy – the combination of pretty awful morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, having a toddler to chase along with breastfeeding a newborn, it all added up to some incidental weight loss. It felt really good being smaller than I was used to, so I piggybacked on those positive emotions and adjusted my lifestyle – here are some of the key things that made a difference for me long-term.
1. Figure Out What Motivates You
After our third baby arrived I noticed my weight starting to creep back up as I indulged my cravings for baking and sugar, so I signed up for a 12 week challenge with a personal trainer – we were provided with a new menu and exercise plan each week and had a secret Facebook group along with the other participants. What do you know, I won that challenge with the highest percentage of weight loss – turns out that competition motivates me in a major way, as well as the fact I’d had to put my money where my mouth was and outlay some cash to participate. Your motivators may change throughout your journey, so you’ll need to adjust them to suit your current situation.
2. Change The Way You Talk To Yourself
As part of the 12 week challenge I took part in, we were challenged to change our self-talk. If you’re beating yourself up all the time, how can you expect to have a positive outlook and make your health a priority? We were encouraged to write something creatively to deal with our body issues – this was mine:
Dear body of mine,
I think its time we had a talk. I’ve been doing some thinking about our relationship and have come to realise I owe you more than a few apologies.
I know I said some things about you that were nasty and spiteful, and which were totally unwarranted. I called you fat, useless and weak. I compared you to all the other bodies and told you you weren’t good enough. I ate food which had little nutritional value and did nothing to help fuel you, I left you sitting on the couch and let your muscles waste. I blamed you for all my aches and pains.
I see now that you deserve to be cherished. You grew, birthed and then nourished three beautiful babies. You allow me to chase and play with those children, and so much more. You run and jump and climb, you are still young and agile, you give me unlimited access to the world at large.
I’m sorry. From here on in I’ll recognise the blessing and responsibility involved in owning a healthy, able body.
I hope we can be lifelong friends.
3. 80/20 Rule
I read somewhere that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise – even if it’s not true, it changed my attitude towards how I was fuelling my body! Going for a 45 minute run does not give me carte blanche to eat all the things. Consistency in my food choices AND fitting in my exercise makes me feel healthier and will eventually lead to weight loss.
4. No Excuses
I know I can fit in a 20 minute workout somewhere in my hectic day. It might mean I have to get up earlier, or once the kids have finally gone to bed, but I CAN fit it in. Even better, I can get the kids involved and count down my reps, race around the backyard with them, make an obstacle course etc. Planning my exercise for the coming week is really helpful, as I know what our kids schedule is so can work around our other commitments. No excuses.
5. Good Food = Feels Good
I can’t believe it took me 32 years to figure this one out, but it has been a gamechanger – good, healthy, nourishing food makes me feel great, both physically and mentally. It fuels my body for the exercise I need, I have fewer aches and pains, I am clear-headed and have more energy for the kids! I feel proud I’ve made good choices and am taking care of myself. Likewise, crappy food does exactly the opposite – I may temporarily feel good when I eat it as a ‘special treat’, but then those emotions of regret and guilt surface. It works against my body, makes me sluggish and have less energy, I’m mysteriously drawn to lazing on the couch. This one is probably the hardest for me to remember as I get sucked into the vortex of pastry and scones pretty easily, but it has helped shape my choices so much.