My story starts a long time ago when I was a very active teen, with all sorts of sports in and outside of school taking up to 15 hours of my time each week. This led me to follow a career in teaching Physical Education. Through university we were taught about fitness, ideal weight and BMI and specifically calories in and calories out. I was fit, lean and keen.
Fast forward a few years and I had four babies in pretty quick succession – 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1994. After the first three babies I was able to get back to my size 8-10 through breastfeeding and daily walks. Baby four was different – we had moved to Hong Kong with new food, a new climate, new routines and new friends. I was still trying to be active through walking, but we lived on top of a very high steep mountain and it was hot – really hot in summer. Even the pool was like a warm bath! I could not shift the baby fat and my body took on a shape all of its own.
Through the years I had tried a number of weight loss techniques based on my university training…more exercise and less eating. I bought a mountain bike and would go for a 20km ride every morning before heading off to work – which meant a 4am wake up. I lost weight, but that lifestyle was not sustainable and the pounds piled back on.
My Unsustainable Attempts to Lose Weight
I started walking and running every day just doing laps of a 300m road that was somewhat flat. To extend myself I would do more laps and go faster and once more I lost weight. But again, I could not sustain the amount of exercise at the intensity I needed to maintain my weight loss. All through this time I avoided junk food and was on the ‘low fat-no carbs-more exercise’ treadmill.
I tried the Atkins diet and reduced my size significantly, but again it is not sustainable to eat that way for life – and I missed fruit and veges. It was not balanced.
The next point of last resort was the Herbal Life meal replacement shakes. Again, I mixed this up with running and cycling up to 4 hours a day and lost a heap of weight in about 4 weeks. But those shakes – ugh! I got to a place where I could only gag when I saw the packets. Again it was not sustainable weight maintenance.
Then in 2013 I had a major health crisis – my blood pressure was at a critical level. I weighed 79kgs on my 162cm frame. I was obese according to the charts and was looking like an imminent stroke victim. This health issue was the result of a stressful work place coupled with my size. It was time to get serious about losing weight again!
So out with the shoes, and the MyFitnessPal app, measuring the calories in and calories out. I sustained an intake of 1000 calories and was doing 2-3 hours of exercise a day – walking and cycling, with a long commute and full-time work. I was also placed on some heavy duty blood pressure medication.
Again, I lost weight, but, boy, was it hard work to maintain and I really felt deprived. In June 2014 my husband and I embarked on a cycling holiday through Europe where we cycled 700 kms from Amsterdam to Frankfurt along the Rhine river. I felt good, healthy and fit, but I still was bigger than I wanted to be and it really did not seem to matter how much exercise I did and at what exertion level, there was a point where nothing budged.
In 2017 we moved back to Australia. International moves are stressful, but I was at a somewhat happy place with regards to my size. Then I ballooned again to 80kgs. I could not understand it. I was riding my bike, I ate healthy foods, I avoided most packaged foods and life certainly was not a challenge as it had been previously. I put it down to menopause and my lot in life – that I was going to be a fat woman in her 50’s and beyond, just like so many others.
Successful, Sustainable Weight Loss With 4 Phase
Then on Christmas Day 2017, my sister-in-law, who was a physio, had heard about Changing Habits from one of her clients and had given the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol a go, losing quite a bit of weight very quickly. We talked about it and she showed me the drops. I immediately looked it up, did a bit of research and ordered the Starter Pack right then. I had to wait for the holiday period to be over before receiving my package, and when it arrived I read the book from cover to cover. I was concerned that this would be another unsustainable effort – I mean, really, how can anyone survive on such limited calories a day? And with no exercise? What was this?!
But on January 3rd I started the protocol and lost 12kgs. I was amazed at how much I lost in such a short space of time (around a month).
I quickly realised this protocol is as much about your relationship with food as it is about losing weight.
It is also a mind challenge – especially when it comes to the reduced food choices for phase 2 & 3! I did try to exercise through the protocol, but found I simply did not have the energy in my body to enjoy it. Plus, it made me want more food of the wrong kind – namely carbs.
One of the major changes to my body were my calves, which had become so inflamed and scarred through all my exercise that I could not even have a massage to release the muscles as it was so painful to touch. This led to plantar fasciitis, lower back pain and Achilles heel issues. I also could not wear knee high boots as my calves were so big, they could not zip up. This inflammation in my calves was the first to go and now they are soft and supple, with no pain to the touch and (most importantly!) I can now wear knee high boots.
Testing foods in Phase 4 (when you reintroduce foods back into your diet) revealed my weight triggers to be avocado, coconut oil, feta cheese, humous and cotton seed oil. Which explained why I had ballooned up to 80.9 kgs – our neighbour has a very fruitful avocado tree and were eating them as fast as they were growing!
At least one avocado a day with feta cheese and tomato on multigrain homemade toast – all healthy food right? Not for my body!!
Feeling pretty happy with myself I went travelling for work. I really tried hard not to eat too much of the fabulous food in India and Thailand and avoided rice, bread and focused on making good food choices. Then I came home and starting testing again properly. I maintained my weight and measurements for a few months, then we were off on another cycling adventure in Europe to the Netherlands – the land of cheese, bread and wonderful dairy foods. We rode 650 kms and were away for three weeks. I came back with a 3kg weight gain, having no idea of what foods contributed to this.
‘Not Just About Body Size’
July 1st saw me embark on the protocol again and I was ready for the brain tricks this time – the sabotaging talk that sneaks in and the overall simplicity of the eating regime. I did hit a hump when there was no shift in the weight or measurements and the end still seemed so far away. But I pushed through, remaining perfect on protocol and came within 2 kgs of my goal weight. This time was much harder than the first because the weight loss was slower the closer I got to my goal weight. The last 10 days saw no weight change but slight measurement changes. My body had decided it was where it wanted to be. I am now at a comfortable 65kgs and a size 10. I am within the normal BMI and off all blood pressure medications.
This protocol has not only changed my body size, but also my health, self esteem, confidence and most of all, my happiness. I was desperately unhappy being larger than I needed to be, just because it was not who I was on the inside. I am an active woman in her early 50’s who wanted to be healthy and I am so thankful for being introduced to this protocol.
Being able to identify the foods that will pack on the weight empowers me to be vigilant and puts me back in control as I am the only one who puts food into my mouth.
I also like being able to make my own clothes in the small sizes and being on the smaller end of the rack. I do not like my Lycra pants being so baggy right now – I will need to go shopping!
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