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Monday, June 17, 2024

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    How I Lost Weight

    How I lost weight

    Hey there!  I’ve tried pretty much every weight loss programme, plan, shake, pill and fitness regime you can imagine, so I’ve decided to share real advice from my real life journey to help you on yours.

    I was 110 kg’s and in 8 months of ‘bad dieting’ I reached 42 kg’s. While that may sound like an incredible achievement, firstly: 42 kg’s is WAY TOO SMALL FOR ME! I’m 167 cm’s and my ideal weight is more around 65 kg’s to ensure a healthy body and healthy mind! Secondly 42 kg’s is incredibly hard to maintain!  

    What I also learnt through this process is:

    ‘Starve yourself and you starve your brain of the ability to make rational conscious decisions.’

    Yup. I made some pretty dumb decisions.

    Throughout that process, I did starve myself and it left me wracked with anxiety, depression and a crippling eating disorder. My body was basically SCREAMING for help and I will admit, I did a lot of damage to my body in the process. What also didn’t help was the weight gain that followed which saw me head back up to around 90 kg’s. This made me feel like a complete failure and really messed with my confidence.

    SO, I tried it again. I lost a whole load of weight on a weight loss programme.  Then I gained it back again. Then I tried protein shakes as meal replacements and lost the weight again. I also experienced really challenging problems with my blood sugars over that period, not realising that there was 30 grams of sugar in each shake! I went off the shakes and regained the weight.

    I went up and down, and up and down, time and time again and I couldn’t seem to find an answer that works!

    Here’s what I know: When we go on a diet plan, what happens when we go off it? We regain weight – sometimes more than we started with – and realise we’ve wasted a whole lot of money and time.

    Let’s go deeper: why did we go off that diet plan in the first place?

    I know exactly why:

    • The food is boring
    • You get tired of living off rabbit food
    • It’s too restrictive
    • You can’t live off 2 shakes a day for the rest of my life
    • It’s hard to cater for yourself and your partner / family
    • It’s hard to go out and socialise and stay on a ‘diet’
    • You love alcohol too much
    • Food kits are great but you don’t know what / how to cook
    • The programme is too expensive
    • The chemicals in the tablets make you feel sick and shaky
    • Just one cheat day won’t hurt

    Sound familiar?

    These were all my excuses. Diets are hard.   I VOWED AND DECLARED THAT I WILL NEVER DIET AGAIN AND NOW I CAN LITERALLY HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT TOO! How?  I discovered a new way of eating: not a diet….a lifestyle.  And now I’m free!

    But first, let’s discuss what else doesn’t work:

    Starving yourself 

    As mentioned, starve your body and you starve your brain of making great choices. You body also has to grab it’s protein from somewhere.  For me on my journey, I still had fat, but my body basically started to cannibalize its own protein. I had a lot of muscle wastage and did damage to my connective tissues.

    For some people intermittent fasting works. I’ve tried it. It’s good for re-activating your weight loss plan if you’ve plateaued, however as I spent many years in ‘starvation mode’ it puts a lot of stress on my body and messes with my blood sugars too much.  I can do it for  a week of two, then after that I have to go back to eating regular amounts every couple of hours to keep my metabolism cranking! 

    As we all have different genetic makeups, it’s important to work out what’s best for you and your own body. What I’m learning is that more people, particularly over the age of 40 are experiencing the same symptoms and circumstances as me! Keep reading to find out more!

    Over exercising 

    Been there, done that, got the active wear. I did a load of damage to my body, without getting any further ahead. If anything, I ended up hating exercise. The best exercise is exercise that allows you to clear your mind and have fun!  If that’s dancing with the kids, going for a walk by the beach or a casual bike ride, just do it. Do it because it fuels you to be more and live more!

    Fad diets 

    The key to success is changing your mindset and understanding that your end goal is a healthy lifestyle that supports you to LIVE!!! I’ve tried every fad.  Seriously, if you’re on one right now, we need to talk.  Eat real food that serves you. Your body will tell you if you’re hungry and when you’re full – so long as you pay attention and listen!

    Diet pills and laxatives 

    There’s this great detox device – It’s called your LIVER! Laxatives are a short fix that can get rid of all the good bacteria in your gut that you actually NEED IN THERE! Diet pills that speed your metabolism can put a load of pressure on your heart, your liver and your kidneys.  Your body is designed to work efficiently when you give it the right fuel.  Most people I know who have used either laxatives or diet pills have not ended up with long lasting results, and in fact have done damage to their bodies or gained back more weight! Be gentle with yourself!  You body is a complex and AMAZING machine! Look after it!

    Protein shakes and smoothies

    1. There can be hidden sugars in these products.
    2. Chewing activates production of digestive enzymes that help breakdown food and ensure that you turn your body into an energy burner.  Also let’s get real – do you actually want to live off shakes for the rest of your life? That’s the only way you’re going to get long last results.
    3. GET RID OF PROCESSED FOODS!! Have you looked on the back of the packet at the numbers or the ingredients?  Why drink concentrates?! I’d rather eat real food!
    4. If you’re going to add shakes into your diet, do so because they ADD NUTRITIONAL VALUE, not because they are REPLACING NUTRITIONAL VALUE, but watch out for those hidden sugars!
    5. Also beware that smoothies from healthy food venues can be loaded with lots of hidden sugars as well that may come from natural sources, but can mess with your blood sugars!

    SO, here’s what actually has worked for me:

    Become a conscious consumer

    Know what you’re putting into your body. Read labels. Get rid of processed foods and anything with a number. NUMBER ARE NOT FOOD! Eat real, whole foods and notice the difference in your body and your health.

    Listen to your body

    Find out what inflames you and what fuels you. Foods that inflame you are obvious and in me, they lead to a lot of ‘puffiness’ and weight gain.

    Symptoms to watch out for:

    • Itchiness or irritation
    • Bloating
    • Diarrhoea or constipation
    • Lethargy, tiredness, food coma
    • Constant fatigue
    • High blood pressure
    • Ulcers
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    • Bloating
    • Acne
    • Flushing
    • Water retention
    • Food cravings
    • Binge eating
    • Joint pain
    • Stiffness
    • Unexplained weight gain

    What I have learnt through my research is that this can be different for everyone, as it all comes down to our genes, however, there seems to be more and more people coming to see me with exactly the same symptoms as me!

    FYI: I had all of the symptoms listed above and thought I must be hitting menopause early!  Turns out, it’s inflammation!!  Knowing this and transforming my diet has been the key to my success and easy weight loss, and it was so easy to do once I understood the rules of the game!

    As an example, here’s a list of anti inflammatory foods: green tea, dark chocolate, leafy greens, multi coloured vegetables, avocado, berries.

    Sounds delicious right?  Oh, it is…..!! And the best part: knowing the rules, I’ve not only reduced the inflammation, I’ve lost weight as well!!

    Become conscious about stress

    We all experience it. Did you realise that it can actually directly affect your weight? There’s 2 types of stress – bad stress and good stress. Good stress is the stress you experience during a workout or a power walk. Bad stress….well you probably know what I’m talking about right?

    Chances are if you’re over 40, you’re carrying extra weight, particularly around your middle, you eat well but you still have unexplained weight gain and nothing makes sense?  Stress could be a factor. Stress can actually trigger us to eat more – well actually the production of cortisol in stressful situations is the trigger.

    It also inhibits our ability to make good food choices – meaning we often go for comfort foods as a quick fix.  So, how do we fix this? Remove temptation. I only have foods that serve my health in the cupboards, and the best part is that with the way I eat – which is low carb – everything is delicious and it all feels like a treat! Shop smarter and look after yourself!

    Stress can also affect your insulin levels as well. This can lead to unexplained weight gain or ‘puffiness’ and could be a precursor to becoming insulin resistant – and that’s just not ok! You need to do something immediately!!

    Stress affects our sleep too. Lack of sleep triggers the production of more cortisol, which messes with our insulin levels and it just turns into a vicious cycle!! So, become conscious of your stress levels! Do it for your health!  

    What can you do to change today?  How are you going to manage your stress? You’re the boss of your life.  You can make great decisions.  You’ve got this.

    Develop conscious eating habits

    Some years ago I was at an event with international speaker, Bob Proctor. He talked about the way our subconscious brain governs 90% of our daily choices, without us even thinking about it.

    Ever been in a situation where you catch yourself eating cake?  It was on the table. You’re not even hungry and somehow it ended up in your mouth. You didn’t need it and potentially didn’t even want it. What the hell happened?  Your autopilot took over and said ‘Oh let’s have cake’.  

    That autopilot is not the boss of you. Yes, it helps to keep your lungs going and your heart beating. It helps you drive a car without thinking about it. It also holds a whole bunch of old habits and behaviours that no longer serve you.

    That other part of your brain – the conscious brain – is now the boss, carving new neural pathways, enabling you to make better decisions. To create that new pathway is to become conscious about what you eat. It’s like ‘Mindfulness: the Food Edition’.  To do this, slow down when you eat. Be grateful for the foods that you’re eating and the nourishment that food provides for you body.

    To take your conscious eating habits to the next level and really ascertain which foods inflame you or fuel you, grab a notebook or print off my food diary template and create your own conscious food diary. Note over a couple of weeks what you eat and most importantly how it made you feel.  After a few weeks, you’ll start to learn what inflames you and what fuels you and you will have re-programmed yourself to make better choices and achieve success! Trust me on this!  You want to feel good and lose weight right? Feeling good is the driver. The weight loss is an added bonus.

    Eat a variety of foods

    I’m a low carb eater and I eat a huge variety of food. This is the first plan in my life that has actually worked for me. How do I do it? I eat more plant, always have protein. I believe fat is good and so is fibre.

    Here’s a rule I live by: PPF. Plant, protein and fat – in that order at every meal.

    We’ve been sold a lie: We don’t actually need bread, pasta or cereals. They are simply ‘nice to haves’ and most of them are just filler foods with little to no nutritional value. Vegetables provide ample low GI carbs that serve our bodies and with so many ways to cook them, we’re spoilt for choice!

    Yes, you can eat fruit, however for me, too much sugar and food high in carbs inflames me, so when I have fruit, I choose lower carb options such as berries. I can also guarantee that living low carb is not only fantastic for your health, you end up losing all those cravings that sabotage your ‘diet plan’.  Why? Because this isn’t a diet.  It’s a lifestyle.  You never get bored. You end up with great nutrition that serves you so your body doesn’t cry out for attention with those sabotaging cravings! There’s no more ‘living off rabbit food’. Everything is delicious! You eat real food and by learning a few subtle techniques and about replacements, you can still have those cakes and biscuits, if you really want them. They’re just low carb versions that TASTE AMAZING and serve your health!

    STOP thinking that foods are good or bad and STOP having cheat days

    I used to do this and a cheat day would turn into a cheat week, inevitably turning into a cheat month and then a whole lot of weight gain. Nobody has willpower of iron!!  The way to deal with this is to simply eat real, delicious food that fuels your body!!

    Remember too: No food is good or bad – there are just choices with consequences. Eat too much of one thing and you could end up developing an intolerance to that food. I know this as I’ve done it!

    Sure, some fats can be nasty for our bodies.  Sugar can do a lot of damage and is 9 times more addictive than cocaine. Wheat is not great for everyone.  At the end of the day, we’re all grown ups capable of making empowered decisions for ourselves.  Chances are if we eat these foods over and over again, they may have a negative impact on our bodies and let’s be honest – do we really want that?  I don’t know about you, but after 25 years of yo-yo dieting, I’ve decided I want to treat my body better by consciously giving it great food that fuels me! It’s not that these foods are ‘bad’, they just don’t serve me or my health.

    I used to crave a lot of sugar and suffered really badly with fluctuating blood sugar levels, in fact, I was falling into the realm of being pre-diabetic. It’s interesting to note that when we eat a variety of foods, your body begins to receive all the nutrients it needs and interestingly enough, your cravings diminish. My thoughts are that cravings come from either FOMO (fear of missing out) or because our body needs nutrients or some sort of ‘hit’ from the food we’re craving. A good question to ask yourself is: does my craving come from a craving of a physical nutrient OR could be the need to satisfy an emotional need? Listen to your body. It has all the answers…..

    So a tip from me: Just eat real food and stop stressing about it!  Learn what your body ACTUALLY likes and needs (not what you think it likes and needs) and you’ll flourish!

    Not all carbs are created equal

    Chances are if you’re following me and watching my posts and recipes, and if you’ve been plagued with unexplained weight gain, you may be like me: carb intolerant. This was a real game changer for me as I thought I ate really well!  I ate according to the traditional food pyramid and yet I had symptoms of IBS, weight gain and generally felt like crap. Sound familiar?

    Here’s the thing: Some people can eat heaps of carbs, and in fact they need them for their metabolism. You know those people. They are very slender. They have a muscular physique. They can eat carbs all day without bloating or weight gain. I can’t. In fact, I look at a loaf of bread or a bowl of pasta and literally bloat up a dress size.

    We all work differently. Learning that I’m actually carbohydrate intolerant was the first thing in my weightloss journey that has actually made sense. The way we process carbohydrates all comes down to the AMY1 gene in your saliva. To find out more about this, download my free PDF Low Carb Lifestyle Booklet that gives you a full breakdown on the WHY, the WHAT and the HOW to deal with it. Let me just say it’s a game changer and it all comes back to learning what inflames you and what fuels you.

    So, do you think you’re like me and you may have a carbohydrate intolerance?

    • Have you tried everything and nothing has worked?
    • Have you had unexplained weight gain?
    • Do you work out with little, to no results?
    • Do you suffer with carbo coma’s?
    • Do you get bloating or symptoms of IBS?
    • Do you get ‘hangry’?
    • Have you been blaming weight gain on menopause?

    It’s time to make a change and I’m ready to share what’s worked for me. You can

    Subscribe to my mailing list for free recipes and updates

    Join my Facebook group for inspiration, support and weekly low carb live streamed cooking classes that serve your body and have helped me lose weight

    Book for one of my low carb workshops: I cook, we talk, you eat

    OR book a one on one lifestyle low carb reset.  In one hour, I’ll overhaul your daily diet, teach you how to re-engineer your food to cater for you and your family, AND send you away with a shopping list, a load of recipes plus a list of foods that fuel you.

    Like it? Ready for change? You know where I am.

    It works. So let’s do this.


    Hey gorgeous!  Are you ready for change?

    If you’re looking for weekly support for weight loss and your own wellness journey, subscribe to my Facebook group!

    New recipes and cooking classes every week, plus motivation and ideas to help you reach your goals! You can join me here.

    It’s time to #treatyoself and transfom you into the fabulous that you truly are, eating real food! Let’s do this!

    M X


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    Hi I'm Monique Bradley.

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