As a busy working mum, Rachel Taylor’s story will be familiar to every parent with young children. You get home from work, you fly around after the kids, you make their tea, you help with homework, you clean the house, you do the dishes,then it’s bathtime and bedtime, then when the kids are in bed you’re so exhausted you can’t be bothered to cook for yourself, so you reach for the phone and order a takeaway.
It is a situation every one of us with kids here at Meaty HQ can recognise, and if you’re a parent who hasn’t we absolutely salute you (even though we think you’re probably lying). For Rachel however, she realised nights like this, were becoming too frequent, and her weight had spiralled...so she did an amazing thing - she did something about it.
- Age: 34
- From: Northumberland
- Weight Loss: 4 stone 8 lbs
What made you want to go on a transformation programme?
Like a lot of people I was so busy living my life I didn’t really notice how bad things had become. Gaining weight, just like loosing it, doesn’t suddenly happen overnight, it’s a gradual progression, and before you know it, you’re overweight.
For me it was a combination of being busy, having a family and if I’m being honest from comfort eating.My problem was that when I’m feeling down in the dumps, or I’m tired, or both, I comfort eat. Some people reach for the bottle, but for me it’s a bar of chocolate, or a takeaway. It’s bloody exhausting being a parent of a young child with autism, while juggling work and other commitments, and while I’m not making excuses, by the time my son went to bed, most nights I was just so knackered, that sitting on the settee with a takeaway wasn’t even a hard choice to make.
I’d known I was overweight for quite some time, and I’d tried slimming clubs and diets in the past, but never stuck at it. I tried to loose weight for my wedding, but it didn’t happen and I guess that was a big turning point as I don’t like how I looked on my big day, and that made me unhappy. I think the biggest kick for me though, was that my family life had become settled, and we were into a more manageable routine. My son was settled in school, and everything just seemed to be in a better place, so I thought - you know what, it’s time to focus on me now.
How did you go about it?
I’d tried slimming clubs on and off for about ten years or so, and they never worked out because I didn’t like how restrictive they were. If you tell me I can’t have something, it’s going to make me want it more than ever, and with hindsight being on a diet just wasn’t for me, I need a lifestyle eating plan. I knew Slimming World had changed and that it wasn’t restrictive as my friend lost 8 stone following it, so I thought if she can do it, I can do it.
I booked myself into the local club on a Saturday morning, and I went along on my own as I was doing it for me, not for anyone else, and two years later I’m still going and enjoying it more than ever.
It’s nothing like being on a diet, and it’s not complicated it’s just about eating sensibly, having things in moderation, and trading off certain foods for others. If I’m hungry I can eat, and there is no guilt attached as I know I am (usually) sticking within my plan. I even still get to have chocolate, it’s just now I’ll have a small piece instead of a giant bar.
How do you stay motivated?
Social media has been a big help. I joined Instagram around the same time I started to loose weight, and quickly realised the slimming community was very active on the platform, and it’s great to feel part of something. It connects me with people from all over the place and I’ve found support when I’ve been down, over had a blip, and you soon realise there are loads of other people in exactly the same boat as you.
I enjoy finding new recipes and meal inspiration on there, as the whole community loves nothing more than to share a food picture, which drives my other half up the wall at times.
Do you exercise?
I walk a lot, either on my own or usually with the dog, and I have a FitBit which I’m pretty religious at hitting my target step count on, even if that means pacing the house, before I chill on an evening.
What are your top tips for someone looking to do a similar transformation?
- have food in the house - it sounds basic, but if there is meat, fish and vegetables in the fridge or freezer you really don’t have an excuse not to make a meal for yourself
- plan your day around how you’re feeling - if you accept you’ll have good days and bad days, you’ll be in a much better place. If you’ve had a bad day, don’t beat yourself up and feed yourself something you don’t want, stick to the plan but eat something you’ll enjoy, and trade it against something tomorrow.
- bulk buy meat - I’ve always got chicken breast and lean mince in the freezer, and if I haven’t something has gone wrong somewhere
- Keep things simple - I’m not one for complex recipes, and if it has over 5 or 6 ingredients the chances are I’m not going to bother as I’m thinking it’s going to be a hassle sourcing all the ingredients. That’s not to say I’m not adventurous with food, but I like things to be quick and easy.
What does an average daily meal plan look like?
Breakfast - Overnight oats (40g oats, low-fat yoghurt, quark and frozen berries) nearly everyday except on a Sunday when I like a (healthy) full english breakfast
Lunch is either leftovers from the night before, soup or a salad, but almost always something I’ve made.
Dinner is usually meat and veg, either chicken breast or a sirloin steak.
Snacks - I snack on fruit a lot, with a special liking for Pink Lady Apples.
Drinks - I have 2 litres of water every day, and I know I shouldn’t really, but I also have a can of Diet Coke more often than I probably should when I’m at work, but you have to have some vices.
What is the best thing about the new you?
I don’t feel like I am at the end of my journey yet, I’d like to think I’m at the half-way point. I’m growing in confidence, which is a good thing, and I’m more energetic which is very handy for anyone with kids growing up fast.
My next big aim, is that I want to join a running club. I used to love running when I was younger, but it’s not been something I’ve been able to contemplate for a while, but now it doesn’t seem so far away.
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