I lost weight, but I gained so much more...
Today, Gloria is a dietitian who understands how to eat healthy and take care of her body. But managing her weight wasn't always so easy for her.
After being teased at school for being overweight, Gloria took control of her health and not only lost 18-20kg, but also gained body confidence and self-acceptance.
This is her real life story....
From early childhood I was always in love with food and eating. I was constantly hungry.
My mum would give me breakfast and an hour later I wanted to eat again. Thus I gained a lot of weight.
Going through school was hard, kids are cruel and I was teased and picked on for my weight. When I got to high school, I decided that I wanted to be skinny like all the other girls so I cut down my lunch box size and started exercising.
I didn’t understand good nutrition back then so I probably didn’t make the most nutritious choices initially. I just wanted to fit in.
Over the next 8 or so years I lost about 18-20kg and 6-8 dress sizes. This got me really interested in nutrition and health and I decided to study to be a dietitian. Studying to be a dietitian helped me learn about food, nutrition and making good food choices. I also developed a desire to help other be healthy - not skinny.
Everyone’s battle with weight is different. With thousands of diets out there promising quick and easy weight loss, it’s very easy to be confused!
What I’ve learnt is that regardless of how you lose the weight, if don’t learn how to eat healthily to nourish your body while losing weight, keeping the weight off later may prove a challenge. Additionally while your food intake will make the biggest difference to your weight, exercise is also important for long-term health and weight maintenance.
Most people focus on the scales and how quickly the kilos are going down but in reality the biggest focus should be on health - losing weight is just one part of this. I lost my weight over a number of years, while I loved seeing the number on the scales go down, I think I felt the most pleasure in being able to wear smaller size clothing.
Along my journey I learnt about healthy eating, portion sizes, variety, increasing plant-based foods and cooking more from scratch rather than buying packaged foods, processed or take-away foods. This all helped me to lose the weight and maintain it long-term.
At the end of the day, if you lose 5, 10, 20 or even 40kg quickly but then put it all back in six months, the fact that you lost it quickly doesn’t really matter anymore and you are better off losing it a bit more slower but learning how to maintain this loss long-term.
So make permanent healthy changes that can be maintained ongoing rather than do something restrictive that it is short-lived and leaves you hungry, tired and deficient.
Gloria's 8 tips to maintaining a healthy weight
Focus on eating from a variety of healthy food groups.
Eat more plant-based foods like vegetables and salads. Fill up your plate with these vegetables. Learn to love these foods e.g. try new recipes, go to cooking classes – these really are one of your best friends and can be so delicious.
Prepare more meals and snacks from scratch using fresh healthy ingredients. These will be more nutritious and you can control what goes in them!
Don’t deprive yourself from the foods you love. Make an allowance for treats, keep portions moderate and find balance. Learn to eat them in social gatherings rather than avoid them altogether.
Include high fibre foods like wholegrains, legumes, seeds and nuts and plenty of low kilojoule vegetables and sources of protein with meals or as snacks to help fill up. This was especially helpful to me as I tend to get hungry.
We all have those days, weeks or even months that we overindulge, I even still have these (part of being human) but I just tell myself not to feel guilty because I enjoyed it and tomorrow is a brand new day and the perfect time to focus on my health There is no point beating yourself up or feeling guilty, just enjoy the moment and start fresh the next day or even the next meal.
Include regular exercise but start small and build this up over time rather than starting big and not maintaining this. From personal experience, if I decided to suddenly start exercising seven days a week, this is likely to last all of two weeks before I get tired and over it. Rather start with 1-2 days per week and keep this up for a few weeks, then build on this so that you cement it as a habit. Having a friend exercise with you also helps get you there. When it comes to exercise - consistency is key.
Avoid focusing on the scales. Look at other things that show success e.g. more energy, clear skin, better moods, less anxiety and guilt, ability to do more things or improved blood test results.
Everyone’s health journey is different but we all want to live a healthy life that allows us to look and feel good as well as to be able to do the things we love.
Rather than focusing on short-term results, look at the big picture and focus on adapting healthy dietary and lifestyle habits that will lead to long-term good health.
These days I don’t count calories, don’t avoid foods I love and I don’t avoid eating out either, I’ve learn how to eat everything in moderation and eat a variety of different foods, you can totally do this too.
About Gloria from Nutrition Savvy
Gloria is a qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist. She runs her own little private practice called Nutrition Savvy in Sydney's Fairfield. Gloria is passionate about healthy eating and posts yummy, healthy recipes on her website (nutritionsavvy.com.au)
You can also follow Gloria's health journey on social!