Weight loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey. For some, there’s a long process of reversing a lifetime of unhealthy habits. But for others, it’s a matter of happy self discovery.
For 30-year-old Mandy Armstrong, who chose a drastic weight-loss strategy, it was a joy. “During my weight-loss process I felt awesome and the changes I could feel were good,” she says. Here’s how that mindset became the driving force behind her weight loss.
Occupation: Debit Collector
Weight Before: 64kg
Weight After: 58kgs
Time required to reach current weight: 3 months
Secret weapon: Eating clean
Mandy didn’t always have a large figure. But around October 2014, she stopped caring as much about what she ate. “I was eating hot chips almost every day at work. Biltong, McDonald’s, KFC, pizza… I thought I could do no wrong by eating whatever I wanted.” At dinnertime, it was the norm to polish off two plates of food. Adding to her gain was a regimen of no exercise.
Mandy had always had a clothing rule: never buy clothes in a (bigger) size that you’ve never worn. On a shopping trip one day, her regular size 32 didn’t fit and that made her realise she needed to change. “I was unhappy with myself,” she says. From then on, Mandy decided to make drastic lifestyle changes, starting with what was on her plate.
To reset her diet, Mandy opted for a seven-day juice cleanse. “It was a really good experience showing how you can give up bad eating habits if you really want to change your lifestyle,” she says. It involved only drinking fruits and vegetables for seven days, with a guide to how to reincorporate solids back into her diet. “When I was done, I didn’t even crave cooldrinks, hot chips or bread. My clean body felt so good,” she says. She reintroduced foods into her diet wisely and opted for nutrient-rich meals and controlled her portions. She also gave up alcohol, stuck to one cup of coffee a day and tried out a variety of Women’s Health workout DVDs, which she did every day of the week for at least 15 minutes. After three months, Mandy had lost six kilograms — and discovered a whole new way of living.
“I felt healthier — my whole outlook on healthy living changed,” says Mandy. “I just loved how everyone that used to comment on my weight gain and big bum stared at me; how they asked me what I had been doing because I look so good!” The biggest reward of all has to be the way her weight loss inspired her to take on a whole new career: right now, she’s studying health and fitness part-time to inspire other people too.
Ready to transform your life too? Sign up to Women’s Health’s expert-approved eating and exercise plan — Lean Body Blitz — and watch the weight disappear.
> Use a tape measure. “The scale can be demotivating; rather use a tape measure weekly.”
> Exercise. “If you’re not active enough you’ll end up where you started — exercising helps you get toned.”
> Eat. “Don’t starve yourself. Food is not your enemy. When you’re filled up with good food there is no space for junk.”
Looking for more? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.