One woman’s mission to shed the kilos before the holidays
AHEAD OF THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS, JO KENDALL IS DETERMINED TO SHED THE KILOS AND GET HEALTHY AGAIN. SHE SHARES WHAT SHE’S LEARNED ON HER JOURNEY SO FAR
“I ’m French, so I’ve always been a keen foodie, especially when it comes to wine, cheese and chocolate! Growing up, we would often indulge in treats, but the difference is that in France, they have tiny portions and moderation is the key. My family back home are all slim, and after living here for 15 years, I feel as though I’ve lost touch with the French way of eating. I’m heading back to France at Christmas, so the excess weight has got to go. My goal is to lose 15kg, but I would be happy with 10.
I was initially attracted to the ‘GM diet’, which is very strict, but I wanted to kick-start my new routine with a big change. The GM stands for General Motors and it was developed by the company to increase productivity, as followers say it increases their energy. It involves following a low-calorie eating plan across seven days. For the first day you eat only water-based fruit, day two you eat vegetables but no fruit, day three you’re allowed both veges and fruit but no bananas or potatoes, and you add in some lean protein and brown rice as the week goes on. A couple of colleagues had tried it and felt amazing, but for me, it was too much. After about four days I was so tired, I wanted to have a nap at work. After a week I decided to stop it because I knew it just wasn’t normal to feel that exhausted, although I lost about 2kg. CHANGING tack After ditching the GM diet, my husband and I set about designing our own healthy living routine. He’s sporty and exercises every day, so my first step was to join him in running, swimming, playing tennis and going for bike rides. I try to do something most days, and if I’m tired I’ll go for a walk instead. For meals, I’m focusing on smaller portion sizes and fewer carbs. Pasta, bread and potatoes have been replaced with lower GI brown rice and sweet potato, and my usual after-work wine is now only for weekends. Another big change for me is that because I’m exercising a lot more, I’m now hungrier in the mornings so I’ll have at least a healthy smoothie to start the day. For lunch, I generally stick to lowcarb combinations like salmon and broccoli, with a piece of fruit in the afternoon. Dinner is about lots of veges, lean protein, and quality carbs and I try to eat what’s in season. While I used to be a big snacker, I’m cutting back as I think it’s just too easy to get carried away and before you realise it, you’ve loaded up on the calories.
Two weeks in
I’m not going to lie, the first week was hard, and I especially missed my glass of wine in the evening. I think it became easier as I got used to smaller portion sizes, and I’m now feeling fuller, faster. I used to be the sort of person who would never do anything active, so I’ve noticed that all the fresh air and exercise is helping me to sleep better.
The weight moved a lot more slowly than with the first diet, and in the first couple of weeks of my new routine I had dropped about a kilo, making me 3kg lighter in total. But it wasn’t long before my body shape started to change. I carry weight around the hips and I know they’re getting smaller as my clothes are getting slightly loose. This has been really motivating.
I’m heading back to France at Christmas, so the weight has got to go
It’s hard to get the momentum with exercise sometimes, but I really believe consistency is the key, so doing something every day is an important aspect for me.
In the past few years I have never been confident enough to exercise with strangers in a fitness class, but it’s funny how just by dropping a couple of kilos and getting used to moving more, I’ve felt better about stepping back into a gym.
Getting my family involved has made exercise easier. My two daughters have really got into it, and we even have push-up competitions at night! We started off with five, then 10, and now we try to do 20. My husband and I are training towards a half marathon, my eldest is doing the 12k and my youngest is doing the 5km course. We’re all in it together.
Four weeks in
It took a while to get to know what worked for me, but I’m feeling so much better. My body is still changing, especially the tops of my legs, which are a lot slimmer. I’ve gained a lot more confidence with exercising, and that confidence has moved into other areas of my life. It is hard work, and I do have to push myself, but I’ve been waiting a long time to do this and I’m finally feeling ready. So far I’ve lost about 4kg, and I’m happy with losing about 1kg per week.
We have a new ritual where we all sit around the table at 7am and chat about our plans for the day. In the evening, we now have dinner at about 6pm – which is completely different to the French way I grew up with – and we have the dishes all done by 7.30. It’s really improved our lifestyle and given us more family time.
Food-wise, I’ve been having a smoothie and two eggs on toast for breakfast each day, and that’s it until dinner. I’ve been doing it for almost two weeks now and it seems to work out well, as I’m just not hungry during the day anymore. That’s not to say I don’t have the odd treat; it’s still important to have some pleasures in life!
In the past, I’ve got really fit, only to let the weight creep back on again. But this time I’m sticking with it. I don’t want big muscles or anything like that; I just want to look slim like my mum! I believe it’s important to get the family into good habits, and I want to stay as healthy as possible for my kids.
*To find out whether Jo meets her goal, check out the December issue.
After 4 weeks