ON THE COVER WW Coach and foodie Sarah Van Dyke still enjoys her treats
WW COACH AND FOODIE SARAH VAN DYKE SHARES HER SECRETS TO LOSING WEIGHT WITH A SWEET TOOTH.
For anyone trying to lose weight, muffins are usually out of bounds, but Sarah, a former home economics teacher, couldn’t face a future without her favourite treat, so she set to work and devised a delicious muffin recipe containing just 2 Smartpoints value per serve.
When she fancied a sticky date pudding with salted caramel sauce and cream, she devised a4 Smartpoints value per serve version of this recipe, too. She’s also put a Weight Watchers twist on other delicious treats such as cream horns, apple pies, Eton mess, trifles, pasta bakes (see her recipe on page 59) and Tuscan chicken.
The recipe getting all the accolades is her Nutella muffin (page 58). Each one has a spoonful of the chocolatehazelnut spread in the centre and has only 3 Smartpoints value.
“I’ve got a saying: ‘Don’t cut out any food that you can’t cut out for the rest of your life.’ Those temptations will become your downfall,” Sarah explains.
“People want to eat normally. They want to be able to reach for a healthy treat and they want recipes that are simple and use everyday ingredients.”
Her recipes tick every box so it’s not surprising that after she launched her Facebook page, Sarah’s Recipes AUNZ, in December 2016, she had more than 7000 fans within just three months.
Not only do people love the food, they love the results. “They tell me, ‘Because of you, I can have my treats and still lose weight’, but I just provide the recipes. They do the work.”
Anyone still doubting that a person who eats muffins can lose weight and keep it off only has to look at Sarah’s own success.
She initially joined Weight Watchers in January 2011 after
Sarah Van Dyke loves raspberry white chocolate muffins. “I mean I really, really love them,” she says, laughing.
seeing a family photo of herself at Christmas. “I thought, ‘Gosh, you really need to do something about this,’” she recalls.
She and her former husband and her daughter, Alyssa, had just returned from 16 months living in Chile, South America. “I had really struggled there. Alyssa was only two, I missed my family, my husband was away working a lot and I did a lot of emotional eating. I used to lunch all the time with the other expat ladies. Everything seemed to revolve around food and alcohol, and eating healthily was expensive.”
At Weight Watchers back in Australia, Sarah “pulled up my big-girl panties” and tracked everything she ate. “I still weigh and measure absolutely everything. It’s the only way for me.”
After gaining weight one week, Sarah became very upset. “I wouldn’t talk to anyone and sat up the back because I was so disappointed in myself. But when I reflected, I knew why I’d gained. I hadn’t been truthful. I’d eaten stuff I shouldn’t have and hadn’t exercised. That reflection is really important.”
In 2012, Sarah was invited to be a Group Coach and leapt at the chance to help others feel as fantastic as she did since her weight loss.
She has now increased her involvement and works in three other Weight Watchers roles: as a 1-on-1 phone Coach, a Click-toChat Coach and a customer care centre phone helper.
The Facebook page is a labour of love – and probably the biggest job of all as she responds to queries, devises recipes and taste-tests them on her lucky neighbours.
She’s truly passionate about Weight Watchers, so when her peers recommend her recipes, as they did recently, or applaud her success, she is genuinely overwhelmed.
Her recent success was winning the regional Coach Back to Goal in the Healthy Life Awards. The top of Sarah’s Goal range is 71kg. Last year, she crept up to 73kg. “It wasn’t healthy – and it was a bad look for a Coach. I felt like a fraud in front of my members,” she says.
“I’m now back down to 66kg and try to keep focused on changing my habits. People can achieve their Goal, but if they don’t face their triggers they roll back into bad habits.”
So why did she regain weight after five years of stability?
“I wasn’t being kind to myself. I’d been through a divorce, I’d been helping Alyssa, now 10, with her emotions, and I didn’t give myself positive talk. There are times when life just becomes too difficult. I let myself go and went under.”
There were tears when Sarah recounted her story at the award presentation. “I have 100 per cent care of Alyssa and I needed to do something for both of us,” she says. “To be rewarded for that in front of my peers was massive.”
Recently, Sarah was on the phone lines when a member asked for her name. “Are you the Sarah from Sarah’s Recipes? I’m about to make your banana muffin!” she exclaimed.
“I know her Coach,” Sarah laughs. “Apparently she went to her meeting that night and was raving about me. That’s always happening and it’s totally unexpected. I just wanted to help my group access my recipes and to use my home economics background to make sure even those who aren’t confident cooks can follow them.” #
I still weigh and measure absolutely everything. It’s the only way for me.