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.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

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.

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