How to lose weight, for real!

No, this is not a click-bait title, not at all. I can’t stand those and I wonder how people still fall for them.

This is an empirical account of a really busy person, ex-University-lifestyle student, ex-overweight woman, stay-at-home working mom, world traveler, expat, food lover, MS sufferer, multiculturally oriented psychologist, who has had many years of experience in human behavior, and tons of hours spend talking to women and men facing all sorts of issues, weight loss ones included.

I have also done every single (almost) diet is ever known to man and have attended gyms in 4 different countries.

I have struggled with weight since the age of 20 and I was an on/off overweight person – it varied according to how I felt like during that period. Being an emotional eater, like many women translates to: “I eat more when I am depressed and down. I also eat more when I feel anxious or stressed. I kinda eat more when I feel disappointed and let down, too.” 

I have done aerobics, weight lifting, virtual gyms, rope hanging, spinning, swimming, outdoor cycling, and Zumba.

 

All this is great but it will NEVER work if ONE very special ingredient is missing. I have said in a previous article how all the ‘expert’ online free or paid weight loss advice is written by thin people who don’t like food, have never been overweight and clearly, have 10 hours a day (at least) to work out.

 

THIS IS HOW TO LOOK GOOD

The truth is that people, and especially women, will manage to adopt a permanently healthier lifestyle which includes physical activity and better eating ONLY when they learn to love themselves and consequently have a good psychology.

That’s right. Fab diets and everything miraculous doesn’t work or ‘works’ only for a short while because we are not happy and don’t truly love who we are.

It means that you want to get what you really deserve and you will try for it no matter how hard it is. 

Being overweight, with the exception of some medical conditions, means you are unhappy. Body image has nothing to do with what is acceptable by society or what is considered fashionably ‘good’. Losing weight is about being HEALTHY. 

My weight-loss journey only really started when I stopped dieting. It started when I learned how to love ME and to want positive and great things for me. When I decided that I would not settle. On the contrary, I would find a way to a healthier mental state which would eventually enable me to be in a healthier physical state, too. I decided I want to be around people who truly love, respect me and make me happy.

 I have to this day lost almost 30 kilos, taken part in many running events and have completed a half-marathon 🙂 (yayyyy)

Being diagnosed with MS doesn’t make me a victim –  it’s just an extra hurdle to get over in this loving-myself adventure 🙂 I have also met so many physically disabled people and suffering from all sort of conditions who are bravely living amazing lives and don’t give up … so really, there are NO excuses. 

So you can either invest time and money on diets/exercise machines and pills that will eventually fail OR find a way to fix what it is that is making you unhappy. 

 

Join me on social media and let’s get motivated and inspired together! Feeling good and energized is so addictive – once you feel it, you won’t be able to stop 🙂 My running group on Facebook is made of inspiring people who also love themselves and want to feel/look better!

Until next time x




Nobody owes nobody nothing. You owe yourself.

In 2014 I started running on the treadmill my mom gave me years ago. Having it in my garage was a great asset. When you have to look after 2 small children, do housework, cook three times a day for 4 people, work, study and spend a bit of time on yourself too…. going to the gym or even walking outdoors is not really an option.

Especially in the beginning of a difficult weight loss journey where motivation is non existent. I am sure many women know exactly what I mean.

I was doing a combination of walking/running for 20 minutes once a day. At first this was, as expected, really hard. Mostly because I wasn’t in the right psychological state for something that requires a lot of self-discipline, strength and incentive.

As I have written before, all the ‘great’ work-out/healthy eating advice is meant for people who are already fit and have lots of time.

In real life, most women/moms do not have the right emotional, mental and physical resources to follow such regimes. If only trainers and healthy eating gurus were able to identify with the every day person and with people who go through all sorts of problems, including mental health ones, they would be able to help more.

I have talked to so many women who end up feeling worse and confused after visiting such health websites or weight loss YoutTube channels rather than motivated and inspired.

I decided to ditch all that and follow a strategy that felt more natural to me… more humane.  Feeling restrained from eating specific things is kinda depressing and goes against my Mediterranean ‘enjoy life while you are still alive’ view.

Balance is the key here so in moderation you can eat everything you want as long as you are sensible about it. I was never the one to live off salads and herbs all day long.

I love food, I love cooking for my family, I love sweet treats and I love my relaxing wine nights! Losing weight, working-out or making any change take place needs conscious effort and mindfulness! It will not happen on its own, not by magic, and not by someone else. It is all intentional and committed work determined 95% by YOU. 

In August 2014 I would have never believed that one day I would be able to run a lot. In 2015 I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a cracked heel, a bad ankle and other health issues. After a compulsory running break of 4 months, ordered by my doctor, I was back at it.

This time I started running in the fields, streets, grass and up the hills (although there are soooo few of those in Holland).

There were some bad days and then some harder ones. On those days I was inspired the most.

Very few people in the world wake up carefree and motivated  – the rest of the human population lacks that. That’s ok, though, because I learned that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION… so you  do it anyway regardless of how much you really want to or not.

However, I have decided long time ago to love myself first and that is more important than any of the things above.

Last night I slept for 2.5 hours..because…children. This morning I felt exhausted and the weather was so cold and rainy. The Dutch apparently have skipped the summer season entirely 😉 I made a plan of going running later on the afternoon.

Then I read a story of the girl who has MS and collapses on the floor after each run. I also saw a post from a brave woman who despite her Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis has taken part in so many Marathon events. I then thought of all the strong men and women I have met and  who are so supportive to each other every single day. So I stopped stalling and headed out. 

Thirty-three minutes, 5km and a lot of Rocky themed music later I was back enjoying a nice cup of coffee celebrating my own record-breaking time.  (Almost) everything is possible 🙂

Till next time xxx

“Until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” – Rocky




Dieting advice is easy to follow. For thin people.

It’s been almost a year since I started exercising and eating better. Or trying to eat better. I used to be a normal-weight teenager, even trained in athletics. But an indulgent student life, wild nights, stress and a motherhood later, the kilos have piled up. Paired with the lack of time to do any kind of exercise at home or at the gym, the results for my body and health were not that positive any more.

I am familiar with every type of exercise and most health eating regimes – I was a gymnast for years, after all. But I thought that I should do a bit of research on all those compact high-impact workouts for busy people which are supposedly so easy to do at home. There are hundreds of ‘professional’ videos and  articles online. Health nutritionists, trainers and all sort of ‘weight-loss experts’ are always advertising their products to desperate people who want to lose weight and look better.

7I noticed that all these experts looked perfectly thin and toned. Most of the exercises were kinda difficult – I could only imagine how a really overweight woman could manage to do them. The healthy eating advice is targeting an audience of people who don’t like food. The whole weight-loss market online is designed for people who are already thin or need to lose a kilo or two.

What were those busy, stressed-out moms that had to lose more than a kilo supposed to do? I decided to ignore all that “professional” stuff, but was determined to look and feel better. I was too busy to go the gym and too tired to keep counting calories and measuring grams every day. Needless to say, adding a different dish for me to the daily cooking routine was expensive and exhausting. So I did a lot of thinking. The relationship people have with food starts from childhood and unfortunately continues until later on in life too.

I come from a culture that takes cooking seriously and that is defined by a long tradition of amazing, rich cuisine.  Eating, for us, growing up, was more than just eating – it was a time for family bonding, laughter and long conversations. Late afternoon snacking was also a ‘thing’ in my family. We would gather all together  to play games or watch TV while my mom would serve those delicious pies and cakes. Being a child, food was paradise! But as an adult, how do you get out of those now ‘destructive’ habits?

bigstock-measuring-tape-and-the-diet-wo-33790898I took it one step at a time. I made a diary of what I eat every day and how it makes me feel afterwards. I also noted the times and reasons for eating. I noticed that my emotional state was to answer for a lot of my binging. I put my children to bed and went for late night walks. I made a commitment to go for at least a 30 minute walk daily or every second day. Even when I felt tired and wanted to relax I still went out for a walk or on a ride with my bicycle. I did’t like it but I did it.

Walking every day made me feel good so I decided to cut down on night eating altogether and have a more filling breakfast instead. I slowly cut down on sweets too and bread. I still had the odd one here and there but they now are the exceptions, not the norm.

I did not follow any ‘diet’. I just decided to think before I eat and not indulge on anything that happens to be in front of me. I made healthier choices which also helped my family too. I chose to have smaller portions of any meal that was prepared that day and when I felt like eating more, I had a coffee instead.

It was a difficult process full of emotional ups and downs, disappointment, relapses, hurdles and struggle. Twelve months and minus 16 kilos later I feel better about my body and health. I also feel really proud of myself. I have now started the gym and try to go as much as I can. I believe that everyone can do it. It is not easy but definitely worth it.