How fitness can help in tough times
Mother and part-time student Kristina Lambert-Vickers gained strength, energy and a deeper understanding of her health on her Kick-start journey.
Healthy Food Guide has always been a staple item in our house and it was in the October 2013 issue I first saw one of the early healthy eating plans. I was pregnant with my son so weight loss wasn’t a huge priority for me then, but healthy eating was (when I was able to keep food down). To this day I still cook meals from that plan. Fast forward to October 2014 and I joined the Healthy Food Guide Kick-starters Facebook group, and I haven’t looked back.
I decided to join the Kick-start Plan because I wanted, no, needed to get healthy. I was the biggest I had ever been. Although I had no health problems, even at the size I was, things needed to change. I thought that meant taking on a super strict, low-kilojoule diet with an extreme exercise plan which, let’s face it, is not something you can maintain over a long period. I wanted to eat real food that tasted great, didn’t break the bank or take hours and hours of prep.
The best part is that the meals coupled with exercise do work. You see the results. I lost my first 10kg, and when the back injury I got from giving birth to my son flared up, I maintained that 10kg loss until I was able to exercise properly again.
In the last year, I have lost another 20-plus kgs. I’ve dropped four to five dress sizes, going from a size 22 to a size 14-16, and I am not done yet. There have been no fad diets and I have been able to achieve something I thought was impossible.
I love the Healthy Food Guide Kick-starters Facebook group. You need some motivation for the day? Go there. Everyone is really inspiring and, best of all, we all support each other. I have never seen an unkind word spoken.
The hardest thing about adopting healthier habits is keeping them when life gets busy or stressful. One habit I struggle with is taking time to eat something when I am busy and stressed. I am a meal skipper, which just leads to me crashing and grabbing the first thing I get my hands on to eat.
There have been setbacks on my journey. On top of the back injury, I sadly have also gone through three consecutive miscarriages. After my last miscarriage, I went for a walk. It was all uphill and steep and it took me ages to get to the top, but I did it. I was feeling pretty low but, while I was taking in the view, I made a promise to myself that if I can make it to the top of this hill after everything I have gone through, I can achieve anything. So, on the days where it feels tough and I’m tired, I think back to that day standing on top of the hill and I keep going.
The best thing about adopting healthier habits is you feel awesome! It kicks in quite quickly when you make a change to your diet and add some exercise. Within a few days you have more energy, you feel happier, you sleep better, you feel stronger and, best of all, you are taking ownership of your health.
One form of exercise I love is spin class. It’s my favourite exercise – high intensity and surprisingly low impact on the body. The best part is you work to your own fitness levels.
My biggest motivation is seeing the results in the mirror. Stuff the scales – I threw mine away. I am the fittest and strongest I have been in my life. Feeling that and seeing that is what keeps me going. I am so close to my goal, so why stop now?
Kristina’s new healthy habits
- A new relationship with food: I would eat when I was bored. That was an eye-opener to an unhealthy habit that piled on the weight
- Taking time to exercise: I am a better mother and wife for taking that time and I miss it if I haven’t done a proper workout for a day or two
- Learning to be happy with the skin I am in
- Meal planning.
Kristina’s top tips
- Focus on what you are adding to your diet, not what you are cutting back on
- Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment
- Set yourself some goals. Some need to be easy to achieve, such as eating a good breakfast every day, and some can be ones you might need to work at a bit more
- Avoid using food as a reward. Instead, celebrate with new gym gear or a facial for hitting your goals
- If you eat the odd piece of chocolate cake, move on and don’t feel guilty for having a treat every now and then
- Be mindful of who you follow on social media. Having thousands of followers doesn’t make them a health expert!
- Find a form of exercise that you really love
- It’s not meant to be easy. If you are finding it hard, you’re doing it right – keep going!
Look out for this icon on recipes you can use for the Kick-start Plan.
Read more about the HFG Reset & Restore Kick-start 12-week Programme.