Eating more and losing weight seems counter-intuitive, but when Sasha went on CSIRO’s Total Wellbeing Diet, she realised her lifestyle was lacking in variety.
Sasha always knew how to eat well, but as an avid runner with a full-time job, and being the mother of two young children who had just embarked on a PhD, she was “often tired” and self-care was low on the priority list.
“I knew how to eat well, and our meals were usually good, however, between meals I often reached for snack foods that were high energy to give me quick boosts of energy,” she says, which caused her to gain weight. This made running uncomfortable, as well as aggravating a back and hip injury.
The 33-year-old had resigned to the fact that the weight wouldn’t come off, but after seeing what one of her colleagues was eating for lunch—a meal from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet—she realised it was variety and balance that her current lifestyle was lacking.
“I’d had enough of putting myself behind everyone else, and signed up in the middle of the night when I was facing some negative self-thoughts,” she says.
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Taking the decision-making out of putting meals together was really appealing, says Sasha, because at the time she describes suffering from “decision fatigue”.
“The flexibility and real food choices made the plan easy to stick to,” she says.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Total Wellbeing Diet was that Sasha discovered she actually needed to eat more.
“I was especially under-eating my dairy though I was eating a good variety of vegetables, I wasn’t eating enough to constitute full serves,” she says.
Working out for half an hour to an hour pretty much each day, joining a local netball team and enjoying a rich, varied diet has led Sasha to lose 12kg in less than 10 weeks, which was hugely motivating. Sasha is now just 4kg from her goal weight.
“I love running, walking my dogs, cycling and netball. We also have a new pool so I have been swimming 1km of laps a couple of times a week,” she says.
“My iron levels are in normal range again and my energy levels are much more constant which has a massive impact on my life,” she says.
Sasha has also realised how important it is to prioritise herself and her wellbeing; that self-care isn’t selfish.
“We have to respect and be kind to ourselves, and it really is ok to prioritise our own health, well-being and sanity,” she says.
Very sound advice.
Sasha’s day on a plate
Either a smoothie or occasionally breakfast muffin with eggs, vegetables or bruschetta mix.
Usually a salad with a protein like tuna, chickpeas or chicken, or a soup with protein.
Options all include protein and lots of vegetables, such as stir-fries, meat and vegetables, seafood and salad, casseroles, curries, and stews.