My lifestyle definitely led to my weight gain. I have a very demanding career and travel a lot. I was in a constant rollercoaster of being “good” while I was in town and then throwing everything out of the window when I travelled. I was either eating out at every meal when out of town (which brought on lots of temptations!) or so busy that I wouldn’t eat, which would lead me to have a ridiculously heavy meal at night. After working a long day, I would typically pick something indulgent for dinner and top that off with a couple of glasses of wine and dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth.
When I returned home, I would try to get back on track by jumping into some crash diet, like cutting carbs or replacing meals with shakes. But oftentimes, stress would trigger poor choices like fast food and before I knew it, I was on another trip. So the cycle continued. Traveling started to become really uncomfortable. My back and my knees were in a lot of pain because of the extra weight I was carrying. I was tired of the yo-yo and knew something had to change.
I committed to Weight Watchers for an overall lifestyle change in January of 2016. I found that this plan goes beyond just eating healthy. For me, this plan is all about making healthier lifestyle choices. When I joined, the company had just launched their Beyond the Scale program, which is supposed to be a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. I jumped on board and I fell in love with it right away. I wanted to be consistent about the way I eat, the way I live, and the way I exercise, and I saw that element of consistency in Beyond the Scale. To me, it felt like I could live my life and work toward a goal, reach my goal, and stay at my goal. In the beginning, that goal was to start moving more. So I got a FitBit and challenged myself to get to 10,000 steps in per day. I wasn’t spending hours in the gym—I was simply walking every day. Just that initial step of moving more really triggered my healthier lifestyle.
I have a big sweet tooth and some of the sugary things I craved, such as cake, candy, and pastries, were harder to fit into my SmartPoints allotment. So I started eating less of that while filling up on items lower in SmartPoints, like fresh fruit, yogurt, and lean protein. It was a win-win because I began eating foods that really fuelled my body. Small swaps made a big difference. Since most fruits and vegetables are zero SmartPoints, I often swap out half of a starchy item (like rice) with half vegetables. For example, one of my go-to tricks is to combine half of a serving of pasta and half of a serving of zucchini noodles. I do the same with rice and cauliflower rice. This gives me a huge portion of food for not a lot of SmartPoints. I also started walking during my lunch break instead of spending my whole hour sitting at my desk. First, I would eat my lunch and then walk around the block a few times. That small change helped me move more overall.
I started working out very early in my journey by walking. But now I have transitioned into a much more active lifestyle. I enjoy running at least three times a week and weight training two to three times a week. Now that summer is here, I’ll take the occasional bike ride along the beach. I also practice yoga consistently. I work out first thing in the morning and, if I have time, I may take a class like Kickboxing or Body Pump at night. By working out in the morning, I know it’s done. No matter what happens during the day, I don’t have to worry about that. It also gives me an opportunity to release stress and stay focused at work. I try to do some kind of activity every day. Even if I just have 10 minutes.
Whether I travel for work or vacation, I always bring a travel yoga mat so I can do yoga, a Tabata workout, or high-intensity interval training in my room. Alternatively, if there’s a gym on the property, I try to work out there. Even if I can only do 20 minutes in the morning, I get that activity in to get my day going and clear my mind. I just went on the first-ever Weight Watchers cruise. It was great because there were always opportunities for physical activity all day long.
STICKING WITH IT
Now, I tackle trips head on. When I’m out of town, I find that if I start the day with activity and a sensible breakfast, it’s easier for me to stay on track while traveling. I also realised that while I love breakfast foods, it’s not the meal I want to indulge on. I’d rather save my points to enjoy dessert or the specialty dish at a nice restaurant for dinner. I also never leave home without snacks, such as peanut butter packets, beef jerky, Weight Watchers Biena snacks, popcorn, pretzels, and protein bars. I typically buy fruit and water when I get to my destination to make sure I stay hydrated. A lot of the snacks I travel with are small enough to stick in my bag and eat quickly. So even if I’m busy, I can spare a couple of minutes to keep my hunger in check. I try to eat something every three to four hours.
I also continue to track everything while traveling. If I’m not tracking, I feel uninformed. Tracking allows me to see where I stand with my daily points and helps me to stay on the plan. That's helped me make this plan work with my lifestyle, whether it’s a five-star dinner with colleagues or dining at the airport.
Since setting out to lose weight 15 months ago, I am so much more confident and comfortable in my skin. I am much more social and adventurous than ever before because I am no longer trying to hide. When friends want to go out, I go with them and have a cocktail. I was even able to do fun activities like zip-lining in Jamaica because I wasn’t insecure about my weight. I feel like this has been the best gift I have given myself. I definitely feel like I am living my best life.
MARTINE’S NUMBER-ONE TIP
Consistency was the key to my success. Every day hasn't been perfect, and there were entire weeks when I fell off course. But I picked right back up where I left off. I realised that it’s never too late to get back on track. No matter what challenges I may have faced, I tried to stay consistent in my efforts through tracking my kilojoules and my activity and attending meetings. After 15 trips in 15 months, I managed to lose 27 kilograms.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.