Mahalia’s top 10 tips for successful weightloss

Mahalia’s top 10 tips for successful weightloss

She’s shed an incredible 30 kilos, now Mahalia Barnes is sharing her weight loss secrets with Woman’s Day.

1. Be honest

Be realistic about what you’re eating and your portion sizes. On weight watchers, I believe the tracking is the most important thing! It takes away any excuses and holds you accountable for your choices. The tracker is quick, simple and informative so that you can make the right choices and still enjoy food.

2. Eat more vegetables

I try to make sure that at least half of my plate at lunch and dinner time is taken up with salad or vegetables – spinach, tomato, steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, baked pumpkin or fennel, eggplant, green beans, zucchini, cabbage, lettuces, and plenty more!

Then there’s others that are great for you but not high in points – beans, potatoes, corn, peas. There are so many choices of vegetables and they don’t need to be boring. Try out new recipes and keep it interesting!

3. Don’t be afraid of herbs, spices and sauces

Most are pretty low in points and make it easy to give full flavour to your recipes! But be aware of not using too much salt. I have tried to cut back on salt, sugar, oil and butter and use more fresh herbs, spices and stronger flavours to keep food interesting. We are so lucky in Australia to have access to so much great produce at the local supermarkets grocery stores or farmers markets.

4. Choose foods that will release energy slowly

Food like whole grains, nuts, pulses and seeds keep you full for longer and are so good for you. Try swapping white bread for wholegrain, white rice for brown, soba or ramen noodles, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, beans etc. For example a cannelini bean mash with a little lemon as a great alternative to mashed potato with a roast.

5. Drink up!

Always drink a big glass of water before a meal. It really helps with your digestion and fills you up a little so you are less likely to over eat.

6. Dont be afraid to treat yourself.

There are plenty of treats that can satisfy you without being too high in points. There are healthy snacks you can always enjoy like frozen dates, pistachios, low fat yoghurt with honey…but I also enjoy SHARING more decadent desserts with my family or sometimes enjoying a quick treat like a chocolate paddle pop (3 pro points), a pine lime splice (2 pro points), a freddo frog (2 pro points) or a couple of biscuits with my tea after dinner (most biscuits are 2-3 points). Another delicious treat is a thick Italian hot chocolate type dessert called “Ciobar” which can be found in some supermarkets and delis – it’s quick and easy to make and only 2 to 3 pro points when made with skim or low fat milk!

7. Wear a pedometer

There are all sorts of great options available. Mine helps keep me motivated to move more. It’s the incidental exercise that really counts I think! It’s maintainable and realistic. We all need to walk more and I find that wearing the pedometer reminds me to do a few extra steps every day, and some days I really surprise myself with how much I’ve done without even realizing. Aim for 10,000 steps every day.

8. Really be aware of how much sleep you are getting

I really underestimated how important a good night’s sleep is when trying to lose weight. More often than not, the weeks that I had a gain or didn’t lose weight, I had also not had enough sleep. There are other variables, but sleep is a big one. When I am tired, it is harder to make the right food choices, I crave more sugar or quick fixes as opposed to healthier options and I am less likely to be active.

9. Seriously consider seafood

Seafood is probably one of my preferred meal options these days. Fish, prawns, oysters, crab, mussels…so many delicious choices! I still eat a balance of red meat, chicken and pork as well, but I definitely eat more seafood now and feel a lot better for it.

As an example, 6 grilled king prawns is only 2pp, whereas 150g of grilled scotch fillet is 9pp. A piece of grilled, baked or steamed fish can be done in so many different styles, but I particularly love a baked snapper fillet with soy, ginger, garlic and coriander. Fresh, light and healthy. Fish contains healthy oils that are great for your hair and skin too.

10. Always keep your goal in your sights.

It’s easy to become complacent or give in when you have a plateau or a gain, but keep at it. It is worth it! I cannot even begin to explain how much better my life is now. I feel fantastic. I think that for me, the new found energy and health benefits have been motivational throughout the whole journey, even when I have hit plateaus for weeks at a time.

There are all sorts of reasons for hitting a plateau, so try all different things to beat them. Vary your food choices, change your exercise… Keep it interesting for yourself and don’t become fixated on the exact same routine. Weight watchers is not a diet. It is a new lifestyle for me. I have made changes for good. If it takes a little longer than you expect, don’t lose sight of the fact that you are making your whole life better, so who cares if it takes longer…you are on a good path.

Read more about Sarah’s incredible story of survival exclusively in this week’s issue of Woman’s Day, on sale Monday, November 4, 2013.

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