Ness tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Vanessa and I work for a large global bank currently in Costa Rica where I am the Sourcing site lead and head of Global Contract Management. I love my job because I am able to influence efforts on women’s talent development and initiatives to provide education to disadvantaged girls. I have previously worked in Singapore, London and Sydney (my home town). I love to play sports including Outrigger Canoeing, hiking and golf. I have competed in many international canoe races in places like Hawaii, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and England. I also love to travel and have visited over 50 countries which I believe really has influenced my view of the world and developed my understanding of different people and cultures.
You have recently lost a lot of weight, what was your mental attitude especially being on lockdown at the moment? Whilst I have always been extremely active I have always had a problem with nutrition. I have struggled with food all my life with my weight yo-yoing up and down. In the past I have lost weight due to extreme exercise routines but never through a focus on my diet. I visited a nutritionist this year who provided me a diet that was tailored to me. The diet is very restrictive and had to be followed to the letter, not one ingredient could be changed or missed. For some reason I become very focused on following this restrictive diet maybe because the nutritionist cost a fortune and I don’t like to waste money. After starting this diet we were put into lockdown due to COVID-19 therefore I couldn’t swim or play golf. This gave me time to focus on targeted exercise that wouldn’t force me to increase my calorie count too much. I think that because I am able to fully control my environment due to lockdown I am able to use my mental positivity and resilience to focus on good nutrition and doing varied exercises. It is also really fun to think that once I emerge from isolation no one will believe the transformation it will be like a butterfly emerging from her cocoon after entering as little fat grub.
What was your exact diet & exercise regime?
As mentioned the diet was very restrictive and was around 700 calories a day, the food was all fresh vegetables and lean meat. Absolute no/no’s are no preservatives, no processed foods, no protein high in fat, no fruit high in sugar and no chocolate or alcohol. There are daily green smoothies made up of celery, cucumber, lemon and spearmint (which are actually very yummy). In the 1st month I was able to lose 10 kgs or 22 pounds which was another driving factor behind my new found motivation. The 1st month I lost the weight solely through diet and the only exercise I was allowed to do was 10,000 steps per day. I bought a Fitbit and tracked my steps each day and the weight really started to fall off. Once I reached the 10kg milestone I started to introduce light exercises focusing on core strength and a little bit of running. I started to mix the diet up a little bit but continued to ensure my macros were being managed as well as being on a very low calorie count. Doing this I was able to lose another 6 kgs in the next month bringing me to within 5 kgs or 11 pounds of my goal.
How do you feel now and what are your fitness goals going forward? I actually feel great and have realized I don’t need the calories I thought I needed when exercising. I am currently on 1000 calories per day up from 700 calories and doing an hour of exercise a day as well averaging about 15000 steps per day. I want to lose another 5 kgs and aim to do this over a 2 month period and will do this by slightly increasing my calories and continuing with light exercises moving towards weight maintenance in the coming months. I have also introduced some treats such as a little chocolate once a week. Once I have reached my goal I aim to continue to maintain with focused calorie control and maybe introducing some dinners out (when lockdown is over). But I really feel I have nutritional tools to help maintain a healthy weight for life. I know I can survive on 700 calories if I need to and I have many foods I can eat that are low in calories but give me nourishment to sustain me throughout the day.
What message can you share with other women starting the same journey as you?
Understand that nutrition is the key to weight loss. Remove the emotional connection with food through focusing on nourishing your body rather than comforting your emotional needs. Meditation and relaxation are key too. Also drink loads of green tea and water.