Flavour in Meals?
Perhaps I’ve been doing ‘weight loss’ wrong in the past, but I don’t think I’ll get used to having so much flavour in my meals anytime soon. It’s been two weeks and I’m just not used to eating delicious meals that are apparently ‘healthy’, ‘balanced’, and ‘nutritious’- especially when I’m trying to lose weight.
Relatively bland meals- and monotonous meals- have been the fool-proof formula for my weight loss success in the past i.e., grilled chicken with rice and steamed vegetables. I’ve come to accept that taste isn’t relevant with weight loss meals and that ‘bland’ food generally meant ‘good’ food. The second food starts tasting good, I start thinking I’ve done something wrong, or that I’ve added in something extra that I wasn’t supposed to. I start feeling… guilty.
Butter chicken, mac n cheese, lasagne and chocolate pancakes aren’t dishes that scream ‘healthy’ and have no place on a weight loss menu, yet there I was on an average Tuesday eating it all with a huge question mark above my head; you know, the guilty face you pull when you said you’re going out for just one drink, and you’re on your third bottle. It just didn’t make sense. To add to my confusion, I’m down 5.6kgs- so the Prep Kitchen meals, with all its flavours and variety, are definitely doing the job.
This past week I’ve had to challenge my thoughts on eating for weight loss. I’ve learned that it is possible to lose and maintain weight by eating tasty meals and that eating healthy doesn't necessarily mean eating boring and bland foods. You hear all the time on ads and commercials that it's possible to lose weight and enjoy food- but I've always thought that was some marketing ploy to trick me into buying their products! I’m learning that food is more than function- it can also be fun!
This is probably why my weight loss hasn’t been sustainable in the past. Usually, when I try to lose weight, I deprive myself of flavour, taste and variety for however long I need to, and then when I introduce normal meals back into my diet, I overindulge, which, slowly and surely, starts the cycle rolling back to square one.
I don’t feel like I’m on a diet (yet), and if this is what weight loss tastes like, I have a feeling that losing the weight and keeping it off could be sustainable this time around! Early days, I know. But allow my excitement! It’s my EUREKA! moment.
Returning to the Gym
After a few weeks of making excuses, I decided to go back to Peak Performance; a CrossFit gym that I religiously went to every morning at 9.30 am- Monday to Friday.
I parked up outside the gym and had a little moment in my car contemplating if I wanted to take the class and if I was ready to be seen in the gym. My t-shirt that not-so-long-ago fell loosely off me was now snug, and a few inches too wide in a squat could be all it takes to finish these shorts off.
It's nerve-wracking going back to a gym when you haven’t been in a while. It’s that awkward moment when you’re wearing Nike but you can’t do it. Especially since I was a good 15kgs lighter the last time I was here and, not to toot my own horn, but I was one of the fitter ones in the class.
It can feel this way, too, when you’re trying out a new gym, or a first-time gym-goer. You’re constantly wondering if you’re good enough; if you’re strong enough; if you’re fast enough; if you’ll be able to keep up; if you’ll be able to complete the workout; if others will judge you; and the failure, what if I fail and everyone sees?
It took a lot for me to leave my car and walk through those gym doors. I knew I just needed to get through the doors and start working out for me to begin the process of, what is respectfully known in the industry as, ‘getting-over-myself’.
Of course, I was anxious when I walked in, avoiding eye contact with everyone. I was anxious when the group gathered as the coaches explained the workout. I was anxious when the coaches greeted me. I was anxious when I started the workout- but then it stopped there! You begin focussing on the workout and trying not to die from all the burpees, pull-ups, box jumps and barbell lifts. All of a sudden, it becomes about you and the workout and not you and everyone else.
It’s so easy to get caught up in your head and, looking back, my performance wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, I found myself slotting right in comfortably with the group and managing to keep up- sometimes even taking the lead. Completing the first session back was what I needed for me to break down the barrier of returning to the gym, and to overcome ‘getting-over-myself’.
Note to self, and others in the same or similar situation, just walk through the doors- that’s the hardest part. People are more supportive than we give them credit for, and nine times out of 10 everyone’s too busy thinking about themselves. It is the gym after all- home of the vain.
Author- Paulo Va’a
Writer & Podcaster
WEEK 1: 107.6KGS (-2.5Kgs)
WEEK 2: 104.5KGS (-3.1Kgs)
Total Loss: -5.6kgs
Meal of the week: Chicken Chasseur
This week’s standout meal was the old-school French classic, Chicken Chasseur.
To cook this meal our chefs begin by frying off onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Then they add chicken breast and thigh, a splash of white wine, and a generous amount of chicken stock, and braise it on a low temperature until the sauce is velvety, rich and silky smooth.
Of course, we couldn't make a sauce this good without some buttery mash to go with it, and for those of you eating our lower carb meals you won't be missing out - we've created a low carb root mash too.
To complete the meal we've cooked a side of iron-rich chard and spring greens.