Update 1st May 2018:
This week, we celebrate the successful Weight Loss of Chloe Strachan. Here’s her story:
Ah, food. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with it. And for me, post sleeve surgery was like breaking up with it. I needed to learn what to feed myself, and I needed to do it fast. The team armed me with every piece of information I could possibly need to get myself started.
I had all the plates and bowls, tiny forks and spoons and lunchboxes, but no real idea how to make it work for me. Thirsty for ideas, I trawled Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for how to put it in to practice. I found it tough to find recipes and meal preparation plans that worked for me. The ones that weren’t bariatric specific were complex and overwhelming by the size of the meals and the ones that were bariatric friendly didn’t fit the well-rounded meals I was looking for.
So I decided to go into the uncharted water for me and just give it a crack. At first, I was prepping way too much food! I had broccoli, spinach and chicken breasts going off in the fridge before I could work my way through them all. I was becoming stressed by the amount of food I was throwing out. I was freezing copious amounts of food that I would never eat because I had simply made so much of it and was sick of it. I decided there had to be a better way. I began experimenting. How many meals could I get out of one standard piece of food? How long would something last if it was prepped on Sunday afternoon? What is the best way to store the prepared food? I generally meal prep on a Sunday and then again on Thursday.
I shop the outside of the supermarket and only venture into the isles if I absolutely have to. I make the majority of my food from scratch, but don’t let that put you off. It is simple and time effective-I need it to be with six-year-old twins in toe! The following is my personal guidelines that is stick to when I meal prep: 1 large chicken breast: 2 meals + a third if paired with extra protein (like a yoghurt dressing or cheese). Cook the chicken breast with garlic, salt and pepper. Chop into two large slices and one smaller slice. 1 small capsicum: 3/4 sliced thinly, 1/4 chopped. 1 tomato: sliced thinly for three meals (high protein low carb toast or in a bunless burger). Avocado: 1/2 diced for salad over three meals and the other in an avocado saver for the next round of meal prep. 1 bag of single-serve spinach: add shredded spinach to meatballs or saucy meats like tacos. Serve in a salad aside protein. 1 carrot: chop into sticks and keep in an airtight container for dipping. 1 block of low-fat cheese and one container of low-fat cheese slices. Sliced deli meat: (two or three slices per snack). Feta: check the nutritional value because the fat content can creep up quickly. Dips: I choose my dips carefully. Some have a 24-hour use at once opened. I pick ones I can get a few days out of, otherwise, I make my own Tzatziki as needed. 500g extra lean beef mince or other minced meats: I split in two and make two meals out of them and separate into portions (for example, I made chilli beef with cabbage, mushrooms and capsicum and Chile con carne with the other.)
I generally get three or four portions out of each meal. I keep these in separate containers or one that has different compartments and checks on them regularly to make sure the quality isn’t deteriorating quickly. My Sunday meal prep looked like this: Taco mince (250g extra lean beef mince) Chilli beef (250g extra lean beef mince) Chilli pork meatballs (500g lean pork mince and veggies) Pumpkin soup (two serves- used leftover pumpkin from a roast that day) Bruschetta chicken (found on Pinterest- 1 chicken breast, basil, tomato, and I added feta, avocado, Capsicum and Tzatziki). Salad vegetables. I also made a fridge clearing frittata (ham and random veggies), on Friday night and froze that into portions for breakfasts. I spent about $50 and it took about 1 hour from unpacking groceries to cleaning up the kitchen. I froze the completed soup, taco mince and the pork meatballs and started with the chilli beef and the bruschetta chicken. I then pack my lunchbox the night before.
I start with my lunch. Taco salad, meatballs and veggies, stir fry and sushi are all things that transport well. My snacks generally are the same with carrot sticks, 20g dip, 25g cheese and two or three deli meat slices. I stick to chicken or ham. Sometimes I add a few cashews if I’m having a busy day. Using a bento box or a compartment style lunchbox is my go to. It makes it easy to see what you’ve got and how much you need it. Food doesn’t have to be intimidating post-surgery. It can be fun, versatile and exciting. And if all else fails, there isn’t much that can’t be fixed with a dollop of tomato sauce!!
First Published: [7th March 2018]
During my pregnancy, I had put on over 50kgs. After delivery and caring for newborn twins, I felt like there was nothing left in the tank when it came to looking after myself. For the next five years, I made empty promises to myself that I would go on a diet and join a gym the next week. I would attempt to follow through with them, but often found excuses as to why I couldn’t, i.e finances, child care, work and life.
In September last year, I finally decided enough was enough. I was tired, sore, sick, unhappy, not to mention how unhealthy I was. I could see right in front of me how I was killing myself with food. I was 27 years old and I felt like I was 127. I was gaining weight rapidly and elasticised pants became my best friend. I hated taking my kids on bike rides around the neighbourhood, my ankles ached before I reached the end of the street. This was not the life I envisioned for my family and I had to do something about it. I called WeightLoss Solutions Australia after seeing an ad on Facebook. Before I knew it, I had booked my appointments to see if I was a suitable candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy and I was off to buy some scales. I had estimated my weight was at around 150kgs. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried when I saw I weighed 172kgs.
After completing the pre-op requirements, I was as determined as ever to change my life. I dared not to stray from the preop diet for fear that I would harm my chances of my surgery going ahead. Nerves built steadily before the surgery date, and on the day, an overwhelming calmness came over me. I knew I was in the safest hands, and I was prepared as best as I could.
Since my surgery on November 2nd, 2017, my life has completely changed. Good lifestyle practices have become the norm in my household. My littles join in racing me to the end of the street when we go for a walk or fight over who will help to prepare nutritious lunchboxes for school or meals for the family. It was almost a natural progression which I feel was fueled by the guidance and support of my dietician, Maddie.
Including my four-week pre-op diet, I have lost an unbelievable 53.9kgs and gained my life back. I’m over halfway to where I want to be, and you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m one determined lady and I’m going to get there.
Big congratulations Chloe! Four months of your committed and tenacious dedication to improving your health and future have yielded a massive 54kg weight loss. Your level of conscientiousness and readiness for change were evident from the start and it’s no surprise to me that you are smashing this. Brilliant results for a huge effort.
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*Disclaimer: Results may vary for each person