When I first started on Lite'n'Easy 2 years ago, I was in a completely different place in my life. I had just recently quit a job that had burnt me out, I had spent 3 months looking for work (ie. sitting on the couch), and I just wanted to change my level of health, because I knew I hadn't been looking after myself.
Before that I had dabbled in other diets like Celebrity Slim (shake based diet plan) and Body Trim (protein based diet plan). They had been more extreme, and never lasted, but seemed easy to fit into my hectic lifestyle. I also had never spent too much time learning about food and diet (as in, what you eat). Exercise was a bit different - I had always known the 'right' thing to do because I have played sports all my life, and as a junior at a high level, but had not been able to make it stick as an adult.
When I was looking into ways of losing weight, but keeping in mind that I was starting a new job and wanting to start exercising more, I found Lite'n'Easy and thought it was a great solution. It was a bit pricey, but it looked like real food, I would eat 5 times a day, and I didn't have to think about a balanced, calorie controlled diet - they handed it to me in a cooler box each week.
Lite'n'Easy definitely worked. I think I lost close to 18kg over about 18 months, and I stayed on the program right up until my wedding. I'm sure it also helped that I also started exercising a lot, got into running in a major way, and I really enjoyed my new lifestyle.
During this time I also invested a lot more time learning about food and exercise and how our bodies work. I learnt the bad stuff that sugar and simple carbs can do to your body, and the good stuff about vegies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy carbs. And I found that even when I had the choice, I wanted to eat healthy, real food, as close to it's natural state as possible.
After my wedding, I stopped Lite'n'Easy, and started focusing on all the good things healthy food as to offer. I started buying quinoa, coconut oil and cacao, replacing normal flours with almond meal and buckwheat flour, and adding chia seeds and linseed to my breakfasts. I tried new recipes every week, from making spaghetti sauces and salsas from scratch, to healthy muffins and protein balls. And I really enjoyed it.
I went back on Lite'n'Easy because ... well, ultimately because the extra weight I had put on since my wedding was making me be a little scared about falling back into old traps and habit of eating. It had worked before, so it would work again, right?
What I hadn't factored in was that my whole view of food and nutrition and health has changed. Sure, as I mentioned quite a few times, Lite'n'Easy provides good quality meals, where you don't feel hungry (as long as you choose the right calorie range meal plan) and takes the thinking out of eating.
But I realised I LIKE thinking about food. I like making choices that are nutritional, balanced and taste amazing. I like planning what to eat and cook for the coming week, and to try new things. And I like sharing this with my husband and family.
So from next week I'm going to go back to normal food planning and eating, as well as consciously trying to address a few things about my relationship with food. I will probably have some of the Lite'n'Easy meals in the freezer just for convenience, and I actually do like them! But mostly, I just want to enjoy my real food! After all, I didn't call this blog 'Real' Girl Running just because I'm alive :)
I'll share with you - probably weekly - my eats, favourites, wins and losses. Welcome to a new phase of the journey!
What is your food philosophy? Why does it work for you?