At home, my mother always cooked and she is an excellent cook. I don’t think we had take-away (or rather went to the pizzeria) more than five times during my childhood/teenage years. So I wasn’t used to buying prepared food/takeaways when I left home at 18. I quickly learned not to copy my mother’s recipes; at the beginning, I tried but it never tasted like mum’s cooking. So I started experimenting and I still experiment. It is not French cuisine but good, easy, simple and colourful food, quick to prepare. That does not mean that I wouldn’t spend a full day in the kitchen; I do that from time to time.
I was never very interested in sport; I never had fun when I was forced to do gym at school. However, when I got a job in New York in 2005, I just knew that I had to have a personal trainer – everybody in New York City has one, don’t they? A colleague referred me to a very good one but it did take me 6-8 months before I could muster the necessary courage to contact him. The first session was a complete disaster. But it got easier (never easy). Twice a week, I had sessions – in my apartment, Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. I don’t remember losing weight but I got in a much better shape.
Returning to Brussels in 2009, I made a couple of half-hearted attempts to follow up on my training. It wasn’t very successful. I was still eating rather healthily but combined with stressful jobs and getting older, I began putting on weight. At a certain point, I reached 72.4 kg (my highest ever) but there was ‘nothing’ I could do that helped me to lose the weight. Very frustrating. Then my chiropractor referred me to a dietician. He is rather controversial but he helped me by getting my body back in balance with supplements of vitamins and minerals. Over a period of two years, I lost 11 kg.
So far so good; when I started training with Declan in April 2018, I had re-gained 5-6 kg. Again, no matter what I did(!), I didn’t manage to lose weight. UNTIL one session end of August last year when Declan asked us to note down what we were eating. I downloaded MyFitnessPal and in three months, I had lost 5 kg. I am still using MyFitnessPal when I am preparing my meals; I am weighing everything. It was a bit of a hassle at the beginning but today it is just part of cooking/preparing meals. I have hardly eaten any crisps or peanuts since I started this project; I do not drink so much wine any longer; and I do think twice before buying unhealthy stuff; unfortunately, I cannot stay away from chocolate but I always look for the one that has less calories. This small request from Declan really made a huge difference in my life.
- I usually eat from smaller plates (23 cm) and I prepare the plate in the kitchen. Then there is no tempting food next to me once my plate is empty.
- When I prepare salads, I use lemon juice instead of (olive) oil.
I joined the ‘Drop a Jean Size’ challenge in January. Not because I needed to lose any more weight but I am always interested in new ideas on how to eat healthy and I like trying out new recipes.
Below are some ideas that I got when I joined Declan’s ‘Drop a Jean Size’ but also some of my own favourites that do not followed the principles of the ‘Drop a Jean Size’ challenge.
Breakfast has never been my favourite meal, but during the ‘Drop a Jean Size’ challenge, I learned to appreciate these combinations:
Breakfast (prinicpal was that this meal should be higher protein, higher fat and little to no carbs):
Lunch (prinicpal here again was that this meal should be higher protein, higher fat and little to no carbs):
Quinoa, pomegranate, sweet corn, peas, edamame beans, parsley + lemon juice.
Empty-your-fridge-salad, an excellent way of not wasting food: I had three small leftover pieces of meat, a quarter of a green bell pepper, a few cherry tomatoes, carrots, a bit of white cabbage and some cucumber + lemon juice.
Fresh and light lunch (or dinner): Shrimps, mozzarella, black olives, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, lemon juice, ground pepper.
Tortilla (which I usually don’t use), minced meat fried with onion, grated carrots, green lentils + salt, pepper and some garam marsala (a gift) to spice it up.
This is one of my absolute favourites: avocado mousse (I blend an avocado with Greek yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt/pepper), prawns, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and yellow bell pepper. You can add toasted bred! Delicious – and colourful.
Dinner (lower fat meal with high protein again and medium level of carbohydrate):
Oven-baked cod (it stays juicy when it is prepared this way), oven-baked potatoes, raw beetroot, a few big capers.
A very easy but still delicious dinner: pork tenderloin with plenty of peas and edamame beans.
Cod with green lentils, chorizo, courgette and cherry tomatoes fried on the pan, black olives.
Beef with oven-baked potatoes and carrots, yellow bell pepper and peas – nice and colourful.
Chicken chunks, broccoli, mushrooms, peas and parsley.
Cod, calypso beans, beetroot (gift from my personal trainer), yellow courgettes (gift from a friend and directly imported from Italy).
Oven-baked salmon on a bed of cherry tomatoes and chorizo.