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If you’re battling with weight issues or simply want to take the next step towards a healthier, happier lifestyle it’s essential that you stay informed by the people who have been in your shoes. We arranged an exclusive interview with weight loss expert, Dannii Martin of HungryHealthyHappy so that she can share the trials and tribulations of her own personal journey, helping you stay on course to reach your weight loss goals.
HE: Was there anything in particular that made you decide to lose weight?
DM: I was very unhealthy and I was having heart issues, like my heart beating irregularly. I had a lot of tests done and whilst they couldn't find anything specifically wrong, the doctors told me that my weight was probably the cause. It shocked me knowing that I was doing this to myself and that I was the only one that could change it. I had tried to lose weight so many times before, but something just clicked and I knew this time would be it.
HE. Compare your diet habits from when you were struggling with your weight to now.
DM: Looking back, my diet was terrible. I was a vegetarian for a long time and stupidly I thought that automatically made me healthier. Of course a vegetarian diet could be very healthy, but mine definitely wasn't. At my heaviest I was a university student, so a lot of my meals were quick and easy to make. I thought cooking was pressing buttons on the microwave. I would have sugary cereal with stacks of toast for breakfast, lunch would be a jacket potato covered in cheese and beans and dinner would be a ready meal. I went out a lot, which meant getting a takeaway, which would consist of a whole pizza and chips, covered in cheese and mayo all to myself. This was even though I had dinner before I went out. Of course I snacked constantly too. I just ate and ate to fill a void that food could never fill.
My diet is much, much better now. Not perfect, but I am fine with that. I live by the 80/20 rule. As long as my diet is 80% clean, then I don't stress about the other 20%. I always loved vegetables and salad, so that hasn't changed much, but I now make everything myself, I am conscious of portions and I am very aware of what goes in to my food.
HE: From your personal experience, what do you consider to be the most important weight loss tip?
DM: Know what is in your food. This was the biggest revelation for me. Pretty much everything I ate was ready made, so I started looking at the ingredients and the nutritional value (or lack of as the case was) and I was so shocked. I couldn't pronounce most of the ingredients in the food I ate. I thought if I can't pronounce it and I don't know what it is, why do I want that in my body? So I started cooking from scratch and that was when things started to turn around.
HE: Do you think exercise is an essential part of losing weight? If so, how much would you recommend?
DM: I think that is an individual thing. For me, weight loss happens in the kitchen rather than the gym and it was cleaning up my diet that helped with weight loss. That is not to say that exercise is not important. It really, really is. Exercise helped to tone me up so I didn't have a lot of loose skin after losing 100lbs. But it was the mental benefit of exercise that really helped me. It made me feel so much happier and so much more relaxed. I quickly learned that you couldn’t out-train a bad diet.
HE: Have you found that attitudes towards you have changed since you’ve lost weight?
Yes, definitely. Unfortunately, and this is something I hear a lot, I lost a few friends when I was losing weight. They said I had changed, and I did, but I don't think that was a bad thing. I was no longer going out partying every night and that meant my relationships with some people changed.
It wasn't just attitudes from people I knew that changed, it was from strangers too. Losing weight meant that I was no longer invisible to people and strangers will talk to me more now, which I think is such a shame. Essentially I am the same person, just healthier.
HE: What kept you motivated throughout your weight loss journey?
DM: It always has been and always will be my health. Any time I could feel myself slipping back in to bad habits, I reminded myself of how far I have come and how I felt when I was at my heaviest. I never want to go back there, so I just kept pushing forward. Having more energy and my clothes being too big was a bonus too.
HE: What do you think are the main benefits from losing weight?
DM: Being able to do all of the things I have always wanted to do. We recently went to Mexico and during the hottest part of the day we climbed up hundreds of steps to the top of a Mayan pyramid and that was a huge moment for me knowing that a few years ago I never would have been able to do that and I would have missed out on an amazing memory that my husband and I now share.
HE: Do you think there is too much pressure placed on women to be thin?
DM: I think there is a lot of pressure placed on women, and also men, to be thin. I think the focus should be on health, not a weight or size. I know people who are considered obese, yet can run a marathon and their diet is super clean. I also know people who are thin, but their diet is terrible and they feel ill all the time because of it. Your size does not reflect your health. The media is hugely responsible for this and it is making people think they have to be a certain size to love their bodies and for other people to love them too. That is part of the reason I started Hungry Healthy Happy - to help people embrace their body, to love it, and to focus on being healthy at the same time.
A great insight into the personal challenges experienced when trying to lose weight from Dannii Martin. Her mission is to help others achieve the same results, which is why she created her own weight loss blog called HungryHealthyHappy. Packed full of tips and advice, this blog is a much-read for anyone trying to turn over a new leaf and learn more about healthy living.
HealthExpress can provide further information on weight loss and offer treatment to compliment your weight loss plan. For professional medical advice visit the HealthExpress weight loss page here.