Melissa Brookfield dropped 18kg in 12 weeks on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. Here she shares exactly what she did to lose the weight, and keep it off.
Melissa Brookfield’s mental health took a heavy hit when she gained weight during her two pregnancies.
“My self-esteem was so low,” she tells body+soul. “The worst thing was feeling so lethargic all the time and struggling to climb the stairs at home, or struggling to take my baby for a walk.”
For Melissa, it was a combination of poor diet choices and lack of exercise that promoted her weight gain.
“During my pregnancy I ate anything and everything I liked – hot chips, cake, cookies, baked goods,” the mother-of-two explains. “I had a particular fondness for caramel slice, and vanilla slice.”
And then there was the issue with portion control. “I also had serious problems with portion control and would easily eat the same as my husband. I know I was pregnant, but I treated it as a free-for-all and ate well in excess of what I was even hungry for.”
She also went from being fairly active to cutting out exercise altogether once she realised it was aggravating her sciatica.
To add to her low self-esteem, she recalls others even having difficulty recognising her.
“I had moved away from my current hometown and came back after having my first baby. I’m not joking when I say people didn’t recognise me – they did a double take before covering their expressions.”
This made her determined to take action and change her lifestyle. “It seems silly that it was other people’s opinions that mattered the most, but it certainly hurt and prompted me to try and get back to looking like my old self,” the 31-year-old recalls. “I also hated the fact that I couldn’t fit in any of my old clothes and anything new I bought, brought me zero joy.”
Melissa signed up to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet 12 week program and went from 83kg to 65kg. Here’s how she did it…
Nailing “preparation and routine” were key to Melissa’s incredible body transformation. “When I started the program I noticed the weight loss very quickly, and that spurred me to keep going,” she says.
“I stick to a list and if I want a treat, I have to go to the shops to get one. I also always cook extra and have leftovers for lunch or freeze them for another night.”
Here’s what a typical day on a plate looks like
Breakfast: A smoothie (she’s a huge fan of the CSIRO banana, peanut butter and tofu recipe), muesli or porridge.
Lunch: A salad or sandwich.
Dinner: Meat with a serve of veg.
Snacks: Fruit, coffee, yoghurt and veggie sticks.
Melissa’s exercise routine
Melissa made exercise a non-negotiable.
“I made sure that I saw exercise as a job in the beginning. I got up at the same time each day and never faltered.”
It was this consistency that slowly turned exercise into a daily habit, rather than a chore.
“I absolutely love exercising and getting active every day.” A typical week of exercise for Melissa involves three runs and four HIIT classes.
“I have learnt about having a positive relationship with exercise. I can run further than I ever have before and am working towards running up to 5km.”
Melissa’s three golden rules of successful long-term weight loss
She’s physically stronger and happier, but more importantly Melissa can confidently say she’s mentally healthier than ever before.
“After the babies I never thought I would feel attractive again. Now my confidence is sky high. I have learnt so much about the importance of good nutrition and making healthier choices while still enjoying a treat.”
Melissa credits her weight loss to these three rules:
1. Believe in yourself
“When I was trying to lose the weight I practised mindfulness and visualised a happy healthy me every night before bed.”
2. Plan your meals for the week ahead
“Stick to a list to avoid filling your trolley with processed convenience foods and junk food. Fill your fridge with fresh, healthy food and have snacks visible at the front of your fridge so when you open your fridge there is always something easy and healthy to eat.”
3. Exercise first thing in the morning
“Set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal, and then get up and go for a walk. I find it too hard to exercise at the end of the day, not only because I’m usually tired, but it’s easy to get caught up with other things and not do it.”