28-year-old mum Tarryn Eames used to lead a life “full of extremely unhealthy habits” that left her feeling low on energy and self-esteem. But in the process of changing her lifestyle habits, she was able to shed 30 kilos – as well as her negative self-image.
As a busy working mum, Tarryn never could seem to find time to work out her own healthy living routine.
“My life was full of extremely unhealthy habits,” she tells Body+Soul.
“I used to sit on the sidelines and watch my husband and kids play as I didn’t have the energy to join in. I would dread going out in public, socialising and clothes shopping. Just picking clothes out for the day was an emotional experience as I was so unhappy with how I felt and looked, and most days I would be in tears on my bed not wanting to go out and be seen in public.”
Tarryn’s weight gain was an extension of the “eating for two mentality” that she says she couldn’t shake after pregnancy.
“That mentality stayed with me during breastfeeding as I believed I needed extra to help me produce enough milk for my baby. Then it continued between babies as it was too hard to break.”
After she had given birth to her third baby, and when she decided to begin her health journey, Tarryn’s highest weight was 97.7kg. And while the process of turning her entire life around seemed daunting at first, she eventually was able to lose 30kg in just over two years – and more importantly, she gained a whole new lease on life.
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A gradual turnaround
Tarryn’s turning point that helped her change her life came in April 2018. Her third baby was nine weeks old and Tarryn was Matron of Honour at her best friend’s wedding.
“I felt like a new woman on her wedding day with a tan, professional hair and professional makeup. That was until I then saw the pictures back and saw the toll my unhealthy habits had taken on my body,” she reveals.
“I was devastated. I spent a good few hours crying. I was set to be Matron of Honour for another friend in the April of 2019 and I was determined to not look at those pictures and feel that same sadness.”
Tarryn says that the key to her success was making change gradually in her life, rather than going cold turkey on her old habits all at once – which had been her downfall in the past.
“I changed one area of my lifestyle at a time. I focused on one small change at a time and I allowed myself a week or longer if needed to adjust to each change before making another change. I found that helped me as it felt a lot less overwhelming then my previous and failed attempts to lose weight where I changed every aspect all at once and I very quickly found it too much too soon and threw in the towel.”
Tarryn’s current diet
As a result of her busy lifestyle, Tarryn’s eating habits were mainly based on convenience and ease of access.
“I would skip breakfast, eat muffins, chips, lollies or cakes for my snacks. I would have takeaway for lunch every work day (I worked full time, five days a week). I also ate takeaway for dinner a few nights a week too,” she says.
“If I did cook at home I would eat a minimum of two servings of dinner then would have multiple servings of dessert every night too. I drank soft drink as my main source of fluid intake and rarely drank water at all.”
Once Tarryn made the decision to turn her life around, she knew where to begin: her diet.
“My first change was ensuring I drank 3 litres of water everyday – no more soft drink, just water. I then began having a Healthy Mummy smoothie for breakfast and lunch daily as it was quick and easy for me to whip up and quickly consume before the newborn needed me again. I began swapping my snacks to Healthy Mummy snacks and then I changed our family dinners to Healthy Mummy meals too,” she explains.
Here’s what a typical day on a plate looks like to her now:
Breakfast: Healthy Mummy Aussie Toast
Morning snack: Crackers with Cheese and salami
Lunch: Healthy Mummy Smoothie with HM protein powder
Afternoon Snack: Popcorn and an apple
Dinner: Healthy Mummy Beef Nachos
Dessert: Healthy Mummy Weetbix Slice
Tarryn’s exercise routine
Prior to her health transformation, Tarryn says her exercise routine was “non-existent”: “My only form of movement was housework and tending to my children’s needs,” she says.
Life now is entirely different, and she usually exercises around five days a week – sometimes twice a day! She has managed to fit in an exercise routine around her kid’s schedule, so she can take care of her own health while taking care of them too.
“Monday to Friday after dropping my two older children to school, I walk for an hour with my littlest in the pram. If I get some extra time during the day I’ll squeeze in a workout from the Healthy Mummy app too but my main form of exercise is walking. If I am unable to walk due to the weather or other commitments I will use the workouts from the Healthy Mummy app. My favourites are the Dance Fit, Tabata or Boxing!” she explains.
With her newfound diet and exercise regimen, she has now lost 30 kilos and 31.6 percent body fat in just over two years to reach a weight of 67.5kg – but her health journey isn’t over yet.
“I am not quite at my goal just yet, I am still a work in progress!” she says.
“There is no end date for me on this journey … I want to be a healthy mummy for life!”
Tarryn on her biggest challenges and lessons
For Tarryn, the biggest challenge to overcome was working on her mindset.
“Changing the negative outlook I had on life and more importantly myself has been the hardest yet most rewarding part of the process,” she says.
“It wasn’t until I began to change my mindset and the way I saw myself, thought about myself and spoke to myself that I really saw and felt the changes that I had made physically.”
That challenge in turn led to her learning the most important lesson of her journey, which is that true health is far more holistic than she originally thought.
“Healthy isn’t a number on the scales or even a size on a clothing tag. Healthy is a feeling that you will only experience once you work on both your physical and mental health with equal emphasis,” she explains.
Tarryn’s advice for others
Given the lessons she has learned, Tarryn has some hard-won advice for anyone else looking to transform their own health.
“Aim for healthy, not a number on the scales. Understand that this will take time and that there is no quick fixes,” she begins.
“Take it one small step at a time and celebrate every small step you take towards a happier and healthier you. Break down your end goal into smaller more achievable goals to help you stay on track and motivated. Find a buddy that has similar goals and use each other for support! But most importantly, believe in yourself.”