It’s possible to lose weight. If you’ve got the right motivation, you can do it. A few years ago I decided to make one of my dreams come true: to be skinnier. I didn’t do it for others; I did this for me. Was it easy? Nope. Was it worth it? Yes.

There were days when I wanted to give up, and days when I couldn’t be bothered to train. But the storm always passed, and I was back on the journey. Are you looking for the secret? There isn’t one. Consistency and balance is the key. Don’t give up; you are worth it.

I translated one of the articles which was published in a Slovakian lifestyle website. For Slovak speakers you can read it here.

When did your story start and how much weight you lose?

katarina-makkaiova-before-and-afterIt started on 1/1/2013, when I gave myself a new year’s resolution to lose weight and look good on my 30th birthday. At the beginning I just wanted to lose 5-10kgs, but when you see how it works and how your body is changing you want more. It became an addiction. I gave myself small goals to achieve and I still do it this way. It’s good to look to at the big picture of losing 30kgs, but it can be scary and I believe it’s easier when the goals aren’t so scary.

I went from being over 90kgs (198lbs) to 61kgs (131lbs). From size 16-18 (I never admitted I was that big) to size 8-10.

What was the main impulse to say, “I really want to lose weight?”

I was always a bigger girl. I’m quite tall at 5’10/179cm, so it wasn’t as visible. I think since I was 15, I was trying to lose weight. Tried everything, low carb diets, low fat diets, all fad diets, you name it, I tried it. Apart from detoxes (I wasn’t that mad.) But unfortunately it always led to a yo-yo effect. I wanted it. I wanted to lose weight so badly that I would do anything for it. Apart from looking good on my 30th, I had a plan to go Mexico that year as well, so that was more motivation to do it.

Plenty of people are having problems motivating themselves to exercise. Especially when they have never exercised before, apart from maybe a few hours in school. Have you got any tips how to start?

I started with Zumba twice a week, and exercised at home with some light kettlebells. For someone who hasn’t really worked out before, walking is a fantastic way to start and YouTube videos are great as well for some home exercises.

Walking is great not just for losing weight, but it gets you out of the house and clears your head too. It’s a perfect way to increase your N.E.A.T (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).

I use my lunch breaks for walks. I call them ‘science walks’, because I listen to nutrition podcasts. I really enjoy them, and they are a great way to educate yourself on the go. My favourites are Real Nutrition Radio, Ben Coomber, Shredded by Science Radio and Sigma Nutrition Radio. Another thing I did was is to stop reading women’s magazines as their diet advice isn’t the best. Actually they are terrible. I started to look more into nutrition, training and science. I admit it, I do love science. Magazines were swapped for studies, and I believe it was a great decision because like this I learn with every article I read.

I try to walk at least 45 minutes a day, 5/6 times a week. No power walking, just normal pace. Apart from that, I started to walk home or to walk instead of catching the bus. Walking is low intensity, so it doesn’t stress the body and that’s why is great for everyone, even for people who never worked out before or are overweight.

How did your training look when you started your journey?

Later I joined the gym and I worked out there twice a week. I remember it took my boyfriend six months to talk me into weights because I just wanted to do cardio, which I now hate. I fell in love with iron, and I was amazed how my body started to change and how much I could lift. Later I was training with a personal trainer who taught me the technique, which I think is very important, especially for someone who never lifted before. It can prevent injuries.

I started with strong lifts and I still do squats, bench, deadlift, hip thrusts. My training still consists mainly from compounds but I have added some isolation exercises as well.

I mainly train at home, because I don’t drive and can’t get to gym always, so we set up a little gym in garage. Nothing special: a power rack, bench, Olympic bar, some plates, kettlebells. If you want it, you find a way, even if it’s in the living room with exercise videos or with kettlebells. I use resistance bands as well, which are cheap and are amazing for glute burnouts.

You can’t lose weight just with exercise, but you need to change your nutrition too. How has your nutrition changed?

My nutrition has totally changed. I used to eat just carbs and fat accompanied with lot of fruits and sweets. I was a big fan of fast foods too, which I had one or two times a week, washed down with wine.

I practice flexible dieting/IIFYM. It’s a big hit now. It means no foods are off-limit, but all portions have limits. I pre-plan my food the night before. My nutrition consists of 80-90% of non-processed food (meat, vegetables, fish, rice, potatoes), and the remaining 10% is what my heart desires that day, like a small Reese’s cup or something else. I concentrate daily on hitting my fibre intake and micronutrients as well. For me it became a habit to measure my food and plan it, it’s not something I have to always do, but I enjoy it and it doesn’t bother me.

How does your nutrition look when you diet?

When I’m in a caloric deficit, I weigh everything I eat. The only difference between when I’m on a diet when I’m not is the portions, and that I weigh everything. When I don’t, diet I’m more loose with my nutrition, plus it’s easier to eat out too.

I don’t cut out wheat or dairy from my diet because I’m not lactose intolerant or celiac. On a diet, I opt for filling, high-volume food. It needs to look like there’s a lot of food! If you master that, you are halfway there. Caloric deficit can be obtained from either nutrition or adding more activity, or the combination of both. You need to consume less than you burn. When I diet, I walk more, but when not dieting I cut the walks down. Every Sunday than I check how the week looks and how much progress I made.

When in a deep caloric deficit, I have planned refeeds, where my carbs are raised to increase leptin levels. But I never go over my maintenance calories. I don’t do cheat meals; I’m not a fan of them as they turned before into binges, so I’d rather stay away from them. Because no foods are off-limits, I don’t really need them either. If fancy a pizza, I just plan it in without guilt. When I don’t diet and I go out, I usually do free meals. It’s one meal, not whole day so it’s less likely to turn into binge.

Are there any foods which you really miss?

Nothing, as I eat anything I want.

How your daily nutrition does looks like?

I usually start my day with oats, fruits, peanut butter or chocolate. There are days when I fancy something different, and I have eggs with pitta bread and vegetables or protein pancakes.

Snacks are usually fruits and full fat Greek yoghurt. I’m not a fan of low fat yoghurts, and use them only for baking as than there is more room for peanut butter. Sometimes I bake some homemade protein goodies which are either chocolaty or fruity.

Lunch is usually some rice or potatoes with meat and vegetables. Sometimes it’s a pizza. Dinner is mainly eggs, pizza omelette or homemade fries with meat and vegetables. It really depends on what I fancy that day. I aim to eat two portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Any supplements?

I take calcium magnesium, vitamin d and sometimes multivitamin. In a bulking phase, I add creatine.

Have you got any tips for people who usually eat out?

Try to choose less processed foods. Go for cooked eggs instead of fried, cooked and jacked potatoes instead of fried and grilled meat instead of fried too. Always have a salad or vegetables as side. Another good tip when eating out is to start with your protein and vegetables and leave the carbs last. Like this you know you get your micros and protein and while you get to carbs you less likely to over eat.

Do you eat sweets? Are there any sweets which won’t harm our figure?

I eat chocolate every day. If I would have to give up chocolate totally, I would probably end up binging like crazy. More we can’t have it, more we crave it and want it. As a perfect snack I love Greek yoghurt with 85% chocolate and fruits.

Many girls are in binging cycle, eating a lot, and then banning foods and all around. Have you got any tips?

  1. Find a style which you can easily follow and which suits your lifestyle. There aren’t any magic diets. Every single one works, because they put you into caloric deficit. Unfortunately, the problem is that the deficit doesn’t need to be that big on the start as it usually is with crash diet.
  2. The best diet is the one which you can follow long term. Some prefer to eat 6x a day and some just twice. Everyone is different. Don’t cut out your favourite food totally. Try and find some healthier versions. There aren’t any bad or good foods, just nutritionally less and more dense.
  3. If you try and ban something forever from your diet and your brain will go crazy. You will not stop thinking about that food and will end up binging. That’s why a small piece can save a lot. That’s one of the reasons why chocolate stays with me.
  4. Be consistent. One bad day won’t ruin your diet. If you f…up one day, tomorrow is another chance, the world won’t end. Don’t give up when the 1st storm passes by.
  5. Eat the foods you enjoy and like. It’s pointless to eat what you hate just because someone said you will lose weight.
  6. Life is too short to eat just steamed broccoli and steamed meat.

Here’s the original article: