Many of us are trying to lose a few pounds right now given the infamous “Quarantine 15.” We often hear ourselves and our loved ones complaining about the weight we have gained under lockdowns.
The problem with hitting a weight we are uncomfortable with is that we often do extreme or unhealthy things to lose the unwanted weight. What’s most important however is that we lose the weight in a healthy manner both respecting our bodies and our minds.
Jennifer Ginley-Hagan lost 135 lbs doing just that. At a point, she was so uncomfortable with her weight gain that she told her long-term boyfriend of 11 years not to propose because she did not want to be a “fat bride.”
In a series of posts to her Instagram over the course of 10 days, Jennifer revealed her top 10 tips for losing the weight. Jennifer says, “If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I use each transformation picture I post to share aspects of the mental transformation. My attitude, outlook and coping mechanisms because weight loss is absolutely a mental game!”
Jennifer continues saying, “These tips over the next 10 days are what I physically do, what I change to make it easier for myself. Weight loss is my aim right now, so these are the things that I personally rely on to achieve weight loss.”
She explains, “These are the things I focus on and the things that work for me. Everyone is different although, people have different approaches as people have different issues. What I needed @slimmingworld food optimising to be in the beginning was different to how I needed it to be later on. I became healthier and worked towards better choices overall.”
Here are Jennifer’s top 10 tips for a successful transformation journey:
Tip 1: Simplicity
Ginley-Hagan says, “Take it back to basics and eat simply. Buy ingredients and just keep yourself full with the simple flavors you enjoy. Don’t overwhelm yourself with recipes and the new must have foods/healthy extras/low syn options.”
She also adds that if you chose to use Instagram as a food diary, do not worry if your meals are not “particularly interesting.” She encourages those sharing their food with their social networks not to concern themselves with what other people think as they are not the ones eating the food, you are!
Tip 2: Focus on the free foods
Jennifer shares Slimming World knowledge saying, “I see SW as a whole foods plan with the freedom to eat without restriction. The free foods laid out in your book are basically fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, lean animal-based proteins and grains. Focus on those foods! I cut out processed foods as much as practicable.”
Tip 3: Take a walk
Emphasizing the benefits of simply taking a stroll, Jennifer says, “As you may know exercise weren’t a part of my weight loss. Exercise as in gym going or planned exercise. I did although increase my activity as I’d walk the dog rather than ask Luke to.”
The difference was notable for Jennifer given her lifestyle before embarking upon her transformation journey. She explains, “I was completely inactive with a sedentary job, so this was a change for me. I didn’t have big weight losses each week but when I increased my walking I had my best weeks! You don’t have to walk fast or for any length, just walk.”
Jennifer adds, “When wanting a good loss I go on an evening walk. This not only helps with the physical, I find it mentally resets me.”
Tip 4: “Syn” only when necessary
Referring to “synergy,” syn is a Slimming World approach to weight loss. She explains, “I do not use 15 syns every day just because it’s a part of the plan. Not because syns are a problem and should be avoided. People lose weight eating 15 a day! Syns are mainly processed and that is why I go low syn/syn free when weight loss is my absolute priority.”
Tip 5: Hydration
Reinforcing what majority of nutritionists, trainers, and health experts preach, Jennifer discusses the importance of keeping yourself hydrated. She says, “We constantly hear how important hydration is for us generally, and weight loss but I cannot overstate how important it actually is! When I began increasing my water intake, I noticed a massive difference in lots of ways. Especially the last 3 stone I fought to get off. I really made a point of ensuring I drank 2 litres of water a day at least.”
Jennifer adds, “I also drink green tea, peppermint tea and decaf coffee. I love sliced lemon in hot water or in my filled cold water bottle too.”
Ginley-Hagan continues saying, “Your skin will thank you for it too and something that I find so important – your mental functionality. A lot of the time we also mistake thirst for hunger. I try to drink a litre of water with each meal, that helps keep me full. Make sure you are hydrated in and around your food intake.”
Tip 6: Don’t plan too much
Keeping it real, Jennifer says, “This is contrary to what lots of people encourage I am sure but as I said this is my approach, some people may relate. There are of course people that find great success planning everything. I find if I plan every meal for the week and don’t follow it can make me feel slightly negative.”
She continues saying, “Things don’t always go to plan so I just want to focus on the fact that meals are on plan, not whether they follow my plan.”
Jennifer states clearly that, “Over-planning stresses me, my only plan ever is to stay on plan.”
Tip 7: Batch cook
Batch cooking works for Jennifer. She explains, “I’m a person who does not like to spend hours in the kitchen. If I do I want a good few meals out of it. I’m not one for planning (see tip 6) but I like to have my favorites ready to hand if I feel like them. I do this once every two weeks, or three dependant upon what I have used. I batch cook soups, vegan bolognese, lentil cottage pie, lentil ragu, chikpea curries, nacho beans and vegan nacho mince usually.”
Jennifer usually batch cooks on a Sunday evening.
Tip 8: Eat the rainbow
Keeping it fun and also accurate, Jennifer says of eating the rainbow, “This tip not only aids weight loss but your overall health too. My nutrition motto is and always will be eat the rainbow. The fruits and vegetables we have available to us are so colourful and that is because they’re full of many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. All of which cannot be replicated in any supplement. The more colourful and brighter your diet, the more nourished and replenished you will be. You will feel great from the inside out.”
She adds, “Focus on having as many green vegetables too, they’re insanely good for us.”
Tip 9: Weigh in every week
If you’re on that weight loss journey and can use that extra support, Jennifer encourages you to seek out that support in the form of a group. She says, “Weigh in every week regardless of the week you’ve had! And if you’re in a group stay to group. This was absolutely how I worked my way to target. 1 – 1.5 hour a week in my Slimming World bubble; that is self care and a commitment to your own weight loss. I would also add that I don’t own home scales and never will! If you weigh at home of course that doesn’t apply, but I would encourage anyone to join a group.”
Tip 10: Follow the plan
Last but definitely not least, Jennifer says of following the plan, “This may seem really silly but the weight loss for me always comes down to this. The @slimmingworld food plan never stops working ever, it’s only our ability to follow it that affects the losses.”
These are the tips that Jennifer Ginley-Hagan followed to achieve success with her transformation. She prioritizes physical health on her journey, but mental health as well. In this way, one can see results with their eyes, and experience results in their minds.
We are all deserving of a happy and healthy life, but when it comes to transforming our bodies, we must do so with kindness. No matter what your weight, or what stage you are at along a transformation journey, use the tips that work for you and incorporate them into your rules for living a healthy lifestyle.
The results are there to be seen and experienced, you just need to follow the steps that work for you to get there.