Recipes from the Lean Energy Programme helped a serial dieter go from a size 14 to a 10 in just 12 weeks.
Starting the day with a banana-spinach smoothie, snacking on tuna crispbreads and hearty plant-based dinners not only saw Farah Mohseni, 55, ditch 13lbs (6kg) but also reversed her intolerable menopause symptoms and agonising back pain.
Although cutting out her favourite ice cream initially left Ms Mohseni with excruciating headaches, the programme’s occasional treats stopped her from falling off the wagon.
Combined with high-intensity interval training, Ms Mohseni credits the plan for helping her sleep better than ever and even preventing her angry outbursts.
In a piece for Healthista, Ms Mohseni outlines the highs and lows of the programme and how it has changed her approach to dieting for good.
Serial dieter Farah Mohseni (pictured before the plan) struggled with her mid-life weight gain
Just 12 weeks into the plan (pictured after) Ms Mohseni lost 13lbs and dropped two dress sizes
Desperate to feel better about herself and fit back into her favourite pre-menopause clothes, payroll manager Farah gave up alcohol, took up swimming and tried diet after diet to get back into shape.
Despite attempting juice cleanses, fasting programmes and Weight Watchers, she couldn’t seem to shift the weight that had accumulated from a taste for Magnums and red wine after work, and a love of biscuits and salt and vinegar crisps.
Farah enjoyed a glass of wine most evenings, but decided to stop drinking in the hope it would help with her weight-loss goals.
It wasn’t just her weight that was getting Farah down. She was suffering from severe menopausal symptoms including hot flushes that would keep her up all night and leave her feeling irritable the next day.
Looking for a way to break the cycle and re-educate herself about healthy living, Farah took up the Healthista Lean Energy programme, which had life-changing results.
Pictured before and after embarking on the programme, Ms Mohseni’s transformation is clear
THE 11-STEP PROGRAMME TO WEIGHT LOSS
Farrah followed the ‘Lean Energy Programme’, which included:
- A protein smoothie for breakfast
- High-quality, simple, nutritious meals
- Focusing on plants to ensure an adequate intake of low-fat, high-fibre produce
- Cooking with herbs and spices as chilli has a ‘thermogenic effect’ on the body, which helps to burn fat and can increase metabolism
- Cutting back on sugar and refined carbs to regulate blood sugar levels
- Reducing coffee consumption as caffeine can cause ‘false hunger’, as well as interfering with blood sugar and energy levels
- Keeping a food and fitness diary as writing down what you eat helps to monitor your intake
- Allowing yourself treats to prevent you feeling deprived
- Eating good fats, such as oily fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and coconut, as well as fats from dairy, in your diet. These can actually boost metabolism
- Practicing HIIT for five-to-10 minutes five-to-seven days a week to help towards fat burning
- Walking 10,000-12,000 steps a day – the average person walks just 2,000-3,000 steps a day, however, this gentle exercise is proven to aid weight loss
Most of my life I’ve always been a size eight in clothing and then at the age of 40, all of a sudden, it shot up to a size 14.
When I look at myself in the mirror I don’t want to see my belly first. I honestly don’t like myself at the moment.
I love fashion and I love clothes but since I put on weight I don’t feel as though I can wear nice things anymore.
When someone tells me I look good I don’t believe them because my confidence is so low.
That self-confidence makes such a difference in how you feel in your day-to-day life. I’ve tried every diet you can imagine.
The 500-calorie diet – it didn’t work. I tried the Juice Plus, it didn’t work.
I tried Weight Watchers but that didn’t work either – you have to measure all sorts of things and there isn’t really time for me to do it that way.
I feel like I’m being careful about what I’m eating but then I don’t lose weight at all.
I don’t think the menopause is helping. I haven’t been able to sleep well for about two years because of my hot flushes.
I used to take hormone replacements but I stopped. I heard they may be linked to breast cancer and I didn’t want to take any chances.
The menopause was getting me down and I was so tired, I would go home every night after work and open a bottle of wine – always. And I’d never be happy with one glass, it would always be two glasses.
But even when I eventually stopped drinking I couldn’t shift the weight. I really want to find some balance with my food. I need to learn what is good for me and what isn’t and find a way to get rid of the junk food.
12 weeks later
After the first fortnight, my friends started to tell me that my skin was changing and that really excited me.
The texture of my skin was quite rough and red but that’s totally changed. Even the texture of my hair has changed.
I love that my body has changed in ways and places I never expected.
Another thing that surprised me was the back pain I’ve been having for years has completely disappeared.
I used to get pain in the middle of my lower back, just from walking around. About six weeks into the programme I noticed it had gone and it hasn’t come back since – I’m amazed.
I lost six kilos on the programme. I thought I might lose more but I had a week of weakness in the middle and I think that really affected things but I’m still over the moon with the results.
When I started the programme I was a size 14 and I couldn’t put my zip up properly and the skirt I’m wearing today is a size 10 – I couldn’t believe it. After four years, I’m able to wear this skirt again.
All I wanted was to lose weight but I got so much more than I expected.
THE RECIPES THAT HELPED A SERIAL DIETER GO DOWN TWO DRESS SIZES IN JUST 12 WEEKS
When I first cut sugar out, it was terrible. I had headaches that were so bad I was crying with the pain. It hurt so much that I didn’t think I could work but I couldn’t be at home either.
Thank God that part of things are over. My sweet tooth is a bit of a problem, I love biscuits and ice cream (now I’ve replaced ice cream with blended frozen banana – I love it) and every morning I used to go to Boots and buy a sugary Shape energy bar with a coffee for my breakfast.
And then, halfway through the programme, I had a bit of a scare. I noticed that while I had already lost four kilos, I still wasn’t losing any weight around my mid-section.
I went to see my doctor about it and he told me to go for a scan. When I went to the hospital, I had an ultrasound and it showed me that my liver has fat around it and that’s why I wasn’t losing weight from my middle.
It really scared me but they told me that it’s reversible and one in three people have it without even realising.
They explained that the fat would eventually shift but I had a lot of hard work to do. I told the doctors that I gave up alcohol months ago and the doctor said, ‘sweets are more dangerous than alcohol’. My daughter was so worried about me.
That’s when I realised I had to be totally serious about the programme and I started to do more intensive exercise.
The best part about all of this has been the fact that my hot flushes have stopped.
Within four weeks I’d noticed they’d started to calm down and then all of a sudden, they were gone.
I couldn’t live with how I was feeling before, I’d do my hair up nice and do my make-up and put some foundation on. Then after three or four hours, my hair would be frizzy, my foundation would sweat off and my makeup would come off. Now I don’t have that at all.
Even at night time, I can sleep better because I don’t wake up in a hot sweat.
After about two weeks of doing the programme, I noticed how much more energy I have now. I’m not tired and fidgeting and feeling sleepy in the afternoon.
Not only has she lost weight, she has also stop experiencing menopausal hot flushes
It’s made a massive difference to my mood. Before I started the programme I could be very moody at times and quite often, I’d lose my temper.
Doing all this exercise and staying away from junk food, and even just walking so much more, made me feel so much better. All of my friends have commented on how much happier I seem now and I don’t get as angry as I used to.
What I have learned
I’m amazed at what a difference I can make to my life by following a programme that spells everything out for me and making the crucial changes I need to make to live a healthier lifestyle.
Mainly I can’t believe the difference it’s made to my hot flushes and my menopause.
Over Christmas I was a bit naughty, I ditched the protein powder and had a snack on some junk food and almost instantly the hot flushes came back.
That’s when I decided that it’s so important for me to make sure that I keep this up. Since then I’ve been back on the programme and my menopause symptoms have disappeared again. For me, that’s the most amazing thing that has come out of all this.
I really want to encourage other women of my age to do this especially if they are going through menopause and having trouble. Swapping to a healthy eating programme is nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be.
I was so apprehensive about starting exercise, I didn’t want to jump up and down, because of my age – I didn’t want to hurt my back.
And then little by little, I started to do more and more. I followed the programme and slowly got better and now I do it all the time in my local gym.
It took me about a month to adjust but I slowly became more confident.
I really had to push myself, it was difficult but it was worth it.
I’ve learned that I can make the changes I want. I’m so much happier, I never thought that it would be this great, that my anger would go away and that my mood would improve by so much.
I’m 55 and I’m turning 56 next month and I’m feeling better than I have done in a long time.
What is lean energy?
Lean Energy is a 30-day programme designed by Healthista nutritional director Rick Hay, a lecturer in naturopathic medicine, to promote up to 10 pounds of weight loss in a month while restoring vitality.
It consists of 11 lifestyle changes to make every day, and practical tools and tricks you need to do to achieve sustained weight loss on this programme, which are all proven to lead to long-term weight loss.
Combining plenty of protein from plants and small, optional amounts of fish, poultry and eggs, the diet is designed to help keep you feeling fuller for longer and promote fat-burning and sustained energy without hunger or crashes throughout the day.
A smoothie a day
One of the programme’s key components is to replace a meal a day with a hearty smoothie made with high-quality protein powder, vegetables and fruits.
Lean Energy is based on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which has been scientifically proven to burn more fat in less time than long, slow workouts while also boosting energy levels. That’s because it leads to the production of fat-burning hormones.
This article was originally published by Healthista and reproduced with their permission.