Meet Michelle, who went from barely eating veges to loving them!

Meet Michelle, one of our long-time Fresh Start foodies. Find out how she learnt to love vegetables and how she overcame weight loss challenges during the cold winters of the deep south!

Tell us a little bit about your Fresh Start journey so far and why you decided to make a change to your health?

I have been a part of Fresh Start for just over a year. I decided two years ago when I finished my very long study journey, at age 48, and in a very short time frame lost both my parents that I needed to get moving and start taking care of myself. My first step was to start planning my meals. Next was to move. In a very short time, I started to feel and see a change. I bravely attended an exercise class — twice a week I went along and loved it. And I learnt to walk for pleasure not just necessity. And I loved/love it.

Then I found out that My Food Bag was finally coming to Balclutha, I was very excited and a little nervous. I had worked out the bag for me and it included a lot of vegetables, I didn’t eat many (peas, corn, spuds and basic salads) vegetables. My first box arrived, and I was freaking out, but it was okay. There were a couple of ingredients I just couldn’t bring myself to eat but over time I’m eating most things. The first week was amazing, I could taste, smell and see the beautiful kai I had been delivered. It was delicious, my sense of taste and smell were in heaven. I bored (still do) everyone with my food stories!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve come across while losing weight and keeping it off?

My biggest challenge while losing weight has been keeping it off during winter and my exercise class being cancelled, I haven’t found anything, sadly, to replace it. I have added a couple of my lost kgs back on, but I will get rid of them over the next few months with the warmer weather. I have also been glued to my computer in the weekends finishing of my teacher registration, which is now complete.

What has your exercise regime been like? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

I find walking has been very good for me, physically and mentally. I also have a Pilates DVD which is ancient but gives me some lovely stretches and helps with my core strength. I need to up this but find it really hard to be motivated to do strength and conditioning kinds of exercise at home on my own.

What’s been your favourite Fresh Start meal?

I can’t tell you my favourite Fresh Start meal as there have been too many. Every week there has been at least one favourite meal, some weeks all of them were soo good, there was no fav!

Any tips for someone just starting out on their weight loss journey?

My tips for those just starting out is to give it time. When I started, I was stuck on a weight but with time and an amazing food box each week I got to my goal and beyond.

When you are going to cook a recipe, read it first. Go through all the ingredients and put them out in the order you will need them. I do all my prep then start cooking. I was very slow at first but am so much more efficient now.

Make sure you write the weight of the meat, spice packs etc on your recipe card. Add all your changes, preferences on the card — if you liked it, really liked it or need to eat it every day! Get the app, it is a life saver and really handy if you are at the grocery shop and can’t remember the staples you need.

Holistic health is most important. You won’t get well, healthy, lose weight and stick with your life changes if you are not looking after all of you. Have time for yourself, have fun, get a massage, read a book or listen (and dance) to music you love, go out for dinner. Do things that bring you joy.

Most of all enjoy the experience. If there is kai you don’t eat, for me the biggest now is mushrooms, leeks and asparagus, leave it out or substitute it, these meals are flexible and there is no point making yourself eat something you don’t enjoy.

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