Nowadays, choosing the right weight loss diet can be extremely confusing. Should you go keto and say goodbye to carbs? Adopt a vegan diet? Ditch the fats and carbs, and only eat protein? Fast for long periods throughout the day? Or, the worst of the lot – do a juice cleanse?
You can spend weeks, months and years yo-yoing between fad diets that will only land you back at square one, so where in the world should you start? Well, Sophie Guidolin is the living proof that you don’t need to give up any food group to reach your goal weight. In fact, she lost 30kg without even dieting.
At first glance you would think her toned bod is a result of a lifetime of clean eating and spending hours at the gym, but in reality, her weight loss success simply came down to adopting a Flexitarian diet approach.
“A huge change for me nearly three years ago was the discovery of flexible dieting (macros), which meant that rather than having to eat the same thing every day, I could select different foods or change meal plans daily,” the 29-year-old tells myBody+Soul.
The Flexitarian diet is a style of eating that has no clear-cut rules or recommended number of calories, and is considered more a lifestyle than a diet. According to Healthline, flexitarians lead a diet based on the following principles:
- Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains;
- Focus on protein from plants instead of animals;
- Be flexible and incorporate meat and animal products from time to time;
- Eat the least processed, most natural form of foods; and
- Limit added sugar and sweets
In an Instagram post, the mother-of-four detailed how her years of binge eating junk food after moving out of her parents’ house, derailed her relationship with food and ultimately caused her to gain weight.
“Being raised in a family who embraced a diet of whole foods, dairy free, sugar free, home grown where possible, line caught fish and home raised meats meant I appreciated where our food came from,” she posted on Instagram. “It also meant a huge restrictive feeling for me, so much so that when I left home I blew out hugely and I lived on Maggi noodles, chocolate Yo-Go, Milo and Cadbury blocks as my staples to make up for the years without.”
It wasn’t until she decided to change her lifestyle and focus on whole foods again, in which she saw the weight fall off.
“I met my (now) husband who educated me more on nutrition and dietetics with more of a scientific, balanced approach. Now, I live a flexible dieting lifestyle – incorporating the foods I love.”
Although she does admit a hearty salad is one of her favourite foods, she also points out the fact that she “can eat dessert without feeling guilty and still reach [her] body composition goals… health optimisation and nutrition goals.”
On top of becoming a flexitarian, Sophie discovered a passion for weight training – it strengthened her mental health, boosted her confidence, and in return, helped her reach her physical goal.
“Exercise for your mental health, to increase your strength, focus on fitness and your goal physical will follow,” she wrote in another Instagram post. “Often we do it backwards, we want to change the way we look [and] focus so heavily on hating our bodies in the process. If we embrace our body and appreciate the ability to increase in strength and fitness, we forget to focus on the physical aspects.”
Now, she hopes to inspire others to adopt a flexible diet and learn to love strength training through her online health program The Bod.
These are the three rules Sophie lives by, which also helped her lose 30kgs and adopt a more positive and balanced lifestyle:
1. Find your balance
Sophie goes by the saying “don’t start anything new you can’t stick to”. It’s about defining a lifestyle where you can create the body you want while loving the process. Fad diets that promote restriction and starvation are only short-term fixes.
2. Know what makes up your food
Education is key, and if you know the nutritional breakdown of your food, you will have an understanding of how the food you’re consuming is benefiting you and how calorie dense it is.
3. Get moving
Sophie started her weight loss journey simply by going on walks. Exercise doesn’t have to be in the gym; whatever gets you sweating works. Find your favourite way to break a sweat and incorporate it into your lifestyle.
For more weight loss stories, this is how one woman lost 50kg and stopped binge eating. Plus, this is how one woman lost 64kg by following 4 simple diet rules.