First off, congratulations on your weight loss! What have your results been so far?
Thank you! I have had fantastic results...18.6 kg since I started in October (2012)! It's amazing. I've lost more now than my 3 year old daughter Ruby weighs!!
What do you love about Weight Watchers?
I love the program because it is so flexible and fits around my lifestyle, so I really have no more excuses. I love that it encourages you to learn more about your food and to enjoy the things you love, but it also gives you the tools to maintain a balance, and to be accountable for what you are putting in to your body. I feel like I'm learning something new every day.
How much did you weigh at your heaviest, and how did that make you feel?
At my heaviest I was 90kg...86.4 when I started on Weight Watchers.
The worst part was that I would find myself sitting on the bench at the park while my daughter was running around, too lazy to get up and play with her because it was too hard. I also really started noticing it on stage, I could still perform, but it was a lot harder than it needed to be!
Have you tried other diets in the past?
I've never tried any other "diets" as such because the thought of cutting food that I love out of my diet is unrealistic and completely unappealing to me!
I was given a wonderful opportunity to do something I needed to do for myself, meaning lose the weight and be the best mother/wife/performer I could be. But on top of that I have been given the opportunity to reach out to the community and potentially help change other peoples lives at the same time. That's a great motivator for me.
That's how I feel as well! How has that been received by the public?
I was initially a little worried about how it could be perceived publicly, I was worried I would be putting myself out there to be judged, but I know I am doing this for the right reasons, and I know this is absolutely the right thing for me to do, and having the public watching means I really need to do it properly!
You lead such a busy lifestyle. How do you incorporate your Weight Watchers plan into every day life...and do your family eat the same meals as you?
Yes, my family eats all the same food as me at home. If we go out to restaurants (which we do quite often as we spend a lot of our life on tour) they can order different food, but as a general rule, although they aren't following the program as such, my husband and daughter are learning the principles and eating healthier which has been a great benefit to my husband - his energy levels have drastically improved.
What healthy living lessons have you learnt that you’re passing onto your daughter?
I am trying to make sure she understands that being healthy is really important. I am very aware that she learns that this really is about health, not image. I would hate for my daughter to grow up with that sort of concern. She is already very aware of how important it is to drink water and eat vegetables, and she is always happy to try different foods.
What does a typical day on the Weight Watchers program look like for you?
I don't really have a typical menu, I believe that it is really important to keep a lot of variety in your diet, and with Weight Watchers you can. There are some staples that make it easier to be full and stay within your pro points budget, but I really eat a bit of everything, a lot of vegetables and fresh fruit, good produce is so important to me. The main changes to my diet have been that I actually eat breakfast (at breakfast time) every day, no matter what. I drink a lot more water, and I am a lot more conscious of oils/butter/sugar in my cooking. But the main thing is portion control and listening to my body when I'm full! Some examples of a days meals would be -
1or 2 boiled eggs
1 piece of burgen wholegrain and oats bread, toasted
fresh coriander, a pinch of salt and chilli on top
a piece of fresh fruit or a fruit salad
1 cup of english breakfast tea and 1 glass of water
assorted vegetable salads
fresh carrot and ginger juice
a small bowl of a vegetable soup
1/2 poached skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup of cooked rice
Grilled prawns with this chilli dipping sauce
Green papaya salad (I try to ask for no/less sugar if I'm not making it myself)
If I have points to spare, I always love a little bit of dessert….but these days I share one!
1 piece of fresh fruit or 2 fresh dates
Many people look to celebrities, including yourself, for inspiration. Is there anyone you’ve looked up to during your weight-loss journey?
I've found that I've been really inspired by the other members. I regularly go onto the website and read their blogs/success stories. I have been going to lots of meetings around the country too and meeting people and hearing their tips and stories has really helped me. My leader Kate has also been an amazing inspiration.
A lot of people fear that they will miss out on their favourite foods when they start a diet. What is the one food you just can’t resist?
Sweets! I'm such a sweet tooth. I have found ways to manage my weakness….I still allow myself to have some desserts or sweet treats, but I am a lot more controlled.
Have you been able to incorporate it into your Weight Watchers plan...or are you steering clear?
I don't have them every day, and I always share a dessert with my husband! If I'm craving sweet and don;t have the points available, I will go for 0 Pro Points sweets like fresh dates, straight out of the freezer, it tastes like chewy caramel. Or I will have 1 square of chocolate.
I thought I wouldn't be able to control myself and stop at a little, but if you are determined, you soon realise even a mouthful is enough to satisfy the craving! I don’t think it's good to completely deny yourself something you love! If I do go overboard at all, I can balance it out with more activity!
It's not all about food though...getting healthy means incorporating exercise into your life as well. What forms of exercise do you really enjoy?
I really enjoy doing yoga, I find it very centering and really strengthening. I lead such a busy, crazy lifestyle, it brings me back to earth! It's also a great exercise that I can do in my hotel room or wherever I am! Other than that I've made a real effort to incorporate a lot more incidental activity into my day to day life. I am walking lot more and I'm even enjoying it!
So, what is different for you now? What are you excited about?
I am like a new person. I have more energy to perform, play with my daughter, clean my house, cook, and generally enjoy life! Life is much easier than it was this time last year. I'm excited to get back into the studio soon with my band, we plan on having a new album out by the end of the year…. in fact there's lots of exciting things on the table.
What advice would you give to Life as we know it readers who are looking to get healthier?
If you are looking at joining the program, or you have thought about doing something to get healthy…don't wait any longer. Just do it. One of the biggest hurdles is getting started, but it is so important. You can be proud and thank yourself for doing the right thing.
If you are a Weight Watchers member, track every bit of food you eat, be as honest as you can, even if you have a blow out! Remember why you are doing it.
That's great advice...thanks Mahalia!
I'm sure you'll agree with me...Mahalia's progress so far has been fabulous! Her no nonsense approach to Weight Watchers is refreshing and easy to apply, no matter your life situation...make sensible food choices, don't deny yourself, incorporate exercise that you enjoy, track your Pro Points, and be honest with yourself. The results will come, and they will be worth the effort. Having said that...here's Andrew and my progress for the week...