As they juggled their busy work and family life, the two Sydney women lived off an unhealthy diet of convenience food.
But determined to get on top of their weight once and for all, the pair turned to intermittent fasting – a diet where you ‘fast’ for two days and on the remaining five, you eat normally.
And within months, the duo shed their post-baby weight by drastically cutting back on the calories to reach their dream dress sizes.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, they offered a glimpse into how they transformed their bodies through intermittent fasting – and you can still enjoy wine, pizza and chocolate.
VICTORIA BLACK, 55
Mother-of-three Victoria Black, from Sydney’s northern beaches, said her weight started to pile on from eating convenient foods or pre-packaged meals due to her busy schedule.
‘I am a busy working mum and before I lost the weight, I would grab convenience foods and do lots of dining out and takeaways,’ Victoria explained.
I’d munch my way till bedtime… and I’d fall into bed almost in a food coma
– Victoria Black
‘I would also binge eat – I’d try so hard during the day to be “good” then I’d get home after a long day at work and think “bugger it, I deserve to treat myself”.
‘Then I’d get stuck into chips and dip and anything else I could find. I would then have dinner, then a cheese platter would come out.
‘I’d munch my way till bedtime… and I’d fall into bed almost in a food coma.’
‘Not great for your family and certainly not great for your energy levels and self-esteem. I felt really guilty about it. And I just couldn’t get the weight to shift.’
After the birth of her first child, the 55-year-old was left with post-baby weight.
‘I have always struggled with keeping weight off but it became way harder after my first son was born – it was only an extra 10 kilos but what a huge difference I felt with those extra kilos,’ she said.
‘I had this mean girl in my head telling me constantly that I was fat. And I was no longer happy to wear jeans or a swimming cossie.’
Victoria – who weighed 70kg at her heaviest – admits 10kg didn’t seem much to lose but her weight was taking a toll on her life.
‘As it was only 10kg – that doesn’t seem like it’s very overweight. However, it really did affect my life – every single day,’ she said.
‘Before I even opened my eyes in the morning I would think “I’m fat” – that was my first thought of the day.
‘I would then turn those thoughts around – but then I would go to get dressed and I’d be unhappy choosing clothes that covered my lumps and bumps rather than clothes I felt good in.
‘All my weight goes to my thighs – I’m a classic pear shape – so I avoided jeans and pencil skirts. I was really self-conscious about my thighs and big bottom. I felt like I had to dress much older than I wanted to.’
Her turning point came when her friend Genevieve Davidson was losing weight dramatically through intermittent fasting.
The ‘part-time diet’, also known as the 5:2 method, encourages people to fast for two days a week by cutting the intake down to 500 calories – and eat 1,200 calories on the other five days.
‘She had found something that actually worked and it was easy,’ Victoria said.
‘So I tried it – I chose the two-day method and absolutely loved it. It meant I could still eat the foods and drinks I loved and dine out on weekends.
‘All I had to do is be good for two days a week. It was such a relief to finally find a method that works and one that I could keep doing forever to keep the weight off.’
Victoria’s average ‘fast’ day on a plate
BREAKFAST: Skinny cappuccino – 70cal
LUNCH: DariKay classic pumpkin soup – 112cal
SNACK: Plum – 26cal
Dash of milk with a cup of tea – 7cal
DINNER: Two slices of sizzle steak – 120g pan fried – 175cal (spray of olive oil in non stick pan)
Crispy side salad – 19cal – with a squeeze of fresh lemon and balsamic vinegar – 11cal
10 cherry tomatoes – 30cal
Sweet potato baked in oven 60g – 52cal
Sparkling water to drink throughout the day
Add fresh lime twist in a wine glass at night
TOTAL: 491 calories
And after going on the diet, Victoria lost the ‘very stubborn 10kg’ under four months.
‘Now that I’m at my goal, I simply fast one day a week and I have no trouble maintaining,’ she said.
Victoria and Gen decided to launch a weight loss business called SuperFastDiet after they saw a market for intermittent fasting.
‘In a nutshell, SuperfastDiet is a step-by-step, revolutionary part-time diet program to help people lose weight and keep it off,’ Victoria said.
‘The program combines the power of superfoods and a super mindset, along with a fun approach, to educate, empower and motivate busy women with a life.
‘Our attitude is “you don’t have to flog yourself” – forget about personal trainers who make you vomit.
‘We call it “stunt dieting” because you only have to be good sometimes.
‘You can still have your wine, pizza and chocolate then just balance it out with some fasting. How awesome is that?
‘The fact that you don’t have to feel deprived and you gain control of your hunger.’
Since her weight loss, Victoria said she feels confident about herself.
‘It’s the best ever feeling. You wouldn’t believe how much losing 10 kilos changed my life and how much better I feel about myself,’ she said.
‘Now when I wake up in the morning I feel super energetic – I actually get up and want to exercise – I go to the gym or yoga with a friend – confident for the first time ever in my activewear.
‘I have so much fun getting dressed for the day – I had to buy a whole new wardrobe as I went from a size 12 to 14 to a size eight to 10.
‘And the best bit is I am no longer self-conscious about the size of my thighs and I love wearing skinny jeans. I even bought a pair of black leather jeans and I rock them. My sons often say “you look so hot Mum!” They’re really proud of me.’
MARYANNE O’CONNOR, 49
Author Maryanne O’Connor said she started gaining weight after having children.
‘After children I began to gain weight. I was studying, writing and working as well as parenting babies. I think hormones and the sedentary lifestyle simply took its toll,’ she said.
But the 49-year-old mother noticed her weight spiralled out of control when she started having a desk job.
After children I began to gain weight… But eventually, my desk job made me fat
– Maryanne O’Connor
‘Basically, my job made me fat,’ Maryanne said.
‘Writers sit a lot. And when you get into the zone you may spend 60 to 70 hours a week in front of the computer, eating without thinking. It’s a consuming occupation.’
She found herself eating unhealthy foods without even noticing.
‘My worst habits were after a few wines when I decided I didn’t care if I had a few chips, cheeses and leftover take away food,’ Maryanne said.
‘I also just ate what the family was eating but they are far more active than me. I’m not a big eater but I am a grazer.’
As her weight started to pile on, Maryanne said her mood changed.
‘I was angry at myself. There were times when I would literally sit on the bed surrounded by discarded clothes, crying,’ she recalled.
‘I felt like a failure and I felt unattractive. Middle-aged and past it. I was definitely slower and couldn’t dance the night away like I used to.’
She tried every diet under the sun – but to no avail.
‘You name it – I’ve done it,’ Maryanne said.
‘But none of them allowed for fun and champagne and “whoops I had a kebab”. It’s very easy to give up when it’s too hard.
‘I used to feel like a failure but looking back, those methods failed me, in a way. They were very punishing and unrealistic.’
Maryanne – who weighed 87kg at her heaviest – decided to turn her life around after seeing her sister lose weight through intermittent fasting.
‘My sister losing weight was a big motivator,’ she said.
‘Then I got weighed professionally and I was so shocked I said “right, that’s it. I deserve better than this from myself”.
‘So I set my goals, made my plan and, despite some setbacks when life got in the way, I got there.’
NOW: Maryanne’s average day on a plate
BREAKFAST: Cup of tea
LUNCH: Zoodle frittata, a DariKay soup, Thai beef salad, Vietnamese rice paper rolls or thins with two boiled eggs
AFTERNOON SNACK: Tea and an apple or Vita Weets with tomato and cheese
DINNER: Eat whatever the family’s eating – no carbs but loads of vegetables
TREAT: Wine or another cup of tea
Within seven months of SuperFastDiet, she lost 22kg.
‘I feel younger,’ Maryanne said.
‘That’s a weird thing to be saying because I am turning 50 this year. But I do. And I feel happier and less stressed and down on myself.
‘There’s a definite spring in my step and a smile every now and then when I try on smaller sizes and they fit – I feel really happy, satisfied smiles.
‘Now I just look forward to eating rather than actually indulging and I really enjoy and appreciate food when it’s time to feast.’
Maryanne – who now weighs 65kg after going from a size 16-14 to a size 10-12 – said she wanted to share her story to inspire others to consider intermittent fasting.
‘I know what it is like to feel fat. Unattractive. Over the hill and yes, sad. I know what it is like to try on a size 14 and it’s too small,’ she said.
‘I know what it’s like when hubby is being really nice about it but he knows you’re down on yourself and that’s hard for him too. I know.
‘I also know what it’s like to watch the weight fall away and people saying “wow! How much have you lost?”, and to zip up the size 12 and it’s too big.
‘I don’t feel old anymore, I feel young and powerful – like I can achieve anything. I really urge people to try part-time dieting. It will change your life and you’ll never look back.’
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