Hey there! I’m Cheryl.
This little spot on the interweb is a place where I share healthy recipes and chat about weight loss as I attempt to abandon the bad eating habits of a lifetime in favour of a healthier lifestyle without sacrifice.
Fad-diets and processed foods will be a thing of the past as I ditch them in the hope of restoring my body to health following years of neglect. I’ll be geeking out as I research the nutritional benefits of eating REAL FOOD and using what I learn to create healthier versions of my favourite comfort foods – and sharing it all with you.
I have always loved cooking. From an early age, I’d whip up a batch of mudpies in the garden as I tried to replicate family dinners. Much to my mum’s horror, as I dug up her flower beds with her best kitchen utensils. Sorry, Ma!
When I was 10 years old, my Mum started teaching me how to bake in the actual kitchen. I was finally promoted from garden mudpies to real edible bakes. Soon, I was weighing out my ingredients and presenting a make-believe cooking show to an invisible audience.
I loved cooking so much my Mum signed me up to weekly cookery classes at our local education centre. It was here I perfected the classic Victoria Sponge, and to this day, it remains a firm favourite.
However, lurking in the background of happy childhood memories, an unhealthy relationship with food was brewing. Despite my parents preparing balanced meals every day, I refused to eat my veggies and was always left hungry for more. As soon as they left the house, or went to bed, I would raid the cupboards in search of a snack. I would mindlessly shovel anything in my mouth that I could find. And so started my war with secret eating.
When I moved away to University and had to fend for myself, I didn’t even try to eat well. I took it as my free pass to eat what I wanted when I wanted. I quickly became addicted to processed convenience foods, takeaways, chocolate and sweets and washed it all down with lots of soda and alcohol.
I was headed down a path of ill health. But, at 18, I felt invincible.
THE EFFECTS OF BAD EATING HABITS ON MY BODY
I was always the biggest girl in school, but I became morbidly obese in my early twenties. My bad eating habits and regular binge sessions led to years of yo-yo dieting. By the time I reached the age of 35 in 2016, my weight tipped the scales at a whopping 25 stones, and I was being diagnosed with one medical problem after another.
I had chronic inflammation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, debilitating anxiety, psoriasis, (HS), bile acid malabsorption (BAM), vitamin D deficiency, acid reflux, rapid hair loss, migraines, sciatica and joint pain.
My body just could not take any more abuse.
I TRIED EVERY DIET IN THE BOOK
Knowing the trouble I was in, over the years, I tried almost every diet fad there was, but never managed to remain consistent or keep the weight off long-term. I counted calories, went low-fat, restricted carbs, drank shakes, took diet pills, had diet food delivered, attended weight loss group sessions – you name it, I tried it.
I lost a whopping 8 stones on a shake diet at one point, just to put all the weight back on (and more) over the year that followed. This rapid weight loss and inevitable weight gain was a major contributing factor to gallstones and an operation to remove my gallbladder.
Each time I tried a new diet, I ended up heavier than before, and I grew more and more depressed.
I just couldn’t make anything work.
WHY DIETS DON’T WORK FOR ME
Most fad diets concentrate on restriction in one form or another.
For me, restriction causes major cravings that I cannot seem to control. Giving in to a craving leads to binge eating. Binge sessions become more regular, which makes me depressed. When I’m depressed, I lean on food as an emotional crutch. Eating food in excess to comfort my emotions inevitably leads to weight gain. Weight gain brings feelings of shame. Shame takes me to the next fad diet. Fad-diets often mean restriction. And, the cycle continues.
As obvious as it may seem to some, it has taken me a long time to realise this pattern in my behaviour. But now that I have, I plan to use it to my advantage.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM YEARS OF DIETING?
SO, WHAT DOES WORK?
That’s a really good question! I would love to have an easy answer. Unfortunately, I don’t.
But that’s ok.
You see, it’s very clear to me now that no one way of eating is right for everyone. Where I have failed miserably on a diet plan like Weight Watchers in the past, I have known lots of people who swear it’s the best thing they have ever done.
And that’s ok, too. But now, I’m looking for more freedom.
I will eat real food to heal my body back to health and hopefully lose weight along the way.
RECLAIMING MY PASSION FOR FOOD
Embarking on this weight loss journey, I have found a real passion for cooking again, discovering all the delicious food recommended for a healthier lifestyle.
It’s been fun geeking out at cooking classes, creating healthy recipes, experimenting with real food ingredients and educating myself on nutrition and all the wonderful benefits of eating real food.
I’m working hard to change my mindset so that food becomes my medicine and fuel rather than my comfort and obsession.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
- Healthy REAL FOOD RECIPES
- Step-by-step recipe instructions
- Health and nutrition tips
- Product recommendations to make food prep easier
- Weekly weight loss journey updates from yours truly, if you’re interested! – COMING SOON
- Lots of weight loss tips the community has to offer – COMING SOON
- A variety of HEALTHY LIVING topics – COMING SOON
MY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
My hope is that The Real Food Geek will become a place where we can come together without judgement to provide support and encouragement to one another as we journey through our weight loss goals and make those all-important lifestyle changes. I hope you’ll join me!
Thanks so much for reading.