Sydney childcare worker reveals how she shed 11 kilos in just six weeks

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CHRISTINA knew it was time to get her “arse into gear” when she saw a photo of herself next to her pregnant sister – and she was the bigger of the two.

Working in childcare, the 30-year-old had reached a point where she was sick of the way she looked and felt.

“I’d reached a point where I was really heavy,” Ms Mandalidis told, who weighed 82 kgs at her heaviest.

“I’m insulin resistant, and was advised by a doctor that I needed to lose weight.”

As a self-confessed sugar and carbohydrate lover, working with children meant that Ms Mandalidis and her colleagues would need to eat at the same intervals as the kids — and at times that meant birthday cake and other treats for their parties.

“I didn’t give myself time to think about food,” she said.

“I would have cereal for breakfast, or sometimes toast — basically anything that was quick.

“For lunch it would be more carbs like pasta or a sandwich.

“But it was what I ate between home time and dinner that was the problem. I’d go for crumpets or other carbs, and I was eating at least a packet of Tim Tams every few days.”

Having tried the Kayla Itsines program, and lasting only a week — Ms Mandalidis, 30, came across a program she at first thought was too good to be true.

Dubbed Diced by Varlah, the program promotes significant weight loss — 12 kilos to be exact — in just six weeks, without cutting out carbs or fats.

The program focuses on two core areas — a nutritional plan, and a virtual exercise program.

The diet, which is what Ms Mandalidis enjoyed most about the program, allows both carbs (her favourite) and fats to be included in almost every meal of the day. The exercise portion went for 45 minutes each day, for six days each week.

“I come from a Greek family, and the problem is that we always celebrate over food,” she said.

“For me, I got into binge eating. I’d be good on my own, then I would attack chocolate or a big bowl of pasta and I’d do it in secret too.

“But the program wasn’t a set diet, rather it was food options listed in tables with portion sizes you needed to stick by. I could still have brown rice, so seeing carbs and oats as an OK food to have was a godsend.”

On the program, Ms Mandalidis remained focused and didn’t detour from the guide. Losing a total of 11 kilos in just six weeks did come with a few sacrifices.

“You need to drink a lot of water — around 3 litres each day, which totally flushes you out,” she said.

“There’s no alcohol for the full six weeks, and you have to become gluten, sugar and dairy free.

“But I was really strict, and I had the drive that I wanted to lose the weight.”

Today, Ms Mandalidis sticks to a portion controlled diet, but “for health reasons” and is no longer following the Diced exercise and nutrition program.

“When I finished the program, I had an engagement party,” she said.

“I went to the change room after picking out a top I liked. The shop assistant asked what size I had, which was a 16. She took it off me, and gave me a size 10 to try on.

“I was like, ‘no way that will fit’. But I put it on, and it did. I just started crying I was so happy.”

Steering clear of sugar, because “now it tastes too sweet”, Ms Mandalidis, who now weighs just 66kgs, said a big motivator behind sticking to a healthy eating plan is body image and compliments.

“I still don’t eat much complex carbs,” she said.

“Since starting in October, I have lost 16kg in total. It didn’t happen in the first or second week for me, but by the end of the six weeks you see how much you’ve actually lost, and the changes in measurements — especially around the waist and stomach — which I would attribute to the nutrition side of the plan.”

Today, she makes sure to plan ahead for meals, and give herself time to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

“For breakfast, I make myself oat bread, which is 1/3 cup oats and two eggs in a pan with a bit of peanut butter,” she said.

“Morning tea is a homemade protein ball, and in the afternoon I will have a protein shake.

“Lunch and dinner is protein and salad and sweet potato, or sometimes I will have a naked burger.

“But now that I have lost the weight, I’m focusing on muscle — meaning I’m not weighing myself anymore.”

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