Today, an interview with Muriel Demarcus – known online as ‘French Yummy Mummy’. Muriel managed to lose over 10 kg and completely changed her lifestyle!A lot of people have a ‘tipping poing’ – a moment that makes them decide they need to change their life and live healthier, can you remember what exactly made you decide to join TKS?
I think that it came when, because of my job, I had to do TV interviews and photoshoots. I didn’t recognise the person I was seeing on the pictures (me!), and wanted to look the way I was feeling (does it make sense?). I had also run out of excuses not to be fitter: my younger daughter was nine years old, and I couldn’t blame the extra weight on the pregnancies any longer. In short, I felt that I had no choice but to actually do it.What did you expecting starting out with a trainer and nutritionist?
I was expecting something a bit like Weight Watchers, where you count points and have the occasional treat. I certainly wasn’t expecting a major lifestyle change, which is in fact what happened. I also thought that it was going to be difficult, whereas in fact, the first month was indeed a major change, but now I couldn’t go back to my old habits, because I feel (and look) so much better.Can you tell us a little bit about how your daily routine has changed? And sketch a ‘day in the life’ of your foodjournal?
I now have a high fat, high protein breakfast, usually with eggs, salad and avocado. I still have a cappuccino, because I am a coffee lover, but without any sugar. Such a breakfast usually sets me for the whole morning: no need for a snack, no hunger pangs, which is a miracle when I think of how I was feeling mid-morning after having had toasts, jam and orange juice for breakfast. I could have killed for food. Lunch is my main meal, and I eat anything I want really. I like to have a mid-afternoon snack (nuts, yogurt or even ice-cream), and a lighter dinner with grilled fish or meat and vegetables. What did you find the most difficult in this journey?
I realised that I was an emotional eater, and that I was addicted to sugary food. Whenever I was stressed, or tired, or whenever someone was telling me something I didn’t like, I was immediately reaching for biscuits and chocolates (and the more, the better). Food was so much more than food: it was a drug that I used to make me feel better. In order to stop such a behaviour, I really had to dig deep and identify the triggers. Now, when I am angry or upset, I go for a fast run around Holland Park. It usually does the trick. I have also stopped spending as much time with people who were in fact dragging me down with their negativity or trying to sabotage my efforts. It was easier said than done, because I had to learn how to limit such interactions, but I have to say that it was totally worth it. And I feel a lot better with positive people around me! Any big surprises dietary wise?
The big surprise is that, after a few months, I don’t crave sugary treats any more. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to have an occasional treat (my personal favourites are the Booja Booja chocolates and their vanilla ice cream. Yum!), but nothing more. I used to love stuffing my face with Nutella and chocolate fingers, and it is hard to explain, but it has completely gone. Instead, I now have a soft spot for hummus, samphire, sushis, and also raw chocolate. It is as if my tastebuds had been replaced. I also have more fun with my food: I try new things, I love having a plate full of colourful veggies. And with WholeFoods around the corner, it is really easy. I am also a big fan of coconut oil -I love the smell, and I use is as much as possible.
Do you enjoy the exercise or see it is something ‘you have to do’ – a means to an end?
I still have to force myself to go, and I actually plan my week around my exercise routine, otherwise I would not do it. That said, I am now used to doing something every day. It doesn’t need to be something big: a walk or a bit of yoga between two training sessions will do the trick. For me it is all about planning. And I love the way I feel after exercising, which helps.Do you find it easy to stay ‘on track’ when you’re away/traveling?
It usually takes me a couple of days, when I travel, to find my marks again. What helps is to have a gym kit ready at all times to be able to go for a run or visit the hotel gym. I also try to step up the running to eliminate any extra calories I might have had. That said, I don’t obsess about everything I eat and my priority, especially when I travel, is to have a good time and do what I have to do. In fact, for me, what’s most difficult is not traveling, it is when I have guests at home, because I have to change my routine for them.How did your family/friends respond to you change in lifestyle?
My immediate family was very supportive and we have all learned to be healthier together. I was, however, less than impressed to get some unhelpful comments from other family members or friends who were constantly trying to prove that my new lifestyle wasn’t healthy and that I should stop (my personal favourite was ‘but your brain need sugar!’ -yeah right). I was also surprised to notice that some liked me more a bit fat and always tired, because somehow it made them feel better and they loved lecturing me a bit. I learned to be more selective, and I love having the last laugh now!What can you say is the biggest change from the Muriel then vs now?
Well, apart from 10kg less on the scale, my energy levels have shot to the roof. I started running again, and it feels great to be able to actually enjoy running. I am thinking of doing a 10k race, and maybe a half-marathon after that. We will see. Because the sky is the limit, right? What is the best advice you would give someone in the position you were in at the start of your plan?
Just do it, whatever it takes. You will feel so much better!