My husband has struggled with his weight his whole life. When we got together in 2001 he had just lost a lot of weight after a stint with Jenny Craig and was weighing about 115 kilos, but by the time we got married in 2004 he had gained it all back, plus some more, and was weighing more than 155 kilos! To say I was concerned about his health was an understatement, writes Alix Toynton who created The Shrinking Hubby.
Prior to our wedding we had tried every diet under the sun with no success and, if it was successful, the results did not last long as the weight piled back on, with interest. I decided that we needed to do something drastic if we were going to succeed but I had no idea what to do or how to start.
I had heard about a food coach named Judy Davie, and under her competent guidance we started to turn our lives around by embracing a healthy lifestyle, rather than all this useless dieting. Through sheer hard work and determination, Andrew managed to lose 60 kilos by completely changing his lifestyle. We worked together as team, encouraging and supporting each other and, above all, learning how to cook and eat in a way that was not only delicious, but much healthier than we had ever known.
Unlike other diet programs, living and eating this way has been a life-changing experience because by analysing our own eating habits, and creating our own healthy alternatives to our favourite meals, we have taken our health into our own hands. There is no expiry date to this way of living. We have made a conscious decision to change our lifestyle, for good!
The weight comes off over time, and it certainly doesn’t stay off without a constant commitment to eating the right foods and to exercise. Weight loss is not the only benefit we have noticed from eating this clean and healthy food – in addition to being a healthy weight, we have loads of energy, we sleep beautifully and we have strong immune systems, which all add to a better quality of life.
What we eat now
Our food philosophy is simple – we avoid processed foods that contain harmful ingredients. We avoid gluten and refined sugar, we eat loads of vegetables and small amounts of fruit, and we choose grass-fed, ethically-raised meat and organic, free-range chicken and eggs. We don’t shy away from fat, but we avoid harmful man-made vegetable and seed oils. Instead, we choose healthy, good-quality, naturally sourced fats such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado. These healthy fats give us energy and ensure we feel full at every meal. As a result we don’t need to eat starchy carbohydrates, such as bread or pasta for energy, although we do include small quantities of quality carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruit, sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa.
When we commenced our journey we didn’t have kids. We now have three fussy daughters to feed (with intolerances to dairy, gluten and additives), and that on its own has brought new challenges to our daily life. Although our kids (like all kids) would sometimes prefer unhealthy food options, we know they will always appreciate that we have made their health a top priority.
I started blogging to share my story with friends and family who enjoyed when I cooked for them, and love that the food I prepare is always healthy but very tasty ( I wouldn’t have it any other way!). When I found myself Googling my own blog to find recipes, I decided I wanted to have them all in one convenient place. And as my online following increased I assumed that others would benefit from it as well, which was when my first cookbook The Shrinking Hubby: Healthy Food We Love To Eat was created.
The Shrinking Hubby’s Cinnamon, Pumpkin and Coconut Soup
As the weather in Sydney gets cooler it’s perfectly normal to start craving warming hearty food. This is one of our all-time favourite recipes – I am sure you and your family will enjoy it, too. As well as cooktop directions, I have included Thermomix instructions below. Enjoy!
½ Jap or butternut pumpkin
Cinnamon, to sprinkle
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, and a little extra for drizzling the pumpkin (you may wish to use a good-quality butter or olive oil here instead)
1 large or 2 small onions, roughly chopped
1 litre (4 cups) bone broth (or chicken or vegetable stock)
½ cup coconut milk
Chives, finely chopped, to serve
Chop the pumpkin into fairly even-sized cubes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra coconut oil. Bake in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for about 40 minutes or until well cooked.
- Heat the coconut oil (or butter/olive oil) in a large soup pot or saucepan on the cooktop over medium heat, then sauté the onion with a sprinkle of salt, until onion is transparent.
- Add the baked pumpkin and toss through until well coated. Add the broth (or stock) until vegetables are just covered – you may need to add some more water. Bring to the boil. Simmer (covered) for 30 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, then blitz with a hand-held blender or food processor. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with chives.
If using a Thermomix
- Add the onion to the mixing bowl and chop Speed 5 for 5 seconds.
- Add the coconut oil (or butter/olive oil) and sauté for 3 minutes, 100 degrees, Speed 2.
- Add the baked pumpkin and broth (or stock) to cover (you may need to add more water). Cook for 20 minutes, 100 degrees, Speed 1. Add coconut milk and blitz on Speed 9 for 1 minute. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with chives.
My cookbook, The Shrinking Hubby, is filled with our favourite recipes (all gluten and refined-sugar free, many Thermomix-friendly and dairy-free) and when we eat them, we feel amazing! I hope my food inspires you to get into the kitchen and prepare good clean food that you and your family will enjoy as much as I have enjoyed preparing these recipes for you. You can get your copy here for only $19.95 (eBook) or $29.95 (hard copy).
For more information on The Shrinking Hubby and a healthier way of life, visit Alix’s website and Facebook page. Although not formally qualified in food nutrition, nothing gives Alix more pleasure than knowing she has made a positive impact on the lives and health of others.
We’d love to hear your stories about losing weight and healthy eating. Reveal all in the comments section below, or email your weight-loss journey story to [email protected] to share with other North Shore Mums.
More on good food…