Healing your relationship with food while trying to lose weight is no easy task. Just ask influencer Michaela Mallett, who’s known for her healthy eating hacks on Insta. She managed to heal her eating habits and shed 22kg in the process. Here’s how.
When Michaela Mallett, 28, signed up to study culinary arts, she didn’t expect it to worsen her existing binge-eating disorder. In high school, she’d begun a cycle of restrictive eating which eventually led to binge-eating. During her time studying, she was once placed in a restaurant where she was the only chef in the pastry department. It set her off on one of her biggest binges – eating 17 croissants in one sitting. In a YouTube video about her binge eating disorder, Michaela Mallett details how this became a pivotal moment for her. “It was one of the big binges that made me realise that something was wrong and I needed to get help,” she shares.
Despite this, Michaela continued her restrictive dieting, followed by periods of binge eating. “My bingeing kind of went up and down. I would have several reverse transformations a year. I would basically lose a good couple of kilograms and then I’d gain double, if not triple the amount of weight. It got to a point where I was like, 20kgs going up and down,” she explains. At her heaviest, Michaela weighed 80kgs.
Things eventually came to a head and Michaela checked herself into rehab for a month. But she felt that the experience didn’t give her the tools to really heal her relationship with food. “Although it was very controlled and very structured, I still felt like it didn’t teach me how I would get better when I left rehab,” she explains.
After being discharged, Michaela decided to try something different. She opted to take in all the calories she would usually eat. But this time, eat them healthily. She opted for whole foods instead of junk food. She also incorporated structure into her mealtimes by eating at scheduled times, thus not allowing herself to become hungry and binge. “I would have loads of potatoes, butternut, vegetables, lean protein, obviously still incorporating whole grains, fruits and vegetables,” she says.
To feel like she was restricting herself, she also prioritised dessert. “Every single night before I went to bed, I would have ice cream or fruit and yoghurt with crushed biscuits, or a cupcake, or whatever it was that I felt like on the day. I just had to make sure that the dessert was incorporated.”
A healthier her
It took her between 10 months and a year to finally feel like she was healing her relationship with food. While her goal was never to lose weight, she found herself in the sustainable, healthy weight of 58kgs and is now able to maintain that through healthy food.
Through her qualification from Precision Nutrition, Micheala has set up a coaching business where she’s a lifestyle and weight loss coach who helps others heal their relationship with food. And she swears by healthy eating habits. “It definitely comes back down to building the lifestyle and that’s also where a lot of people struggle. They want the weight to come off but they’re not willing to build the habits that come with a healthier lifestyle. And that’s exactly me as well, I kept going back to gaining and losing because the lifestyle wasn’t there.” Now, she helps others smash their #BodyGoals – dessert and all.
“You need to have a good support team, be it coaches, family or your partner.”
Develop A Routine
“Focus on your habits and your day-to-day routine. Knowing what time you’re waking up, going to gym, having your meals and delegating tasks throughout the day is important.”
Prep Your Meals
“If, for instance, you have a crazy life in a corporate job, making sure that you’re prepared for the day really helps a lot.”