Lynsey Harland, 33, from County Durham, had gained weight prior to lockdown regularly indulging in takeaway meals from Greggs and McDonald’s as well as splurging on pub meals with sugary cocktails.
But the situation escalated once coronavirus restrictions were put in place, and the business development manager turned to binge-eating to keep herself entertained and she tipped the scales at 15st.
Resolving to make a change, she managed to shed 3.5 stone by making simple healthy changes to her diet – while still enjoying some of her favourite treats.
Lynsey Harland, 33, (pictured) from County Durham, who once tipped scales at 15st, has revealed how swapping takeaways for healthy meals helped her to lose weight
Lynsey revealed her initial weight gain came from struggling to balance a busy career and social life. Pictured: At her heaviest
Admitting she had gained weight before the pandemic, Lynsey (pictured) said she began binge-eating and drinking daily during lockdown
Lynsey’s diet before
Breakfast: Greggs Bacon and Omelette 395 calories bun with a latte 111 calories
Lunch: McDonalds Chicken Legend meal large with strawberry milkshake 1431 calories or McDonalds Big Tasty meal medium with Strawberry Milkshake 1492 calories
Dinner: Fried rice chips and curry sauce from local Chinese or 8″ takeaway pizza and chips from takeaway
Snacks: At least 3-4 lattes throughout the day 333-444 calories, Snickers 245 calories. Walkers cheese and onion crisps 124 calories
Lynsey’s diet now
Breakfast: Bulk whey protein 2 scoops with Arla lactose free green milk 250ml 348 calories
Lunch: Tuna salad (lighter than light mayo, spring onions, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot and apetina 50% less fat cheese) 316 calorie or Ham broth (ham, turnip, parsnip, carrots, leeks and vegetable stock) 213 calories
Dinner: Strawberries 80g and 100g Skyr Icelandic Yoghurt 87 calories or Pinch of Nom Philly Cheese steak bun 375 calories
Snacks: Kinder bar 12.5g 71 calories or Cheetos Cheese 71 calories, Coffee black 1 calories, Lemon green tea 1 calories
‘I gained weight initially from a busy working and social life,’ Lynsey said.
‘I was too busy for meal prep, so I would grab something while out working.
‘If I didn’t have time for breakfast, I would have a Greggs bacon and omelette bun with a large latte, lunch would be McDonald’s – maybe a Big Tasty or Chicken Legend meal – large with a strawberry milkshake.
‘In the evening I would have either fried rice, chips and curry from my local Chinese takeaway or an Italian meal with my friends or a pizza; something quick and easy.
‘My weekends were spent in the pub, drinking sugary cocktails and eating pub food, and I would also drink several full-fat lattes throughout the day as well to keep my energy up.’
When lockdown hit in March 2020, things went from bad to worse as Lynsey says she began ‘eating for four’.
Lyndsey would purchase a meal from Greggs for breakfast and have a takeaway from McDonald’s for lunch. Pictured: At her heaviest
Lynsey (pictured) said her weekends were usually spent having pub meals and sugary cocktails, in addition to several full-fat lattes throughout the day
Lynsey (pictured) set herself a goal to lose four and a half stone by March 2021, after becoming unemployed in July 2020
She continued: ‘My food bill rocketed, takeaways were still delivering and I think I drank most nights.’
‘I ate and drank everything in sight just so I could entertain myself.
‘I live alone and I am a very social person so I struggled with being so isolated, and food and alcohol became a comfort.’
Lynsey began focusing on her health and losing weight, after becoming unemployed at the end of July.
She said: ‘I wanted to lose four and a half stone by March 2021 because I weighed 15 stone.’
She immediately started switching up her diet to include more wholesome and healthy foods, swapping her Greggs breakfast for a banana protein shake and a black coffee, and replacing lunch with a tuna or chicken salad or a beef stew full of vegetables.
Lynsey swapped her Greggs breakfast for a protein shake and replaced takeaways with meat and lots of vegetables. Pictured: Lynsey before weight loss
Lynsey (pictured) downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to track her steps and increased the distance walked as she shed her excess weight
Lynsey (pictured) revealed she drinks a lot of water, black coffee and green tea but allows herself an occasional mocha
For dinner, Lynsey now has healthy meats with vegetables or home-made quiches made with cottage cheese.
She also allows herself a treat meal once a week, such as pizza, but says she still tends to go for the healthier option.
Lynsey said: ‘I also drink lots of water, black coffee or green tea, although I do allow myself the occasional mocha. I use Galaxy Light Hot Chocolate and coffee instead.
‘If I want an alcoholic beverage I have vodka and diet lemonade.’
She also downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to help monitor her steps per day and began walking 10,000 steps every day, increasing the steps as the weight dropped.
Lynsey (pictured) said she thought losing weight would take a long time and at her heaviest she experienced physical pain
Lynsey incorporated 40 sit-ups, 40 squats and 30 press-ups into her daily exercise routine, which she says helped speed up her weight loss.
At her heaviest weight, she felt sad and suffered from physical pain – but now has more energy and feels ‘like herself’ again.
She said: ‘I had never been that big and thought it would take a long time to get rid of the weight.
‘I couldn’t believe I let it get so out of control. I had already put on weight the year before over the Christmas period and then when lockdown started, it just snowballed.
Lynsey (pictured) revealed losing weight has given her more energy and made her feel younger
‘Physically, I was tired a lot, even when just walking up the stairs I would get out of breath.
‘My legs ached when I walked too much I wanted to sleep a lot and I hated looking at myself in the mirror.
‘I have so much more energy now. It’s become more of a lifestyle and not a diet for me, and I think when you start looking at it like that it becomes easier.
‘I no longer get tired walking or ache afterwards, I feel a lot younger than I am.’