RACHAEL Sacerdoti’s height prevented her from being a good mother.
The 44-year-old from London “lost her identity” and her “confidence” after years of yo-yo dieting and trying dangerous weight-loss pills failed to shed the pounds she gained during pregnancy.
Weighing 90kg and 1.70m tall, she was constantly tired, short of breath and had trouble keeping up with her children – Sam is now 11, Rebecca is nine and Gabriella is six.
“I couldn’t really engage with their lives and be the mother they needed – I felt like a complete failure,” she told the Sun.
It wasn’t until she realized that her attitude needed to change, and not necessarily her diet, that she began shedding the pounds — and fast.
In just six months she had lost five kilos.
And her newfound energy and enthusiasm has transformed her own life and that of her children ever since.
“It changed my entire family dynamic,” she says.
“We’re spending a lot more time together and going on outdoor adventure vacations, which is great.”
Rachael’s new attitude towards health has also influenced the way her children grow up.
“When I was young, I was never taught what a balanced diet was,” she says.
“That’s why I make sure I share everything I’ve learned about nutrition and fitness with my kids so they can make informed decisions for their own lives,” she adds.
Before her radical makeover, Rachael suffered from a day-to-day, all-or-nothing attitude in life, including her health.
“I wanted my body to change immediately, so I had to starve myself and then binge when it didn’t work,” she explained.
It was on the beach in Bali in 2018 that Rachael decided it was time to turn her life around for her kids.
Her brother Ben had noticed his then 39-year-old sister was drinking ice cream and looking unhappy.
“He told me I didn’t look like myself anymore, so that was a big wake-up call,” he said.
The day she returned to London, she decided to take her fitness journey “one step at a time”.
“That little mindset shift was probably the key to my success,” she said.
WALKING AND WEIGHTLIFTING
Rachael started losing 1kg per week by slowly changing her diet and exercise routine.
It started with a ten minute walk around the block.
“At first it really hurt my feet and ankles because my body couldn’t support its own weight,” she explained.
After her feet adjusted to the new routine, she extended her walk to the park.
Five weeks later, Rachael started lifting some light weights at her home.
And just a month later she was in the gym.
“Once I saw results, that was enough and I had the motivation to keep going.”
“It didn’t feel like a chore anymore,” she said.
Four years later, Rachael is lifting weights three times a week – and is sometimes joined by her son Sam.
She said: “He’s inspired by my transformation and my love of the gym.
“When he comes, he goes light.”
Rachael doesn’t incorporate running into her routine — and never really has.
“Many people, especially women, seem to think that running is the easiest way to lose weight because it’s comfortable.
“But weightlifting can be much more effective and easy on the joints.”
PROTEIN AND FIBER
In addition to regular exercise, Rachael has also adjusted her diet.
Although she no longer restricts her diet, she makes sure every meal is high in protein and fiber.
“It means I no longer have cravings for the sweet treats I used to live on,” she says.
Studies suggest that increasing protein intake can contribute to effective weight loss because it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
In addition, protein helps the body maintain muscle while shedding fat.
Dietary fiber can slow digestion and reduce hunger pangs.
Unlike before, Rachael eats what she wants, when she wants.
“If I want my lifestyle to be sustainable, it has to be fun.
“For me, that means eating a spoonful of Nutella if I really want to.”
Rachael is also going out to dinner more regularly than ever.
“I just try to order something with a lot of protein, like a chicken dish or a turkey dish,” she said.
Even her children have adopted some of their mother’s protein habits.
“I don’t believe in telling kids what they can and can’t eat.
“But when I catch my daughter eating a bowl of rice with no protein, I suggest adding some chicken and explaining why.”
“You are very receptive!” she said.
The fitness fanatic has even influenced her friends.
“They keep asking me for tips and tricks – even from those who were fit before me!”
This interest from others led Rachael to launch her wellness program, which is a hybrid of fitness and nutrition.
The only person who hasn’t been spurred on by Rachael to make a healthy lifestyle change is her husband, David.
She said: “He’s a very even-tempered person by nature.
“He eats what he wants, when he wants, but it’s usually pretty healthy.”
On Instagram, he created an account called It’s So Complicated — the counterpart to Rachael’s wellness account It’s So Simple.
On the page, David can be seen hugging a deep fryer and promoting sugary cereal.
“He keeps me grounded and helps me be realistic about my diet.”
“And it’s about being realistic when it comes to your lifestyle, otherwise you never stick with it.”
Eat like Rachael
Breakfast: egg omelet (28g protein)
Ingredients: 2 x eggs and 1/2 cup shredded cooked turkey
Lunch: Chicken Bagel (31g protein)
Ingredients: bagel, chicken breast strips, 6 cucumber slices and lettuce
Dinner: Tuna Noodles (28g protein)
Ingredients: can of tuna, 100 g of pasta, 1/2 can of tomato sauce
snacks: Banana or protein bars