There are only three Queens in this world: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Beyoncé, and Queen of meal prep, Katie Lolas.
Okay, you might not know her by name, but you’ll 100 per cent know her as @lady.lolas (aka the mastermind behind the #LLMealPrep grams you’ve constantly seen popping up all over your Insta feed).
Between working her day job as a teacher, hitting the gym at night, finding the time to train for marathons, dedicating her Sundays to meal prepping, and still finding time for herself, it’s surprising as to how she manages to always be so damn positive. I mean, we’re struggling to manage one job, post grams for our 20 Insta followers, and that meal prepping dream will forever remain a dream.
But the 32-year-old didn’t always have 142k followers on Instagram alone, and wasn’t the cheerful and vibrant person she’s proud to be today. Speaking on the latest Healthy-ish episode, she revealed she was stuck in a rut, and once suffered from continuous cramping and gut problems.
“I had cramping and discomfort in my gut, I constantly needed to run off to the bathroom, and I was so lethargic,” Katie tells co-hosts Dr Andrew Rochford and Maz Compton in the latest episode of podcast Healthy-ish: This is how to get out of a rut.
While she thought her strict diet was helping her maintain her ‘ideal body weight’, it wasn’t until she reached out to a nutritionist and gastroenterologist in which she realised she had it all wrong.
“I was hardly eating any carbs. I was obsessed with keeping my weight under 70kg and I wasn’t eating any bread or pasta.
“And if you think about you digestive system, it is like an ecosystem so you need lots of fibre to move through it and water to clear it out.”
The gastroenterologist performed a colonoscopy, endoscopy and found inflammation in her bowels.
After taking a course of medication and pinpointing food intolerances, she was determined to get her gut back into shape, and reassess her relationship with her body and food. And thus, the world was graced with the #LLMealPrep.
“It started out as a necessity for me. I had so many intolerances that I couldn’t go to a café and trust that the meals I got didn’t contain something that I couldn’t eat,” she explains.
“I couldn’t just go out to a café or shop and buy something so I needed to be prepared. I need to cook food so that I would have healthy options available to me.”
She found that once she found her groove for meal prepping, an improvement in her digestive health wasn’t the only difference she experienced: “Having that food ready for me a) saves me lots of money; and b) just makes it really convenient for me during the week.”
She also didn’t set out to be the Instagram sensation she is today. After posting images of her meals and new exercise routine, others who were going through similar health issues started to connect with her.
“I just started sharing pieces on what I was eating, I started incorporating weight training and HIIT training, and when I stated to change the way I ate and exercised, my body started feeling great and I wanted to share this, and people started to empathise with my story.”
Of course, those Insta likes turned into numbers, which then turned into hundreds of comments and shares, and before she knew it, she became a social media hit.
For those struggling to still ace their meal-prep game (us included), or those who just can’t get their head wrapped around the idea of eating the same food for the entire week (us included, too), Katie’s routine makes it sound easy and doable.
“I prep on Sunday afternoons and that’s breakfast, lunches and snacks for four days, and I only prep for four days because I prefer my food to be refrigerated and it doesn’t last longer than those four days in the fridge.
“Because it’s so fresh and healthy and I enjoy eating it, I haven’t had a situation where I’ve been sick of it. And the next week it’ll be something completely new – I change the recipe.”
So also makes sure she keeps dinner out of her meal prep game: “Nothing is prepped for dinner, I just make something fresh that night.”
What’s refreshing to see on her Insta feed is not only will you not come across any air-brushed mirror selfies, but you also won’t see any meals of steamed broccoli and chicken breast in her Sunday meal prep posts.
“You can meal prep any recipe,” she explains. “I’m really trying to advocate for a balanced approach.”
What she stresses the most is that just like your relationship with food needs to be balanced and maintainable, so too does your relationship with your body.
“Traditionally, our perception of being healthy is having a lower weight, however what I’ve learnt is that number on the scale isn’t holistic enough for us to be judging our health on it.
“I was obsessed with keeping my weight under 70kg and I’m 182cm, I’m a tall girl – it was ridiculous, it was unsustainable, and my gut was suffering. Now I’m like, who cares if I weigh over 70kg? I feel so much better and I’m going to say it, I think I look better, too.”
If you’re stuck in a rut and need some advice, listen to episode 34 of our podcast Healthy-ish brought to you by Clinique’s dramatically different Hydrating Jelly. Listen above, at Apple iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
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