Kayla Itsines’s foodie sister Leah has revealed how she lost 30 centimetres of body fat and six kilograms of weight without having to stop eating the foods she loves.
The 25-year-old chef and founder of the BARE food guide, from Adelaide, was never hugely overweight, but at the beginning of 2020 she tipped the scales at 74.6 kilos, having sustained an injury and found herself unable to exercise.
Just ten months later, Leah has lost more than six kilos to weigh 68.5kg – and more importantly, she feels happier and healthier than ever.
‘For me, it wasn’t about weight loss but feeling comfortable,’ Leah told FEMAIL.
‘I can finally fit into a pair of jeans that I’ve kept at the back of my cupboard for over two years.’
Kayla Itsines’s foodie sister Leah has revealed how she lost 30 centimetres of body fat and six kilograms of weight without having to stop eating the foods she loves (pictured before and after)
Leah said the weight crept on slowly after she got injured at the end of last year, thanks to her mindlessly eating and over-indulging without burning it off (pictured now)
Leah said the weight crept on slowly after she got injured at the end of last year, thanks to her mindlessly eating and over-indulging without burning it off.
‘I was still eating “healthily”, but because I wasn’t active, I was consuming a lot more than I was burning,’ Leah said.
‘I had really low energy and wasn’t feeling confident. I had never weighed myself, but I could tell I wasn’t fitting into my clothes comfortably and I didn’t feel happy on camera.’
When she decided she needed to make a change in May this year, Leah said she told her followers on Instagram that she wanted to do so because ‘I loved myself, not because I hated myself’.
‘I was nervous people would jump down my throat, but the response I got from other women was fantastic,’ she said.
Leah (pictured before and after) said she had really ‘low confidence and energy’ when she decided something needed to change and she should take charge of her health
She gave up mindless snacking and instead started to flood her plates full with wholefoods and lean protein and plenty of veg (pictured)
What is a day on Leah’s plate?
* BREAKFAST: Peanut butter and strawberries on toast.
* LUNCH: Pork salad.
* SNACKS: Slice of birthday cake.
* DINNER: Pasta and zoodle ragu.
Leah’s approach to diet and exercise involved cutting back on soft drinks and snacking, and becoming more aware of what she was eating.
Nowadays, a typical day on the 25-year-old’s plate involves three balanced meals a day and one snack.
‘For breakfast today, I had peanut butter and strawberries on toast, followed by a pork salad for lunch, a slice of birthday cake in the afternoon and pasta and zoodle ragu in the evening,’ Leah said.
She is also going to the gym several times per week, mixing up resistance work with 45-minute daily walks and Pilates to make sure she stays on track with her goals.
‘I currently weigh 68.5 kilos, but I feel incredible,’ Leah said.
‘I have got into air frying everything I cook and I love it.
‘Before I did this, I was a super heavy hand with cooking oils when cooking (blame my Greek heritage!), but switching to air frying is a super simple way of both reducing the fat I put into dinner and speeding up my cooking.’
Leah is now inspiring other men and women to take charge of their health in a controlled and relaxed way – with her BARE (Balanced and Realistic Eating) program.
When it comes to her tips and tricks for others who want to lose weight, Leah (pictured now) said it’s all about being consistent, both in the gym and with your diet
What are Leah’s tips for lasting weight loss?
* Focus on your calorie intake and make sure you have a little protein, carbs and fat at every meal.
* Portion every plate well so that it has half a plate of colourful veggies, a quarter of a plate of wholegrains like rice or pasta and a quarter of a plate of lean protein.
* Cut down on processed foods. If you want apple juice, have an apple instead.
* Give up on mindless snacking and instead focus on mindful eating. Stop eating when you’re not hungry.
* Don’t label certain foods ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as this makes you crave things and think you can’t have them.
When it comes to her tips and tricks for others who want to lose weight, Leah said it’s all about intake and outgoings:
‘Focus on your calorie intake, ensure you have a little protein, carbs and fat at every meal and aim to portion your plate well,’ she said.
The 25-year-old typically portions her plate with half a plate of colourful veggies, a quarter of a plate of a wholegrain source like rice or pasta and a quarter of her plate with lean protein.
‘You also need to aim to eat fewer processed foods,’ Leah said.
‘For example, eat an apple rather than a glass of fruit juice.’
Leah said you can still eat the things you love like pasta or pizza, provided you load them up with vegetables in order to make them healthier.
‘Don’t label certain foods as “good” or “bad” as it creates boundaries around them and makes you crave things you think you can’t have,’ Leah said.
But most importantly, she said you should only eat when you’re hungry, not just bored or emotional:
‘I found this made a huge difference as I used to snack a lot when I was bored at night,’ Leah said.
‘Don’t label certain foods as “good” or “bad” as it creates boundaries around them and makes you crave things you think you can’t have,’ Leah said (pictured now)
How to make healthy chicken pesto pizza
Leah shared her recipe for healthy chicken pesto pizza (pictured)
Olive oil spray
One pita bread or wrap
One tablespoon pesto
70 grams rotisserie chicken, skinless and shredded
35g baby spinach
Four cherry tomatoes, halved
Four Kalamata olives, halved
30g reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of curry powder (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
2/ Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil. Place pita bread in pan and cook on each side for one minute or until lightly golden.
3. Place pita on a pizza or baking tray and spread with pesto. Top with shredded chicken, baby spinach, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, oregano and curry powder, if using.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Slice and enjoy!
Source: Leah Itsines
Leah (pictured) shared the pantry staples she swears by for staying healthy, including canned and tinned goods, tuna, brown rice, spices and sauces
Leah shared the pantry staples she swears by for staying healthy, including canned and tinned goods, tuna, brown rice, spices and sauces.
‘Soy sauce and oyster sauce are my go tos for stir fry marinades,’ Leah said.
‘I also always have nut and seed butters on hand, as well as a range of oils ready for cooking.’
To find out more about Leah Itsines’s BARE program, please click here.