Gemma had a life that many families will recognise - balancing being a successful businesswoman with raising children. “It was literally just put the kids in school, collect them, mind them, feed them, wait for them to go to bed, have a glass of wine or a takeaway, go to bed and repeat,” she says.
While Gemma and her husband, Steve, were fastidious in making sure their children ate healthily and had plenty of activities to keep fit, their own approach to health and diet were different. “They had very healthy, well-balanced lives,” she says. “We did not."
As Gemma started to get ready to return to work, she decided it was time to start improving her own health. Several different diets followed, including a low-carb course. “It worked brilliantly for the first three weeks,” she said . “Then it just stalled. Rather than getting support, you were getting told off for doing something wrong. It wasn’t supportive in the least.”
She quit after a month. Turning to the plethora of diet books she had accumulated over the years, she tried mixing and matching elements to find something that worked . “I was overthinking everything,” she admits, “it was too much hard work”. All the rules felt like a constant drain on her willpower, taking the joy out of anything she ate or drank.
Then Gemma found Limbo.
A different, simplified approach
Wearing a continuous glucose monitor allowed her to see the impact of her food on her energy system for the first time. Now she had one simple rule to follow - to gain control of a line generated in the app by her blood glucose level. The first week was full of surprises. What she thought was a healthy meal would often cause her blood sugar to rise rapidly - which she had learned would work against her goal of losing weight. “I would have sat there and eaten that every day for a week thinking: ‘I’m being so good and virtuous,’” she says. The guidance from the numerous nutrition books she had read would tend to lead to spikes and troughs in her blood sugar.
At the start, these revelations continued while she worked out, with help from Limbo, which foods kept her blood glucose stable, and which didn’t. Normal food with no need for fancy recipes worked well. “Just keeping everything simple made so much of a difference. It made life easier.”
Simply noting what she was eating and drinking into the Limbo app helped Gemma realise that she was drinking around 20 cups of tea without noticing. That awareness prompted her to switch to water, keeping her properly hydrated while also reducing unconscious consumption of caffeine. Gemma still enjoys several cups of coffee a day, just all before 12, meaning she falls asleep quicker and wakes up with more energy.
Success came quickly
The weight dropped off Gemma. “That was a booster to keep going,” she says. She also realised how high carbohydrate foods were affecting her, “I don’t like the way they make me feel,” she says. “Food should make you feel good – not hungry 10 minutes later”. Recognising this makes them easier to resist.
With no need to schedule long sessions at the gym, she tries to walk every day, but doesn’t stress too much about whether she can or can’t do it every time. “If I can’t, that’s fine, I’ll do it tomorrow,” she says. She also keeps things simple when it comes to preparing meals.
These small changes have made big differences. Over 3 months she lost 19kgs.
“I’m eating well and enjoying everything,” she says. “It doesn’t feel onerous, I wouldn’t change anything, I want to continue this way forever.” But there have also been some more important changes for Gemma. Limbo has helped her manage stress in a new way. With both herself and her son recently needing surgery, rather than reach for a takeaway and wine she goes for a walk. And this extra headspace has allowed her to study, “I got onto an MBA program and was able to walk in with confidence, feeling like myself and with energy and concentration I haven’t had in a decade.”