Ever heard the saying "have your cake and eat it too"?
Best friends Jade Spooner and Amal Wakim have built much of their multimillion-dollar weight loss empire on those very words.
The Sydney locals ditched their corporate roles at Google to create Equalution, an online program designed to change the perception of what is considered "good" and "bad" food.
After ditching years of fad diets and restricted eating, the friends went on to lose a combined weight of nearly 50kg without limiting themselves from the foods they loved.
It sparked a light bulb moment that forged their successful nutrition business, which now has thousands of members globally.
"The business is attractive because it's known as a plan that lets you have your cake and eat it too, all the while seeing optimal results," Jade told news.com.au.
"Our clients are mind blown that they can still enjoy the food they love while achieving their goal body."
The friends, who look completely different to what they did more than five years ago, said they were bullied and verbally abused growing up, because of their size.
"I was very overweight and being overweight during high school makes it all the more difficult given that uniforms were never something I felt comfortable in," Amal, 26, said.
"My lifestyle reflected my poor health. I was a gamer and the typical recipe for fat gain — I sat in front of a computer for hours on end not partaking in any physical activity and ate beyond my means on top of that."
Jade's weight gain wasn't typical. Instead of over indulging on junk food, she was overconsuming calories on a "good" diet.
"I was eating like a body builder because I thought that was how weight loss was done," Jade explained.
"I was just consuming far too much. This was done through lots of 'good fats' I was adding to my diet thinking I was doing myself favours, lots of rice and sweet potato — which I justified by the fact that I was weight training — large protein portions, cooking in coconut and olive oil."
The weight loss journey
When the girls flipped their approach, ditching fad diets and focusing on flexible eating, as well as regular exercise, they saw huge results.
Amal, who now weighs 49kg (in the healthy BMI range for her frame and height), lost 27kg — but says she found the lack of support during a weight loss journey difficult.
"I am a very all-or-nothing person so one of the biggest challenges I faced was feeling very isolated. I said no to a lot of things that I have since learnt, through flexible dieting, that can be incorporated on a fat loss journey," she said.
Amal regularly turned down social events and at times would refuse to eat with her family, leading to a high level of restriction and deprivation.
"Now I follow an 80/20 approach," Amal told news.com.au, adding that it was what Equalution was based on.
Jade, who is now a happy and healthy 59kg, saw success with the approach too.
How they shed the kilos
To get to their goals, the girls met their specific calculated calorie and macronutrient needs.
"We did this using foods we enjoy. It's very balanced, so for the lean meats, veggies, fruit, whole-grains there's a 20 per cent allowance for soul food and food we enjoy that keep us adherent and on track," Jade explained.
"We both are very active and do exercise five times a week but this is optional and means our intake goals are proportionate to this expenditure — we both just love staying fit and healthy."
How did they come up with Equalution?
After being miserable and not achieving their desired results as well as having developed a very poor relationship with food, the girls went on a quest for answers.
They hired a coach, turned business partner, who they heard was prepping athletes for fitness modelling.
"They were eating ice cream and still losing weight," Jade said. "We were instantly intrigued and began furthering our education with him. He saw the passion and twinkle in our eyes for this balanced method of dieting and the business savviness in our veins."
The three of them then partnered and formed Equalution.
"After quitting our full time jobs at Google to pursue the growth of Equalution, our business partner gave us his blessing to go on our own on this quest so the both of us built Equalution from the ground up."
The girls built a multimillion-dollar company, injecting their investment in the nutrition team and technology rather than marketing.
"We have spent considerably on acquiring a development team full time and building a mobile app platform to create a seamless Equalution experience," Jade told news.com.au
"Living by the principle of an 80/20 diet has meant that we've been able to strike a balance between achieving our goal bodies without forgoing the food we enjoy all in light of a simple science."
Day on a plate:
Breakfast: Crumpets with Nutella
Snack: Fruit and Chobani Flip
Lunch: Chicken roll or sandwich
Snack: Cheese and crackers
Dinner: Steak and chips with steamed greens
Breakfast: Eggs on toast with avocado
Snack: Protein/snack bar and fruit
Lunch: Tuna and salad on ryvitas with mayo
Snack: Ricotta, banana and honey on rice cakes
Dinner: Fish and steamed greens with air-fried potatoes
Treat: Chocolate bar