Hi there. My name is Marianda Geel and was overweight / fat / huge. Until one day. I just had enough of being a fatty. And here is how my story unfolded.
I was the baby of our family, I have 3 siblings and I was always seen as the “little round one”. When I was 3 years old my father passed away and my mom had to go to work. Like a lot of parents, she started to give me comfort food to make up for not being there for me…a pie, or a packet of chips and most of the time with a 500ml of Coke or a Steri-Stumpie.
I was very active in sport during my school years and was able to handle some of the wrong eating habits. Since I was small I was always the “bigger” one. At school I was used to being called a lot of nicknames. In 1987 I started to work at Tygerberg hospital and someone told me I’m fat.
I started to use the diet pill Thinz and hardly ever eat and my weight dropped to 58 kg. After my hair started to fall out I stopped and picked up a little weight again. 1991 I got married to my husband and just before our wedding I landed up in hospital with cysts on my ovaries. Had an operation and was given some hormonal treatment. And I started to pick up weight. In 1994 my son was born and I just never lost the weight I picked up. Believing it was due to hormonal problems I soothed my mind with this excuse.
I had a hysterectomy in 1998 believing that now my weight would change. Foolish-me still kept on eating the wrong things. In 2001 I started to diet with a friend of mine and we used Bioslim….lost 60kg and was feeling awesome. But….In 2003 I was diagnosed with depression and had to stop with the Bioslim because the Bioslim caused a chemical imbalance in my body and my brain. And what do anti-depressants do? – you pick up weight. 60 kg ++ back on this body of mine.
In 2004 I quit smoking. Even more reason for making my mouth a dustbin. In 2006 I started to work in a large corporate company where my entire day resolved around sitting and working. And eating!!!! If there was team building I was always the one waiving the flags or do the score-holding…the only thing I was able to do. In 2011 we moved to Worcester from Cape Town. And I quit taking antidepressants!!!!
Unfortunately we made a wrong career move and the stress made me put everything I could in my mouth because it was soothing for my emotions. I got even bigger. By now I did not want to go to a shop…today I realised I was too shy. While we were staying in Worcester my husband won a trip on the MSC Opera to the Portuguese Islands. First thing he said to me was that I will not fit a damn in the aeroplane seat.
HUMILIATION !!!! Coming from hubbies mouth. In 2012 we moved back to Cape Town and I started to work at a doctors surgery in Goodwood. With this huge body it was hell to move down the passage. Got tired easily, sweating the entire time, switching the aircon on ultimate cold. But I kept going.
I weighed myself on an industrial scale and was so shocked. 20 …. And freaking 8 kg. Yes! 208 Kgs! Now what do I do? Not planning to go and sit in a huge heap, I know I have to do something. But what ??? I hate to measure food like at Weigh-Less. And even worse is the policeman you have weekly. Nope. Not my type. Then I met one of our patients who became a very good friend. She is a gym instructor in Goodwood. Vanessa Smith. I started to ask her what she suggests I must do. She told me why not start with a shake in the morning and shake in the evening and eat my large meal lunch time. Cut out bread, rice, potatoes and pasta and sugar. But still I was “thinking” about it.
By that time blood tests were done and I was on the edge of being a diabetic and was insulin resistant. My boss prescribed Glucophage to me. My insulin resistance reading was 96. Normal value between 6 and 12. But then ……. One day …. My boss told me to give a diet sheet to a diabetic patient and explain it to him. That moment that man walked out of the office I said to myself “you stupid fool.” How can you tell people to loose weight and you don’t do a thing about yourself? You are a very poor example “. And voila !!! My mindset stuck. Next morning I started.
Only shake I had was Herbalife but I got hungry and I hated the taste. Vanessa told me about Precision Whey and I bought enough supply for a year. And my journey began. 15th of July 2012 at 204 kg. At the beginning it was very difficult to cut the potatoes because I am a total “potatoholic”. The rest was fine. I ate whatever I made the previous night for my family but without rice or pasta and now and then potato.
Bread I only had when at a braai. I was struggling but I kept going. I had to stop the Glucophage because my sugar levels dropped too low because of my change in eating habits. Then I saw an advert on TV of Antagolin for insulin resistance. And I went to buy it the next day. The weight started to drop. I had such an intensive weight drop the first two weeks after I started the Antagolin the I developed gout in my ankles. Just remember – up until here I did it all by myself. I started to feel better during my work day. And obviously better when the weight starts to drop. I did not exercise at all. Was not able to get on a bicycle. Only the walk in the busy surgery.
I started following the Sleek Geek Reboot group and used the tips where I could. January 2013 I had to do an ECG on a lady in the surgery. My top had short sleeves. And she saw my flabby arms. She asked me whether I had lost a lot of weight. At first I thought that this lady was very forward. And I told her that I had lost 50 kg by that stage. The next moment she poked me on my flabby stomach-roll that was nearly hanging on my knees and said to me “I also had one like that” and I was stunned because here she was lying in front of me with a flat tummy. Next she asked me “Do you want his cell number” and she told me she was talking about her plastic surgeon. She gave me his Number but I did not phone. I did not tell hubby about this because of the financial aspect. Thinking – must I or must I not? Being in medical field I realised the huge risk factor and expenses. (Just remember- I am targeting the aeroplane seat before the cruise).
February 2013 me and my husband went on our cruise on the Opera. Fabulous !!!! But also to some degree depressing. I could not even do the line-dances because I was too fat. But still enjoyed the trip. One early morning sitting on the deck I prayed and made the decision I am going to phone for my appointment with this doctor. I made my appointment for beginning of March. I went to see Dr Vaughn Roux at Durbanville Surgical Institute. And that day before I walked out of his office he said 3 times that he will help me. Being a very religious person I knew he would help me and do magic. This was a Godsend situation. I kept on with my diet and the 16th of April 2013 I went to theatre.
Weight-loss at this stage -60 kg. After 6 hours in theatre first thing I did was to feel and my tummy was flatter. And I cried. Because that THING (burden) was gone. A nurse told me IT weighed 14 kg. I was cut from hip to hip. My hernia was repaired. And I had a new belly-button. Got a little infection but responded good on 4 courses antibiotics. But after 3 weeks I was back at work. Unfortunately because of my still high amount of bodyfat I developed a large spot of fat necrosis (fat that dies get hard like a rock) that attached to the muscles in my abdominal area and it caused immense pain. Back to theatre 25 June 2013. All healed well. And then my continuing of my weight-loss started again.
October 2013 I joined a WeightLoss challenge group in Durbanville for 6 weeks. Sponsored by Herbalife. But I refused to use their products, I kept using mine. LJ Kuylaars was our coach and nutritionist. I learned a lot from him regarding protein and a lot more nutritional information which I started to implemented in my daily eating habits. And then ….. I lost a total of 80 kg. I bought myself a bicycle exercise stand and hubby bought me a mountain bike. And I took out my Trojan fitness stepper and started to exercise. All by myself, in my garage, with nice doef-doef music on my headphones. I pushed myself very hard. My record was 2000 steps and three quarter hour spinning. On one night. But then I developed chest infection and had to stop exercising. And I got lazy. Using late working hours as an excuse not to exercise. But I was still eating properly. Here and there was a little sweet thing. But not going overboard as I used to do.
After standing still for more than 6 months I still don’t know what happened but I started to lose again. Slowly but surely I started to cycle again. And started to read more info first on Sleek Geek Reboot group and then on The main Sleekgeek Facebook Group . Motivation on the page was very important. I just thought, if these people can – I can do that too. October 2014 I went for a mammogram where some funny things was picked up and I went back to Dr Roux. He decided to take me back to theatre and I had a breast reduction February 2015. Medical aid paid for it and I was happy. Christmas 2014 I was not looking after myself and picked up 5 kg. I was SO disgusted and angry with myself.
But…. On the 19th of January 2015 I decided – no bread, no potatoes, no rice, no pasta, no dairy products and bottles of water. I focussed on ‘eating clean and training dirty’ ( using my bicycle) and I got the results. I still was drinking my shakes now and then and eating my large meal during lunch time. Nuts and biltong for snacks.
January 2015 I posted my before and after pic on Sleekgeek and BOOM…my life changed. I made a lot of friends inviting me to do fun walks with them, I have met people who shared their happy and sad times with me in their weightloss journey, and I was invited to tell my story at the Sleekgeek dinner.
I saw a nutritionist Bernadette Beyer who helped me with an eating plan I can use the rest of my life. I had another tummy tuck as well as liposuction on my thighs on 27 June. Dr Roux was my lifesaver again. I want to lose a little more weight and want to start to tone my body. I have a huge support system and I am so thankful to them – my friends (even people I met on Facebook from overseas) , my family ( they are the happiest of all that I saved my live because I was committing suicide with my teeth) , my surgeon, my employers, colleagues and patients ( the patients faces tell a story when they have not see me for a long period.) and then the people I can inspire, motivate and support with my knowledge.
My entire personality changed. I feel better about myself, have more confidence, learned to handle compliments, and I am not scared to talk to people about their weight issues. I have started to take part in fun walks…the next step is to run, I love medals!
I was able to go for a ride on the Cobra (rollercoaster) at Ratanga Junction! I started to love myself, love photos, to compare the old me with the new me. Sometimes I’m looking for the happy-me in the fat-me, but only see a very sad person who was trapped in a heap of fat. I am proud of what I have achieved, because it is hard work.
I was so angry with myself after my last operation for letting myself getting so fat that I have to go through these desperate measures to just feel normal again but it is all a mind thing. And Im healed!! I know I will have to stay on this road forever but it is worth every moment.
My motto I live by everyday is—-> The best is yet to come.
"Falling off the wagon"
What if it was actually an important part of the journey?
Let us show you how to turn failure into the most valuable feedback ever.