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.