As far back as I can remember, I was always the big, tall one.
My sister, on the other hand, was the pretty one who always competed in beauty pageants. I was always told that I wasn’t fat, just big boned, but that all changed when I went to high school.
I excelled in sport and cultural activities in high school, I was even chosen as a prefect in Matric, but all these achievements did not solve the problem I had with my self-image. Whenever there were school dances, I always was the outcast with no date. The boys used to call me all kinds of names that I can still remember today. My matric dance was a nightmare as I could not fit in any pretty dresses. I still cannot believe that my mom bought me a Sari that was converted into a ball gown.
I met my husband in the same year that I started working. Buying a wedding dress was a huge problem for me. The designer told me she was not willing to assist me as I was too big. On 31st December 1999, I became Mrs Green. I can recall that I was very sad on my wedding day due to my lack of self-confidence. My husband still said to me at the altar that I looked beautiful and I answered him it’s impossible to love someone so fat and ugly.
Three years later, I became a mother of our first born. Three years later, I was blessed with another child. Life was hard and we used to live on starchy food. Bread and pasta were our main food staple, day in and day out.
At this stage I weighed 115kg.
After my daughter was born I decided it was time to loose the extra kilograms. I started starving myself only eating as little as a small yoghurt and some Provitas at night. I started losing weight and I loved the attention. The more attention I got, the more I starved myself.
In 2008 I fell and broke my wrist. My arm healed with great difficulty but at that stage, I thought perhaps it was just a bad break. At this time, I weighed 83kg and felt good about myself. In the mean time, we moved cities. Moving to a bigger city was like a culture shock to me and I started to indulge in all kinds of unhealthy treats Cape Town had to offer and started to put on weight, slowly but surely.
In January 2013, my life changed within an instant. I was diagnosed with early arthritis and low bone density that causes body stiffness and breakages. I went through numerous operations on my arms and shoulder. During this time my family also had to deal with trauma caused by suicide. I started piling on weight and fell back into an emotional eating disorder. I used to eat nothing in the morning, at 11 o’clock I will kick the day off with fish and chips from the local fishery, 13:00 I will have any kind of sweet treat, 15:00 coffee and biscuits, supper at 17:00 and at 21:00, another unhealthy snack.
In December 2016, I weighed 107.1kg. During this time I was asked by one of my colleagues if I was pregnant. After coming home from a Christmas break away to my family, I promised myself next time they see me again I will be 15kg’s lighter.
Biggest loser challenge
2017 started with a “biggest loser” weight loss challenge at work. This was just the right platform for me to start.
I thought to myself if they can, so can I. In April 2017 I ran my first fun run and fell in love with it. I set myself a goal that if not next year, then the following year I will run my first half marathon. Eating healthy became a priority for me. Living healthy became a priority for me. The disorder I was diagnosed with became a minor in my life as I promised myself that life is more important than focusing on the negative.
Up to now I have lost 18kgs but it’s not the weight I lost that changed my life, it’s all the confidence I gained! I fell in love with myself again. I learned to listen to my body and not my mind.
For the first time in my life I can say I’m healthy, although I still have a long way to go.
For the first time I can play with my kids in a way that I have always dreamed of.
For the first time in my life I can smile without feeling shy.
If I can give advice to anyone it would be:
Don’t under estimate yourself, adjust your mind first and then your body will follow.
Don’t look for excuses not to live healthy or to exercise.
Start small and work your way through every obstacle.
Never give up!
The reward at the end of the day is more than you bargained for.
If I can, everyone can!
"Falling off the wagon"
What if it was actually an important part of the journey?