My name is Jacqueline, but everyone just calls me Jacque or Jax. I am currently 32 years old, married to the most amazing and supportive husband (we have been together 12 years, married for 6) and we have the most gorgeous little 3 year old. I am a qualified chef (my blessing and my downfall), but I currently work for an orthopaedic surgeon.
My journey has been ups and downs, just like anything else in life I guess. Since I was a kid I do not like exercise at all!! I prefer to just imagine my body will magically get toned (lol) and yes I would rather sit and watch movies, or read, or anything except exercise.
The only thing you would find me doing as a kid and growing up would be swimming, I love swimming, doing laps and laps in the pool is my thing. My parents never forced me to do any sports in school, they were forced as kids and ended up regretting and having a negative feeling towards it. So they let my sister and I decide for ourselves.
My little sister was the one who did swimming, netball and excelled in badminton. She was the active and sporty one in our family. I did swimming in school but when high school hit, that fell away for me. Only in my recent discovery with my journey have I realised that exercise is actually quite beneficial, I don’t have to be this super women gym bunny BUT for results I do need to do something, even if I don’t like it.
I am still trying to find “that exercise” that I really enjoy, but to this day I still haven’t found it YET! My friend got me to join her last year at squash, and I really loved that, but I just don’t have the funds to do a monthly fee for it, which is also my reason for not being one of those people who join a gym, I just can’t afford it. I did start boot camp last year, where I met some amazing ladies and we seem to have held each other up through our journeys. I was asked to do parkrun and I signed up, it took me 2 years and I finally did it!
For me it was a major step, I love sleep and having a kid, you soak that up. But I took a leap and gave up something I love to better myself. I started walking and my time was 55 mins. Each week I got better and I finally got down to 48min. I started jogging and walking and finally got to 45min. And now I currently sit on 43min with slow jogging the full 5km (that in itself is massive for me). Exercise wise for me now is Saturday parkrun and home exercises, you will be surprised on how much you actually find if you just take the time and invest in looking.
Through my life I have never been the girl who had a million friends or went out a lot. I had my handful of friends who accepted me and I didn’t go to a lot of parties or out as I was not in the smoking and drinking scene (still not), I preferred to staying in watching movies with my little sister. I was never skinny, nor was I overweight, but I wasn’t at the right space or frame that I should have been, which did throw me more in the obese side.
I knew exactly what I should and shouldn’t do, but I didn’t really care or want to change my routine, but yet I really did want a change. That stage of knowing you need to do something to not actually being mentally ready to make that change. I got used to never having the clothes I wanted as they just never fit, it made me hate shopping, which made me care less and sort of hide my body.
But at the same time I was screaming to break free from this prison, but I just was too lazy too make the step. I just carried on and the weight just kept piling on. I finally got too a point of weighing 148kg!! I wanted to be married and have kids one day, and I really thought it would never happen, what guy would ever want me?? I finally met my husband and he loved and accepted me for who I was and what I looked like, at my biggest. In the 6 years of dating my weight fluctuated up and down, but never enough.
I love cooking and baking so I would cook and bake for him and we would eat a lot, I got bigger, he stayed thin – really?? Eventually he popped the question and we would be married in a year’s time, my time to lose some weight, you want to look good after all on your wedding day! It didn’t go as planned, I think I lost like 2kg, didn’t try very hard either, so what do you expect. So we got married, me still unhappy about my body but hey I have someone who loves me for what I look like, and I finally gave in and started to believe this is just me, overweight and unhappy.
My food journey has not been the best, I just honestly never worried too much about my choices, how much I actually ate, if I liked it I ate it, if I wanted seconds or thirds I had it, even if I was full. I knew it wasn’t good but I loved to eat. It is also very easy for me to whip up whatever I want whenever I want, so it was and is easy to give into my cravings and wants. Bread, pastries and dairy are my weakness. I would devour pretty much a loaf of bread with the whole tub of butter!
My change eventually started about 4 ½ years ago. At my work they were having a competition called the Biggest Loser where the person and team who lost the most weight in a month won massive prizes. I decided why not, this is the perfect opportunity to start. They gave us a meal plan (only later did I realise this was a general plan and was not perfect for me) which I followed to a T, and all I did was walking stairs. We had to join a team (but not everyone was on the same page as me to lose weight or actually take it seriously, they still ate whatever) and our results were based on the group in whole to win, so it irritated me, that I wanted to win but how if my teammates didn’t change. Every week was check-ins and I started seeing a change in me.
I was working hard and I lost 8kg in total. I didn’t win nor did our team, but it had me on a run and I wanted to carry on and lose more. I finally went to a GP to get a check up as I had consistent heartburn and feeling sick (every other DR just told me to lose weight, you have a fatty liver but otherwise you healthy).
This GP I went to with one glance told me I was pre-diabetic and she put me on Glucophage. This was major as my dad is diabetic and I have seen how his poor choices in food and health had made his sugar lows worse and us as a family were and still are under stress with constant worrying about him. How his stubbornness in changing his health actually is making it worse, I didn’t want to turn into my dad, my husband and family worried and babying me. I didn’t want to be on medication my whole life because I am too lazy and stubborn to make a change.
So I carried on making as healthy as possible choices. A month later I found out I was pregnant. I still ate right, my blood sugar was improving and I only gained 3kg during my pregnancy. I still had to stay on the Glucophage. When our son was 1 my tests showed I was able to get off Glucophage and I was so happy, I had done it, I had fixed myself. But now what? I didn’t have a plan B. I tried doing my best on eating right. We would have cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and starch, meat and sometimes veg for supper. To me this was good enough. 6 Months later I went for another check up, glucose was still o.k but could be better.
I finally decided to go to a dietician and she worked with me and found out what works for me and put me on a low GI plan. I started using stairs and left the lifts completely at work behind. I stuck to my eating plan and didn’t stray, as soon as I would stray then everything went downhill and I struggled to get back up. I finally agreed to start parkruns and started feeling better about myself.
My dietician wants me at 85kg, my first goal is to be under 100kg. I finally got to 111kg after 3 years of eating right and exercising at home. I decided I needed a final push and hubby bought me a ticket into the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge. In my final week of the Challenge I just broke 100kgs! When I made post on the Sleekgeek group it received over 1,700 likes!
This journey has been far from easy but so worth it. I still fall but I have learnt to get better at stabilising my feet and not being so hard on myself when I fail. I also have learnt to just get back on track the next meal. I now prep everything, so when I get home from work and need to sort a 3 year old I know my food is at least one thing that will be on track, even if all else falls around me. My husband has helped alot so I am not alone with all the planning, cooking and raising our household. I don’t cook different meals, we all eat the same meal. I plan breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks exactly out, we shop only for what we need nothing more, if it is not on our list we don’t buy it.
We also have a tight budget so I plan for the whole month. I also plan cheat meals for once a week. I get up at 03:50am every Mon-Fri to exercise before our son gets up and getting him ready for school and us for work. I only do stairs at work and I have started to do stairs for every smoke break the ladies at work have. I also do 10 squats per toilet trip. When I get home, once we have sorted our son out, eaten and put him to bed, chores get done then I exercise again. Saturdays I do parkruns and then the rest of my weekend it’s rest time. I have learnt that results only happen if you’re mentally ready to make the change, you need to plan your meals and be prepared to eat as clean as possible and take into account what you actually eat, especially the size of my portions.
I also learnt to stop seeing exercises as a problem or a reason to punish myself but to show myself how strong I actually am. I have made a lot of mental changes and had to change my view on a lot. It is not just your body you’re strengthening and changing, it is your mind as well, because if I don’t have my mind in the right space I can’t change my body.
My family have supported me endlessly, they always keep me in their thoughts when there are family events. They uplift me when I am low and just want to throw in the towel. My younger sister has always been my inspiration when it comes to health, I would moan about how hard it is to eat certain foods, where she is gluten intolerant and her meals are thousands times harder but she never complains, she also keeps doing exercises and maintains this gorgeous healthy body, she inspires me to keep pushing forward. She always gives me words of encouragement and strength that helps me move forward each day.
My husband has accepted and loved me from the beginning and through each trial and piece of this journey he has been there for me, from helping me plan food to not eating certain things in front of me when I couldn’t handle it, to exercising with me when I just wanted to cave in and do anything, he helps me get out of my head when I think too much and obsess over silly things and without him I believe my journey would be a lot worse.
I can honestly say I feel 10x better, I no longer feel that withdrawal of tiredness, I no longer have severe heartburn (unless I eat something that irritates me), my blood sugar is perfect, I am still off Glucophage, I don’t get so tired after walking or playing with my son, I can actually jog, I can do push ups and burpees now, I can fit better into my clothes and actually have a choice in what I wear now, I like doing challenges for running events and strength events now and I no longer get that horrible burning in my throat.
I have had terrible lows, to the point where I cry over cake that I chose not to have. It took me 10 days to not have a headache and moody before I became “normal” after I decided to give up coffee, tea, sugar and all beverages except water. My body used to make me feel sick because it wanted junk, or didn’t agree with my mind, but I learnt to have a mind over matter sense.
Since I started this journey seriously 3 years ago I have done 28 parkruns, a Muddy Princess, my first FNB 10km, a few 5km runs / walks too. This is major milestones for someone who could or should I say would never do these. One day I want to do a Beast or Warrior.
So in 3 years I have gone from 148kg to 100kg, I have gone from a size 54 work uniform to a size 42. My water intake has always been around 3litres but I have increased to 4-5litres a day. I fit into Ackermans and Mr Price clothing. I can wear a full piece costume, my shoes are even looser. I have arms and a neck and bones that are actually showing where they should be. For the first time ever I can wear a belt, I feel normal.
I have learnt to believe in myself and not give up on myself. I have learnt this is a slow but steady race. I have learnt that once I made the decision to do this for me then and only then did things start working and falling into place. I have learnt to inspire myself and see my past and how far I have come, which shows me I can and have done this.
In the process I have found my favourite foods are:
Breakfast – oats, egg, banana and cinnamon or spinach and cheese omelette
Lunch – egg muffins or cabbage filled with mince
Supper – Cauliflower pizza or sweet potato burgers
Snacks – Peanut butter oat cookies
And if my sweet tooth attacks me I find I enjoy my bean and cocoa brownies or a banana and egg microwave muffin.
If I could give 5 tips it would be:
- Stop doubting yourself and what others say. Believe in yourself.
- Make time, even when you don’t want to, it is worth it.
- Prep and plan your food and your exercises. When it is on paper and prepared it is less likely you find an alternative.
- If you need to breakdown – do it! Let it out by crying, shouting, running, just anything to let off the steam. But don’t stay there. Get back on your track to success.
- Find someone to stick by you, even if it is just one person, you can do it alone but you need someone to bring you back when you hit a low and also someone to chat about your journey.
Never give up on yourself, so many other people have already, don’t be them! Be YOU!! Be AMAZING!
It was awesome to meet our founders Elan and Eric at the recent Sleekgeek JHB/PTA Dinner!