Tarryn “gained the will for life”

Tarynn-main

Hi there. I’m Tarryn. A 20 year old survivor of myself. Currently staying in Cape Town, studying. When I’m not getting active I’m usually buried in a good book.

I grew up a tad overweight, but with nothing more than what would be considered baby weight. I was very active, either swimming, surfing, playing netball or riding my bicycle, but ate the portions that is appropriate for a male athlete.

I was addicted to food and I ate because I could or because I was bored, happy,sad, etc.

I was happy and not aware that gaining weight could be a health issue. All was well until I moved to a different city. My dad and I were on our own in the new city for a year while my mom wrapped things up on the other side. This is where things changed. It was the start of my climb towards being morbidly obese.

 Pre-diabetic at age 11

I would eat KFC, pizza or too much pasta every night with pies for lunch. Generally eating anything and everything I wanted to. I stopped playing sport. I would sit in front of the TV all day and everyday when I wasn’t at school. I started to balloon. I was taken to a dietitian who diagnosed me with pre-diabetes, weighing in at 96kgs. I couldn’t understand why my parents were upset. I was 11. I simply continued eating.

My father, who was morbidly obese, managed to lose over 40kg. He then went on to do Ironman races. This inspired me.

My life changed… for a while.

I went to gym, I ate well and I lost a whopping 35kg in a matter of 2 months. I felt great. I was so proud of myself! However, December holidays came. I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t stop eating and I went to sit on my behind. I picked up every last gram and more. I was depressed which was a (bad) excuse to just eat more.

My weight gradually continued to climb to 127kg by the end of 2016 when I discovered the Sleekgeek Facebook Group and attended the year end dinner.

Sleekgeek changed my life

It inspired me so much that I decided I was going to change my life. Not on Monday. I started on a Thursday. I was filled with pride for no longer only being a planner, but rather taking action.

I read up more about weight loss, what to eat, when to eat, portion sizes, what exercise to do, when to exercise, etc. I lost a bit of weight and managed to maintain my weight over Christmas holidays.

So came the New Year 8-Week Sleekgeek (Ultimate You) Challenge. I decided I could do it, so I signed up. Even through a month long trip to visit a friend, I managed to lose 28kg during the 8 weeks. I was ecstatic. I ended up weighing 97kgs.

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I was so ecstatic that I thought it was a good time to reward myself with food. More food. And more food.

Without noticing it before it was too out of control, I gained it all back AGAIN. (Just missing my starting weight at 121kg)

I was so disappointed in myself. How did I manage to do this to myself again? Instead of wallowing in my own emotions I decided to go for a walk and clear my head. This walk helped me come to the final decision that I am going to get healthy. This was the final and biggest mindset change I have ever undergone. For the first time my goal wasn’t to be skinny, but rather to get fit and nourish my body. Weight loss will come, but that will just be a bonus.

8-Week Challenge

I signed up for the Summer Sleekgeek 8-Week Transformation Challenge for the second time, with a healthy mindset. I joined in for heat 4 (I was overseas which only further motivated me) with a HEALTHY plan.

Every day hasn’t been easy. Life happens. I’ve sneaked in a scoop of ice cream here and there when I had a weak moment, but then got right back on track.

Some mornings the last thing I want to do is go exercise because the bed is warm and everybody else is still snoring away, but I get up and go. What has made this easier has been to put my gym clothes ready and everything I’ll need for work in the car so I have to do the absolute minimum in the mornings. It gets me there.

It’s all about making the choice.

I have since lost 26.1kg in a comfortable way during my 8-Week Challenge. No starving or overexerting. I’m looking forward to my final results at the end of the challenge. I’m now happy with my body and what I’m doing to improve my overall health. I’m no longer depressed about my weight, but rather see it as challenge and an advantage (I burn quite a bit more calories than the average Joe doing everyday activities, for example).

Unfortunately, I don’t see it when I look in the mirror, but I’ve had my “internals” checked and my blood work is normal. My visceral fat has decreased from 14 to 5. I’m proud. I’m very proud.

My goal is to do Ironman 70.3 with my dad by 2020.

I’ve gained the will for life

The biggest reward has been the energy I’ve gained and the will for life. I get to walk my dog, who never got out of the yard. I do the parkrun and smell the flowers along the way, enjoy the view at the top of the hill and most of all get to spend more time with my dad (the “fitness freak”) doing what he enjoys most.

Throughout my journey my family has been my biggest supporters. Never pressuring me to get skinny, but rather encouraging me to get fit and healthy so I could experience life as a young girl should. Cheering me on every time I would decide to lose weight and not rub it in my face when I picked it up again. They have be crucial to my current success and the successes to come.

Sleekgeek played a valuable role in my lifestyle change as well. Seeing the daily posts truly helped in pulling me back from the dark side each time.

I have learnt that your health is far more important than being “skinny.” There truly is no quick fix. Hard work pays off. As our Sleekgeek founder Elan always says, “consistency is the key!”

Baby steps often get you further than giant leaps because giant leaps aren’t realistic. Most of all I’ve learnt to believe in myself. I gave up on myself a while back and that was a big part of my previous failures.

My biggest inspiration is definitely my dad. He changed his life around completely and continues to chase optimum health and fitness. I support him at the Ironman and he just inspires me over and over again. He proves to me daily that you can do whatever you set your mind to. “One day when I get big I’m going to do the Ironman,” he said when he turned 45. He did it.

So I say, “One day when I’m big I’m also going to do the Ironman with my dad.”

My eating and training

I eat a balanced diet including all the food groups.

I focus on getting my carbs from potatoes & wild rice, protein from fish and ostrich, and also fat from MCT oil or avocados.

Its seldom that I’ll snack, but when I do I stick to biltong, nuts or popcorn (a little portion of my treat).

However, I have a cheat MEAL (not day) on a Friday night with my family and do vary my meals so I can keep things interesting.

I train 5 days a week (spinning/2-4km swim) and ensure I get 10k steps in every day.

I don’t force myself to get out of bed in the morning for the gym, I choose to do it for myself.

When life happens, as it sometimes does, I use an app “Sworkit” to do a few minutes of exercise at home during the adverts of the tv show “The Voice.” Priorities! LOL.

I avoid running and walking too much as it’s my least favourite and demotivates me. Find what you enjoy doing!

My top tips for those starting out is:

  1. Get into the right mindset. This can truly make/break your success. Very similar to the saying, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” 
  2. Eat real food & eat enough of it. Too few people decide to starve their bodies to lose weight. This starts an endless cycle of binging. Don’t do it. Baby steps. Get your calories in. 
  3. Move more. This doesn’t have to be hitting the gym or even walking around the block. It can be something as small as parking your car further from the entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. 
  4. Fresh air. Get fresh air everyday. Sit outside, go for a walk or open your car window. Fresh air does amazing things for your body, can improve your mood and help you destress. I can’t tell you how many times this has motivated me to walk my dog and get into nature. 
  5. Portions. Learn about portion sizes and don’t deprive yourself. When I tell myself I CAN’T have cake then I want cake. Instead I eat half a slice, or have a bite size of whatever I want when at a function. 
  6. Plan. As they say, “Fail to plan is planning to fail.” No truer words have been spoken.

I still have quite a long way to go, but it no longer looks like a mountain to me. I look forward to achieving my goals in the future and will continue fighting again, and again, and again as I always have.


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