The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Having grown up as the youngest of four children in a family that didn’t have an awful lot of money to spare, one of our main staples was bread. My late dad regularly said “There’s always bread and butter.” which, from time to time was all there was. I was consistently a “skinny” person but even as a child I had a protruding stomach.
I had my daughter when I was 35 and prided myself in losing most of my pregnancy weight within a few months after she was born. That being said I always hated my protruding stomach and “fat face”. I always joked that I had enough face to cast a shadow over a small town.
Life was good and I found myself eating whatever I liked and similarly drinking … a lot. And I can assure you nothing packs on weight as quickly and easily as alcohol.
During 2016 I heard about the Sleekgeek Facebook Group through a friend and watched from the wings in envy of the camaraderie, support and encouragement shared in the Sleekgeek community. But I never really thought of joining – I had always been “skinny”, hadn’t I?
It was during December 2016 when I was on holiday I realised how uncomfortable I had become in my own skin and became conscious for the first time, with some shock, that I weighed more than I had at my heaviest when I was pregnant. What??? How did THAT happen? It appeared that I had been skinny and then I blinked and was suddenly wearing a size 36!!
I made some half-hearted efforts to lose the weight. I was already a member of my local gym (I probably attended about six times a year) and I kind of tried to exercise a little more. It’s amazing how ignorant I was.
I saw the build up to the February Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge and, getting caught up in the excitement, I spontaneously signed up. Little did I know that my life was about to change so drastically. I browsed through the eating plans on offer on the website and settled on one. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure that I would even last the full eight weeks. I’m great at starting things … not so great at following them through.
I made the massive decision to cut out all forms of bread, pasta, rice etc. Why was it a massive decision? Having grown up eating mainly bread I had convinced myself at if I didn’t eat bread my blood sugar dropped and I felt awful. This had, in fact, happened too many times for me to dispute it.
But guess what happened! I had a ball. The almost immediate results made me more and more excited. I wanted to see just what I was capable of.
I reached the end of that 8-Week Challenge having lost just over 11kgs. I could hold my head high. I had managed to last the full eight weeks with NO alcohol and NO bread. I had “cheated” three times during the eight week period and one of those was purely by accident (I had been offered a chocolate on my second day of the challenge and realised, with sickening guilt as I swallowed it down, what I had done).
Excited with my new discovery that I could, actually, accomplish anything I put my mind to, I resolved to continue eating in this manner. Besides the fact that I looked a whole lot better I was unearthing new health benefits on a daily basis. The medicine I had been taking for 16 years for high blood pressure became something I only needed to take every second day.
My snoring and apnea came to a sudden (and pleasant) halt. And then one day I realised the most important fact of all. My hair had stopped falling out. I have very silly hair. Have had since I was a child. My hair doesn’t grow much longer than shoulder length and ever since I can remember my hair has fallen out by the handful every single time I wash or even brush it. A little research revealed that one of the symptoms of gluten intolerance is chronic hair loss. And because I had stopped eating bread my hair had stopped falling out. Yay!!!
By July 2017 I stopped losing weight. Apparently my body has reached a happy weight and I have managed to maintain my weight since then. I often get told that it looks like I am still losing weight but my little scale doesn’t fib. I’ve been 60kg, or there and there about, since July and so now I’m concentrating on doing something about my spaghetti arms … not to mention my butt that went awol.
I still have a lot to learn with regard to exercise. When I did that first Challenge in February 2017 I tried to do too much. I nearly burnt out within the first two weeks.
The ever wise Sleekgeek Founder Elan “Mister-Boss-Man-Sir” cautioned me to calm down to a blur and do what I could. I try and exercise every day. I don’t always get that right. I attend Krav Maga training two to three times a week and in between I attend gym. I also try and walk at lunch time. When I remember to bring my tekkies to work.
I’ve lost a total of 15kg. People are constantly asking me what my secret is. Well, there is no secret. But there is also no magic wand. The trick to being successful is being consistent. 80% to 90% of the time I eat healthy and the rest of the time … well, a girl’s got to live.
What is eating healthy? I eat vegetables, fruit, nuts and meat/chicken/fish … and nothing else. Only eating vegetable carbohydrates can make you think you’re hungry sometimes so it’s very important to eat protein with every single meal.
And to drink: I have two cups of herbal tea in the morning and only water for the rest of the day. On Friday mornings I treat myself to a cup of filter coffee instead of one of the herbal teas. I eat three meals a day and snacks in between. If you just watch your portion sizes you’ll be ok. I don’t drink milk (I don’t really like the stuff). Oh, and ginger. I love anything ginger so I eat a heck of a lot of ginger in everything.
Is it easy? Not always. Do I battle sometimes? Yes, sometimes. I miss chocolate and wine and these are definitely my two most go-to cheats.
I’m a firm believer in “Give your body what it asks for, but only in moderation.” The first time I had my period during the Challenge and I couldn’t eat copious amounts of chocolate I almost committed murder. I’ve since learnt that a teeny Bar-One (or similar) goes a long way to ensuring the continued safety of my family and colleagues. But I seriously don’t suggest you do this unless you have the willpower to leave it there and not pig out on everything in sight.
And my protruding tummy and my fat face, you ask? Well apparently the protruding tummy is also a side effect of eating too much bread. It hasn’t disappeared completely but I’m working on that. My face has shrunk considerably. I’ve got more wrinkles now but I think I’ve earned them.
And I’m enjoying every step in this incredible journey. The friendships I have made along the way are phenomenal. So this is NOT the end, this is just the beginning. Watch this space. I’ve still got a lot I want to accomplish. But when I turned 50 earlier this year I could genuinely say “I’m comfortable in my own skin.” Thanks for having me along for the ride.