My journey started when I was pregnant with my son in 2007. Having always been skinny and for most part of my young adult life weighing 55kg, it was really hard to deal with gaining almost 30kgs.
I developed gestational diabetes, which should not have been a big surprise, because both my parents are diabetics. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I felt at my lowest when a “health professional” told me that I would never be able to lose my pregnancy weight and that I would hate myself for the rest of my life. I left her office crying and felt even more depressed.
Looking back maybe she was trying to show some tough love, I don’t know… it did inspire me to lose weight, but to a point where I was borderline anorexic.
At one point I weighed 49kgs. I was obsessed with counting calories and did endless hours of cardio. I would go home during lunch and get on the exercise bike for 30 minutes, then get home after work and do it again. In my head it was “the skinnier” “the better”. For a while it all went good, but then life happened and I gained most of the weight back.
In the summer of 2013, we were having a braai with friends, with a cider in my hand, I jokingly told them that by next summer, I would have abs. We all thought it was a big joke and laughed about it, and then it was forgotten. Or was it?
It got me thinking “Why not?” Now I am someone who loves a challenge and if you told me that I can not do something, I WILL prove to you that I can. I then started a 3 year journey and became fit, I started running and lifting weights and got my abs that I set out to get, got a new job.
I was so happy!!! I was living my best life.
Then… 2016 hit me and my family HARD.
My dad passed away from a diabetes related illness. Prior to my dad’s passing I had not had McDonalds for 3 years. A day after his passing, I found myself having a McDonald’s burger. I know this may sound stupid, but I had unknowingly given in to it. Rational thoughts went out the door and I remember while taking a bite I thought to myself “What are you doing?” But I did it anyway. I just did not even care.
Two months after that my husband was admitted to hospital when he collapsed at work. We initially thought it was his heart but it turned out to be his lung. He went for x-rays, blood tests, scans, a biopsy, and still no answers could be found. We had to wait weeks for the results of the biopsy and in those weeks had to deal with the “what ifs”. It was physically and emotionally exhausting.
During this trying time of hospitals and 2 months after my dad’s passing, my husband’s dad also passed away from a stroke. As if we did not go through enough, my husband suffered a hernia and had to have an operation which he had to wait months for. He was in so much pain and the last thing I felt like doing was exercise and eat healthy. Crying, moping, drinking beer and hanging out with friends made it all “better”, or so I thought.
Back on the wagon!
On Christmas 2017 I broke down, I started crying and did not know why, for a few days I did not want to leave the house. Working through my feelings I realised what was going on, and I resolved to do something about it. Come New Year I would get back on track, like I have set out the previous New Year.
The only difference was that I was going to have to make a few changes to myself and my surroundings. It was tough, but I had to say goodbye to a few people whom I loved but just was not good for me. I had to break free from becoming the people pleaser that I had become and find ME in there, the me who was always willing to help others, but could not do it without helping herself first.
On 8 January 2018 my journey to getting myself back started. I knew this was not going to be easy, but in the end so worth it!
I began by focusing only on the 24 hours before me. My motto has been: “One day at a time”.
I am 38 years old, mom to a grade 5 who has TONS of homework, I do not belong to a gym, I work full time and have to run an entire household…. EXCUSES EXCUSES…. I decided that none of those would be an excuse for me.
My husband and son have always been a great support system, always pushing and encouraging me to be the best version of me. And that was one thing that I knew I could always count on, no matter what. I remember one year for Mother’s Day they got me a bench, for my birthday a 10kg weights set… yes they have always supported me being a badass mom and wife
I started by exercising 10-15 minutes a day, at home, and generally just eating healthier. I cut out all sugar and junk food and gave up ciders and beer. I knew this was going to be even harder than before because I did not just want to lose weight this time, I wanted to transform my body and mind. The goal was not to be skinny but to gain muscle, gain ME back. I had to change my mindset when it came to food.
All I had ever known and done was to eat to lose weight. I started walking again. It felt so good. In no time I was lifting weights again. Heavier weights. I was running again. I saw my body transform. I saw my mind transform. I got my smile back. I got me back. My husband got his wife back and my son got his mom back, the badass wife and mom they deserve!
The last few months have not been without trial and error, but one thing I can say, I have been healthier and happier. I have decide to focus less on the scale so it’s still kind of weird when people ask me what I weigh and I say “I really don’t know” For someone who used to weigh herself daily that is a big deal.
I do however intend to see the biokineticist every 2-3 months to compare body composition (such as body fat percentage). And a big YES for me is comparison pictures. They keep me motivated.
Also happy to report: no sign of high blood sugar and absolutely no sign of hypothyroidism. I haven’t had McDonald’s this year.
I still have a cheat meal every week and I have not been cutting any food groups and I still love a glass of wine and some pizza.
Now I am trying to help ladies lose weight with the knowledge that I have gained, mainly through my Facebook page. Knowledge IS power and I try to read up on health and fitness issues daily. Health and fitness has become my passion and I dream of one day making it more than a passion. I have learned that one is never too old!
My tips for someone starting out are:
- Take it one day at a time. Focus only on the 24 hours before you. Repeat daily
- Start slow. If you fall off the wagon, it is OK, just put it behind you and move on.
- Be gentle on yourself
- Seek support from like minded people
- Celebrate every small accomplishment
While I will always be a work in progress, I love this journey, it has taught me so much more than losing weight or gaining muscle or whatever, it has taught me discipline and to love myself, flaws and all, because I am a tiger who has earned her stripes, for sure!