You may have seen the post I made about Ravi’s inspirational story. If not you can read it here (WOW! Ravi Reddy…from 140kg to 99kg…after 12 yrs over 100kgs!)
But now it is time for Ravi to tell his own story before we witness as community his next steps.
Over to Ravi …
This was quite a long and arduous tale. A tale in which I thought I would never write. A tale in which I am still writing about. A tale in which others are writing about. A tale which has no ending yet, but several happy ones in between (and no, I did not take a trip to Bangkok, if that’s what you are thinking). And a tale in which is shared by many people all over the globe.
But before we discuss the winter warrior victory, I will need to fill you in some never seen before information (and even footage). So here it goes. It began with a failure and its embracement. In 1997 (Grade 9) I weighed in at 98Kgs.
So how did I fail? (Other than not winning a pie eating contest)? Aside from weighing more than someone 5.11 in height should weigh… I failed to recognise that I was overweight and embraced the asinine theories of many. I listened to people who were misinformed 90% of the time and not listening to the 10% of good contributions. Throughout my entire life I was always the “big guy” a.k.a the guy that was not fat, rather big boned. Or so society kept on telling me.
I was (and still am in some ways) a guy that loved having fun and loved people even more. I was always at the leisure of someone else… always following their plans or their idea of a great time which funnily enough involved food. There was never a dinner party, pre drinks or birthday braai that I missed. Boy did I have a blast at every one of those and often over compensated whether be with drink in hand, cigarette in mouth or chocolate bars in stomach.
Yes, I was that guy…. Look familiar folks? Since graduating in 2005, the weight kept on piling on. I was getting bigger and bigger during every milestone of my life and my comfort levels reduced as a result (especially on the cricket field). I was in pure denial and resigned myself to believe that I would die happily overweight. At 27 years of age I possessed the mannerisms of an 80 year old gentleman thinking that the quality of my life would never improve from its current form. Every work function, whether it be formal or informal, I was drunk. There was clearly a degree of unhappiness in my life that I was not addressing… and when addressing it, used the green bottle to do it. Then 2011 happened…
2011 – The year of the catalyst
My mother’s side of the family succumbed to Diabetes. My Grandfather was diagnosed with this disease as far back as the 1970s. He suffered his first heart attack in his late fifties, resulting in an automatic readjustment in his eating lifestyle. Even though he was a tea totler, he still experienced the very same dysfunctions anyone would in a Type II scenario.
I managed to see my Grandfather for one last time in December 2009. Spent both new years and Xmas with him. To his dismay, I was 142Kgs at the time. He was not happy with me (take my word for it). His last words to me prior to my departure to South Africa was “Diabetes… you don’t want this…” Dianand Chandool, was a Grandfather, Philosopher, Career Advisor and Friend. He passed on at the age of 80 at his home in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
I found out about his death, 2 days before my 28th Birthday. I had these awesome plans where we would go to the Woodstock lounge, Quirk’s famous watering hole at the time and my buying drinks, shooters for the attendees (again, I was that kind of guy). I was devasted, so much so that I was asked to join my family in mourning, drinking myself into a stupor in between visits. I was not in a good place folks…
I bought a bottle of spice gold and managed to nail ¾ of the bottle from Friday 5th 2011 all the way into the Sunday evening. My dear colleague for close to 4 years, Santi van Zyl managed to convince me to jump on to this diet, commonly referred to as the metabolism diet. I couldn’t care less, but went with it never the less. The diet was a rather strange one in which had a total duration of 2 weeks, omitting simple and complex sugars, alcohol, mass amounts of dairy and of course anything of a deep fried nature. Day 1 involved Boiled Spinach and Eggs, 2 pieces of dry toast and as many cups of black coffee that I wanted.
I was barely into day 1 of the diet and was hating life already. Day 2, I decided to jump on the scale and was shocked at the result at hand…. 3kgs were lost. This was too good to be true, resulting in my jumping on the scale again. This once again revealed the exact same result. I was overjoyed and realised that there was clearly more to this diet than I thought. After sticking with the diet for a 2 week period (eating multiple pieces of fish in the process… yuck!) I managed to lose 11Kgs. This was the best possible start anyone in my position could ask for. 9 times out of 10, I would go back to my old ways with immediate effect. This time round, I had a catalyst which prevented me from doing so…. And its name was Dianand Chandool.
His last words to me, till this day echo in my conscious. I refused to become a victim. I persisted in finding new ways to lose weight, going on diets recommended by others, sometimes fusing them together. These diets included elements of weight watchers, weighless, and certain components of the metabolism diet itself. I also participated in many sports and fun exercises. The idea was to lose an excess amount of weight before competing heavily in a gym like environment. I was accelerating my weight loss. Hitting targets like 20kgs weight loss in April 2011 and 25Kgs in June 2011. I was on a roll and there was no sign of me slowing down. I was nearing closer and closer to my goal of 40Kgs, but seemed to plateau. I needed to sign up at a gym and fast…
I joined 360 Training with Quirk. Quirk developed a wellness strategy where those who were interested, were given free training at 360 training for an 8 week period at their expense. Kettle bells sucked! Well, at first at least. All of the QuirkStars attending gym that day were on the verge of being destroyed, due to a considerable lack of fitness and a legacy of poor eating habits. We trained every Monday’s and Thursdays under the tutelage of 360 trainers, Justin Swart and Wesley Adriaanse. They made us work and the intensity level increased session by session. I was becoming stronger by the day, seeing definition in my arms and legs. We kept this going for as long as we could, then December happened.
The Xmas break has a legacy of ending diets and any form of a training regiment known to man. I returned to Trinidad for our Xmas break to pay my respects to my family. Poor eating habits resurfaced but did not go into a full reinvestment into any of my bad eating habits. I came back to SA in Jan 2012 sitting in at 118Kgs (from 111Kgs in December 2011). I lost a few Kgs in my first week back, weighing in at 115 Kgs during my return to the office. The weight dropped and went back up and dropped again. This was a vicious cycle. I was approached by Wesley to re-join 360 to get me back into the shape I once was and perhaps better it. The weight came off now and then, but the results were not significant. There was nothing to gain, no one to compete against apart from myself. I was chatting to Zac Rusagara. He was part of a really cool bounty like competition where the highest weight loss or most significant transformation won a collated amount of money. This competition was none other than Sleekgeek.
Sleekgeek- the winter warrior challenge
After careful consideration, I decided to register. Naturally after following the user journey of paying and signing up for various sleekgeek subscriptions, I examined the site carefully. Then I noticed, good old Elan Lohmann started this venture. Elan and I met a number of times. One time we were both super heavy smokers standing in the slip cordon in a geekcricket match. The second time we met was the bookmarks 2010… he bought 2 boxes containing 40 boerewors rolls each of which he gave out to the public like Santa Claus. Later that night he bought me 4 tequilas… he probably quadrupled the number by the time the evening came to an end. Now, despite all of these scenarios where the very same man who was engulfing multiple boerewors rolls, chain smoking and buying tequila for the entire geek community at the bookmarks… he still found the time to start “SleekGeek”.
This was a rather odd move, particularly from an old school Ad Man (vodka and cigar tissue runs through our veins). He developed the community to not only help others… he was seeking help himself. The best way to be your absolute best is to challenge others to beat your best… and the rest is all history. I was inspired by the results of so many people I have come to know over the years (Amien and Heidi). I knew that this could be done.
I went into the weigh in with a mixture of reservations and de javu’. It almost seemed that I have done this before… well not quite to this scale (so to speak). I weighed in at 118.7 Kgs. The others in the Virgin Active gym seemed very nervous and eager to get the hell out of there. I didn’t blame them. This was not something anyone plans on getting into, especially on such a public scale. But, I was here, it was too late to pull out of anything. I had something to uphold to and a challenge to overcome. Before I continue, I should clarify a few things:
- It was not about the money
- I was not and still am not a publicity hound
- I did not join sleekgeek to become more popular with the ladies
So why the hell did I join SleekGeek? I wanted to know that I still had it, that X factor, the drive, the passion which led me to my weight loss thus far. I needed to know that I could compete with the best (everyone was in it to lose weight one way or the other). I also intended on using my example as a guiding light, becoming a symbol to those who have lost all forms of self-belief. I was that guy once upon a time and know what it’s like to do the easiest thing in the world.. giving up on yourself. Self-worth is key in winning anything that life has to offer.
The winter warrior challenge presented a number of challenges. I had to say goodbye to Vida E, and replace that with meat and vegetables. No more staff birthday cakes, Ravi settled for biltong and almonds. Peanut Butter received a fond farewell and was replaced with fruits such as apples and bananas. The Drinking was non-existent, so much so that the peeps at &union forgot what I looked like. And of course there was the training. I visited 360 for no less than 5 classes a week. From Warrior workouts to boxfits, to kettlebell classes and of course personal sessions with Wesley himself. Life was tough for 8 weeks. In those 8 weeks, I had a number of personal challenges. At least one QuirkStar knew of another sleekgeek contender that was a sure thing to win this competition (this was mildly frustrating). I went to Ellis park for the first time. I managed to catch the game between the Springboks and England. Best match ever… apart from the fact that I was sober as a judge.
The most upsetting moment during this challenge was losing my cousin, Santhan Govender to leukaemia. He was 22 years old. The last time I experienced a significant loss in the family, I was quick to turn to the bottle or stop at the nearest fast food joint. This time it was different… my will to succeed in this competition was stronger than ever. I was not going to let great people like my Grandfather or Santhan down. If anything I used my anger on anything that was holy to my advantage and reinvested it into my training. Since Santhans passing, I lost a further 7Kgs.
Going into the final weigh in, I was more nervous than the very first one. I had messages pouring in from around the globe, wishing me the absolute best of luck for this final weigh in. My family, the whole of Quirk, my community were all behind me… this felt like the fucking Olympics! I was one of the first people to arrive… it was 7am at the Century City Virgin Active.
Ironically, Dax weighed in with me in both the beginning and the end of the challenge. We were both super stoked with our results – I did not think I was going to win…
I took that understanding to my “victory” party at Jamaica me crazy in Woodstock. All of my friends were there, work colleagues I have not engaged with in a while. The idea of the party was to have my very first pizza and beer (and boy, did I enjoy it!) One must remember that I was off the booze for a full 8 week period.. after drinking the craft beer, I was officially nailed J Elan, Goose and many other sleekgeekers were in attendance – and we partied like it was 1999!
Then, 2 weeks later, my life changed for the better once again! It was a Wednesday. Elan and I was chatting over Facebook about sleekgeek naturally and finished off with telling me the following: “… by the way…. You won.” I was jubilated!! We also settled on him coming to the office on Thursday to make this public announcement:
Exactly a week before that, my boss from the UK, Nic Ray offered a ticket to the SA vs ENG test match in Lords…. (yes, the one in London!). I would have normally said no but gave it some thought and said…. Fuck it, I’m going to London!
So folks, this is my story. There were clearly several ups and downs. Such is life, so unpredictable in nature yet could be so rewarding… especially if you believe in an ideal and more importantly, believe in yourself… anything is possible.
Tell next time for the an update on the next phase of my journey,
With Rob Stokes, boss of Quirk and some Quirkstars
With some Sleekgeek crew on top of Lions Head. My first time! What a milestone!
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