By Sam Dreyer, Durban
My story starts way back when I was a little girl aged 7. I had always been a chubby child, both my parents were well-built people and tall. I was not blessed with the tall genes, I was handed the short genes. When I was in class one, or grade one as they call it now, my mother joined Weigh-Less.
She was doing so well and was looking amazing. Then the kids in my school started teasing me and it was horrible. I did not want to go to school and I felt like I had no friends. I went to my mother and asked if, at the age of 7, I could also join Weigh-Less. She took me to her group leader, who couldn’t believe that a little girl had a weight problem. I was so good, and I managed to loose 9kg’s.
I thought this was the end of my weight problem. I had learned healthy eating. But at such a young age it really is difficult to stick to it especially when there are parties and in those days, it was unheard of to give the kids carrot sticks and cucumber to munch on. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not in anyway blaming anyone. If I look back, I think my weight problem had a huge amount to do with how much I wanted to fit in.
Jump ahead to my first year of college. I had decided to study beauty. As a fatty, I knew it was a strange choice. But tragedy struck in my second month of study. My mother was killed in a taxi accident. I thought I was coping but little did I know that food was my coping mechanism. This was when I started smoking and drinking.
By this stage my little sister was 10 and also had a weight problem and was experiencing the same taunting as I did as a child. It wasn’t easy trying to be there for my sister as well as being in my first year of college and losing our mother. It was one of the most traumatic times in my life. And I turned to food. Growing up I never had any boyfriends and would always feel invisible even though I was large. I always felt I was never pretty enough or good enough.
I met my husband when I was 24 and I was still large. I was 86kg’s when I met him. He was the most wonderful person and never judged me. He thought I was beautiful no matter how large I was. Not once did he ever comment about my weight and he never compared me to other women.
I had never been a good cook so when we moved in together he did the cooking and I did the rest. So dinners would consist of meat and any starch that was available. We hardly ever ate salads or vegetables. The exception to this was when I would decide to go on diet. This happened frequently but I don’t think I ever did it for the right reason.
I always did it to be accepted even though my husband loved me for me. He would never diet with me so I would be by myself. Every now and again I would decide that Taebo was the way to go and would stick it out for a couple of months and then just not go back. I even had a gym membership and was going religiously with a friend. I then got flu and it was winter so that stopped as well.
We then joined an organization that involved a lot of socializing and drinking. During this time my life took another knock. I lost my job quite suddenly and my husband was retrenched 8 months after I lost my job. The 2 years that followed this was devastating to us financially. Without our friends and family I shudder to think where we would be. All of a sudden parcels of food would turn up on our doorstep. They were full with the staples to sustain us. This included rice and pasta and bread and processed foods to get us through. During this time my weight ballooned. But I did not notice and no-one ever told me.
In January 2012 I stepped on a scale for the first time in a long time. I nearly had a stroke there and then. I weighed in at 102 kg’s. This was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I was devastated and embarrassed and mortified. Right then and there I made the decision that something had to change.
It so happened that my sister was a bridesmaid at her best friends wedding and had started a body conditioning programme. She will tell you that her heart wasn’t in it at the time. She did well but lost focus soon after the wedding.
At the same time I had asked my husband to start walking with me at night. I did not have the finances to join a gym or spend money at all. I also changed the way we were eating. Small things at first like instead of 4 slices of bread for lunch I cut us down to 2 and some fruit. I slowly started introducing vegetables into our diet as well.
By April I had lost 7 kg’s and I felt so good. I set myself small goals…5kgs at a time.
By this stage my sister had also decided that enough was enough and decided to join me. My husband also said that he wanted to loose a few kgs and joined us. I then discovered free exercise classes down by the casino in Durban. They are sponsored by Lisa Raleigh and are open to the public. This was just the boost we needed.
I felt more energized and alive for the first time in ages. Especially when people started noticing. My sister and I pushed each other and encouraged each other. It was like a race. We kept saying that we would treat ourselves to a Wimpy Burger when we hit 15kgs – which turned into the 20kg mark which then turned into the 25 kg mark. Needless to say we still have not had that Wimpy Burger!
My luck changed at work and I got an increase in August last year. This allowed my sister and I to start the body conditioning classes that she did in January. With this we changed our eating once again. We follow a “low carb, higher protein” eating plan. And we are eating vegetables now. We have cut out sugar and we drink liters of water a day. Every now and again a craving will hit or we succumb to the temptation of cake. But we never let it get us down. We get back on the wagon the very next day.
33 kgs down and a new person!
To date I have lost 33kgs and gone down from dress size 42/44 to a size 36 which is slightly too big but I am not quite ready for a 34. My goal for this year is to build muscle and tone.
I am a completely different person who has a whole new outlook on life. My sister has also lost 33kgs and I cannot believe the change in her. She has a few more kgs to go but I will be with her every step of the way. I have loved my journey and I think what made the difference is that this time it was for me and not for anybody else.
During the last few months of my journey I discovered a community on Facebook called Sleek Geek [Click to join] . I watched and read and gleaned information from these amazing people. I read as they transformed their lives and drew so much inspiration from them. Sleek Geek is a community filled with like minded people who are always willing to answer a question no matter how trivial you may think it is to posting pictures of the most glorious food that make you want to eat your computer screen. I have even gained enough courage to post my very first #MuscleMonday flex on the Sleekgeek Facebook group!
Do it people!
To anyone reading this, all I can say is go ahead and make the decision. It will be the best decision you have ever made. Find people who are as dedicated as you and who understand what it is you are trying to achieve.
Without my sister and husband beside me I really do not think I could have done this by myself. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in a bikini on the beach in Durban and not feel ashamed. I love the new me!!!!
I love it when I see people who are shocked at the change in me. But most of all I love the feeling of grace and confidence that I now have. I could say so much more but I think I will stop now. My final thoughts are that I will never find the weight I have Lost J It has gone for good and I love my new life!!!!
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