My name is Laetitia. I have been married to an amazing man for almost 20 years and we have 4 beautiful children, aged 8, 9, 15 and 17.
This is my personal story of how I lost 75kgs… and how it enabled me to life my life to the full.
I have carried extra weight ever since I was a child. If I look back at photographs now, I don’t really look overweight, but I was always the “biggest” in the class and that came at a price.
I have never been a lazy type of person, having always enjoyed sport and other activities.
When we were married in 1994, I weighed in at around 79Kg.
We had our first child in 1996. I saw a dietician throughout my first pregnancy as I was petrified of ballooning while being pregnant. I actually lost weight through my very healthy pregnancy and was able to swim and do aqua aerobics right up until baby was born.
All went well until I stopped breastfeeding. My weight started to pick up drastically. Doctors discovered I had picked up Postpartum Hypothyroidism…..which is quite common after giving birth.
I was put onto medication to help control this, but the weight gain continued.
So, the underactive thyroid, coupled with subsequent pregnancies on excess weight, lack of exercise and bad eating habits, low self-esteem etc. all added to a very unhappy scenario.
I also struggled with ongoing urinary tract infections, receiving endless courses of antibiotics, sometimes up to 7 courses in a row.
Up to this point I had been on various weight loss programmes and had tried every pill, shake, program, fat-shrinking gel, body wrap – desperate for that “quick fix” – just to my own detriment – losing some weight and then gaining that lost weight (plus more) every time.
Weighing in at 160Kg, something drastic needed to happen!
A quiet desperation started to set in – knowing there was a child on the inside longing to be let out…..to dance, to run, to do cartwheels and handstands and to feel sexy again…
My Turning Point
On Thursday December 29th 2011 – a huge defining God moment in my life – I was on my way to the kitchen and had this unwavering sense of it being a “new day”. I said to myself “I am not going to have bread today”. With that came the following…”Well if I am cutting out bread, then I am not going to have wheat or sugar”.
I do believe it was an answer to prayer. I had tried this so many times before in my own strength, but somehow this time it was different.
And that is where my true weight loss journey begins….
“The secret to weight loss – is that there is no secret”
What follows is what worked for me – each one has to find their own rhythm and pattern of what works and fits them individually.
The key is making small changes that you can consistently maintain.
We all know what the bottom line is (no pun intended)….you need to be burn more calories than what you are consuming
1. Listen to your body
I cut out wheat and sugar. For me this contributed to more energy, less inflammation in my body, less water retention. I then decided to cut out dairy and white carbohydrates and reduced my fruit to 1-2 servings per day.
I had the grace to literally go “cold turkey” and the results were incredible.
2. Lunge and Lift
I was swimming at the time (this is all I was physically able to do).
Friends clubbed together for my birthday to send me for a spa treatment in the April of 2012. I used this instead towards 10 gym sessions with a personal trainer. As more and more weight dropped off, I started to introduce more activity – my body was craving it. I started Latin Zumba dancing, walking and continued with the gym and swimming.
Exercise became a priority which I needed to schedule into my already very busy day. But anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I found that if I went more than 2 days without exercising, my body would go into revolt
3. Letting Go
I started purging my cupboard of the “fat clothes” – that was hard – the “safe, snuggly jerseys, elasticated pants” etc…..but oh my word it brought such a release. I was losing the weight and had no intention of ever finding it again – so would not need to keep the clothes anymore.
Letting go of hurts or issues that held me back for a long time that may have resulted in “comfort eating” was also part of my journey. This is an ongoing process but vital if we want to move forward.
4. Looking Ahead
I would set myself small attainable goals along the way – my first being to reach 150Kg.
I would track my progress in terms of the number of blocks of butter I had lost i.e. 10Kg = 20 blocks of butter.
You can imagine my surprise once I started to lose all my children (in terms of their body weight – at the time – Emma 22Kg, Samuel, 28Kg, Jonathan 50Kg and Josh 72Kg).
My 9 year old son would love to throw his arms around my waist to measure how far I had come. At first he couldn’t get his arms around and then would express so much excitement at having reached his fingertips, then his wrist, then his arm, then his elbow. My own little human tape measure
5. Living Healthy
I had to get organised – if I didn’t have what I needed in the pantry or fridge – I would reach for the wrong food, or not eat at all which is even worse. Putting your body into “starvation mode” is never good.
I allowed myself little treats along the way, but not for the first 6 months.
A gentle warning though….one treat can lead to another….it can be a slippery slope
6. Loving Life
I am loving life and the new opportunities and physical ability that I have. I have listed some of my milestones below which I am sure will help illustrate the benefits of me undertaking this journey.
- Weight loss goals met along the “weigh”….having shed over 70Kg in about 18 months.
- Achieving exercise / strength goals – e.g. Planking – from not being able to get off the floor to now planking with ease.
- Doing a handstand with my kids in the garden.
- Wearing a sleeveless top to dance class – not my husband’s extra-large t-shirts.
- Shopping in “regular shops” and wearing items of clothing that have an “M” on the label….not XXXL.
- Buying my first pair of pants with a zip and button.
- Fitting in and buying my first pair of jeans in 17 years.
- Going on holiday and feeling more confident in a swimming costume.
- Fitting in an aeroplane seat.
- Been able to click the seatbelt on the plan – without having to ask for an extension belt.
- Sitting on delicate patio furniture and not being terrified that the chair may break.
- Sitting on plastic chairs and not having my circulation cut off.
- Not needing to sit on the aisle at meetings because I would need more space to move.
- Living life without the weight restrictions e.g. Phoning the amusement park to first enquire about weight restrictions on a ride so I knew if I could go or not.
- Going ice-skating.
- Going super tubing with my kids.
- Body boarding and body surfing in the ocean.
I am thankful for all the love and support and encouragement that I have received along the way. I am grateful for every compliment.
I am humbled and thankful that my progress has inspired others to start their own journey.
I am thankful to God every day for blessing me with the initial impetus needed to get me started and for the grace to keep me going.
It has been a joy – a real fun ride.
Every choice I make has consequences…..and I do allow myself the odd indulgence, but know that I am on this journey day by day…for the rest of my life.
And now I have embarked on the SleekGeek 8 week challenge to help me achieve my goal. I would love to weigh what I did when we got married. . And what a joy it will be to achieve that by our 20th wedding anniversary in April 2014.