The war with my weight:
For most of my life, I have been overweight. Chubby child, overweight teenager. In matric I tried Weigh-Less and lost weight. Off I went to student life and packed it back on. Entered life as a working adult after graduation, in the field of industrial catering.
By now I had regained everything plus extra. At 27, I tried again with Weigh-Less. This time I added in exercise at a local gym. First time ever that I joined a gym. Started with circuits and eventually plucked up the courage to join the step aerobics classes. I was hooked. Weight dropped off fast and I was exercising like crazy. During this Weigh-Less period, I never cheated. Everything I ate was written down in my food diary and I planned days in advance. Then the “unthinkable” happened – I weighed in and I gained. This was probably 8 kilo’s away from my goal weight. I was shattered. The following week, the same thing. My group leader didn’t believe that I didn’t cheat, which got me really depressed. I went to the doctor and he said that there was nothing wrong. I gave up. 8kg away from goal weight. I stopped gym, and I ate as if I was a competitor in some sort of binge-eating contest.
Ten years on, I was morbidly obese, had become insulin resistant, suffered from high blood pressure and was too fat to do anything. In 2011, I was keen to try exercising again, but refused to change my eating habits. I was not over eating, but I was eating unhealthily and only meal a day, which meant I was starving by the time I got to my one meal. I joined Curves, but only lasted a couple of months. It became winter and too easy to not get up in the mornings. Another year went by. I had bought a horse, which I was too fat to ride. I had to make a plan. My best friend also started putting on pressure – if I didn’t make a plan to lose weight, we would not do things together anymore. I had to do it for my health. My habits were killing me. Finally my mind started shifting – I had to do this, not because of anything other than me WANTING to make the change.
I called Curves to see if my membership was still active and it was. In January 2013, I walked into Curves again and started working out. I couldn’t even fit in some of the machines properly. My branch owner told me about the new eating plan that Curves was introducing and asked if I was interested in trying it. She came and chatted to me at my office, explaining the plan and how it would all work. I made the decision and in March last year (2013) I signed up for Curves Complete (exercise plus eating plan). My journey had begun properly. I had one request to my coach though – I did not want to know how much I weighed, as I knew it would be scary and overwhelming. At that stage it would have completely freaked me out, and I would have thought that it was impossible to lose the weight. For every weigh in, I got on the scale backwards. I still do. To me, what I actually weigh is not that important – I just want to know how much I have got rid of. And measurements. My goal is not a weight, but a specific clothing size.
By July 2013, I had lost enough to get on my horse and I started riding. Not a lot, as I was still heavy. And scared! By December, I had lost 50kg and was riding with more confidence. I could also start doing things with my friend again, as I had reached the goal that we had agreed on. During this time, I had kept in touch with my doctor, as I felt that I had to do this with his “consent”, as I had also been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and was on medication for this as well.
I went for a full fasting range of blood tests in September last year, and my doctor told me the good news. I was no longer insulin resistant. The count had changed from 19, down to 3. Pretty darn normal. My cholesterol was normal, and my blood sugar was also normal. My thyroid was constant. Things were looking good. My blood pressure had come down (I was on two types of medication for the BP). In January, my blood pressure had improved to such an extent that my doctor weaned me off one of the two types of medication. I had now started to go to him monthly, for blood pressure checking. A month after I was weaned off the first tablet, the BP was still low and he changed my second type of medication to a lower dosage. One month later, he took me off everything. It has now been one month without any type of blood pressure medication and my blood pressure has stabilised to being normal!
Sadly, I had become bored with the routine at Curves and I also had trouble with a plateau in my weight loss. I knew that the only thing that I could do, was to change up my exercise. My plan was to join the University’s group fitness classes, but I was having trouble finding a class that started early enough (I work out early so that I can be at work by 7:00am). Then I saw that a CrossFit box was opening in our town! I had seen friends abroad that train at CrossFit and always wondered what that would be like to try and do. I am not naturally athletic, but was keen to try it. So I signed up in April to do the Foundation training (which all new members have to do at our Box). I had told the coach that I was with Curves and that I would probably continue at Curves, but also attend at least one class a week with CrossFit. I also told my Curves coach what I would be doing.
I have now increased my attendance at CrossFit to twice a week; and can feel the difference. I am stronger and I have broken through that darn plateau! I am still following the Curves eating plan. This is going to be my last month at Curves, then I will be going to CrossFit four times a week. Over the past three weeks, my body has gotten rid of 6kg again, which tells me that I made the right decision in changing my exercise routine. I still have a way to go, I am by no means at my goal yet, but I am absolutely certain I will get there. I still use my belt that I got before I started my journey – it goes around my waist to the centre of my back now. This is my constant reminder of where I have been and where I do not want to be again. To date I have lost 63,4kg and 176cm all over. I have one jean size to go to my initial goal clothing wise; but am thinking of aiming for one size smaller.
The decision to leave Curves was not an easy one, it almost feels like a break up. I was worried about losing a support structure. Enter Sleek Geek! Someone mentioned Sleek Geek to me when I told them about my decision to leave and I am so grateful to them for doing that. The minute that I joined Sleek Geek – Sleek Girls specifically, I was made to feel at ease. I read posts and people’s comments. How awesome to find a group where there is no nastiness, only support. It made me pluck up the courage to share my joy with breaking through the 60kg loss mark. Thank you to the ladies in the group for the support! I also hope that maybe my story will inspire someone else and give them the nudge forward that they might need if they are stuck in a plateau or frustrated with their progress.
If I have learnt one thing during all of this, it is that weight loss starts in the mind. If your mind set isn’t right, you will give up. If your heart isn’t in it, you will give up. Do it for yourself, your health and set small goals for yourself along the way. I also get frustrated, I want things to progress faster, but easy does it. Patience. If you fall, get up, dust yourself off and continue. One failure doesn’t mean that you have to give up. Just continue. If you go wrong with your eating (because life does happen); fix it and continue with what you know the next meal / the next day.
If I can do it, anybody can. And with the Sleek Geek community support, there is no stopping you!
Eat clean, train dirty! You’ve got this.
SUBMIT YOUR STORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher
Ilse wins a R500 voucher courtesy of our sponsor for the “YOU CAN live life well” series Wellness Warehouse to be spent on their online store with free delivery nationally.
I believe very strongly that ordinary every day people like you and I derive great inspiration from the achievements of people who seem similar to us. If they can do it.. damn.. so can I! Right?
So through this program we will continue to tell people’s personal stories.
I want to great an archive of hundreds of stories of people who have changed their lives while others believe they cannot.
Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject line “You can live life well”
- Your story in your own words covering at least (How you got to a point of change, how you made the change, tips and advise for others)
- A selection of before and after photos
- As many words as you need to tell your story
In advance, we regret that not all stories may be published. Your story is as important as anyone’s story but we can only publish one a week and the editor will make decision on this.
If your story is published you will receive a R500 voucher to the Wellness Warehouse online store with free national delivery.