Ever since I can remember, I was always the chubby kid who was addicted to carbohydrates and sugar. Growing up in a Jewish family with a huge love for food and cooking, I have many memories of attending parties and family occasions where I would ate copious amounts of food. Moreover, I did very little exercise. As I approached my teenage years, I became more aware of those around me. I longed to be a fit and skinny teenager who could eat anything and wear anything they wanted. However, my reality was quite different and my way of dealing with my emotions was to eat. Nothing cured my sadness and heartache like a chocolate, some biscuits or a packet of crisps.
After finishing school and relocating to Cape Town in order to attend UCT, I became even more self aware of my weight. Being away from home for the first time meant that I was extra emotional, and unsurprisingly my way of coping was to eat. While these emotions became easier to deal with over time, it was not until my second year of university that I took the active steps to join Virgin Active and try cut down on the amount of carbohydrates I was eating. This strategy certainly worked for a while and I managed to lose about 12kgs. Despite this, during the summer vacation of that year when I returned home, I was back to my old ways of eating large amounts and not exercising regularly enough which simply meant that by 2013, I gained all the weight back that I had lost.
My turning point
On the 6th of January 2014, at 24, I weighed a massive 123kg. It dawned on me that if I did not make a change quickly, I would run the risk of some serious health problems later in my life. I knew that it was really time to make a change! Unaware of what was best, I was introduced to the SleekGeek group by a friend. While I was extremely nervous at first, with time and exploration, I soon began to draw huge inspiration from the posts on the various Sleekgeek groups. Perhaps, the most influential of the group at this time was SleekGeek Reboot support. I became particularly interested in the recipes, ideas, pictures and results that members of this group were sharing, and in particular I drew inspiration from Prava Ramphal’s delicious recipes and pictures. In truth, this group was my inspiration for adopting the paleo way of eating. While at first, this seemed quite daunting most especially due to my allergies to nuts and sesame seeds (both which are quite vital to the paleo style of eating), I just told myself that this would only be a 30 day reboot. I soon found myself becoming accustomed to this way of eating as I began to lose weight. Now that my eating was on track, I knew that it was crucial that I to get my exercise on track too. This is what motivated me to begin doing crossfit.
I joined City Bowl Fitness- Crossfit Mother City at the beginning of February 2014. At first, due to the nature of this type of exercise, it was certainly difficult. I remember days where I felt exhausted and uninspired. I really believed I would never be as strong or fast as those who I trained with. However, after a few months of being in an extremely supportive and motivating environment with 2 wonderful coaches, Nicolas Caracandas and Kate Vos, and an amazing bunch of members, I began to realise that I had made the right decision. By April of 2014, I found myself going to crossfit 6 times a week and really getting into it. It became my ‘healthy’ addiction.
Undoubtedly, as I began to shed weight my confidence grew and this inspired to share food photos and photos of myself as my transformation unfolded on the SleekGeek group, SleekGeek Girls and Sleek Geek Reboot support. Being a part of these groups provided me with continual motivation and ensured me that I was not on this journey alone.
By July 2014, I had participated in my first ever competition at Crossfit Mother City. This was a massive milestone for me, as I never would have dreamed of being involved in such an event. Sooner after in August of 2014, I began to participate in 5km parkruns on some weekends and went of regular hikes with friends.
Between January 2014- December 2014 I lost a total of 49kgs. Currently, I weigh 74kgs, with another 10 kgs or so to lose until I reach my goal weight. I am still crossfit 6 times a week and run between 5-7kms about 3 times a week. While I have reintroduced some dairy back into my diet, I still keep my carbohydrate intake very low. I continue to drink lots of water, eat at regular intervals and stay mindful that each day I am climbing a little bit more of the big mountain that I set out to climb at the beginning of last year.
My advise to others would be:
- Always do it for YOURSELF and no one else. This is your life to live no one else’s!
- Never give up! If you fall off the wagon with one meal or for one day, simply keep going because each day you are climbing a small part of that big mountain.
- Stay active- find what works for you, be it a brisk walk, playing a sport or spending time at a gym
- Draw inspiration from those around you and surround yourself with people who uplift you and who understand your struggle- we have the wonderful SleekGeek community after all!
- Do not skip meals! Make sure you eat regularly and figure out what works best for you since all of our bodies are different.
- There is NO quick fix. Stick with healthy eating and exercise, you do not need supplements or diet pills. Keep it old school!
- Most of all, remember this is your journey and your transformation so EMBRACE it and ENJOY every step of the way because when you look back you will be amazed at what you can achieve!
As I have said above, my journey is far from over. This has now become my way of life and I continue to be inspired and motivated by my wonderful friends and family.
Thank you to the SleekGeek community for inspiring and giving me the opportunity to share my story!
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WHEN YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT!
SUBMIT YOURSTORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher
Shari 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.