Ok now, where were we? Ah yes that’s right – me having lost 30kg and feeling fabulous about myself. Go me! I think there was even a picture of me looking slimmer and happier and yay life is good. What you don’t know is that about 30 seconds after that picture was taken, I went ahead and gave my eating plan the finger by drinking what is commonly known as a metric
fuckton of alcohol. I remember there was tequila, I remember there were margaritas – what I don’t remember is how much, but if I had to guess, I’d say a LOT. Because that’s how I roll.
When you get asked to write your success story for SleekGeek, it’s obviously a very proud moment – having your hard work validated and supported by a team of inspiring people, and hopefully being able to inspire a few yourself. I’ve read countless amazing stories myself and always admired the people sharing their journeys. “Wow”, I would think. “Those people really seem to have it together. How stress-free and easy their lives must be now.” And then I would go back to fighting with the waistband on my jeans.
Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to dispel a few myths. The biggest of which being (spoiler alert) my life is not stress-free and easy. Far from it. While you may have thought that after reading my story I simply continued what I’d started, lost the rest of my weight relatively easily and am now juggling my maintenance phase with lovesick calls from George Clooney (seriously George, stop now – it’s getting embarrassing), that is not what happened. Not in the slightest.
And you know why? Because I’m human, and this shit is HARD. No matter how much weight you’ve lost, or where you are in your journey, making healthy eating choices and training regularly doesn’t come easily (at least not for me). It is a daily decision you have to make – a daily commitment you have to strengthen and renew. Today I am going to love, honour and respect myself. Today I will make the best choices I can so that I can become the best me I can be. Sure some days are easier than others – I’m not saying that every day is a knock-down drag-out battle. But some days are downright awful, and amidst all the awfulness and the stress and the AAAGGHH MY LIFE SUCKS JUST GIVE ME A PIZZA, making that daily decision and renewing that daily commitment isn’t just difficult, it’s practically impossible.
Which is why eventually I stopped making it.
Oh but Nicola you’ve lost so much weight and you’re such an inspiration and you can’t fall off the wagon now! Fuck that shit. I want beer and I want wine and I want tequila and I want 2am McDonald’s and I want pizza and I want burgers and yes of course the big slab, who buys the little one??
For two months, that was my life. Eating and drinking everything in sight, doing as little training as I could get away with, giving my hangovers points out of 10, and completely distancing myself from the journey I’d started. The guilt and shame were unbearable, so of course I drank more to help me through. Amazing how that doesn’t work. Idiot.
Until one morning I had to face up to the fact that it had taken me a year to lose 30kg, and just two short months to gain back 14. And then I got scared. Really, really scared. Scared that yet again, for the third time in my life, I would gain all my weight back after having lost so much. Scared that I would become a diabetic again after having so recently reversed my condition. Scared that I would go back to loathing and hating myself. And scared that I would find myself wide awake once again in the 3am blackness, wondering if there was actually any point to me being here.
I knew that I had to do something drastic to change my life before I reached the point of no return. I was thinking this while sitting at a bar at 2am, downing my 65th tequila of the night (I’m guessing). And suddenly it hit me while looking through the bottom of my empty glass – perhaps that’s what I needed to do. Make sure all my glasses were empty for a while. I had started gaining weight because I had become comfortable; I needed to do something to make me feel uncomfortable again. I needed to… (drum roll please) GIVE UP ALCOHOL!
While the idea of giving up alcohol made me want to rock back and forth in the foetal position weeping gently, I realised that it was something I had to do if I were to have any chance of taking my life back. And so right then and there, I issued myself a personal challenge – to do 100 days of sobriety (an idea I had stolen borrowed from one of the Sleek Girls).
And on 15 June 2014, that’s exactly what I started. 100 days of sobriety.
I wish I could tell you it was easy. I wish I could tell you that I took to sobriety like a duck to water, and that every day was sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. But it wasn’t. It was literally the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Saying no to wine with dinner. Going out and watching my friends down tequila like lunatics. Turning down invites to wine festivals. Pretending that yes, even though it’s a Friday night and everyone’s out getting wasted, I am LOVING this sparkling water!!
It was hard, and I was miserable.
So to get through the general AAAAGGGGHHHHHH of it all, I made myself stay busy instead. I refocused on my eating (IIFYM) and my training (strength and conditioning with a personal trainer). I started trail running on the weekends (amazing how much free time you have when you’re not hunched over a toilet bowl all morning cursing the day you were born).
I started blogging again. I set up my own Facebook health and wellness support group. I began formally coaching women through their own emotional eating issues. And, most importantly, I started talking and I started listening.
I talked to my friends about their own motivations for drinking alcohol. I listened to their sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always supportive stories. I talked about my own motivations, dug deeper, thought harder, and came to some profound realisations. I asked for help when I needed it (MASSIVE STEP FORWARD FOR ME). And for the first time I listened to the voice inside me that said, “You are strong. You are powerful. You can do anything you put your mind to. YOU HAVE GOT THIS.”
And you know what? I did have it. I had it so much, that when the 100 days were over, I went for another 100 days. And when those 100 days were over, I though, fuck it, let’s go for a full year. And then I went two weeks beyond that, to my 38th birthday party, where for the first time in 377 days, alcohol and I reunited in a blaze of glory. (I was sick for five days afterwards, but we don’t really need to go into that.)
So that brings us to today, with me sitting in bed, writing the latest chapter of my story, and looking back over the year that was. It’s been 405 days since I started my 100 days of sobriety, and in that time I’ve lost over 30kg (bringing my total weight loss to date to 50kg), I’ve become stronger, fitter and healthier, I’ve found a new hobby that I love, I’ve met and befriended the most amazing people, I’ve strengthened bonds with my existing friends, and I’ve hopefully inspired a few people along the way.
But by far my biggest achievement to date is discovering the person I am inside, and realising that for the first time in my life, I actually like her. A lot. As I’ve shed weight, baggage and unhealthy habits, I’ve uncovered the person I really am. And I have to say that she rocks. So that’s what I’ll be taking away from this, and using in the next phase of my journey. I’ve still got roughly 15kg to go before I hit my goal weight, so I’m far from done – and then there’s maintenance to look forward to. Will I mess up again? Definitely. Will I make mistakes again? Absolutely. But will I keep learning, growing, and loving myself through all the ups and downs? You better freaking believe it. Because as RuPaul (my idol) says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Can I get an Amen up in here.
SUBMIT YOUR STORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher
Nicola 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.