MELISSA THOMAS : MY STORY
Hi, and thank you for joining me on my trip down memory lane. This is a story of how I went from ‘frail to frump to free’, a journey of self-discovery where the gains far outweigh the loss, and I can finally see ME as I step out the fog that hindered my path in so many ways. I should say though that I can’t give you exact weights because I do not own a scale, and do not obsess about the numbers, for reasons you’ll come to understand. So thanks again for being a part of my story, for sharing this walk with me, and without even knowing it, for helping me along the way too!
Once upon a time there was this girl who thought she was fat. She didn’t feel all that great about herself overall either and found that by controlling what she ate, she harnessed her power, she was in charge (Oh, the irony!). To the outside world, she had it all. To herself, she was not worthy. So she stopped eating; but people started noticing, and she knew that in order to protect her secret she had to eat; she’d then make herself sick to purge it all away. This is the cycle that continued for over a decade. Stop. Eat. Purge. Hate. Over and over… ad nauseam. The scales barely registered her 47kg weight (it got down to 44kg at the peak of her illness), and at 1.76m tall, well, it was a wonder she was able to function at all, let alone exercise for about 3-4 hours per day. After much agony, this tiny voice within told her it was time to reclaim her life before it was too late. It took time, it took effort, and it took a lot of honesty, but she had made the decision – and if nothing else, she was headstrong. The scale was thrown out and hasn’t appeared since.
Fast forward a few years, she’s a married woman, and at the time, a stay at home mum with two children. Her recovery from the eating disorder was a ‘success’ because she now ate anything and everything, and was ‘healthy’ (growing up, this is how my Indian family described someone who is carrying extra weight; weird… I know). Along with this newfound ‘health’, she also developed autoimmune urticaria and angioedema. She was put on 4 antihistamines per day, and told that she’d have to live with this for the rest of her life. Waking up daily with swollen lips, hands, sometimes eyes; breaking out in hives with burning, itching skin… yes, just what you want to live with, but she felt hopeless so she did, and ignored it as best she could. With procreating out the way, she was uncomfortable with the extra weight she was carrying. Using pregnancy as an excuse wasn’t going to cut it because that was long gone. Seeing herself this way was tough, and she decided that this is the time to get back to herself, without even being sure who that was. It seems the more weight she put on, the less of her remained. She was squeezed out, smothered in layers of sugar and carbs, kinda like a Self-Sundae with the mulch of my former self puréed and suffocating on the bottom of the dish. A biscuit, and half a sugar in tea becomes a few slices of cake with decadent frosting; ‘just this once’ becomes ‘just this week’, and before you know it you’re packing on the kilos and one day you see a photo of yourself – well, you know it’s you but you also know it isn’t – You don’t look like that … Do you?
Look, I wasn’t obese. At my heaviest, I weighed about 75-80kg. I fit snugly into a size 36, and that lasted a few years, and I just lived with it. However, moving back to South Africa after being abroad for many years was the catalyst that led to me to face up to just how much I’d let myself go. You hear that a lot, especially about mums, but I meant both inside and out. I lost all sense of who I was, and what I believed in. I become ‘mum’ and that was it. I was lost in a world that belonged to my kids, in a way that was neither good for me nor them.
Then, meeting up with an old friend and her sister one gorgeous day in September 2014 was the beginning of it all. I learned about Sleek Geek. And the rest is history!! Well, no, it’s the present. I’m living it every single day. I started REBOOT on 1 October, completely unprepared. I completed it – I lost weight, I felt great, I was getting complimented on the weight loss and so I thought I’d just hit the jackpot. So I did 2 more. Hmmm… I then fell HARD off that stinking, elusive wagon. I also broke my foot in the process in February 2015 – and they say ‘falling off the wagon’ is figurative! Ha! So, knocked off my feet and unable to do much for about 6 weeks, with my grandmother cooking every Indian meal known to man, I started gaining the weight right back. Before I knew it, it was May, and I’d reversed any good that the previous REBOOTs had done for me. I’d had enough. Again. So on the 1 June 2015, I started my fourth REBOOT. This time, I came prepared. I was more determined than ever; I took the driver’s seat, sat back behind that wheel, and boy, what a ride! I started the Living Spot blog on the same day to hold myself accountable – I wanted to document every morsel of food, every step that I took, so that in the event that I failed, I would be able to look through my ramblings and see where I went wrong. This is a quote that I live my life by, and one piece of advice I’d give everyone:
Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better ~ Maya Angelou
Becoming involved in the Sleekgeek family and having the support of these complete strangers who’ve been my closest allies throughout this journey is what has ultimately led to me realising my goals. I completed my fifth REBOOT on 31 July. As of August, I fit into a pair of size 32 jeans (and didn’t even have to do any jiggling and juggling to get them on). This was achieved by eating clean: no excuses, no additions, just strictly following the REBOOT rules and guidelines; and perhaps this isn’t the best advice but I did minimal exercise. I don’t even have a gym contract, so it was all home workouts (squat/plank challenges, youtube videos) and remaining active in my day-to-day life by doing my own household chores, chasing the kids around, and not sitting for long periods of time when working. Through Sleek Geek I also joined a park run although I walk … or maybe stroll … point is, I’m moving my body! I’m doing this in a balanced way this time, no longer obsessive, and I don’t beat myself up over every little stumble; instead, I am committed to long term health and this not a short term need to just be skinny.
So what is it that I’ve gained amidst the loss? Simple really, ME! That tiny voice that had been there all along is now making herself known – she’s louder, clearer, and gaining confidence every day. I recognise now that I hadn’t ever lost myself, I just muted myself, and lived my life in restrained silence. I’m so very grateful for the chance to now live the life I had always wanted – happy, truly healthy, mindful, and at peace with my past, reveling in my present, whilst striving for my future. Does this make me an expert? Hell no! I’m learning every single day. I am inspired every single day. I can only hope that these words awaken that voice within you so that you too can step forward and live your best life, in line with your own truth.
Here’s to Version = Life!
May we all live healthily ever after…
SUBMIT YOUR STORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher
Melissa 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.