February 26th. I arrived back in Cape Town from a two month long holiday where I visited family who I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. For the most part, it was an amazing time…however, two main things occurred while I was on my holiday.
1) I was now the heaviest I had ever been during my time on planet earth.
2) During the last 5 or so days, my father (who I was visiting) had a heart attack right in my arms and if I hadn’t been awake, he would more than likely not be here anymore…This was just one of many eye openers that I had already experienced (this was not his first)
For now, let me digress. The year was 2010. I can tell you EXACTLY how much junk food I had and how much partying I did during the week. During that year, I went out once during the week to drink. I had eaten 1 Steers Cheeseburger and half a pizza at Primi Piatti (my mother robbing me of the other half. Thanks mom). That’s it. Why? Well, this was going to be the year that I would be at my leanest, my strongest, this was going to be the year that I was going to shine. I was going to look in the best shape of my life ever.
I was in the gym 5-6 times per a week with my training buddy. Doing the regular gym rat workout. Biceps on one day followed by chest and so on and so forth. I packed on a little bit of muscle rather quickly and my strength was above average. I was enjoying my time in the gym and learning as much as I could from everyone else. My weight however, was always a problem. No matter how “clean” I thought I was eating, I would lose fat and then gain it a few weeks later – my weight was constantly fluctuating. I had no guidance in the nutrition department.
Later that year, I stumbled upon the book “The 4 Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss. In that book, he had an eating program, “The Slow Carb Diet” – it sounded promising and it would allow me to still have my fun once a week, have some drinks with friends and eat junk food now and then. It sounded all too good to be true, even with all the testimonials from others but I thought “hey, why not give it a shot?” So I did. In the first week I lost over 1kg of unwanted weight…4 weeks down the line and I was then at the lowest weight I had ever been (at the time). My carbohydrates were extremely low during the week and Protein and fats were moderate. However, during this time I had built up some sort of phobia of eating carbohydrates during the week as I thought “it would just make me fat”…I was an Endo-Mesomorph after all and that means that we need to watch what we eat.
4 years down the line and I still hadn’t reached my goal. I hadn’t shone. I didn’t have the body I wanted. I had come close to it but self sabotage, break up with a girlfriend or two, friends dragging me out to get absolutely slaughtered once or twice during the week, a long divorce with my parents that just gave me the excuse to let loose and do whatever as long as I didn’t have to care – The list goes on and it always will if you never take control and responsibility.
Coming back to February 2015. The night that I’m pretty sure left me mentally changed (for better). My dad was in my arms, he was suffering a heart attack as we were waiting for the emergency services to get there. I could smell his vomit on my jersey like it was death itself trying to take him away from me…I’m pretty sure that was the single event that made me realise to myself: “Tambe, you only live once. This is how easy it can be. What goals did you want to achieve? What’s stopping you? Do you really need to go and party every weekend and get drunk with friends at some stupid club? Etc.”
During my last few days, I decided that doing the same thing (for 4 damn years) and not seeing the results that I wanted, was absolute madness. It was time for something else. It was time to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture. So that’s what I did. I read…and I read…and I read.
I had known about IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) for some time however I hadn’t bothered to care about it, no matter how many amazing physiques I saw from others (there’s the self-sabotage again) however, hell, if it can work for them then why can’t it work for me. I was already sitting at the heaviest I had ever been. 5foot6. 67.6kgs. fat. What else did I have to lose?
I did my calculations by myself. Upon arriving back home, I bought a food scale (the best investment I’ve ever made in my weight lose journey). I started my IIFYM experiment as soon as my food scale was delivered to me.
6 months down the line and I currently sit on the bottom half of 58kgs (+/-128lbs). Close to 10kgs (22lbs) of fat GONE! I eat my Carbs, I eat my Protein and I eat my Fat. There is no such thing as a bad food group. Don’t be scared.
I have achieved so much in these last few months. I placed 3rd in South Africa at the Street Workout World Champ Qualifiers that took place in Bloemfontein in May of this year. I was then Professionally Sponsored by South Africa’s top supplement company – NutriTech as a Pro Athlete (To which I am extremely blessed and grateful). I have my next Calisthenics Street Workout comp on the 29th of August. I am here now with goals in mind. I know what it is I want. I want. After 4 years of being lost. I can gladly say that taking a step back and trying something different has changed my life.
To everyone that’s struggling out there. Follow a few simple rules.
- TRACK EVERYTHING YOU EAT! Write it down in food journals.
- Don’t be afraid of getting on the weight scale. Use it. It is proven that those who weigh themselves regularly end up losing weight faster. Besides a few days, I can tell you exactly how much I weighed for almost every day of my weight loss journey.
- SET A DEADLINE – this is a goal. This is a marker in which you aim to reach your goal. Even if you don’t make it, you’ll still be further in progress than not having it. It’s a mental push.
- YOU BECOME YOUR FRIENDS – chose them wisely. It’s all good to have friends who go out and party every weekend, and I’m sure they’re amazing people but their goals are not yours. Seeing those friends once a month is more than enough…which leads me to the next point
- BE SELFISH – “a dream is something you do for yourself. No one else” – NEVER EVER EVER LET ANYONE STOP YOU FROM THINKING THAT. You don’t need poison like that in your life.
- STOP STRESSING THE SMALL STUFF – don’t worry if you didn’t get all that water in, or if the spice mix you want to use has a minute amount of sugar in it – trust me, that little amount won’t do anything to you or your progress. Relax. That stress is doing you more damage.
- IF YOU’RE REALLY STRUGGLING, THEN ASK SOMEONE TO HELP YOU – even if you have to invest a little bit of money. It’s your life, your health and your goals. You’re going to have to spend cash here and there.
- WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN!! I have mine on the front page of my “to do” book. So I see them often. My dream of becoming sponsored has already been crossed off.
You can achieve anything you want. Don’t fall into the 4 year trap like I did. If something isn’t working after a month or two, then it sure as hell isn’t going to be working 2 months from then. Don’t let your unambitious friends, your family, your girl/boyfriend or even your wife/husband tell you that your dreams are ridiculous.
Do what needs to be done to make you smile.
My name is Tambe Joesha. I am a Certified Personal Trainer. Strength Coach. Calisthenics Coach/Teacher and a proud NutriTech Athlete.
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