If you met me today, you would meet someone who is confident, healthy, happy and strong, but that is very far off from the person I was just a few years ago. My journey into this new and incredible healthy lifestyle is different from most but nonetheless it has been one giant mountain to conquer.
All my life, I have been very aware of my body and very critical about it too. I was always so hard on myself and I had an extremely distorted view of my body and I had a very low self-esteem, I was always making jokes about how weak I was and ‘chicken wings’ was a common name for me- and I was perfectly fine with this. On top of all of this, the best part of my teen years I spent struggling with very severe form of reactive hypoglycaemia which essentially meant that I could not eat any refined carbohydrates or grains without getting extremely sick, most of my high school memories are plagued by hospitals, needles, passing out at the drop of a hat and a consequential fear of food. Because of this fear of eating anything that would send me on a blood sugar rollercoaster I became very negative towards all food until finally after years of trial and error I was finally able to find out what works for me, and was able to function a bit more like a human.
It wasn’t until I started university in 2013 that my life was turned around in the best way possible. I started studying Human Movement Science and by the end of first year I had realised my love for all things health and fitness. In efforts to make studying anatomy easier I started going to the gym and against my natural instinct to jump on some cardio equipment I started to do some resistance training. I had to start small and simple with basic lunges, sit ups and squats. I still remember the first time I tried to do a push up I got myself down to the floor and that was it, there was no ‘up’ to it at all. I persisted on and I soon found myself getting stronger, so I started lifting some weights, the pink 1kg dumbells, but weights nonetheless and then I just fell in love with the process. I began to love waking up to stiff muscles and feeling changes in my body. I eventually graduated to the actual weights section of the gym and continued to thrive. It wasn’t long before I started to gain a little more confidence and rid myself of my ‘chicken wings’ status. And now I have completed transformed from the girl who couldn’t do a push up to one that can do pull ups on her own, that can leg press more than a lot of guys can and who feels at home in amongst dumbells and smith machines.
Also during this time the concept of nutrition became very clear to me. I realised that your body has to be fuelled properly to work well, I always used to eat regularly and mostly healthy but I never gave too much thought to it all. I now know what my body needs to work best, I eat every 2 hours without fail (yes I am always this hungry) with the right amounts of all the macronutrients my body needs- 40% Carbs, 40% protein and 20% fats. I stick to the low GI carbohydrates, lean protein sources, and heathy fats and my body loves me for it. I also soon came to realise that the number on the scale isn’t the most important thing in the world, because what’s the use of being a ‘healthy’ weight when you aren’t really all that healthy at all? It has been a bit of a mental challenge for me to deal with the number on the scale going up but all it takes is too take a look through old pictures to realise how much of an incredible transformation I have made.
When I started off on this journey I’m not sure that anyone really understood why I was doing it because I was ‘skinny’ so I didn’t need to. But I was on this journey for me, I wanted to be stronger and fitter and I wanted nothing more than to reach a stage where I could be proud of my body. And looking back on my journey now, I am grateful for all the questioning looks I got when I talked about my training, I am glad to have had so many people think that I couldn’t achieve my goals and I am so proud of myself for being able to prove everyone wrong.
It was my sister that introduced me to Sleekgeek and this community of incredible people have opened my eyes to realise that this is what I want to do with my life, I want nothing more than to share my passion for health and fitness with as many people as possible. I have been incredibly blessed to find myself surrounded by my incredibly supportive boyfriend, friends and family and my sister who deserves special thanks for being that person who never lets me beat myself up and pushes me to believe in myself the way she believes in me.
The past 3 years have truly turned my life around and I am proud to say that I can now look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the girl looking back at me, not just because I finally have a strong and healthy looking body but because I have fought hard to become who I am, I have fought the toughest of mental and physical challenges and today I can say that I am happy with who I am. At the end of the day it all comes down to being comfortable in your own skin, and although I have lots of room for improvement, I am secure in myself knowing that I am living the healthiest life I can and I feel so much stronger, more energetic and way happier than I ever have been . I wish for nothing more than to be able to inspire even one single person to take their life into their own hands and start on the journey that I have come to love so much.
My biggest secret to success has to be changing my mind set. I have learned to stop looking at what I don’t like about myself and instead focus on what I do, I have learned to not be afraid to leave my comfort zone and to try new things, I have realised that every day is a new learning experience and every single step in the right direction deserves to be celebrated. I have learned that the most painful struggles are what make us stronger and I have realised the importance of pushing my mind as hard as I push my body and setting myself limits and then defying them all. At the end of the day no one can control you, and it is up to you to make the choice to change your own life. And most of all the best thing you can is believe in yourself, once you are able to conquer your own mind, you can conquer anything.
SUBMIT YOUR STORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher
Kayla 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 email@example.com 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.