I heard about Sleekgeek through a friend I work with. She mentioned a challenge you guys were having and I was very keen to get involved and so she requested I be allowed to join your Facebook group
. That was early last year.
My “adventure” with weight issues began when I was about 18 (2006). I didn’t have a very good family life and as my first serious relationship reached it’s end, my love/hate relationship with food began. I turned to food for comfort and so became an emotional eater. It didn’t help that I was also a huge fan of beer.
I have never been one for weighing myself but in 2011, when my weight loss journey began (quite by accident), I weighed approximately 75. For someone as short as I am (1.5m), that’s a third of my body weight extra, so yeah, I was quite a hefty chick.
I never set out to lose weight, cause I was very firmly in denial about it and still had a very strong emotional connection to food (there is so much love in a bowl of pasta!) but I was diagnosed with IBS in December 2011 and so I had to give up a lot of foods I loved. As a carb fundi, the last thing you want to hear is that you can’t eat them anymore. Alas, I gave up bread, beer and pasta. Naturally, I lost a few kilo’s and man, did I love it! And so my weight loss journey began.
As time went by, I would give up one or two unhealthy items and substitute them for healthier versions. When I no longer missed the unhealthy foods I used to eat, again, I would give up something else unhealthy and find the healthier alternative.
In 2014, the issues I faced in my personal life came to a head and I ended up in counselling. I am thankful for that every day as that helped me to move away from the emotional connection I had with food. It’s now nearly 4 years from where I started and I have lost 23 kilo’s. Something I never thought I would be able to do. I have not only made progress with my weight, but also my mental wellbeing. When I started working on the mental and emotional aspects, I found I started to eat when my body demanded it rather than my emotions.
I am now at a point where I try to eat as naturally as possibly (avoiding processed foods as much as I can), however, I have not excluded anything from my diet. I am one of those people that if you tell me I can’t have something, I only want it more so I knew eliminating things from my diet would not work for me. If I crave an ice-cream, I will have one. If I want KFC, I will get myself something. I don’t indulge every craving I have as I have learned the difference between a desire for something and the emotional need for it. When I am very stressed or having a rough time, my first instinct is to turn to food (and only the unhealthy ones) and that is when I resist because I know I have to manage my emotional needs in order to succeed physically.
I did not start exercising until this year. I also started this slowly with 3 days a week. I was too self conscious to join a gym, so I worked out from home. I did various bodyweight exercises as well as running and skipping. My workouts usually only lasted 20 minutes as I was so unfit. 6 months have gone by and I now work out 4 times a week and I have joined a yoga class. My workouts vary from 30 minutes to an hour depending on what I do. Through the workouts and the weight loss I have actually gained enough self confidence to join a gym next month which I am very excited about!
I suppose if I had to give anyone advice or my opinion on how to lose weight, it would be to stop putting so much pressure on themselves. Weight loss is not a race and you are not competing with anyone. Take your time and look after yourself, but most importantly be kind to yourself along the way. Stop feeling disappointment in not achieving the weight loss goal in the time you were hoping to but rather feel pride in the efforts you make every day.
Rapid weight loss is almost as unhealthy as being overweight and you are less likely to keep the weight off. Do it slowly, give yourself and your body time to adjust to the changes you are making and eventually it will just become the way you eat rather than a diet. The main focus should be on getting healthy, not on being thin. Being thin comes naturally when you are healthy. The flip side of that being just because you are thin, doesn’t mean you are healthy.
My thought to myself was always “well it took my 5 years to get this fat, why rush to lose it because no matter how long it takes, at least I’m not getting any fatter.” and so I did everything slowly, at a pace myself and my body were comfortable with. By doing it this way, I have found a love of looking after myself and wanting to make the best choices for myself and my body.