As long as I can remember I have been an overweight person. From being a better than average loose head prop in the school’s first rugby team (probably because I was heavier than the other boys), to shopping at a “big man” clothing store for my Matric farewell suit. But it was when I became an adult, and self-sufficient that things took a turn for the worse. My bad eating habits really turned into something that I am very ashamed of when I think about it now.
When we think about addiction, our minds automatically drift towards drugs and alcohol, I mean surely something like food cannot be addictive, right? Well, I have in my life consumed alcohol, smoked cigarettes and even did illegal drugs. I was able to put those nasty things down whenever I wanted to, so why is it that I ballooned to 274kg? The answer is very simple… Food was my addiction. I have probably always had the problem of not controlling my eating, but it eventually snowballed into something so bad, that at 33 years of age I made the decision to have bariatric surgery to help me take my life back.
There is a stigma around bariatric surgery that it’s an “easy way” to lose weight, it most certainly is an assistance tool but by no means was it easy for me to lose 146kg. To me, the most important thing however, is that I had taken control back of my life, my body and my soul. As you can imagine, walking around with two average sized humans on your back makes life very difficult. So every time I tried to motivate myself to get active, it was just too hard to get any decent momentum going. My daily life at 274kg consisted of getting up at 5am, and going to work in a corporate environment where I sat in front of a computer for the entire day. But even this was a struggle for me. Mainly because I suffered from sleep apnea due to my enormous size. I would, at most, get 3 hours of sleep a night, because just as I went into deep sleep, I would stop breathing and wake up gasping for air. I used to fall asleep at work and once got called into a room to sit with management to discuss this problem. It’s not easy for me to relive this, but when I think about how far I have come, I feel a million times better about it all.
So, lets fast forward to life as I know it now. I can only think of ONE word to describe it. “INCREDIBLE”. I don’t think there is more that I can say, that any other extreme weight loss story has not said, but I can confirm it all. Everything is just easier, getting myself up to walk around is no longer a chore, being able to walk long distances or climb rocks to see places in our beautiful country which I was never able to do. It’s like being released from prison, and in all honesty, I was trapped inside a prison of my own creation.
But how has my relationship with food been affected? Well…. one MAJOR change is that I no longer eat junk fast food, or drink fizzy sugar laden drinks. This doesn’t mean that I do not eat pizza or burgers, it means that when I do eat those foods they are made with clean, fresh ingredients. I stick to a very strict, but well balanced meal plan. Balance is key for long term success, Sure, the fad diets yield results in the short term, but making sure there is a healthy balance between protein, carbs and the green stuff is what works for me.
Do my friends and family support my change in lifestyle? 100%!! In this journey to health, everyone who has known me for most of my life knew that I was spiraling out of control. But one thing I never expected, was to find a partner and a soulmate on the same journey as the one I was on. Together my fiancé and I motivate each other so much and to date we have clocked up over 180kg of weight loss between the two of us.
I have really just scratched the surface of my story, and could probably write books about my life as a 274kg man beast, but one thing is for certain…I am the best version of myself I have ever been and it feels absolutely INCREDIBLE!