When Meg asked me for my story, I was overwhelmed. You see, I always just say, it is the Warrior Race that started all of this. But as I typed this story I realised the following, it was COMMITMENT. It gave me the focus to do it. And once the results started to show, I was even more determined to see it through because results become addictive.
The Naked Truth
I have been overweight since early childhood. All through my teens, twenties and early thirties I was the fat girl. And it never bothered me. Yes, sure, I went on various diets. I tried Weighless so many times but I could never stick to it. I even used Duromine (yes, unfortunately), some other appetite suppressants, etc. but there was nothing I could commit to. And I always picked up the couple of kilos I managed to lose afterwards. And I was a party animal of note, binge drinking was my middle name. From after school straight through my early thirties, you would usually find me at a braai with a drink in my hand and snacking on everything in my immediate vicinity. You see, I love food and I love to drink. It made me feel good.
The problem was that as the weight keep on piling on, I grew more and more tired. I did not have the energy to do anything. I was so exhausted. One year, I had all sorts of plans for my daughters birthday party, but I just did not have the energy to do it. I was in tears. But still this was not motivation enough to really do something about it. Nope. I kept on being a workaholic, hedonistic binge drinking mom. Oh gosh, that sounds bad! I guess it was.
Funny story. At one of these braais, my friends were discussing the previous Warrior and Impi races they had done. They were all so excited, talking about it and discussing the next one. I got swept up in the moment and after a couple of drinks I bravely said I want to join them. Everyone got really excited, and boy, did we celebrate it that evening. That was the Saturday. Monday, I got an email from my friend, he is entering us into the Warrior Race. I almost had a heart attack. I was still recuperating from that party, hangover from hell. I phoned him and said, no, it was the drink talking and I can’t possibly do it. Please, I don’t want to do it. Well, they stuck to their guns and made me enter. And boom, I had to do a 5km obstacle course in 4 months. Say what? I was so scared at the thought of this race. Not only being able to not do the 5km, not even talking about the obstacles, but this fatty running around and making a fool of herself. I was beyond terrified. So, I decided the one thing I can do something about is my fitness. The very next day, I signed up at gym.
I had no plan. I had no idea what and how to do it. All I had, was this blooming race hanging over my head. I can’t explain to you how scared I was. We all know how daunting the gym could be, but I was more scared of the race than the gym. I walked up to the trainers and asked for help. I trained for 5 days a week, 1 hour per day. From 5:00 am to 6:00 am. This was end of May 2014.
In the beginning, I focused more on the training than eating. Yes, I tried to do the more healthier food and from all my Weighless experience, I had more or less an idea what that entailed. From Monday to Friday I would do okay, but come the weekend, all would go down the tube. Slowly, I started to realise, that all that effort that I put into training (and I trained very hard – remember, it is winter, it is cold and I still got up every morning and went to gym), is worth nothing if I keep on bingeing over the weekends. I started with my drinks doing spritzers instead of wine. The next to go was snacking on all the goodies that usually accompanies a braai , or at any SA occasion for that matter. Eventually, I had only one spritzer (if any) and no snacks. I even started taking healthy snacks to the braais for the other people. At that stage I told myself, I am working too hard in the gym to lose the plot over the weekend and somehow that worked! In the weeks, I became stricter. I followed the full Weighless principles. This time I did not even bother signing up with them as I had 4 booklets, knew the formula and knew off by heart what food fell into what categories.
The Warrior Race was at the end of September 2014. My weight was down almost 10kgs and I was feeling on top of the world. I managed to complete the race that day and it was awesome! I will never ever forget that feeling of achievement!
After the race, I decided I should take a week off to rest. But by the Monday I couldn’t wait to be back in the gym. You see, your brain is such a powerful organ, capable of anything. In my 4 months of training, every time I went to gym I told myself: this is great; this fun; you enjoy this; this is good. And I started to believe it. So much so, that I couldn’t wait for gym. And suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly), everything was planned around my gym time.
But not all was rosy. Sadly, my marriage took strain. You see, I was not only changing from the outside but also from the inside and became a new person. Not everyone could keep up, I could hardly keep up with myself. Even though I had the support from my family and my husband, something still went wrong. Today, I realise that I struggled to keep up with all the changes and did not quite know how to handle it all. From being this tired, over weight bingeing person to an energizer bunny that could not wait for the next workout! The one thing I do regret is that I never involved family in this journey. I went at it alone, never asking them to join me, etc. And the result was that I am now a single mom with two beautiful kids. Been human is complicated and so many issues surfaced with all these changes. In hindsight, I should have tried therapy.
By this stage, my weight loss was almost 20kg’s. But it was getting more and more difficult to keep at it. I was alone, no support and in the middle of a separation. So I started looking for groups on the internet/Facebook. Surely there had to be people like me, people that needed some support? That’s when I stumbled onto Sleekgeek and it changed my life forever! I remember that first week, scrolling through all the stories. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had found my happy place.
I have been part of SG for almost 2 years (May 2015) and I am happy to report, that I have lost a total of 40kg’s! Boom! But without this community, I don’t think I would have ever reached this milestone. Because here I am never alone. I have made so many new friends, they have become family. So many people that have inspired me to just keep at it. So many people with whom I can share my ups and downs, no judgement, only upliftment.
Being 37 and a single mom, full time (desk bound) day job, it is certainly not the easiest thing to do. But I try. I sometimes fail, but then I get up again. Finally, I’m in a happy and content place. I’ve been focusing on my kids and making them part of my healthy lifestyle. I try to encourage them to take part WITH me. We eat healthy, we go to gym and we do cheat meals together. Not all is perfect and we are not laughing over salads, but we keeping at it. One day, one meal, one workout at a time!
I am almost at goal weight, and I am currently busy with my 4th Ultimate You Challenge. I have this amazing online coach, Tammy and it is really making a BIG difference. Not only my diet and training, but the emotional support. I can keep you busy the whole day about her. She encouraged me to do the Transformation Tuesday post, which resulted in my story being told. But she is amazing. Thanks to her, I have been in such a good head space emotionally and mentally. It took a couple of harsh truths to get me there, but the results are amazing. I can’t wait to see the result at the end of the challenge.
My top tips:
- Communicate. Educate yourself. Ask questions and then ask more questions. Be vocal. If you have a bad day, say so. If you have a good day, say so. Communicate with yourself, your family/your friends, whoever is closest to you. Communicate.
- Portion control. Learn what a 100grams of tomatoes look like. That is roughly 1 portion of veg. And keep a diary of the portions and how many of what you consumed for the day. Promise, it is an eye opener.
- Exercise. Stay active. Get busy. Whatever your choice of activity is, just do it. Tell yourself you love it, if you do it enough times, you will believe it! (#TrueStory)
- But most of all, have fun. Yes, it is daunting. It is hard work. But have fun!