I was never an overweight person in school, I was the super thin person who everyone wished they could be, I was the eternal athlete and never stopped running or doing sports.
My food was very controlled by my parents, up until I left home, my mom still dished up my food and I ate what was on my plate and never really asked for more because what was dished was your meal and was sufficient. I moved out of my childhood home around age 19 and into my own flat.
This is where the problems with my weight started. I could eat anything I wanted, portions were not controlled and well, it was easier to get takeaways or even eat a whole pot of whatever creamy concoction I made.
That coupled with zero exercise, loads of alcohol, partying basically every night and not caring what I put in my body just had the weight piling on.
One thing that amazes me is that I never thought to myself, “Tam you keep buying bigger clothes, stop now”.
Fast forward a few years and I met my husband, got married and had 3 gorgeous children (who by the way are amazing and on this journey with me).
I have joined Weight Watchers so many times and over 6 a month period lost maybe 12kg. I was so chuffed with these results (little did I know this was slow going and not what I could achieve) but I ALWAYS fell off the wagon, had the wagon washed down the river to be smashed at the bottom of the “fail” waterfall yet again.
This was a start & fail repeat scenario for about 12 years. Fad diets, quick fixes, tablets; you name it, I tried it.
I wouldn’t say that I comfort ate or anything – I just loved food and I loved the wrong food in copious amounts.
8 years ago, I injured my spinal cord playing netball. I slipped 3 discs which were in a complete prolapsed state and for 6 years I fought to not have spinal surgery. The pain I had daily was so intense I couldn’t dress myself, my 6-year-old had to help me dress when my hubby wasn’t home and away for work and I finally decided that I needed the surgery.
I had surgery 2 years ago and had 19 staples in my back and went through the recovery, only to find my back wasn’t better, it was worse and I felt so demotivated and was in pain constantly.
I went back to my surgeon and his only words were – “lose weight or you will have a spinal fusion” – this is one thing I have been fighting against and wouldn’t ever allow to happen. I also thought “what do you know Doc” – all medical professionals are so quick to blame excess weight.
I had to do something.
One night, when out at dinner, a friend and I were chatting and she mentioned this amazing personal trainer she went to who really helped her on her journey to change a few years back.
The conversation got to the point where we said – let’s go to her and I will check it out and see if I wanted to join the classes and go down this road.
I will never forget the day 16 May 2016. I walked into my Coach’s gym (Body Fanatics) and never looked back, that is the day my life changed for the better, that is the day I met June Odendaal who has literally helped change my life.
I must say the first strategy and approach I made was to STOP MAKING EXCUSES.
There is a way if you want it bad enough. Excuses are just a delay tactic and that was my first step and approach to change.
My typical day / weight loss / transformation routine is as follows (change comes with hard work and you need to be prepared to work hard to reap the rewards of change):
- 5am – cardio session for 30 minutes (high intensity where my heart rate is above 80%). This can be anything from jogging on a treadmill to cycling or Orbitrek. If I don’t get to the gym, I run around my house for 30 minutes to do cardio with 2 cans of beans in my hands, pumping my arms into the air and down again. You can walk around your neighbourhood or up and down your stairs at home – anything – just do something
- 7:30am – meal 1 (consisting of oats and egg whites with grapefruit or a smoothie with berries and yoghurt and whey protein)
- 10:30 – meal 2 (consisting of chicken or fish with veg and rice)
- 13h00 – meal 3 (consisting of chicken or fish with carby veg like butternut or sweet potato and veg)
- 14h30 – meal 4 (consisting of fish and veg)
- 17h00 – meal 5 (consisting of mince or lean steak with salad)
- 18h45 – gym session consisting of weight training with my coach for 45 minutes
- Gym sessions always have weights – this helps to tone the muscles as you are losing weight and it builds lean muscle (which burns fat – fancy that). I do various body parts on various days, but I always train all body parts, legs, arms, back, chest etc.
- 20h00 – meal 6 (consisting of tuna and salad or steak and veg)
I could not have done this without the help and support and butt kicking from my amazing husband Eric Muniz, my inspirational & amazing coach June Odendaal and my Mom in law, Beverley Muniz.
My husband for picking me up when I feel like this is just going nowhere, for telling me always whether I was fat or thin that he thinks I’m incredibly sexy and beautiful, that he is always proud of me and for doing this with me. He has lost 30 kg himself and has gone from a size 52 pants to a 38 or 40, so he inspires me to keep going as well.
My coach, for knowing exactly how to push us and when to push us, for knowing us so well that she picks up on any little change in our bodies, changes we haven’t noticed yet which she does just by looking at us. For being amazing at my meal plans and working countless weekends on my meal plans when I needed things changed. For the training programs, she has done and for helping me shape my body into the way it is. And for being an amazing person in general.
My Mom in Law, for always encouraging me, for looking after our gorgeous kids when we gym in the morning. Without complaining every morning during the week, she comes to our house at 4:30am so we can train at 5am – it means a lot. For watching the princesses every night and for always telling me to keep pushing and she is proud of me.
I have learned that the power of the mind is the most powerful tool you will ever need to transform your body and self.
I have learnt that nothing will change unless your mind changes.
I have learnt that you don’t have to eat popcorn when you go to a movie, you can resist.
I have learnt that I CAN DO IT. I have learnt that we are stronger than we think and I have learnt that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.
Food doesn’t control you, you control it.
I am very proud of my entire journey, from the first step into the gym to where I am now.
I am proud that our kids want to be like us and live healthy.
I am proud that now I do dumbbell rows with a 16kg weight and not a 3kg weight anymore, that I can do 30 minutes’ cardio and still walk afterwards, that I know the difference between correct eating and bad eating.
I am proud that I fit into a size 14 jeans and not a 26.
I am proud that visiting one of my previous companies where I worked at, people literally didn’t recognise me.
I am proud that I wore a string bikini top to the beach in April.
I am proud of the fact that I can honestly say I am proud of me and that the number on the scale isn’t what matters to me anymore.
The only lows I experienced was my own mind, letting myself down at times where I believed the scale was all that mattered.
All in all, this time round, because I stopped making excuses, I can honestly say it was not difficult. Yes, giving up ice cream and my yummy treats at times was tough because I craved it – or thought I did – again, power of the mind!
We create our own difficulties, we create our own why we can’t, but never why we can.
My biggest struggle was to stay motivated when the scale didn’t move, I was so focused on the scale that when it didn’t go down I would get all depressed. When the penny drops that the scale doesn’t matter, that’s when things get easier. If you know with all you are that you have put in the work, you are eating correctly the rest will come. Stop focusing and obsessing about the 200g you picked up, but look at the muscle definition you have gained which could be the direct result of that 200g.
Eat clean, train dirty.
My back has not been this strong in 8 years, I can pick up heavy things, I can bend to tie laces, I can do everything I could before I injured myself.
I have more endurance all around and that helps with home life and work, your patience levels increase and so does your overall mood.
I smile more, I like to believe I laugh more, not because of my weight only, but because I have figured out that I am more than what I always thought I was.
I highly recommend the following 5 steps for anyone wanting to lose weight:
- Find your why – why do you want to do this, why are you wanting to change – if it’s not for you, stop right now you’re only going to disappoint yourself. If it’s for you and only you, then your next step is to….
- STOP MAKING EXCUSES – excuses only hold you back from where you want to be, onto the next step.
- Find someone to help you with meal plans and training programs, whether online or face to face – find someone, even just to kick everything off but after starting and stopping so many times, I swear this is key, then don’t forget the next 2 steps – these are important.
- STICK TO THE PLAN – stick to it 110%, take time to prep your meals and do what you need to do. If you fall off the wagon, that’s ok, get back on – right then and there, DON’T WAIT TILL MONDAY next week, do it then and there, why wait to get back on track, it’s only another excuse… and the final step the most important one.
- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – you are amazing, you are gorgeous and you can do it, believe it and do it.
Leave the fad diets, leave the pills which promise to fix everything and rather put in the work, the work pays off and the results will show.
Don’t be hard on yourself, you didn’t get overweight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight, but if you are true to what you are doing you will get there.