My name is Jacobus Fouché and this is my story.
I lost 8.8kg in the Sleekgeek Winter 8-Week Transformation Challenge in 2017. I’m an electrical engineer that lives in Kraaifontein, divorced, with a beautiful daughter that lives with her mum in New Zealand. I love all kinds of sports and find true inspiration in people that overcome their most inner demons, succeed where no one thinks it’s possible and are just plain lekker people that love life.
What a privilege and great feeling to inspire others!
I don’t have a long story but everybody has a journey, be it long or short, there is always a beginning, a middle and an end. So, let’s start at the beginning.
As a child, I had always lived an active lifestyle. I did all sorts of sports at school and I loved it. Doing sports was expected by my parents, and doing well was encouraged. Little did I know why I was pushed so hard sometimes until I grew up. Although I was very active I always saw myself as a chubby kid, I wasn’t as tall as my mates but I had the heart of a lion. High school came and things were still the same and I always felt inferior to the other kids doing so well in sports with, what seemed to me, little effort. Until the age of 16. I joined the school gym and started to grow. By the end of my standard 8 year, my fellow students, teachers and coaches started looking at me differently. By the end of my standard 9 year I was in the best shape of my life and loved it. That’s where I told myself it doesn’t matter how much of what I eat, I can’t get fat, as at the time I was burning so many calories a day. I was stuffing my face with whatever was around. And I love food! Being in a hostel probably made it a bit easier as there is only so much you can eat and they generally only have balanced meals, but my favourite, bread, was always on call!
Moving to the beginning of the middle, starting varsity, I was still a bit active but not even close to half the activities I had in school. Obviously, the parties and drinking started and with that came overeating – no worries! I can’t get fat! Big mistake. I was gradually picking up weight, but that’s normal, it happens to everyone, right? At the end of my 3rd year we went on a 2 week holiday and in that 2 weeks I gained 10kg! That made me feel really crap and I knew I had to do something. I joined a gym the next week and was annoyed with not being able to do what I knew I could do. I didn’t change my eating too much but managed to lose about 5kg over the next 6 months or so. This was depressing as I couldn’t understand why I could pick up 10kg in 2 weeks but it takes me 6 months to lose 5kg. Eventually, I kicked the gym after I started working as I didn’t have the time and my work was very physical, so I was good.
I started working and lost the other 5kg in another 6 months. It wasn’t the job for me so after a few trial and errors I ended up in my dream job, and the parties started again. Again I picked up to much weight over an extended period, to the point that I joined a gym again, this time with a personal trainer. That kicked me into gear and I was starting to look good and feel good again. But then I moved and met a new girl and time for gym was becoming less and less until the point where I quit, again. This goes on and on and on. I played some tennis in between, went on various diets but always picked up after I kicked the diet.
I went through a divorce, my ex-wife left with my child for New Zealand with her family and I was mad at the world for everything. I was in a relationship for the next few years that saw me leave all my activities – gym, tennis and golf. I was in a downward spiral and fell into some depression, that I didn’t even know about. My relationship dissolved and my depression saw me lose 7kg in 2 weeks from not eating. My friends and family noticed something wrong and talked to me quite a bit. I started thinking, I had to do something otherwise my daughter would not have the father she deserves, if one at all. A colleague at work asked me if I would join her on this Sleekgeek challenge thing. I took a week to decide, talked to my family about it and in the end, agreed to join. That was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
I joined the gym and decided on the moderate carb eating program and the beginner fitness exercise program. After struggling for the first two weeks and not seeing any progress, I started looking at the Sleekgeek Facebook page with more detail and started following the posts. I soon realized I had to start prepping my meals. This worked great, but a week down the line I noticed no change. Then I read someone posted something about portion control. I then implemented this and BOOM, changes were happening. I was losing weight so fast that I was tired all the time. So I did some investigation and noticed I was cutting out too many carbs and was burning more calories than I ate, basically starving myself. So I had to adjust again. I kept this going through the rest of the challenge with a steady weight loss each week. I trained hard for 4 times a week and halfway through the challenge I started adding a Grid class every Saturday morning, for that little extra that I thought I needed. My goal was to lose 10kg but I only did 8.8kg in the challenge. That didn’t stop me as two weeks later I reached my goal.
It was not always easy. I never ate breakfast, but forced myself to do it. I started eating fruits during the day as snacks that helped with the energy levels and kept the metabolism going. My challenge buddy was always there to motivate and encourage me. At a time I felt I was standing still, she said take a picture. WOW, the power of a photo is amazing. That gave me new hope and extra motivation. Sometimes I would be in the gym, struggling, wanting to give up, then I would say to myself; “I need to be fit for my daughter, I need to be able to ride a bike with her, I need her to look up to me with pride…” and so on, until I noticed I had more energy and I can complete my goal for the day.
Weekends are still the worst for me. I try to stick to my healthy habits, but life happens. I always felt bad about it until I saw a video that Elan posted where he said; “you don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time. But being at 70% is still better than 0%…”. So it’s a constant struggle but I do believe that over the last couple of months I have made great progress.
I have kicked my depression, friends and family have noticed my change in body and mind and it feels good. Because of my success so far I have even inspired some friends to join in the Summer SG8 Challenge.
If I can inspire anyone, I will leave them with my most valuable guidelines:
- Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. This is most important. Believe me, if you have done it for the first two weeks, you will not want to go back, it becomes a lifestyle.
- When you go to gym, have your program and know what you want to do. Don’t be scared to take your book and pen and record your exercises.
- Never skip a Monday. Mondays set the tone for the rest of the week. If you skip Monday, you will struggle for the rest of the week.
- Set clear goals for yourself. Losing weight is not a goal, losing 10kg is a goal.
- If in doubt, take a picture! Just do it and compare! Good or bad.
- Ask if you don’t know. There is more support in the SG family than you may think!
- Do it for you, and no one else. So many times before I tried to lose weight for all the wrong reasons, now I do it for me, and my daughter 😉