My name is Peter Zuzic and I am 27 years old, I currently weigh 149kg and have lost a massive 51.3 kg in the past 16 months.
But before I blow your mind with the figures that make this look all fancy and “wow” – let’s start my story at the beginning…
I’ve been overweight my entire life! I remember weighing 85kg in the fifth grade and being teased, verbally abused by kids, teachers, family members and even my own mother.
My weight to this day is the thing my mom is most concerned about. She feared my early death from childhood and she made it her mission to get me looking better… instead of feeling better.
I was on every get thin quick pill you can imagine! 11 years old drinking “fat attack” yes… that stuff from the TV infomercials that contained god knows what. I had to pedal my bicycle for km’s and km’s while being shouted at by mom from behind me in the car. The chafing was so bad it bled but I sucked it up and am only speaking of it 16 years later with tears in my eyes.
I know my mother only did this because she loved me and there isn’t much information on a farm that’s ‘internet-less’ to make informed healthy choices for your child’s health. I believe this is where my relationship with food started turning into a crutch to sooth my emotions.
My Father comes from the post World War II Czech republic of Slovakia where food was reserved for the wealthy and it you could get your hands on it you eat it. He believes “more is more” when it comes to food and that starch is the order of every meal. So I had a big strong ass carbohydrate crutch to lean on when mom got me swimming for 3 hours straight.
I became a professional eater
Fast-forward to my late teens, weighing 130kg and trying to impress girls with my belly sticking out from under my t-shirt… food was there for me. Then to my early twenties weighing 140Kg working as a steak ranch manager until the early hours of the morning most nights. I was eating super processed fast food whenever I wanted and drinking at least 15 to 20 glasses of coke everyday!
The boss gives me beans about the food cost and I would go to the kitchen and make a French fry sandwich with butter and the famous pink sauce… then I’d ask the staff to make me 3 more. A client once told his wife dang isn’t that just disgusting as I walked past their table… his wife replied what is disgusting? His reply had me in tears… that fat f&&#K manager with his belly sticking out.
I then discovered I am a professional binge eater. With the stress, weight, and working hours of 90 hours a week I ended up going to work one morning in crocks as my feet were so swollen I couldn’t get them in socks never-mind work shoes. My boss sent me home as I “looked like poop”. I went to hospital and the cardiologist confirmed severe water retention, super high cholesterol and a heart enlarged by 30%!
I told myself “there’s it now Peter you worthless piece of poop… you just became what mom tried to have you avoid your entire life.” I spent a week recovering and made a half-hearted attempt at losing weight just so I don’t die at 23 weighing 180kg.
Fitting on a toilet was as issue
When looking for a flat to rent the first thing I had to look at is not the price but can I fit on the toilet. I drove for years without wearing my seatbelt as it simply didn’t fit… these are the realities of being obese.
Fast forward to 2015 when after going through financial difficulties and a couple of jobs I started my own business. It took everything I had to start but boy I did well! So well that I was drinking 2-3 bottles of 2litre coke, eating 3 garage pies, a packet of wors and a loaf of bread EVERY DAY for more than a year!
That excludes partying out R1,500 a weekend on alcohol and whatever garbage food that is paired with bars in the middle of the night. I was staying alone and the loneliness was eating me alive and that fueled my binging habits tremendously!
My doctor said I would die
In May of 2016 I felt a pain in my chest and visited my doctor. He told me very bluntly in Afrikaans “Peter jy gan vrek” [Peter you are going to die] – YOU WILL NOT SEE THE END OF THIS YEAR! That crushed me, I turned off my phone and ate everything I could buy for a week non-stop. I ate to the point of physical pain. I cried, I sobbed, I broke things in my flat and I woke the neighbours with my screams of pure rage- absolute rage!
I passed out for a few hours on the bathroom floor after smashing my mirror, when I woke up at 04:30am and I said ENOUGH… just enough!
I put all the food I had in black plastic bags and drove down the street and gave it all to the first beggar I could find and then to Fruit & Veg City and I bought broccoli, cauliflower, baby marrows, cabbage, sweet potato, tomatoes, cucumber, naartjies and venison mince. I “Youtubed” what food prep was and cooked all the food. I then realised I don’t have tupperware.. Poop… Plastic Land here I come!
I packed my meals and googled gym on my phone and drove to the first result. Got there and the lady there could see my eyes were blood-shot from crying and she asked “sir are you ok?.” I burst out in tears, she took me to her little office and I told her my story. She took my hand and said “Peter you’re not going to die!” We’ll get you healthy. May I do some tests on you? I agreed to go for it. 300m on the treadmill and my heart rate spiked to 210bpm… she stopped me and let me rest and then she measured me and the dreaded scale showed 201.3kg – I felt sick to my stomach.
I started gym on a Thursday wearing a 7xl t-shirt and 6xl shorts. I started weights from the get go and minimal cardio. After 4 weeks I could do more than one set of each exercise and walk 500m on the treadmill.
I was still prepping my own meals that I compiled for myself and tweaking the plan as I went along. Trying new foods and recipes until I had learned enough from Google and the advice of the gym people about proper nutrition. Why I did this is because the dietitians food made me feel weak and tired all the time.
One month turned into two and then into three… I lost “friends” as Peter goes to bed early now. There were many days I cried in the gym parking lot fighting with myself to just get out the car and go do at least cardio. Other days I lost the fight and drove home just to get back in my car and drive back to gym to “slay”. A sore body and bleeding hands from all the heavy lifting was my everyday issue.
Life or death
It was a live or die kind of thing for me. My first weigh in was a 24kg loss in 90 days and I collapsed in tears of pure joy! Then my 6 month weigh in came and 24kg turned into 36kg! By then I was walking 5k on the treadmill, lifting heavy doing 6 sets of 25 reps and just demolishing every workout. I had stopped drinking from day one and hadn’t had a cheat meal in 6 months! I felt on top of the world!
Then my umbilical hernia started going south. My brother Jp paid for me to be operated on the 19th of December and let me tell you it was seriously ouch! But it was also another step closer to my goal of losing 100kg. I couldn’t train at all or pick up anything for a full three months! At the end of March 2017 I got on a scale and had gained 2kg in the three months. The surgeon cleared me for training but my business kept me so busy I couldn’t train.
No turning back
What did Peter do? I decided that there is NO FUTURE WITHOUT HEALTH so what is the point of having money? I closed my successful business.. Yes I closed it and went to gym to find out I had lost all the strength and stamina I had worked so hard to obtain. I found a decent paying job and carried on training. I lost that job and was behind 4 months on gym membership. My supplements were finished and I moved in with family.
Healthy food wasn’t an option as I was broke… I reached out to Sleekgeek founder Elan via his Facebook messenger inbox and he made me realize I don’t need a gym or supplements or perfectly healthy food to make progress. I made the best of the situation by eating relatively healthy and keeping portion control tight. I did home workouts with heavy engine parts and whatever I could find to lift.
Sleekgeek to the rescue!
I found a job and got back on track! Got back into gym and eating healthy and just having a ball! June 2017 I weighed in and had lost a total of 43kg! I felt on top of the world but it didn’t matter how I tweaked my nutrition or training I hit the wall! The mother of all plateaus until one day on the Sleekgeek Facebook Group that I stalked for motivation and meal ideas I got into a slight argument with Natalie Lazarus… if you don’t know her she’s “the meme lady” and as a result I got gifted an entry into the most enlightening, positive, life changing 8 Week Transformation Challenges – the Sleekgeek 8 Week Transformation Challenge!
With Natalie my captain of the “Capital Squad” Challenge Team things changed I met “Jenni Jens” (Jenni Murray) with a red heart my motivator, “Mama Kesh” (Keshni Mahomed) my “you will do it” person and many more like-minded squad mates that made me realize what I had accomplished. That I AM WORTHY of love and that I am accepted. That I am SEXY as hell! That I am more than I could imagine and that I do inspire others to change their lives for the better!
With all the tools provided in the challenge the laser focus I developed and the AMAZING support from the Sleekgeek community here I am after 8 weeks having lost 8kg and that brings my total loss to 51.3kg!
Wearing a 3xl t-shirt and 2xl shorts… here I am!
Renewed thoughts, oozing positivity, repaired my relationship with food, lost so much weight, gained friends and family and a renewed drive to reach my 100kg goal.
Here is me and my team at the Sleekgeek Year-end Dinner!
Here are some achievements I’m super proud of:
- Chronic blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar medication… I don’t need them anymore!
- I don’t have to buy clothes from rent a tent.
- I can sit on a plastic garden chair.
- My seat belt fits.
- I don’t have to replace my car’s right side shock absorbers every 6 months.
- I can walk a 5k in 49 minutes.
- I can do 3 monkey bars.
- I can bench press 90kg.
And many more!
These are my tips that you can cash at any bank:
- There is NO pill or bean that will make you lose weight.. Eat clean and train!
- Never think you’re alone in this. (Join the Sleekgeek Facebook Group for support)
- It is NOT A RACE it will take months or years of work.
- If your circumstances look bleak change them.. No matter how hard it might seem, if it doesn’t add value to your life you don’t need it or them.
- When I got up from that bathroom floor… I told myself to move… TELL THAT MOUNTAIN TO MOVE.
My journey has taught me so much and is by no means over… looking forward to losing the other 49kgs and sharing that update with you!