People change their bodies for various reasons: wanting to live a longer life, wanting to feel like younger or maybe needing to get off medication, or to fit in their wedding dress. Everyone’s story is different.
This is my story.
The first time I realised I was different was when I was in standard 1 (Grade 3 now for the young ones)
The Afrikaans teacher was doing “stappe van vergylyking” (degrees of comparison) and had me stand with two other children in front of the whole class.
She proceeded to explain student #1 was vet(fat) student #2 was vetter (fatter) and yes I was vetste(fattest)!
The whole class erupted with laughter – I burst out crying – that whole year I was teased and called fatty every chance they got – I tried to ignore the jokes even though it hurt.
I lost a little weight after high school and was little chubby but cute (so I told myself).
It was only after the birth of my second child when I got post-natal depression that I really ATE! Feelings of inadequacy and failure overwhelmed me daily and having a colic baby did not help matters – neither did people’s responses of “Just Get Over it” – so I ate even more.
And never stopped feeding my depression and confusion with food.
My next WTF moment came at my mom’s wedding (she remarried) and I was the maid of honour.
Not one family member talked about my mum’s wedding – it seems all everyone talked about was how HUGE I got and What the hell happened to the beautiful Natalie. The look of shock and disgust on their faces drove me to cry in the bathroom during the reception.
Came back to Gauteng and just continued eating as in my mind food was my only comfort. Ordinary things like playing with my 3 boys and climbing stairs were difficult for my 110kg body. But I kept telling myself – next week I will start a diet.
And I would start a diet (peanut butter diet/soup diet/13 day diet/weight loss pills) I would lose some weight but always end up picking it up again – with some added kilos. I finally accepted that I am FAT and this is ME and whoever is offended by my body can go fly a kite!
Until one day my aunt Joan suggested I look at the Sleekgeek Group on Facebook as she was concerned for my health. First I thought I had was that this is some kind of freaky cult, but I joined and stalked the page.
Started my first Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge in January 2016, not knowing how my life would change! Didn’t get much support as my family and friends who were used to me trying “new things” and quitting. No one realised that this was a LIFESTYLE change and that I was determined to CHANGE for ME.
It was not smooth sailing. I entered many Challenges – did not complete them all but as soon as I joined the Sleekgeek Coaching Program I “clicked” that this is a journey and progress is progress no matter how small. I worked with Sleekgeek founder Elan as my private coach for 12 months.
I joined Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge Team Capital Squad with Jenni Murray and started doing parkruns. My first 5km was a killer, thought I was going to die! Felt unfit but I didn’t stop and just kept showing up. There is something about meeting like-minded people are just as “normal” as you and who want to change their lives for the better.
I used to let my life be controlled by the scale and used to have panic attacks when I needed to submit at check ins. Until I realised my weight does not define me and that I will not reach my goals overnight.
I didn’t follow a specific eating plan like Banting etc. I just used the information I received from the Sleekgeek Coaching and ate as clean as possible and trained my butt off. Hard work and consistency became my mantra.
I lost 35 Kgs in one and a half years and still going strong. I am finding it difficult to accept the new me and accepting compliments. I used to put away my old photos and didn’t want to be reminded of the way I looked because a part of me couldn’t believe how I have let myself go like that. But the Old Me is a part of me and I need to embrace ALL of me.
I am currently with the amazing Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge “TeamAmazon” group and we are bringing the HEAT this 8-Week Challenge!
I’ve lost some friends since I started my journey but gained a family that accept and support me. People treated me differently after the weight loss, which speaks volumes about the society we are in. I am still the same bubbly, friendly, crazy girl I was before. Who we are has nothing to do with what others think.
What I’ve learned along the way:
- I need to love and accept myself first. Self-care is the most important way to boost and maintain both emotional and physical health. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
- Progress is progress, no matter how small. Celebrate the big AND small victories you experience. Having to adjust a belt or cutting your PB time by 2 minutes should be celebrated – but not with chocolate cake
- Reward yourself. Book a facial or a tattoo to celebrate the milestones you reach
- Be kind to yourself and have fun on your journey. Eating clean and training dirty is NOT a punishment. Living a healthier lifestyle is rewarding in itself.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. This is YOUR journey. You don’t know someone else’s struggles wrt how they got to where they are.
- Find your passion. Do you love dancing? Then try a Zumba class. Do you prefer to lift weights? Then go lift. Find what works for you and your schedule and stick to it.
- Make Time. Whether it is meal prepping on a Sunday or diarising your gym sessions. Prioritise your nutrition and training. “But I don’t have time”? MAKE time. 10 minute walk, do 10 crunches daily, or swing a kettlebell for 10 minutes. Just START.
- Inspire Others. Live a life that will make people want to get up and get moving. Share your story and encourage friends and family to join your lifestyle.
- Write your goals down. Make sure they are SMART goals
- Forgive yourself when you ‘slip up’. Life happens. Get right back to your plan/program and give it your all. Remember why you started.
- REST when needed
- And lastly, SMILE – someone might need it