Without beating around the bush, three years ago I was obese and when I say that, I mean almost to the point of morbidly obese. A combination of pregnancy and post –baby belly, daily medication for depression, lack of exercise and poor nutrition were all contributing factors. Some of them were also great excuses, why I couldn’t change as well. I was miserable. It was a kind of wallowing misery compounded by relentless reminders of my great weight that contributed to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.
If you’ve ever felt your own fat rolls of skin on top of one another, rubbing on impact during a blistering hot summer, or tried on a larger plus sizes only to have them not do up- you’ll have caught a glimpse into my old world. There’s really little wonder that my loved ones didn’t corner me with the brie cheese and stage an intervention. I found the debilitating nature of obesity was a vicious cycle. It’s only a crazy person who wants to exercise or go to a gym when their clothes are skin tight and lycra or spandex makes them look like they have ten pigs stuffed down outfit. Where is the motivation in that scenario exactly?
It’s not as though that I didn’t want to lose weight (oh how I did!), it was more of a case of having tried and failed at every fad diet known to mankind, that cemented in my mind the idea that it was impossible to do so. In my mind today the health, beauty and fitness industry have a lot to answer for as they pedal products without conscience to unsuspecting consumers looking for a quick fix to their weight issue. These ‘quick fix fads’ inevitably lead to a yo-yo effect when consumers eventually stop doing that one helluva crazy routine you’ve forked out hard earned cash to endure.
The true believers continue to want more ‘secret recipes for weight loss success’ and I am often asked what product I used to lose my weight (which was 25 kilograms in total). So here is the “secret”. After trying and failing at every ‘quick fix’ product on the market I have finally opted for this revolutionary concept known as ‘proper nutrition and exercise.’ Surprised- I know, right? Who would have thought something so simple could actually work? It doesn’t even involve splurging unnecessary cash either. Sure, it doesn’t happen overnight which is a drawback, but it’s a long-term investment that pays off. Plus, you get to rediscover and reconnect with foreign concepts you once enjoyed like- wait for it- fruit and vegetables.
Given that weight loss is predominantly based on nutrition (and exercise is a secondary factor) it’s a great place to start- and eventually I did. There are other factors of course like mindset and sleeping habits that play their role too, but most people will tell you that the number one key to weight loss is nutrition and a balanced diet. By the word diet I don’t mean starving yourself, I mean your dietary intake and what you shovel into your face to fuel it.
When it came to my own personal journey the fact was I not only wanted to change but needed to change for my own health, and be a role model for my young son. I didn’t want to be a “from the sidelines” Mum (who is too embarrassed to pull on bathers on a family holiday and get in the water with my baby). When my son goes to school no one will tease him about having the fat mum either. I wanted to get better, to get well and getting my life back on track was a major motivator for success.
My journey has involved baby steps- making small adjustments each week. Cutting back on soft drinks and sodas or sugar, and I self-taught on the basics of avoiding emotional eating by reading. Junk food is the kind of McHappy I just don’t need in my life these days, because I inevitably feel really crappy after indulging in it and it actually fluctuates my entire mood.
I have learned that weight loss is not a race. It’s slow and steady, and any quick fixes probably harm your metabolism more than anything else. But perhaps most importantly I’ve rediscovered myself and my own sense of happiness that comes with the confidence to put the bag of chips away and get off the couch and get out into the community and even <audible gasp> exercise and run!
With reduced weight has come significant changes in my mental health and confidence as well. I am no longer crippled by anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. I can hold my head up when I enter a room and my own mindset is not attracting negativity from others. I’m ‘open for business’ in my personal life, which has carried through to my professional life, not even to mention the benefits to my small family. Those savings on late night 7/11 runs sure mount up too!
My son now has a Mummy who is able to play games without experiencing breathlessness. I don’t keep my husband awake half the night by snoring, and my anxiety no longer gets in the way when we have scheduled social functions. I’ve actually been able to reduce the medication I take to keep depression at bay. The change to my life is remarkable; I’m on track to being a healthy mummy. But my journey is far from over, this is really just beginning.
I am only headed toward the healthy weight range, I’m not completely there yet. My body mass index (BMI) still classifies me as overweight and my goal weight is 15 kgs lighter than I am now. If you’re where I was you will believe me though when I say no amount of sausage rolls and take out can be worth the kind of misery I experienced. No amount of Friday night six packs of corona will ease the burden of you not owning your own six pack either. But all that said, I realise scales and kilometres are not a measure of everything.
You can’t put a measure on confidence, self-esteem, happiness and health. You certainly can’t put a price on memories of swimming with your toddler on a family holiday or being a role model for sound habits. My tip is the only limits we really have in life are the ones we put on ourselves. A healthy lifestyle is a priceless investment to maintain your body and mind, and let’s face it, you have to live with both every day. My healthy journey is one ‘lifestyle revolution’ I won’t look back from, because in all reality it’s helped make my life worth living.