Disclaimer: My weight-loss journey is far from over. But what better way to motivate oneself than to celebrate the milestones and see how far you’ve come, right? This is my story (so far):
Occupation: Digital editor
City: Cape Town
Weight before: 75.2kg
Weight after: 69.2kg
Time required to reach current weight: 12 weeks
Secret weight-loss weapon: Having accountability and a kick-ass programme (seriously, the Women’s Health 12-week plan is the business!)
I guess you could say I’ve been overweight most of my life. There were times when, if I set my mind to it, I would lose a decent amount of weight (my own wedding springs to mind), only for me to return to my bad habits and for the weight to creep back on. After the before-mentioned wedding, it took a year (to the day) for me to discover I was pregnant — and nine kilos heavier than I was when I walked down the aisle the year before. Two kids and nine years later and I had packed on an additional nine kilos. Yup, that’s 18kg heavier than I was on my wedding day.
It started with a New Year’s resolution. This was THE year. I was finally going to shed the weight and regain all of the fitness I’d lost over the years. It was time. I was tired of being uncomfortable in my clothes and battling to keep up with my kids. But instead of starting with a bang, I started with a whimper. I did manage to drop 2.5kg in four months, but then it started to get colder and my motivation started to wane.
Cue the Women’s Health staff fitness challenge. I work for Men’s Health and we share offices, so I asked to be part of the challenge so I could finally get my New Year’s resolution off the ground. The programme I would be tackling? Women’s Health’s killer 12-week fitness and weight-loss plan. The programme is targeted at women wanting to get into the best shape of their lives for their Big Day, but anyone who is wanting to lose weight can do it. And so it began.
The training programme was pretty intense — I’m not going to lie. It started off fairly gently, but ramped up significantly as the weeks wore on. There were days when I was a puddle of sweat on the gym floor, but then there were days when I walked out of there floating because I had just achieved something I couldn’t do at the start of the programme (hello renegade rows).
I loved the variety of workouts and having a structured plan to follow. It was literally like having a personal trainer in my pocket (so to speak). If I wasn’t sure how to do a workout, I would log on to the online version of the programme, and watch the video of Aneeka Buys doing the move. It really was that easy. (Read: following the programme was easy, actually doing it, not so much — refer to the above-mentioned puddle on the gym floor. But oh, so worth it!)
When it comes to weight loss, hand-in-hand with exercise comes eating properly. The programme’s eating plan is only four weeks, but it teaches you the principles to take with you to not only complete the programme but to adjust your lifestyle beyond the 12 weeks. So it’s not a diet, but a healthy eating plan to get you feeling healthier and happier, as well as leaner and meaner. The recipes are really easy and delicious (and husband and kid-approved too).
Admittedly, the results were slow to start. And at first I was frustrated, but after the first month, I could really start to see the fruits of my efforts (and my friends and colleagues could too). In hindsight, I was most likely putting on muscle, which is why the scale was so stubborn at first.
Where do I begin? Not only am I down six kilos (and counting), I’m feeling the healthiest I have been in years. I still have a long way to go (my goal is 60kg), but already I feel so much better within myself. I’m no longer uncomfortable in my clothes [actually, that’s a lie — I AM uncomfortable in my clothes, but only because they are now too big for me — I have to go shopping!], I can run further and faster than I have for a long time, and I no longer suffer from heartburn thanks to the newly-adopted healthy eating habits. I’ve also suffered from hip pain for years – which is now significantly reduced because I’m putting less weight on my joints. I’m even sleeping better!
The best part? The programme has kick-started the healthy lifestyle I need to continue on this journey and maintain it once I hit my goal weight. If I’m feeling this good now, I can’t imagine the feeling when I reach my goal.
- Have a goal. Your own wedding is the obvious one in this story, but any goal will do. An occasion where you need to dress up, a school reunion, a pair of skinny jeans you want to fit back into – whatever works for you.
- Rope your friends in. Have someone to hold you accountable – someone who is meeting you at the gym at 5 a.m. and you don’t want to let down. Getting married? Get your bridal party involved!
- Have the right mindset. You need to really WANT to lose weight. If your head (and heart) is 100 percent in the game, your body will follow.
- Be consistent. You might not see results immediately, but don’t give up. Be consistent and you WILL reach your goals.