I was never a skinny child. In fact the word “skinny” or “slim” has never been associated with me, whether in childhood, my teens or at any time thereafter. On the contrary, for most of my life I’ve considered myself to be on the slightly larger side of average. Who am I kidding – I’ve considered myself overweight (there…I said it… <shudder>).
There’s a big difference between thinking yourself overweight and putting it out there on a public blog, like I’ve just done – and having just written the above sentence, I already feel exposed. Nevertheless, I press on …
I know that every girl, by the time she gets to the age of 40, has been through many ups and downs about her weight and physical appearance, both physically (the curse of fad diets!) and emotionally. I know I’m not unique in that way. I also know that some of you may be wondering why I’m focusing on this topic at all, perhaps preferring to placate me with sentiments that physical appearance is not important and that you love me just as I am. However, this is an issue that has made it onto The List and, as such, it’s an issue I’m going to delve into a bit more… (And yes, to the guys, there will be more talk of weight, diet, exercise and all those good things in this post…so you have my full permission to skip to the end if this is TMI (too much information) 🙂
Having always been unhappy with my weight, even since I was a young girl, (save for a few short months at varsity in 1996 when I was at my ideal weight after having been on Weigh Less – which was nicely helped along when I lost my appetite for a while after falling in love, as only a giddy 20 year old can do), I had become used to a life of constantly trying new eating plans and new exercise programs in an effort to look and feel better. Despite the numerous ups and downs that plagued my teens, twenties and thirties, I was certainly not prepared for what I was to face in early 2012. I mentioned in an earlier post that I became ill in early 2012, which had a profound effect on me in so many ways – including physically. I was placed on round after round of a mixture of schedule 5 medication in order for the doctors to try and find the right combination of drugs that would work for me. Having to swallow a rainbow of drugs every morning and evening, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the inevitable side effects to follow – yet I was in no way prepared for the significant weight gain that was to accompany the drugs. And when I say significant… I MEAN significant. This was not 2 or 3 kilo’s that I could cover up under a slightly looser shirt or pair of pants. No, try 15kg! 😟 That’s the sort of weight gain that one only reads about, and you think will never happen to you. But it did, and given how essential the drugs were to my healing, there was simply no way that I could refuse the drugs just to reverse the weight gain.
This weight gain was not, however, something that I accepted readily. Without going in to all the minutiae of what I tried in order to get rid of the weight, it included every diet and eating plan available, and hectic exercise (try CrossFit five times a week!). Nothing worked 😞 The medication and my own body were working against me, counteracting every effort I put in, which left me feeling trapped in a body that I felt didn’t belong to me.
Fast forward to now…and the reason for writing this blog. I only weigh about three kgs less than in 2012, and the loss of those three kilo’s has only come through tremendous sacrifice, bucket loads of sweat and tears and single-minded commitment to my healing which has reduced some of the medication that I’m on. But right now I’m not overly worried about those three kilos …. I was so very lucky to be introduced to Jeannie Jordaan in May 2015, on my birthday in fact, when my friend Ingrid suggested I join Jeannie’s “5 weeks to 5 km’s” running program. It was early on a cold and drizzly Saturday morning (when any sane birthday girl would have been under the covers eating birthday cake for breakfast in bed), when I first met Jeannie (aka Coach Extraordinaire, Trainer, Motivator and Leader of the “Strong Girls”), I thought there was no way that someone could be so energetic, enthusiastic, and just so NICE! The cynic in me said she couldn’t be genuine! Needless to say, I was to find out in the months that followed how very real Jeannie was. In addition to the running programs I did with Jeannie over the following months (which I’ll write more about another time) I had some one-on one sessions with her about nutrition and training and started personal training sessions with her once a week. Most importantly, I believe, Jeannie invested some focused quality time with me – sessions where she asked pointed (and sometimes uncomfortable) questions, where she discovered various aspects of who I really am, and what makes me tick. And I am convinced that has been the key to unlocking the progress in me that she has – because Jeannie knows me now, and trains me not as a number, but as someone she understands and genuinely cares about. (Jeannie – you rock! I love you!)
So while I’m sure you’re now expecting me to say that Jeannie’s either already helped me or is going to help me lose all the extra kilos, you may be surprised to know that’s not what we’re focusing on at all. The goal over the next few months is based on health – I want to lose another 5% body fat – and that is what is on The List, with the accompanying increase in muscle mass and increase in hydration levels. I’ve already lost 3% body fat since starting my training with Jeannie, and am now focusing on this next goal.
While I had told Jeannie towards the end of last year about this item on The List, I realised she was totally committed to helping me achieve this when she finished our first training session of the year with “Nix, we need to meet for a strategy session“. So one afternoon in the second week of January, Jeannie and I could be found strategising about my nutrition and training plan for the next few months, over a cappuccino at Woolies (and I’m pretty sure Jeannie only suggested we meet there so that I had the distraction of a yummy cappuccino while we put together these daunting plans!) The nutrition plan is going to be challenging, but the training even more so… bring it on!
So now you know my goal and some detail about this item on The List. In disclosing this here (and in again making myself vulnerable in a way that is either brave or stupid, or more likely both!) I’m now making myself accountable to those in my world – so feel free to gently (or vehemently) dissuade me from that slice of baked cheesecake that I may be convinced is winking at me. And similarly feel free to ask me why I haven’t been for the run I said I was going for, or the training session I had committed to – because I know I’m not going to stick to every element of the plan perfectly all the time. I know myself – I’m human, I fail, and sometimes I set loftier goals than I can manage at a point. In fact, I have already missed some of the planned training sessions on my schedule, and have already fallen off the wagon once (or twice!) with my nutrition, and my plan is only a few week’s old. And that’s okay. I just start again the next day, or the next mealtime…as soon as possible. Just carry on going – and working towards that magic 5% number that I’m looking to decrease in body fat.
I share this with you now, at the end of January, when so many well-intentioned individuals have already forgotten about the health or nutrition New Year’s resolutions they set a few weeks ago – that they swore they were going to stick to this year. I share it now because this is NOT a New Year’s resolution. I am embarking on an ongoing journey to health. I will no longer be beholden to a mere number on the scale – but want to enter my 40s as a more energised, vital and healthier version of me.