My weight loss struggle

I can’t remember a time when my weight hasn’t been a stumbling block for me. I spent my high school years on crash diets, not really understanding the concept of healthy eating. I would gym everyday and go home to eat my mom’s curry and roti, confused about why I wasn’t losing weight. In Std 6 I remember eating only an apple all day, and throwing my lunch away. I would lie to my parents about what I had eaten during the day and got so skinny that I used to get bruises at night from my hip bones protruding into the bed. My mom threatened that if I didn’t eat, she’d forcefeed me pills that would increase my appetite. So I started eating just to please her, and subsequently gained back all the weight I lost. I left high school and went to university thinking I was chubby- but in retrospect I was probably perfect then.

Living at a university res, we lived on toasted sandwiches, chips and pies (and alcohol!) My entire group of friends gained around 10kg in that first year. Most of them lost it in the years following that, but I struggled, gaining and losing a few kgs at a time. I’ve been the same weight now for about 7 years.

Not a day passes where I don’t think about every single thing I put into my mouth and how it would affect my weight. My vices are sweet things (cakes, biscuits, chocolate) and carbs (bread specifically). I’ve tried gyming with a personal trainer, following an eating plan, watching what I ate without dieting, portion control and everything in between. About 3 years ago, I eventually came to terms with my weight, but would still be conscious of what I ate. As soon as I let go, even a little, the kgs would pile on.

After I got married, I let go of all my restrictions and enjoyed a decadent honeymoon in South America, a feast over Xmas and a gourmet trip to Mauritius in January. The result of all of this was an extra 5kg on my already (in my mind) overweight body. My clothes were feeling snug, and my curves were turning to bulges. I decided that an intervention needed to happen.

So I made an appointment with a dietician. I wasn’t at all ready to change my eating habits, but once I got given my eating plan (which I had paid R700 for!) I didn’t really have a choice.

I blogged and tweeted very excitedly about my rapid weight loss after seeing the dietician. I lost about 8kg in a few months (5 of which I had gained after getting married) with very little exercise. I was now 3kg below my “average weight”. My diet plan was quite strict (I gave up most carbs and all alcohol) but because I was studying for the first half of this year and was home most of the time, I found it easy to stick to an eating plan.
I felt amazing and thought that losing an additional 5kg and getting to my goal weight would be easy. However, after I lost those 8kgs I stopped losing weight as quickly, and my weight plateaud around a certain level.

As soon as I finished my exam in June, my social life picked up again and I began going to events, seeing my friends and travelling alot. I then gained back a few of the kgs I had lost, taking me back to the weight I’ve always been. I didn’t really want to go back to my dietician at this point, because I felt that I wasn’t really getting my money’s worth at R250 for a 20 minute weigh in.

I then started Weight Watchers, which is a lot more cost effective at around R350 for 12 weeks. I lost weight consistently on their plan, and found that I could still lose weight even eating whatever I wanted on weekends, as long as I ate healthily during the week. I liked having weigh ins every week, because at each weigh in I was lighter than the week before. This kept me motivated to carry on. Then, our Weight Watchers coach moved suburbs and classes were cancelled for a few weeks. At this time, interest in Jozilicious picked up and I was attending tons of launches meaning that I was eating out 4-5 times a week and indulging in wine at all these events.

Slowly the weight crept back and now I am back at the same level I’ve always been- my “average weight”. I am starting to think that I am just meant to be at this weight and no matter what I do, whatever I lose will come back. I’m okay with my weight, I just don’t want to get heavier, and as soon as I stop being strict with myself that is what happens.

It’s as if this is an endless struggle for me- the one thing I can’t conquer. I’m not sure if it’s my willpower that’s the issue, or a genetic thing. I envy people who can eat whatever they want without having to compensate by exercising, or cutting down later in the day at another meal.

Right now, my plan is to continue with Weight Watchers and see if I can lose 5 more kgs to take me to my goal weight. I’m not drinking any alcohol, fruit juice or sweetened drinks- water only. Whenever I eat at home, I eat salad or protein + veg. I’ve tried cutting down on biscuits and don’t put sugar in my tea/coffee. The one thing I can’t give up is eating out, and I’m just going to have to manage this. Wish me luck!

Just accepting that I am currently overweight is a big admission for me to make, and while I can easily talk about most other things, this is a topic I tend to clam up about. So thanks for reading today and please do share your stories if you’ve had similar weight loss challenges.