You should know that title is a lie. I am completely fucking bonkers. The 27 kgs part. Oh that is real. Welcome welcome welcome to my life. This is a pretty long post – I hope you are settled with a cup of tea. It’s not funny like my other posts but I have tried to be truthful in everyway I can. I have tried to cover all the topics people ask me:
- Eating plan.
- How did I get so large (yes this is a real question)?
- What prompted me to lose weight?
- How do you get to that point?
- Finding motivation.
- How do I cope with a sweet tooth?
First tip; If you are a rich person with a personal trainer who tells you “dont worry try hard next time” when you cheat on a weekend. You are a fool and a joke to the weight loss world. Sure, we need support, but you need someone hard core. This is why you are forking out serious cash dolla for the trainer in the first place. Serious weight loss games are not for the weak. They are not for people who are fucking around. If you are one of the above. This article is a waste of your time so turn back now, go off an eat your biscuits and pay huge amounts for your trainer tomorrow. First bit of raw , hard truth out the way. Second bit of hard truth is that being thin means nothing. Sure, you can feel good about yourself in some clothes. If you think it will cure you of your depression or make your ex love you. Suprise! Think again. This is me telling you it mostly doesnt change those kinds of things. Do this for the right reasons. Being thin is not the be-all-and-end-all of life. Please don’t be sad about youy boyfriend and then think “If I am thin I will be happy”. You won’t. Separate your problems and handle them one by one.
Guess what? I weigh under 50 kgs and I am still single, and I am not yet a millionaire and I am not showered by gifts from men, I have not cured AIDS. I am not an instagram model. Get your mind right. In the zone? Right lets go.
(disclaimer, I am NOT a dietician/medic/trainer – please take care of your body, and listen to what it tells you! Seek professional help)
Step 1: Get your shit together
I am massive in my passport photo.When I moved to the UK my immigration lawyer remarked how my passport photo does NOT match my Biometrics permit card. I travel alot these days and I am always given a shifty look from the officers. Wait until you see my South African ID! You will LOL out loud (below)
Those were the days of peanut butter, 1 l of sweet rose a night, and steers. Good old steers. I love you, but I love myself more now. I wish I documented more of the weight loss in photos. But to be honest I was on a mission and I couldn’t think of photos back then! Also were the days of BLACK BERRIES so not the greatest photo quality (remember the days of blurry dick pics… sigh).
So step 1: Get it together people. If you are reading his article it’s because you think I will tell you some magic trick about how I lost weight. Some of you only knew me from my “chunky” days. Some of you only know me as my size 6 current self and DO not even believe the photos of what I used to look like. So you’re here because you want to know, and you’re here because you think you have what it takes to lose the weight? Well here is the truth behind my journey, my secret is revealed somewhere in this post. I won’t say where because I want you to read the entire post and really ‘GET’ what I am trying to tell you.
I have never been overweight, not at school anyway. In fact I wasn’t even an overly chubby baby (picture below on my first birthday)
My parents instilled healthy eating habits into my brain, normal stuff like not eating white bread, or white sugar or sweets as snacks. So it was quite a surprise when one day, I woke up looking like a giant tomato. It all started when I left for University (to Rhodes, yes… problem numero 1) people kept talking about this thing called ‘first year spread’. I laughed in their faces. That will never happen to me! First year spread and ‘second year shed’ they said. What an absolute fucking LOL as I never got the second year shed memo.
I ate my feelings. I had a bad friendship with a girl and a bad relationship with a dude who made me constantly feel horrible about myself. The only thing I did to comfort those emotions was to eat. Every time the DUDE (you will hear more in a bit) treated me badly I would eat two slices of peanut butter toast. I have no idea why it was peanut butter. But I would have TWO SLICES! I would wake up at 2 am in a depression over these matters (to name a few) and take myself to the kitchen to make the said toast. Scoff them down, brush my teeth and go back to bed. It would make me feel better in the moment, but after 10 minutes I would just hate myself that little bit more. Why couldn’t I stop? What is wrong with me?
One day, after I turned 21, I realised I was a living, breathing, tomato with hair and a big round shiny face. Actually, a tomato doesn’t cover it. I was rather a tellitubbie gone horribly wrong. Over 3 years my pant size stretched to a size 14 (normally was a 10 in my matric year). I would brush off the fact I needed new pants AGAIN and I continued to live my life and continue my own hate cycle. Hating yourself is the biggest issue in the weight gain/weight loss world. It is a very complicated cycle of hate vs desire to eat. It is a weird fucked up hamster wheel cycle and you will only understand this cycle if/when you are actually THERE (cue self hate peanut butter toast).
Fad diets : I have done them all.
I tried everything because I was a lazy weight loss person. Going on weird soup diets. Cabbage soup diet. There is a fart-a-thon for you. I met a girl the other day who told me about the apple diet. WTF? Day 1 you just eat apples (you may as well fart yourself into space). JUST APPLES? What is that? Stop punishing yourselves with fad diets! Here is something I will tell you that I am not supposed to… but the fad diets DO work, BUT only for short periods of time. It is a not a long term solution. It will drive you mad and you will want to eat off your own arm after a few hours. If you want to do that, I can’t stop you, but it isn’t worth the sadness you will feel after you gain the weight back on. I have tried just doing juice detoxes (some of these are normal these days, but I am talking a few years ago when Nutri Bullets didn’t exist and juicers were something expensive from the internet/TV). I would maybe lose 2 kgs and then go mad and eat 10 pizzas out of self hate and frustration. If you are a fad diet person and it works for you. I won’t slam that, but personally, it doesn’t work out long term. You know this though, so not sure why I am even writing that bit down!
Moment of realisation
Alot of people ask me for weight loss help/guidance. “What’s your eating plan?”. Ah yes, this is a common question. So, I tell them the basic stuff, that you, as the reader already know. “Oh that doesn’t sound too bad” they say. But after week 1 they will phone me in tears saying “I am trying so hard and then this weekend I went out of control”. I know this is because they haven’t had “the moment of ‘realisation”. I can’t force them/ you to have that moment. Only you know when you have had enough. It will just ‘click’ in your brain and you will get off your bum and sort your shit out within 24 hours. You will have a training plan, eating plan and the groceries in your cupboard. But you have to want it as much as you want to breathe. Want it as much as you want to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse!
My moment of realisation spread over a few events actually. The first incident was when I attended a braai/barbeque and saw a dude who I had last seen when I was in Matric (I was now 21 at this stage) and I overheard him to say to another group of guys “I can’t believe how much weight Ellen has gained”. He found out that I had overheard this convo and tried to call me and apologise (but really, how the fuck do you ‘apologise’ your way out of that one?). It was too late for that. The fact was that it was said and it couldn’t be undone. I knew he was right and that was THE most real moment ever. The first kick up my bum that I needed.
Then there is THE photo. We all have one. This photo was IT. (below)
This photo haunts me. There is a guy next to me in that photo (peanut butter problem starter guy). I have cropped him out. That guy was my first ever love. One day we had an argument (after this photo was taken) in a heated moment he said “you have gained so much weight, you arse is huge”. Those messages on my ‘BBM’ broke me. They haunt me (along with the photo) to this day. I sit in my room, in London, and some part of my heart still aches when I think about the moment when I saw those messages flash across my screen. Back then in 2012, I knew that would be the last time anyone would comment about my arse.
So what else does a girl do?
Get the ultimate revenge body of course.
I went to the only super glam person I know. Gregg-Michael Hammond. Model, laywer, socialiate and Mr Cosmo’s sexiest man award winner. He is my God Brother. I asked, “How do you and Nels (his long term GF and Miss SA finalist- they are as glam as it comes) stay in such good shape?” He told me GREEN TEA, Future Life and goji berries. So off I started my mission. For the first year, I ate Future Life, goji berries and a cup of green tea for breakfast. It was the best thing I ever did. I appreciate now Future Life is quite full of sugar, which goes against what I say later on, but hey, it worked for me initially! Can’t argue too much with that…for now anyway.
Force yourself to find a routine.
I stopped drinking. Yes people. STOP DRINKING for around 60 days. Cut it all out. See the results; you will be surprised at what that one glass of ‘low calorie wine’ does. I started at the gym slowly (humiliating because peanut butter guy was at the same gym, but I didn’t care), and eating properly as I had moved home, so I had the support of my parents healthy eating habits, which I appreciate not many people have.
What does ‘eating properly’ mean?
“Eating properly” what an ambiguous term. This means, no bad stuff. I know that you know that already so I won’t harp on about it. I hate vegetables, so I am like, right, that means more salad for me. I got creative with cooking to get me going (now please know I HATE cooking with a passion). My main issue was my sweet tooth. I love my treats at 3:30 pm and after dinner. So I googled and googled healthier ways to make nice sweet things. It was a mission, I won’t lie to you, but as I’ve said, I was in the zone. Nothing could stop me. More salad, lighter proteins, more fish (fish is your friend). Peeps be like “eww I hate (insert healthy food here)”. I am like ugh give it a rest! Get your missions in place! I could never actually be a personal trainer. I am way too impatient to handle other people’s moans, groans and complaints. Being a previous larger person I know when people tell me that they are doing “everything” in the list and aren’t losing weight (UNLESS you have a medical problem! – just FYI I have also been down the medical road with poly cyctic ovarian syndrome- this contributes to weight gain so if you are struggling with hormones, weird periods and dodgey weight gain, please have it checked out), I know they are lying and cheat eating (excessively) and I don’t have the time for that. Be honest to yourself and look at your weekend choices. Revaluate and acknowledge the cheating instead of making up an excuse for that. “Oh it was my Brothers birthday”. So? Choose a salad at the restaurant.“Oh we went to a burger joint”So? I cannot tell you how many times I went to Hudsons when it first opened and ordered the bunless burger. Why? Because I wanted to be thin more than I wanted the burger! “Ooh but we are going out so I have to drink”. No you don’t. I used to drive myself everywhere so I was FORCED to not drink. I was DD for ages because I MADE it my mission. It wasn’t always easy to not drink and parry karate but it was problem solving in the best form I could manage.
Burn baby burn
I hated running, everyone says “start running it makes you lose weight’” but at the time I thought NOPE, I am out! I started using the stepper machine for 20 minutes a day. For the next 20 minutes after the stepper, I would do some arm weights (started with 3kgs) and sit ups (maybe 100 per day). Once I was down the first 10 kgs (miracles can happen), I got myself a personal trainer. It was the best money I ever spent (after botox and laser of course). Once a week for two months I saw Luke. I was on a mission. Nothing could stop me. You will have dark days when you have no motivation and you are tired as hell. The thought of a glass of wine and cake when you get home is overpowering. But don’t let that cloud your end goal. On the dark days when I hadn’t moved down weight at all, I would re-read those messages from peanut butter guy and it was all I needed to get off my ass and go for a ‘jog’ (as I hated running but you make it work) around the block or go to the gym. At the time of my weight loss mania I was aupairing long hours (one a TODDLER and the other was 8 years old) while studying my honours. STILL I would never skip the gym on my way home. After bathing the children and getting them ready for bed at 7 pm, I would get to that damn gym! Come sun, sun or sleet! Now, any of you who have taken care of children for whole days knows that EXERCISING IS THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO (SO tired SO cranky, children are exhausting). But, my “moment of realisation” kept me going. It kept me driven and hungry for revenge and a sense of power.
My dinner and a small village.
I wish I could tell you that I took a magic pill. I know this isn’t what you want to hear. It’s boring stuff, like I made sure I pre-packed my food wherever I went. If I went to a braai/bbq I would take nuts and fruit. I would snack on these and not the chips or the snacks on the tables. Luckily I have an extremely supportive group of friends who never judged me and never asked questions. In fact, they would eat the nuts and fruit with me! I stopped eating bread/pasta for a very long time. But most of all I stopped eating stuff labelled “low fat”. DON’T DO IT. YOU HAVE THE WRONG IDEA! These items are FULL of hidden sugar and preservatives. They are the actual killers. No sauces (unless you have made it with yogurts which is what I used to be, hello can you say homemade tzatiki?). As time went by I developed some weird tummy problems. I mean, constant diorreah that I was obsessed with being around a toilet it got that bad. I kept a food diary and realised alot of wheat products and dairy weren’t working for me. The more I researched about it the more info I found and that is when I stumbled upon my ultimate saviour:
The Paleo diet.
Use this diet as a guideline, or go full throttle, it’s up to you and how far you can actually go. You can read more about it https://thepaleodiet.com/ here as if I start now, I won’t stop. This is the secret.
It follows these basic rules: If you didn’t kill or yourself or grow it yourself. Don’t eat it.
I am a lazy chef. I HATE cooking. Hate hate hate! So I am trained kind of like a dog really. I can eat the same thing every day and not get bored about it. To me, food is food. It fills your tummy and we are lucky to have full tummies. This is just who I am. So in a way it is easier for me to stick to my food routine. So I appreciate if foodies really struggle with this. This is when you do need to get creative, and it can be done. You just need diligence and organisation. Realistically I actually don’t think about meals too much, I don’t want to glorify busy. But I am genuinely too busy to worry about how my salmon is cooked. I eat and I am back to work or rushing around, scrambling to get to bed at a decent hour. Juggling my office life, home life, cleaning, clients, business trips. The list is endless. Just while we’re on business trips, FYI, I travel Europe these days for work and I STILL make healthy choices so there is NO EXCUSE. I pack myself and my bosses nuts, and healthy things for us to snack on as we are on our way in and out of London, walking the streets of Barcelona or rushing to a meeting in Berlin. I make a conscious effort!
Food for thought:
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs + One smoothie (x1 orange, handful of blueberries, x 1 banana, x 1 apple and one cup of spinach with some slivers of ginger). On alternating days I have a BIG BOWL of oats with blueberries and honey.
NOTHING until lunch
Lunch: Tuna or chicken salad. (Half a tin of tuna, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, avos if I am flush…olives, make sure there is alot of spinach! Top with some chopped nuts or pomegranates with a splash of balsamic if you want) NO MAYO! NO SAUCES!
Snack: FULL FAT greek yogurt(however much I feel like)some museli maybe a table spoon worth, and one banana
OR: Three rice cakes with cream cheese or peanutbutter (my old friend)
Dinner: A protein and veggies or salad. Favourite is grilled chicken stuffed with tomatoes a bit of cream cheese. Side of sweet potato chips and broccoli.
I LOVE MY FRUIT. I EAT SO MUCH FRUIT. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH. Tons of people don’t allow themselves more than two fruits a day. I am not a dietician so I cannot tell you the implications of the sugar in certain fruits – but limiting my fruit intake is not something I personally follow (once again, I am not a Dr or dietician so I understand people with issues such as diabetes-this isn’t easy for them. Please seek help from a registered dietician in this case).
Struggle with a sweet tooth? Try your hand at paleo banana bread (SUPER EASY to make http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/recipes/desserts/paleo-banana-bread/) and have a slice of that at tea time (can someone say 3:30 pm cravings?). My fav is rice cakes with organic peanut butter and sliced banana. It sounds gross but it will KILL that sweet craving within minutes and you won’t want anything else after that. Trust me, as the SUGAR QUEEN that this works for me!
Hints and tips:
Try out the 30 day Paleo detox. It’s fucking hardcore shit, but it works. I lost 5 kgs in one month off that and it doesn’t starve your body of anything (please don’t do the apple diet, bloody ridiculous).
Once you’re at a comfortable weight don’t disallow yourself treats. BUT it’s about choice. You want a burger? Cool. Choose the burger and NOT THE CHIPS AND COKE. Its one or the other.
- STOP DRINKING or limit your alcohol intake.
- Keep snacks in your hand bag (nuts are a fav). Buy the big box at woollies (you know which one I am talking about) and decant into packets. I used to keep in my car for when I was driving around. It can stretch that hunger pan out for an hour.
- WATER!I drink 5 l a day. I appreciate that is excessive and people tell me it’s too much. But I am always thirsty. It’s flattened my cellulite and I make sure that I know the difference between dehydration and hunger. You skin will look gorgeous, spots will go away!
- Green tea. 5 cups a day. Also prone to open up disagreement. It works for me. Green tea is a fat burner. It also fills you up. People tell me it tastes like old socks. You know what? Then you don’t want it that badly, do you? Also helps with your skin!
- I am a breakfast person. Eat breakfast. I sound like your mother. It will start your metabolism. Don’t want to eat breakfast? Then you don’t want it that badly (unless you do just fine without eating a brekkie – then I am happy for you!).
- Be organised and stop being fucking lazy on Sundays. Prep your food. Write out meal plans and don’t shop without a shopping list.
- Rome was not built in a day. People are like “I want to lose 10 kgs in three months”. Now, this can be done-but not if you are fucking around and partying every weekend. Remember, hang over’s come with sweets and fried breakfasts the next day. It’s not just the drinking it’s the after math that cannot be undone.
- Sleep properly. Lack of sleep leads to your cortisol shooting up, then, you look all puffy and siffy and also you will be more hungry and prone to snacking!
- Start running. I KNOW YOU ARE DYING RIGHT NOW . I HATE RUNNING YOU ARE THINKING. Guess what. So do I. But I do it because I know it works. Less cellulite and the weight will drop off over time. Start off on 1 km a day. Do it now. Even if you think you look like a bit of a spaz on the treadmill. Who cares really?
- Don’t be embarrassed at the gym. Everyone is there for the same reason. Everyone is so wrapped up in themselves, they aren’t even noticing you.
- If you get all cray about the lifestyle change, you need to check yourself! It’s easy to get there. Its sooo nice when people say to you. “WOW you are looking great!” So you push and push. Not so long ago I weighed 44 kgs. That’s not cool people. When you start punishing yourself (unhealthily) after you break your new / intended healthier habits, you need to seek professional help. I wish I did. It took me a very long time to get where I am now (below at my thinnest – I was posin for a photo so excuse my eyes are shut!)
- You can have treats people! If you want to take the routine slowly, it’s fine. I eat extremely healthily during the week and on the weekends I mostly do what I want (within reason).
- Pat yourself on the back when you have reached milestones. Everytime I reached a certain weight goal (I would do 3 kgs at a time). I would buy myself something lovely. Keeps you motivated! Once I reached my goal weight I treated myself to a NUDE photo shoot. People thought I was mad. I saw it as an achievement (pictured below- shoot done by Lauren Kim photography -http://laurenkim.co.za/ )
- Support system. You need it. If people are pressuring you to eat shit because they are eating shit, don’t buckle. Note that it will mostly be your thin friend who will make a comment like this “Agh you’re ordering a salad!” while they order a pizza. Don’t let them make you feel awkward about your choices. This is your journey now. My parents and my boyfriend at the time were the biggest supporters I had. Kieran (boyfriend) never made me feel bad about ordering grilled calamari and salad every single week at dinner for 6 months. I eventually was happy enough to eat more pizza and he never made a shitty comment.
- No sauces. No preservatives.
- Stop being a lazy piece of shit. This isn’t for sissies so don’t fuck around.
- If you’re reading this and rolling your eyes right now. You aren’t ready. Read this again when you’re ready.
Now, please. I appeal to every person reading this post. If you feel happy about your weight and life, I am very happy for you. But if a ‘weight depression’ is creeping into your life (and I know there will be many people with ‘weight depression’ reading this) please start now, make a change. Do it for you. You deserve it. You deserve to feel good. But do it for the right reasons. People think if they lose weight and reach their goal weight something will happen. A miracle. A big change. They will get a promotion, or an ex partner will love them. It doesn’t happen like that unfortunately. I wish it did. I wish that guy in the photo told me he loved me after I lost the weight. He didn’t. He told me later I was too thin. And he liked “ chunkier women”. I couldn’t believe it . But over this time, what I did do is learn to love myself. I wish the same things for you. There is no specific exercise plan that I can give you. No specific eating plan. Only you know what you need RIGHT NOW and you will adapt to what you NEED to adapt to. It will work out. If you have the guts, of course.
That is all my fellow friends, with love from your previous chunky yet funky mate.