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Michal is the complete opposite to me.  Firstly he is Polish, hence the easy to spell surname I have acquired.  Genetically he is tall, thin and for some reason not all that crazy about food.  Don’t get me wrong he enjoys a good meal, but isn’t remotely concerned about what his next one will consist of.  He eats to survive and stops eating when full.  In my book, I was forced to eat all the horrid vegetables before I could even consider enjoying anything else on my plate, whether I was full wasn’t even a consideration.  I think it’s a lot like that for children in South Africa and by habit we tend to finish everything on our plate. Michal’s father also suffers from stomach ulcers so from a very early age, Michal has been conditioned to meals being prepared for a sensitive stomach.  Things like take-aways were extremely limited.  Every meal I’ve had at Michal’s parent’s house has been homemade, fresh, clean and simple.  Explains why he is slim.

Like I said before, I packed on 40kg my first two years out of school.  I was now involved with Michal, we were both waitering at the time so our diet mostly consisted of left over restaurant food and beer.  Because I was happily in love and Michal didn’t seem to be phased by my weight gain I didn’t think there was a problem.  I wasn’t suffering from any obvious physical side-effects either, but don’t fool yourself, just because you don’t feel “sick” doesn’t mean you aren’t.  The body is an extremely well designed organism and adapts all to well to the “harsh” elements we expose it too, food being one of many.  Very often by the time we do feel the physical effects, the problem has been there for quite some time.

With each passing month and the closer I got to being 100kg’s plus, I was becoming more self-conscience about my body, especially when Michal touched me.  Deep down I was questioning how he could find me attractive looking the way I did and I was using food to console myself more and more which seems to help temporarily, but only amplifying the problem at hand.  Somehow through this all, Michal proposed.  The fear of being a fat bride scarred the hell out of me.  I actually think it shocked me into realizing that I had to make a change.  This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but the thought of everyone staring at me all day, seemed petrifying.  I had let myself go completely and could no longer refer to myself as a bit on the heavy side, I was obese.  How did I even come to deserve this wonderful man?  I often wondered if that’s what people thought when they saw the two of us walking in public together.  It’s a horrible thing to be self conscience 24/7 and if often lead you straight back to your comfort zones, mine being food – that’s the vicious cycle for you right there.  But I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and I wanted to change and I guess the penny just dropped for me.  I realized that if I wanted it, it was up to me to make it happen.

Firstly I got rid of all the bad food in my house and I replaced it with fresh food.  As I have had very little success with diet programs in the past I decided not to set myself up for failure by following a diet on “paper” as I like to call them.  I would go about my business by eliminating take-aways, crisps, sweets and chocolates and control portion size when cooking myself.  I made a conscience decision to watch what I put into my mouth which was extremely hard to do for the first few months never mind the first two weeks as most diets promise.  In fact I remember clearly as if it was today, how depressed and miserable I felt.  I often had to put myself to bed early, literally crying.  I was having withdrawals, and my body was going through major chemical changes and I had all the mood swings to support those accusations.  It was a difficult time in my life, but I had to keep my eyes focused on the prize of being able to wear a beautiful dress on my wedding day.

Secondly I decided to join an exercise class which my girlfriends had been going to for some time which incorporated stretching, toning, and cardiovascular as well as weight training routines.  Although I was sport active in school, I had never thought of myself as a gym person, who in my head at that time was ‘a self absorbed bimbo, in designer gear, with perfect skin and silky blonde hair’.  It cracks me up to think how jealous and bitter I was.  Anyways, I digress, with each passing week it got a little bit easier and I started enjoying the exercise classes more and more.  It became a hobby of sorts I suppose, and I got to hang out with my girlfriends and spend some quality time with myself away from the world and all its pressures.  I could even say it was addictive to some extent.  It was an added bonus that the weight slowly began to melt away.

The more involved I got with my health the more I wanted to know and learn.  I had read that many people had success with calorie counting and you didn’t have to follow a diet on “paper” (as you’ve heard me mention before), so I thought what the hell that sounds just up my alley and I’ll try anything once.  This way I could monitor exactly what I was ingesting and make changes where I could.  I learnt how to read the content labels on each product, in my opinion this has been one of the reasons I have been so successful with my weight-loss.

After evaluating what I was currently consuming, I was horrified to realize my food intake wasn’t too far off the mark; it was my liquid intake which was shockingly high.  Even things like fruit juice were higher in energy than some alcoholic beverages.  If I wanted to lose weight, I would have to make some serious changes in the liquid department.  I switched to water, limited my tea and coffee and replaced them with herbal teas; and if I felt like fruit, I’d rather eat a piece than have a glass of juice.

It hasn’t been an easy task breaking my bad habits and sticking with the new ones.  When I first started out I was completely miserable but even though it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I can honestly say it has all been worth it.  It is very much possible to be in control and you are capable of changing your life, you just have to believe it.