Its been a while since I blogged here. A loooong while. And yes, I know, I should be punished for being so slack. But…in my defense, I haven’t actually been slacking off. Yes, my word output has decreased to a bare minimum (maybe even none) but that’s because I’ve been busy with other things. Well, just one other thing.

Me.

See, a while back I was chatting to a friend about how much weight I’d put on and how much I hated looking like this, and how determined I was to do something about it. I’d spent the summer dodging the beach and anything to do with wearing a swimsuit, because I was ashamed of how I looked without clothes. My kids suffered for it, because I continually refused to take them to the sea. My friend said the exact same thing. She’d had enough of eating like a hog and doing no exercise. It was time for a change.

I’ll tell you now, it was all just talk for me. I wasn’t really interested in doing anything about it. I’d reached a point of thinking I was okay just the way I was. Who cared if I was heavier than I had been when I was nine months pregnant? It’s not a crime to be overweight. People should learn to love themselves just the way they are. Right? Didn’t matter that my weight was affecting my health. That every joint in my body ached and I was perpetually exhausted. Didn’t matter that I didn’t even have the energy to walk my dog or kick a ball, or that I wheezed like an asthmatic every time I walked up a hill. I had to love myself just the way I was.

But then a month down the line two things happened simultaneously. I was chatting to that same friend, and she looked…amazing! Seriously. She’d shed several kilos, her skin was glowing, her hair shone and she had a radiance to her I’d never seen before. See, unlike me and my big talk/no action, she’d gone and done something about her weight. She’d joined a tiny gym and started an all new eating program. The fat was falling off her, she felt like a million dollars and she had energy to burn. That same night, someone emailed photos she’d taken of me. And as I sat staring at the pics, shocked out of my mind, I began to feel nauseous. I saw an image of someone I did not recognize at all, someone I was ashamed to be. I knew I’d picked up weight. I never knew how much, or how terrible I looked. To put it blankly, I had disgraced myself and my body.

That night I signed up for my friend’s gym program. I simply stopped thinking about it and debating, and I acted! Two days later I began my diet and my new training classes.

And guess what?

It was hell. Every second of every minute of every hour I trained was nothing less that grueling torture. I ached in places I never knew I had, I was stiff twenty-four seven, and worst of all? I didn’t have the food I craved to comfort me. I’d cut out all sugar, all salt, all preservatives, all red meat and anything that wasn’t fresh. So there I was, in absolute pain, longing for a chokkie or a piece of cake to make me feel better, and I had NONE! Instead I was forced to wrap my head around the idea of buying vegetables. Tons and tons of vegetables. And cooking them. Slicing, peeling, preparing and cooking them. I don’t even like veggies. Gimme a carrot or tomato, and I’m okay. Marrrows, peppers (capsicum), mushrooms, peas, beans, asparagus…YUCK! But that was it. That was my option. Healthy eating. It took weeks to get my head into that space. Weeks. I had to come to terms with the fact that if I cheated on my diet, it was with an extra 50g of cauliflower or broccoli. Hello? You call that cheating?

Fortunately the diet isn’t all bad. There is ample carbohydrate, ample protein and ample milk, so once my body adapted to the lack of junk food, it stopped being hungry all the time. The food I fed it nourished it. And wonder of wonder, I found myself feeling better. The cravings stopped. I didn’t miss sugar, salt or fried food. I realized I could do this. It didn’t get easier, but I could cope. As for the training, well that didn’t get easier either. In fact, as soon as my body adapted to an exercise, and I finally found my comfort zone doing it, my trainer increased the level of difficulty.

It’s two months down the line now, and I confess, I am a different person. I’ve finally wrapped my head around this new lifestyle. This new way of eating, this new way of treating my body – and exercising it 3 – 4 times a week. No, the weight isn’t falling off. It’s coming down very slowly. But I am back in my normal clothes, and I’ve packed my fat clothes away. I still long for the day I feel comfortable in a bikini though. My hair is shiny again, and my skin is clear and glowing with good health. My joints are no longer sore or achy – but my muscles are always stiff. I now have the energy to walk the dog or kick a ball with my kids – but damn, I need a nap after training sessions.

It took a long time and a bucketload of hard work to reach this point. It took a complete change of perspective to get here. It wasn’t easy, and I doubt it ever will be. But I can say, in all honesty, I am so glad I made the change. It’s nice to like myself again. It’s been too long since I did.

Jess