While I’d always yo-yo’d in my teens, it was the uni diet of bottomless bourbon and cola with 3am toasties that eventually pushed me over (excessive drinking did no favours to my physical or mental health). It was when my mum expressed concern while holding back tears, and I hit 110kg, that a light bulb went on. And this time, it wasn’t the one in the pantry. I had a weight problem and I wasn’t happy with it.
I want to be clear that I don’t have an eating disorder. There was no purging. Absolutely zero drugs. I now weigh 87kg and I’m 1.88m tall, but it also took me three years. If you want to keep it off, it’s about a lifestyle change. Crash dieters usually return to the drive-through faster than you can say “secret herbs and spices”!
The good news? You lose weight fastest at the start
I lost my first 4kg just by cutting out soft drinks. I started drinking 2L of water a day (with lemon or orange). I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give anyone is to know what you’re willing to give up and what you’re not.
“It was when my mum expressed concern while holding back tears, and I hit 110kg, that a light bulb went on.”
If you’re only scanning this article for the word “cheat”, then you’re in luck. Two cups of green tea a day and I could feel fat escaping my body. Chilli and garlic helped, as did a shot of apple cider vinegar. Stay away from diet drinks and foods — you’ll still be starving as they feel like they’re eating you from the inside. Eating breakfast helped enormously. Lastly, drink heaps of water before you eat to fill up stomach space, then eat slowly so your brain has a chance to register when you are full. Trust me on those two.
I also despised exercise, more than being obese. So I walked — sometimes to get to work, other times to listen to music (I owe a few kilograms to Madonna’s Confessions album). Walking is criminally underrated as a weight-loss technique.
My first run was at most 250 metres. I was totally exhausted, but within months I was running 6km.
Then I faced my first gym (aka the house of fat-shaming mirrors)
Here’s a secret. People don’t look at other people at the gym and think they shouldn’t be there. They’re thinking about their own workout. Even if they do notice you, they’re probably thinking “well done”. Remember, everyone had their first gym session once!
“If you want to keep it off, it’s about a lifestyle change.”
Now, I love exercise. I walk to work every day and do five days a week of boot camps, boxing, yoga, or personal training. I just do whatever I feel like — take that as a tip, too much emphasis is placed on spending specific time at a training session. If you’re enjoying yourself and you’re moving at the time, keep doing that! If you’re not sold on these workouts, perhaps stick to sexercise, as a good shag can burn as many calories as a decent walk. When you find a buddy for that workout, be sure you both exercise with a sexual health strategy in place.
Food filled the (seemingly bottomless) void
The core issue though, which will likely resonate with other weight strugglers, was an emotional connection to food. I was unhappy and food was my crutch to make me feel better. This later manifested in partying (then resolved in therapy).
“The upside of all this is that now I’m not judgmental towards aesthetics, so I’m probably a better person for having been so overweight.”
The unfortunate long-term reality is that I’m still that fat kid in my head. I’ve had bosses, boyfriends and besties confused, sometimes frustrated, at my inability to find confidence. Every time a guy compliments my naked body, my brain malfunctions and I cover my face like an Anime schoolgirl. The upside of all this is that now I’m not judgmental towards aesthetics, so I’m probably a better person for having been so overweight.
I feel immensely proud of achieving something of this magnitude… and you can too if you’re not happy with your weight. You just need to find the way that works for you, ask for help and ensure you do it for yourself.