My Journey with… is a new series I started a few weeks back and the idea is that each post will feature a brave warrior women sharing her journey…. Some of the topics might be quite heavy going – think sexual abuse, death of a child or mental illness – but I think they will also be filled with hope! The fact that someone has walked a journey and come out of it stronger… or continues to walk through it, but with the support she needs!
I trust that these real stories will make a real impact in your lives over the next few months and that “Becoming you” will be a place where we can all become more of ourselves, every day! Hence my strapline “The journey of discovering…”
Today Pippa Pringle shares her journey of losing almost 50kg of weight in just over a year. WOW. I’m inspired already….
My first memory of trying to beat the bulge was at the young age of 12 when I was signed up to our local Weigh Less group. Since that day it was a struggle to shed weight. Looking back at photographs of myself when I was younger I don’t consider myself as being overweight and I feel if my parents had monitored my eating from the sidelines it may have painted a completely different picture, but I can’t change that.
Having tried everything except wiring my jaws shut and undergoing Gastric Bypass Surgery (which I had researched) I think I finally hit rock bottom towards the end of 2015. A friend of mine had lost an incredible amount of weight and I took it upon myself to find out how she did it. With the information at hand I made an appointment with the nutritionist she had sought help from and vowed to myself that this would be my absolute final attempt to lose weight. If it didn’t work now it never would. I still remember how I felt at my first consultation. Uncomfortable in my own skin, depressed, ugly and ready to give up. But I had to give this a try!
I was given a BIG reality check when I was told that I had to lose a whopping 50kg! I thought maybe 20, but not 50kg. My BMI was a deathly 42 and body fat percentage 43%. I was a heart attack waiting to happen. Kevin Naude, the nutrionist assured me that he would help me along this journey, but reminded me that it was up to me to do the work. If I didn’t I was at least five years away from a heart attack or a stroke. And I wasn’t even 40 yet! Initially it didn’t sink it, but gradually it did and what a wake up call it was.
With the information in hand and another 10 days before I would get my eating plan I decided to adopt the approach of ‘one meal at a time’. If I could get through breakfast eating what I needed to eat, then I could get to my snack, and so on. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to get through week 1, week 2 until I reach the mega milestone of a 10kg loss, which was motivation to carry on…
Fast forward almost 18 months and I’m almost 40kg down with 10kg to go until I’m at my goal weight. Besides losing the weight this has truly been life changing as I am able to do things I could never do before which I never realized were normal. For example I could never sit with a plate on my lap and now I can because I no longer have a large tummy in the way. But the cherry on the cake for me was being able to go on the water slides with my two children last December, something which I had never been able to do before. The expression on their faces made this journey so much more bearable and has given me the boost to continue until I have succeeded 100%.
Don’t be fooled, with the good comes the bad, and along the way I have had to overcome various challenges. Not talking about the temptation to give up, but more like the challenges you never anticipated you would have to encounter. As a larger person you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Well, having lost this obscene amount of weight you do draw attention to yourself and it is something I have had to adjust to. I have turned what could very easily be a negative into a positive. The attention has led to people telling me that I have inspired them to embark on a similar journey and this has kept me on the straight and narrow.
Another challenge to mention is having to change your mindset about clothing. In my previous ‘life’ I was used to wearing a certain style suited to plus size women. Having started wearing a snug size 20 I now comfortably fit into a size 14 sometimes size 12, and that, in itself, has presented its own set of challenges. Whereas before I was limited in my choice now the skies the limit and I have to be even more selective because not only do I want to look good, I also need to dress my age and not look like “mutton dressed as lamb”.
This has changed my life in so many ways but it is a journey I want to continue.
Now that you have the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you might have done differently before or during your journey?
Not necessarily differently, but some advice I can offer and which really helped me is to plan ALL of your meals. I would (and I still do) make a point of planning my week’s menu on a Sunday. I would also take into account days I would be out of the office and plan accordingly. This helped me so much in staying on track.
Also, I made a commitment to go to gym at least three times a week and in sticking to this I religiously pack out my gym clothes each night for the next morning so that I don’t have an excuse not to go.
What, or who, helped you to push through this experience? A book, a person, an incident, therapy, medication or is it just simply time/ discipline?
A friend of mind inspired me to start this journey. She sought the help of nutritionist, Kevin Naude, who is based in Somerset West, and I turned to him for help. Besides giving me a very balanced meal plan I see him once a month for a weigh in and also a counselling session. This has contributed greatly to my success as he walked this journey with me and helped me to overcome the challenges.
Obviously there is not always a reason for going through such hard times in life, but now that you are further down the journey can you share any insights or personal growth that the experience taught you?
I always used the excuse that I’m a comfort eater. Well, at my first session with my nutrionist I was put in my place regarding this theory. He promptly told me that life is never plain sailing and bad things are going to happen which we don’t have control over. If we always use this as an excuse to eat we will never succeed in losing weight!
This opened my eyes in a big way. I have learnt to adopt his theory and it has helped me to overcome numerous ‘comfort eating scenarios’ along the way.
Where do you find yourself now? Please share an update on your current progress or new space to encourage others who find themselves in the midst of the “tough stuff” right now.
When I started in November 2015 I weighed 114kg and today I weigh 75kg. I have 10kg to goal weight and I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I love the person I am because I feel comfortable in my skin. I am not in a hurry to lose the last bit because I am enjoying the new me and want to appreciate what I have. I don’t have any regrets in getting this right only now at the age of 40, because I have realized that no matter how old you are it’s never too late to change your eating habits for a better and healthier lifestyle.
Thanks so much Pippa for sharing your weight loss journey thus far. You can be so proud of yourself for the health benefits you have gained but also for the motivation you have given to other’s also on the same journey! Well done!
Images & Words: Pippa Pringle