It’s New Year’s Eve and this is the time of year when people decide to make changes. While this isn’t my personal resolution (this year)… I do get a bit dismayed when I talk about my own weight. It’s usually met with a casual eye-roll because people generally consider me to be thin and healthy. When thin people feel unhappy about their weight, there are whispers of “attention seeking” or even “eating disorder”. Right?
When I was a young girl, I was incredibly thin – naturally. I was also really tall (I’m 1.74) since I was in like, standard 5. I struggled with sport because I didn’t have much muscle and I struggled with boys because I was so much taller than all of them. Who wants to dance with the lanky girl who is at least three heads taller than them? None of them did. Being tall and thin disrupted a lot in my social, sporting & romantic development. I was insecure and awkward as a young girl, so my mom enrolled me in modelling classes. I learned how to walk on a ramp, turn (half turn, full turn back turn) and swing my bony hips to try gain confidence in my body. I entered pageants (gross) and much to my surprise even won a few. I never really enjoyed it, BUT it did help with my confidence to have someone other than my parents tell me that I was pretty.
<Side bar> I don’t support the pageant industry in any way at all. Let’s pin women up against each other to compete on their looks, education and bodies? What the hell you guys!!
When I got to high school, I remember my guy friends laughing at me in my new uniform. I looked ridiculous in the navy pencil skirt because I had no hips, no thighs and no calves. I drowned in the starchy fabric. There was this guy at our school who sold fudge for R2 a square. I asked my mom for pocket money every day and made that year my sole purpose to gain weight. I ate up to two chicken & mushroom King Pies every day and bought at least 4 squares of fudge every day. When I got home from school, I towered bread and cheese into the microwave and had extra helpings of food at dinner. It took about two years of this and my standard 8 I finally felt more like a woman. I had hips and a bum, but my health had plummeted and I’d developed acne from the bad diet and hormones. By standard 9, I stopped doing sport completely. Eventually, I had little fat rolls and was wearing a size 36 pants. Great job, Natasha
By matric, I was dieting to look better (and haha – thinner) for my first year at university. Shrinking my stomach back to its natural form and trying to backtrack those past 5 years of damage was a nightmare. I kept a journal of what I ate and how much I weighed just to try to make sense of everything. At varsity, I had two waitressing jobs and was living in a student res with a breakfast service. I didn’t grow up eating breakfast because in high school I was literally always late for school and had to run the few blocks to get there on time. With all this new exercise (hello have you waitressed), a breakfast routine and more activity (money being spent on apple sours instead of actual food): I plummeted to 52 kg and stopped getting my period. At my ‘natural’ weight at the beginning of high school, I was 58 kg. By matric I was 65kg. I had lost 13kg in the space of months and my body was panicking. I remember I got a bit furry like… all these fine white hairs sprung out all over my arms and I was like…. well this is weird.
When I moved back home, I filled back up to about 60kg and maintained this naturally and effortlessly for the next few years. Whenever I felt my jeans get tight, I would skip dinner for a while until it evened out again. When I was about 23 and living and cooking alone, I finally found the foods and diet that I really enjoyed and was truly healthy for the first time in my life. I thrived on salads, seafood and vegetables. All I ever wanted was a hearty, loaded salad, sushi and vegetable stews or soups. I felt incredible, I was healthy and my weight stayed steady.
When I was pregnant with Noah, I gained a beautiful 17kg (including him, amniotic fluid etc) so my body gained about 10. When I was expecting him, I craved cheese curls, cheese russians and kit kats and loved every second of it. As soon as he was born, I craved summery, crunchy salads and the weight shed like it never happened. I had exactly the same experience with Ben’s pregnancy, but the weight took about a year to go.
When I turned 30, the boys were toddlers. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but little kids are not really into salad. Dinners turned in to pizzas, macaroni cheese and fish fingers. The house was permanently stocked with boudoir biscuits and nesquick. I started drinking more often (hello – toddlers) and became addicted to sugary red bull. Within 2 years, I reached my highest ever weight of 75kg.
Understand that I am naturally about 60kg. That’s when I’m eating healthy food, 3 meals a day, doing exercise with treats and drinks in between. When I’m NORMAL.
I signed up for a half marathon, joined a gym, did a juicing fast & went back to my old (normal) eating habits. It took me about 1.5 years to lose 15kg and I kept it off. The only thing that I’ve ever done to re-set my body and to lose weight is: To switch to salads, running, more water and skipping dinner now and then. Because I have always known 60kg to be my body’s normal weight, I get really stressed when I go too far beyond this number because it means that something is wrong. It means that I’m not healthy or fit and that I’m not taking care of myself. Because I’ve always associated my weight to my happiness and aspects of my personal health – it’s become important to me. To me, it means “HEALTHY” – inside and out. When I say that I want or ‘need’ to lose weight… what I am really saying is that I want to be my normal and happy.
Right now, I’m at 65 and when I say that I need to lose weight – it is not what people think. I don’t think that I’m overweight at all. I don’t feel bad about my body and I don’t think I’m fat. I just know that I need to eat more fruit and vegetables and that I need to start running more… and not eating so late at night. Throughout the years, people have asked me what I do to lose weight and through years of practice (and discoveries I made by accident), I follow the following routine. Obviously, I am not a nutritionist or dietician and you need to find what works for YOUR body, but for those who asked:
When I’m eating healthily to lose weight I:
- Have coffee & boiled eggs or apple /fruit for breakfast. Sometimes both.
- Have a tuna salad or tray of roast veg & cottage cheese for lunch
- Drink loads of water
- Snack on coffee and fruit or a nutribullet (mixed fruit) or popcorn when I’m hungry – usually at about 4pm
- I don’t eat dinner – not after 8pm anyway. If I do eat something at night, it’s a solid protein like boiled eggs, biltong or a piece of fruit. Another favourite is carrots dipped in humus.
- I take Jack for a walk / run every single day. Not too far. Like a 30 – 40 minute walk.
That’s my guide to my personal comfort zone with my weight. I switched back to this lifestyle a few weeks ago. I call it my re-set. I definitely don’t have any kind of ‘food issues’ but I neglected, damaged and mistreated my body for so long and it took me so many years to find a comfortable weight that makes me feel good about myself and nourishes my body.
What do you guys do when your jeans get a bit tight? Please share your little tips in the comment section for all the other readers who might be interested. I’ve heard of people drinking apple cider vinegar!? Anyway… I hope that you all have a merry, festive and SAFE new year’s eve tonight.
<Side Bar> I’ve decided not to include pictures in this post. I don’t care what my body looks like in a bikini. I care about how healthy and strong I am.