I have always loved exercise. I was a 100m hurdles athlete in school and a really good butterfly swimmer. I played netball and tennis, and on some weekends took part in mountain bike races. I didn’t really have a problem with my weight as I was active most of the week.
Fast forward a couple of years later to my first year at varsity, I fell victim to the dreaded “first-year spread”. Many students pick up so much weight during their first year. We’re having the time of our lives. We’re using our new-found freedom to party up a storm with our friends, binging on pizza and chocolate during late night study sessions. You don’t even give sports or gym a second thought. There’s no important athletics race or swim meetings you need to train for. You can just chill.
But before you know it, it’s graduation day and you walk away with much more than a tertiary qualification.
It’s time to enter the workforce and start your adult life. You’re earning your own money, living on your own and you don’t have to eat the vegetables on your plate if you don’t feel like it. Your mom’s not going to know. You can have chocolate for breakfast and no one will know. That’s the dream, right?
Unfortunately, adulting doesn’t quite work like that. While I didn’t have chocolate for breakfast, I was a frequent visitor at McDonald’s. Their Egg McMuffin became my staple breakfast on most days. Lunch wasn’t much healthier – usually also carbs, and dinner followed pretty much the same pattern. In between there was snacking on crisps and chocolates as well. The kilograms where piling on, and while I did notice it, I just kept on buying bigger clothes.
When I started dating, I made an effort to eat healthier meals and go for a run in my neighbourhood. That didn’t last long though. I reached a comfort zone with my boyfriend and when we moved in together, the whole exercise and healthy eating regime went out the window. I wanted to impress him with my culinary skills and cooked up a storm every night. I didn’t use the “You still need to fit into those jeans” recipe book. I cooked like our parents used to cook in the old days – lots of butter and sugar in veggies, crumbed and fried porkchops, carbs with almost every meal. Once again, the weight piled on, and once again I ignored it and just went on with life.
I had a boyfriend. Who did I want to have a sexy body for?
Then came the kicker.
I was in a long-term relationship and I felt that we needed to spice things up a little to get out of the comfortable rut we were in.
One night while my boyfriend was playing a computer game, I decided to put on some lingerie and high heels.
I strutted into the room, struck a sexy pose and hinted at what needed to happen…
He looked at me and said “I can’t pause right now”, and continued with his game. That moment of rejection is one that I will never forget.
I was devastated. I just offered the one thing men apparently never say “no” to. Yet, there I was, turned-down, for a damn computer game.
I wasn’t angry. I was heartbroken and my self-confidence took a massive knock. What happened to “I love you no matter what you look like”?
Clearly that was a bunch of hogwash. I was fat, he knew that I was fat and he would rather play his computer game and talk to strangers online than be with me.
I knew then that I had to start doing something about my weight. I couldn’t go on like that.
But at the same time, I also knew that I shouldn’t lose the weight for him. I had to do it for myself. I needed to feel comfortable in my skin and confident about my body – not for a man – but for myself.
Don’t miss next week’s column for more on my weight loss journey!
About the author:
Xanet is an award-winning journalist, who has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles, including being a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009. She fell in love with fitness in 2013 when she started her weight loss journey. Having lost almost 20kg and 20% body fat, she understands how to be fit and healthy while still enjoying your life and having that glass of wine and cupcake when you crave it.