Beating battle of the bulge big time

If you've been there, you'll never want to go back.

At least, that's how I feel having recently been on the other side of fat. According to my Body Mass Index I was obese.

The tragedy was that though I felt it, I refused to see it.

For me it was just "baby fat". After all, had I not just given birth?

l Weight and I

Last year during my pregnancy I ballooned from a slim and sexy, or so I thought, 62kg to a whopping 88kg .

I was convinced the weight would come off after I had the baby.

It didn't. In four weeks, post birth, all I had lost was four kilograms. Three went with the baby and one was probably water. The rest - the whole 22 kilograms of it - found a home in my tummy, bum and thighs.

l The Last Straw

The stares from people when I was eating, even if it were just an apple, as if to say "you are still eating?".

The not-so-pleasant comments from family and friends, especially my partner and "perpetual dieter" friend Futhi.

l How I did it

I knew it had to be a lifestyle change as I needed the weight off permanently.

I remembered a dare I had given Weigh Less while pregnant: "I am tired of running your articles about looking fabulous in bikinis. I want to get on your programme and see for myself if it works."

Their regional manager, Sibongile Hlongwane, called my bluff and referred me to a group leader, Bridget Gould, in my area.

On Thursday October 12, two months after my baby's birth, I took the first step and attended the class.

I was registered, weighed, at 84kg, and given a booklet with my info and food choices.

lGetting started

I went and bought some of the food in the booklet such as skim milk, veggies and fruits, olive oils, to try and stick to the programme and follow some of the recipes.

I shopped for more than two hours as I was not familiar with some of the foods in the booklet, such as patty pans and poppy seed loaves. The groceries set me back more than R1000.

That was a minus for me because I thought of an unemployed woman in the townships trying to lose weight, perhaps for health reasons.

I started with my programme on a Monday morning and on Thursday went for my first weigh-in.

My wonderful leader Bridget could not believe her eyes when the scale registered a 2kg drop. Neither could I.

I had gone in with some cynicism. After all I had been subjected to eating no less than three meals a day plus snacks in between, something that I had never done before.

I left the meeting a new person and from that day on I never looked back.

lDerailers and Strategies

Weekends as I meet friends and have drinks.

I've learnt to say no or stick to my quota. I have also cut down on eating out and now enjoy cooking and following some of Weigh Less founder Mary Holroyd's recipes, which make the whole programme interesting.

With each visit I get more motivated as the weight falls off, no matter how little it is. Lately I have been losing about 0,5kg to 1kg a week but my leader treats it as an achievement and so do I.

I have also learnt not to be uptight and my partner's support in sharing the meals with me has been invaluable.

It has not been easy but I have kept my resolve.

With time I have realised that I did not need the fancy groceries that set me back financially.

Weigh Less food is our everyday food. The secret is in the preparation, the combination of the different food groups and the quantity.

l When I Slip

Which I do now and then and register a gain instead of a loss. In the six months on the programme I have registered about three gains.

But the secret is I don't let it get to me. I realise my mistake, dust myself off and get on with it.

lWhen I Soar...

Like last weekend when my group leader told me I no longer have to continue losing weight.

That at 70kg I was actually within my ideal weight for my height with 73kg being my highest ideal.

I have so far lost 14kg and can proudly say I look damn good for a mother of two - even if I have to say so myself - though in this case my partner, friends and colleagues never stop telling me so to the point that it has gone to my head.

I am now battling with the last 6kg which I have decided to continue losing just to ensure that I stay on the opposite side of fat. Forever.