2014, MY Year in Review
Reflection is good! The past helps frame so many aspects of ones’ life, giving one a well rounded critique on what went wrong, what worked, lessons learned, a framework for informing future plans. Having a 360 degree critical look at my journey into my health quest has made me less critical of my efforts and inspired confidence in me continuing along my chosen path. Most valuable in these reflections, is the feedback from others including those dear and near to me, my success in my weight loss efforts of the past 18 months, my medication free status and importantly, deep pride in my efforts to inch so much closer in realizing my own personal health and weight loss Utopia…one of the best feelings ever!
My one desire after years and years of weight loss attempts and being obese since pre-pubescence, was to feel slimmer and trimmer. Over the years, that desire was so often squashed by my compulsive eating habits, emotional eating that has in many ways ruined my mental and physical life, robbed me of so many opportunities, which truthfully, were caused by me. The roaring years of my 20s and 30s should have been the best years of my life, and in many ways it was…meeting my husband while obese was one of those moments but realistically, I wished I were slimmer. Having my precious babies in the height of my obesity are my blessings, and will always remain so and the difficulties associated with that will always frame my thinking going forward, in how I choose to live my life these days.
The past year has been characterised by moments of highs and lows…moments that have had me howling in frustration during illness and injury, and simultaneously beaming with pride as my garment sizes grew smaller. It’s also been a year that has been an education in the realities of overcoming addictions; unlearning bad habits and forging new ones; learning that not everyone is going to be supportive or excited about my progress to a newer, healthier me; dealing with harsh critics, an overwhelming amount of jealousy but converse to that, a double and triple dose of love and support and encouragement, which, made me understand that while it may be lonely at the top, there is sufficient goodness to bolster and catapult me to where I eventually want to be – this has been one of the greatest lessons learned and I am so grateful to have experienced and risen above this emotionally-trying phase during my journey.
The decision to go public in my efforts, 3 months into this lifestyle change, was one that was deliberate in its’ efforts to educate and inform my publics. It is a decision that has humbled me in the manner that it has been accepted. Type 2 diabetes (insulin dependent) and hypertension are two life-threatening chronic diseases, as is obesity. That I have successfully reversed my chronic illnesses within 6 months of my journey, begged the education of others. I know that many before me have achieved this, and there will be many after me too, but making this part of my need to inform others like me, who are stuck in a rut, that change is possible through a slight adaptation of eating habits, works, was the drive in my efforts. I have also had many many moments of naivety that cost me dearly – but they remain par for the causes along my journey, and it’s somehow prepared me for the next phase of this journey. I guess I lived and learned each day…and should always remember wise words from dear family and friends…’I told you so‘ being one such phrase.
One of the highlights of this year has been being contacted by the Editor and Journalist of a supplement to a popular SA Magazine for being among 3 individuals to feature in their Biggest Loser features article. Initially the journalist concerned was approached by the Sleekgeek SA Health and fitness support page owner [whose members have been and continue to be an amazing support base through this journey] for me to feature in a Cape Town publication,that sadly had to close down. I guess fate works in different ways as the publication I featured in has been on the shelves from October to December this year, and has been inspirational to many of it’s readers. Of the three in the features article, my picture featured on the front page, which is such an honour for the former obese me. That some of my recipes that I have blogged featured in the publication too, makes me immensely proud. A follow up to this feature was one a month later in a family publication. This too has been well received and what is most important, is that it has inspired and motivated many to have a re-think about a lifestyle change, for their benefit.
My facebook blog page which started of shakily, now boasts over 5400 likes and each recipe I post in tandem with this blog, receives over 1000 views – this is a tangible impact measure and a comparable indicator of success to my outreach efforts, which is indeed heartening. Most of my recipes blogged are foods that have assisted me in this lifestyle change and while I am by no means an accomplished cook, my love for food assists me in creating interesting meals that remove the boredom and the “diet” mentality…and that it’s good and wholesome too, is appealing. For each occasion this year, there has been an alternative to the gluten and sugar variety of foods that I have made available. Many of my recipes have been recreated with pleasure, and are often recreated by others. It has been an education to me in my approach to a gluten-free lifestyle, and that I can adapt traditional meals around this lifestyle, has been rewarding.
I vividly recall three occasions where I went off plan during this year, which were lessons to plan properly – and it wasn’t about cheating as many would say, more like letting myself down, as I am still not 100% confident that I own my lifestyle, yet! And of course the lunch bar binge…and I don’t particularly eat or like chocolate! So birthdays and other special functions came and went and I remained true to myself and my journey because I needed to be this way. I didn’t complain either – just went on my way ensuring that I had planned and prepared consistently for any eventuality. Working away from home 3 days a week, means that I prepare and freeze my meals before I travel on a Sunday afternoon, this has worked well for me, as does the advantage of living in my childhood home on my work days. As an emotional eater, I know how very it is to backslide and fall into that rut, so I avoid temptation by always having a prepared alternative meal to the refined kind…, when eating out or visiting family, I often take along my own food too, and yes, I am very very human! It’s the no excuses approach that worked and continues to work for me, and, has seen me keep my blood-glucose and blood pressure readings consistently normal – I never imagined I would ever experience normality in my health status after suffering many opportunistic illnesses associated with chronic illness.
18 months along, this festive season has been an amazingly different one, with me having no hang ups about the food I am eating as I have taken steps to prepare well in advance, always with a healthier option. Where the sweet tooth has intervened, I relied on my sweet treat options and survived Christmas with a gluten and sugar free trifle, which I only ate the day after Christmas. Come 1st of January 2015, there is no need for me to complain about a groaning scale and going on a detox diet, as I am proudly embracing a healthier lifestyle change. I have not checked my weight or stood on a scale since October this year, and instead, I am guided by the transformation in my clothes sizes…still fitting comfortably into a size 34 from a former sizer 44/46 18 months ago. I bought and fitted into size 32 casual pants recently, which will be my New Years’ day garment of choice, proudly celebrating me. 🙂
Personal Utopia is indeed possible and I am closer to it than I have ever been in my life – I can only remain eternally grateful to my loving and supportive family who have stood by me in my crazy fastidiousness to beat diabetes and hypertension through weight loss, to my numerous supporters and loving friends who have added such value into my journey and life, and, to the many who continue to inspire me to be the best that I can be. My 2015 goals to dream it and achieve it continue, along with my motto of being that best that I can be in all that I attempt, for me, by me!
Change is indeed possible, it’s about choosing what is right for each one of us – choices mould and shape any journey we embark on and travel through…and, it rests with each one of us in defining and refining these choices, and more importantly, living comfortably with them. It’s also alright to derail, but what’s significant, is how we bounce back!
Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2015, with only the very best of wishes to you, in reaching your goals through continued and passionate action and best choices!