The earliest memories of my struggle start at 12 years old when it was civvies day at school and I had nothing to wear.
I remember so clearly in the days leading up to it how all the girls discussed their outfits, all the while knowing I would not look like them. I felt physically sick. And did for the next 22 years…
I was an outgoing, out spoken extrovert. There was this persona in me that would take over and make everyone laugh, be the life of the party, be loud and adventurous. This persona helped me get through what I consider to be the toughest years of my life. It was all a cover up. No matter how I tried, no matter how many times I would beat myself up about it, my relationship with food was unhealthy. Looking back it was worse than I thought. I gave in many times to peer pressure, doing things I knew where wrong, things that disappointed my parents, things that I am not proud of but how else could I fit in? As a result my teenage years were very difficult but I felt I had to work hard to keep my friends as no one would have really accepted me otherwise.
Diet after diet, cracker bread after cracker bread, cucumber after cucumber, nothing “fixed” it. Something in my head was not right. Being a perfectionist and having excelled academically at school I hated being fat, I hated the fact that I could not beat this, I hated being the ‘big’ girl. I was a failure. It affected my soul and it hurt so much.
After I got married it got worse. What more did I need? I had finally achieved in life, I had found my life partner and life was going in the right direction. However this “comfort zone” did not do me well and I continued to put on weight. I remember feeling relieved when I was pregnant with my first child as now I had an excuse and I continued to use food as my solution for everything. Disgusted in myself but pushing through each day behind my “happy” face, a struggle of desperation and helplessness continued to boil in me.
It was only until my sister’s wedding when she asked me to be her Maid of Honour that something clicked. Although not immediately. It took some time. It was at a bridesmaid lunch, with all the “skinny” girls that I realized I was going to embarrass my sister. This was her big day and I was going to ruin it for her. She loved me so much that she was prepared to overlook the fact that I was obese and yet I was not doing anything about it. Breaking point came when we decided on the dress design and I wanted to vomit at the thought of wearing a dress, which I had not done for years and the girls politely said I could wear a pants suit. That was it. THAT WAS IT!
I had heard about The Real Meal Revolution from my husband, who too, although thin, led a very unhealthy lifestyle. I am a chef and my husband and I run a catering business, which we have done for the past 11 years. We are surrounded by food every day and work horrendous hours and whilst this was a great excuse for our bad food choices he was searching for a change not only for himself but also for me.
Having read the book, I felt scared at the fact that I would need to eat fat to lose fat…but I knew it was make or break time…I had nothing to lose. I joined almost every single Banting group on Facebook and started educating myself about this lifestyle. It was April 29th 2014 when I fried my first egg in coconut oil. The weight started to drop…my life had changed. The 9 headache tablets a day, the 2 anti inflammatories a day, the 3 sinus tablets a day STOPPED at Day 3! I started waking up without a headache, I started waking up without backache, I started waking up without limping up the stairs while my poor legs struggled to carry my weight. What had I done to myself? Surely I deserved better than this? There was hope and for the first time I felt my soul BELIEVING that I could do this!
A couple of months in I started to notice a member on one of the Banting groups, Charles Lubbe, commenting, posting and educating members with information that just made sense. I eventually found myself not reading anything unless he posted or commented. Then in the September, 27kg down and feeling amazing, Charles started The Big Breakfast Banting Debate on Facebook and I immediately joined and quickly within a few weeks left behind everything else. This was my lifesaver. This was THE answer.
Although this was a choice I made, I could never have done it without Charles Lubbe, he has not only taught me how to lose weight, he has, more importantly, taught me how to be the best I can be and BELIEVE that I deserve it. I will be forever grateful.
Now almost 15 months later, 34 years old, 18.1% body fat and 61kg lighter I have found myself and I am FINALLY the person I have always wanted to be. Fit, healthy and beautiful!
Tracey’s Top Tips:
1. Aim higher than you can imagine.
2. Eat breakfast to satiety, no matter what and as early as possible. Listen to your body, rather than your head. Educate yourself
about your body. It’s a miracle of nature!
3. Never deprive yourself, always eat when hungry. Keep it simple. Create a routine.
4. Make good choices, always.
5. Choose dense nutrients.
6. Spike once a week.
7. Avoid dairy, especially with breakfast. No milk ever. Limit caffeine and only with meals.
8. Keep your dinner protein to 100g-120g raw weight.
9. Take 1 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar every morning before breakfast.
10. Take Moringa.
11. Choose to be happy. Be grateful every day.