I love inspirational stories and today I am sharing one like no other. If you have ever struggled to lose weight and been on any kind of weight-loss journey then you need to read to the end.
I completely realize that the last time I blogged was a month ago when I wrote about our awesome photoshoot with Shante Hutton so please forgive me, but life. This is a blog post however that I can no longer put off posting. It’s the most wonderful and victorious story and one that needs to be shared.
As women and mother’s we mostly all have struggled with our weight at some point in our lives. I have too and although not glaringly so as to say I have ever been overweight to the point of it affecting my health, I have had my fair share of kilo’s to shed over the years. Thing is there is a massive difference between shedding some baby weight and being faced with a bleak outlook on your actual mortality and being shocked to your inner core to the point that you finally decide enough is enough and things have got to change.
This is what it was like for Pippa and why I really had to share her story with you. Pippa is such an inspiration and if her story doesn’t give you hope that you can do it too, then I don’t know. I have known Pippa for about 8 years now. We became neighbors shortly before I had my second baby and she was a Mom of a toddler boy at the time. Since then we have moved away from each other but still, have kept contact over the years and so I have been following Pippa’s story daily via social media mostly and know that she is up at 5 most days and in the Gym and incredibly dedicated. Pippa is a career woman and mother of two as well as being the wife of a politician and often in the public eye, so you can imagine that all brings its own challenges along the way.
I have been watching her weightloss transformation from the sidelines, cheering her on and each time she posts a new picture to Instagram I am simply awestruck with how far she has come. Pippa started her journey at 114Kg and now hits the scale around the mid 60’s mark after less than 2 years. I mean, how amazing is that? But it didn’t come easy. I asked Pippa to share her story with me in a Q&A so that I could share it with my readers and perhaps inspire you to slash your weight loss goals, however big or small they are.
1. Briefly, tell me about your story. How did you get to this point?
My first memory of trying to beat the bulge was at the young age of 12 when I was signed up to our local Weigh Less group. Since that day it was a struggle to shed weight. Looking back at photographs of myself when I was younger I don’t consider myself as being overweight and I feel if my parents had monitored my eating from the sidelines it may have painted a completely different picture, but I can’t change that. Having tried everything except wiring my jaws shut and undergoing Gastric Bypass Surgery (which I had researched) I think I finally hit rock bottom towards the end of 2015. A friend of mine had lost an incredible amount of weight and I took it upon myself to find out how she did it. With the information at hand, I made an appointment with the nutritionist she had sought help from and vowed to myself that this would be my absolute final attempt to lose weight. If it didn’t work now it never would. I still remember how I felt at my first consultation. Uncomfortable in my own skin, depressed, ugly and ready to give up. But I had to give this a try. I was given a BIG reality check when I was told that I had to lose a whopping 50kg! I thought maybe 20, but not 50kg. My BMI was a deathly 42 and body fat percentage 43%. I was a heart attack waiting to happen. Kevin Naude, the nutritionist assured me that he would help me along this journey, but reminded me that it was up to me to do the work. If I didn’t I was at least five years away from a heart attack or a stroke. And I wasn’t even 40 yet. Initially, it didn’t sink it, but gradually it did and what a wake up call it was.
Below are some pictures of Pippa nearly 50Kg’s heavier than she is now!
With the information in hand and another 10 days before I would get my eating plan, I decided to adopt the approach of ‘one meal at a time’. If I could get through breakfast eating what I needed to eat, then I could get to my snack, and so on. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to get through week 1, week 2 until I reach the mega milestone of a 10kg loss, which was motivation to carry on. Fast forward almost 18 months and I’m almost 40kg down with 10kg to go until I’m at goal weight. Besides losing the weight this has truly been life changing as I am able to do things I could never do before which I never realized were normal. For example, I could never sit with a plate on my lap and now I can because I no longer have a large tummy in the way. But the cherry on the cake for me was being able to go on the water slides with my two children last December which I had never been able to do before. The expression on their faces made this journey so much more bearable and has given me the boost to continue until I have succeeded 100%.
2. What was your biggest motivation
I think it was more of a wake up call than a motivation, and it was when my nutritionist told me that if I don’t change the way I was eating I was five years from having a stroke or heart attack, and at age 39 (in 2015) I wasn’t prepared to do that to myself, my body or my family.
3. What was your biggest fear before starting?
Not being able to succeed. I have tried losing weight so many times and have only managed to last a few weeks, so the fear of failing once again was so real.
4. What made this different to other times you have tried to lose weight?
I think the fact that I was going to give this whole losing weight thing the last try; if it didn’t work now it never would; the wake-up call, and I most importantly taking it one meal at a time instead of looking at the whole journey in its entirety.
5. What has been the hardest part of this journey?
As I considered myself to be an emotional eater I needed to accept that there would still be hurdles in my life that I couldn’t use food as an excuse and I needed to carry on with my journey to a healthier me. That was quite hard as in the past I would have used food as an excuse to comfort me. And also weekends I found and still do challenging. During the week I’m very good about sticking to a routine, but come Friday night when you no longer need to stick to a routine as such the challenge becomes real. I still see my nutritionist and have to send him my weight on a Friday and Monday. Fridays are great as it is my reward for being so good, but I see the difference on a Monday if I haven’t been that good. Although I dread it, it does hold me accountable and in a way motivates me to keep going.
It has been nearly 2 years and Pippa is looking like a completely different person.
6. How did you balance, work, family and weight loss?
It’s hard, but for the first time in a very long time, I needed to put myself first. My husband once told me that if I don’t put myself and my needs first, then how can I look after him and my children. At first, it sounded selfish, but it makes so much sense. And I’ve seen the benefits.
7. Was/is your family supportive?
They have and are still so supportive. If it wasn’t for their support I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as I have.
8. How do you remain so dedicated (eating plans & Gym etc?)
The simplest way to explain this is that I think finally after so many years the ‘light switch’ in my brain went on and has stayed on. Losing weight as with so many other things in life is more mental than anything else, and if your mind isn’t in the right place then you won’t be able to succeed. I believe that a huge part of my success is that my mind has been in the right place. With regards to gym initially I didn’t go, but then about three months into my journey I realised that exercise and diet go hand in hand, and made the mental decision to embark on a light exercise programme. And the best for me in terms of my professional and personal life was to go to the gym at 5am in the morning! Insane as some might say, but it worked. Yes, I felt exhausted at the end of the day, but my gym routine didn’t affect the time I needed to spend with my family or the attention I needed to give my clients. And two years down the line my exercise has become a part of my life I can’t live without.
9. What is the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself?
Being able to accept and appreciate compliments, and most importantly love my body. I also have a new respect and relationship with food.
This has changed my life in so many ways but it is a journey I want to continue.
10. Can you give us some tips on how to deal with the cravings for unhealthy foods?
I think due to the fact that I eat a very balanced diet and my body gets the right stuff I don’t crave the unhealthy foods, but as a woman, there is a time in the month when we go through our cycle that we do want junk food. Even I go through that, and when I do I opt for the dark chocolate instead of the milk choc. Or wine gums instead of the toffees. I do get cravings, but then I try my best to go for a safer option. It may not be healthy, but it is safer. I have to admit that I haven’t stuck to my plan 100% as I lead a very busy personal and professional life which includes great food and amazing wine, never mind the socialising. On those days I know I won’t have control over what I eat, I apply the tools my nutritionist gave me to that day and it really works. Something he told me has stuck with me throughout this process. I need to treat this like a relationship. There will be good days and bad days, but it’s what you do with the bad days that makes the difference.
Pippa has nearly reached her goal weight now. Here are some more pics of her with her family on a recent vacation.
11. What is your single best piece of advice for other Mother’s that want to lose weight and especially a large amount of weight?
Make time for yourself; plan ahead, and literally take it one meal at a time until you’re strong enough mentally and then one day at a time, but it is so important to put YOU first.
12. Please let us know what your best tips are to get active and exercising with a busy family schedule.
You need to see what the best time will be for you to make time for exercise and then work that into your schedule. As a career mom the best time for me is 5am and only 20 minutes. It may not be the best, but I went from doing no exercise to doing something and have seen the results. Baby steps is all that it takes to change your life forever.
Some Last thoughts from Pippa.
Don’t be fooled, with the good comes the bad, and along the way, I have had to overcome various challenges. Not talking about the temptation to give up, but more like the challenges you never anticipated you would have to encounter. As a larger person, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Well, having lost this obscene amount of weight you do draw attention to yourself and it is something I have had to adjust to. I have turned what could very easily be a negative into a positive. The attention has led to people telling me that I have inspired them to embark on a similar journey and this has kept me on the straight and narrow. Another challenge to mention is having to change your mindset about clothing. In my previous ‘life’I was used to wearing a certain style suited to plus size women. Having started wearing a snug size 20 I now comfortably fit into a size 14 sometimes size 12, and that in itself has presented its own set of challenges. Whereas before I was limited in my choice now the skies the limit and I have to be even more selective because not only do I want to look good but I also need to dress my age and not mutton dressed as lamb.
This has changed my life in so many ways but it is a journey I want to continue.
Have you ever struggled to lose weight? Have you given up many times? Has Pippa’s story inspired you to try again? Leave a message for both Pippa and I and let us know how you feel? Don’t forget to find me on my Facebook Page or Instagram to continue the conversation further.
P.S Don’t forget to share this post with others who may need to read it and be inspired.