Hi. My name is Tannith. I’m 33 and I live in a lovely seaside suburb of Cape Town.
I haven’t always struggled with my weight, but looking back, it was when I started high school that I started to take notice of my weight. When I started high school, I moved from an all-girls primary school to a co-ed school high school. The boys started making fun of me, and I was teased a lot. I wasn’t overweight or fat, but I wasn’t as small as the other girls in school.
I started trying different eating plans and diets, and even went as far as taking appetite suppressant pills (my mom had to sign a special register for the pills at the chemist!). I remember the one diet; I was only allowed to eat every 5 hours. But the amount of food allocated to each meal wasn’t enough to keep me full for 5 hours. I was starving.
I was an active teenager, playing squash and water polo for school, and rollerblading all weekend. Every weekend. It was during this time that I met my future husband.
When I finished Matric, we went overseas straight away. This was when my weight really started to increase. Although we did a lot of walking, we didn’t do much other exercise. Beers and onion rings at the pub, and kebabs after a night out, were part of my new lifestyle. I was also grocery shopping for myself for the first time in my life, and that obviously had something to do with the kinds of food that I ate. I could eat whatever I wanted! I didn’t have to eat whatever my parents put in front of me. And nothing in the shops was out of bounds, if I wanted to eat it, I bought it. I was also earning my own money for the first time, so could use it to buy whatever (food) I wanted to.
A year after coming home and starting college, I tried a meal replacement shake, and managed to lose quite a bit of weight. But then I stopped and the weight slowly crept back on, plus some extra, as it does.
Over the years, I tried a few more different diets, and different personal trainers, but never at the same time. After 10 years together, I married my childhood sweetheart. I tried to lose weight for my wedding, but obviously didn’t try hard enough. I was about 20kg overweight on my wedding day.
In 2010, my husband and I decided to start a family. I didn’t have any problems falling pregnant, and had a very easy pregnancy. I didn’t pick up much weight, because I thought that the more you weighed when you started, the less you picked up! I was very embarrassed when I went in to have my baby – I weighed in at 106kg. However I did take comfort in the fact that I was 9 months pregnant, and there was a 3.8kg baby inside me.
About 3 years into my marriage, I decided to go big or go home. A friend and I started a protein diet. It was awesome because we could eat as much as we wanted to, as long as it was lean protein. We had a biltong shop across the road from us at work, and we visited it every single day. Snacking is a big thing for me; I always like to be nibbling on something. That’s why this worked for me. Although it was super boring, I lost 20kg and went down to my lowest weight since high school.
This very restrictive diet was not sustainable, and I picked up 30kg over about a year and a half when I stopped following it. I tried to lose weight for my best friend’s wedding at the end of 2014, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been trying to lose weight since then, but every time I lose 2-3kg, I put on 4 or 5kg. And this has been going on for 2 years.
At the moment, I am at the biggest I have ever been in my life – weighing around 112kg. I am very self-conscious, and have a really low self-esteem. I never walk around the house naked or let my daughter see me without any clothes on, as I am way too embarrassed. I don’t want her growing up thinking that this is what a woman should look like, because it is definitely not. The self-consciousness and lack of self-esteem has affected my personality, and therefore my marriage; and after almost 18 years together, my husband decided that he wanted a divorce.
I’m not sure what it is, but now I’m ready. I feel like my head is finally in the right place. I joke and say that I’m starting on my ‘Revenge Body’, but it is not really. This is for me. To improve my life, my self-esteem, and my health. I also want my daughter growing up with a positive role model. And to be able to run around and play with her will be a bonus.
I know its not going to be easy, and I’ll have my ups and downs (hopefully more downs – on the scale!) but I’m looking forward to this journey. I really hope that I can inspire at least 1 other person to start, and enjoy, their weight loss journey too.