Natasha (Also known as Fit like Mummy on Instagram) is one of those mums who seem to live 30 hour days. She works full time in the aviation industry, runs at least one 5km race a week, plans interesting family excursions (regularly!), motivates her kids to excel at their talents and does some crazy Pinterest mum stuff. I thought she was pretty amazing before she started her fitness journey but now she’s my inspiration to a healthier lifestyle. This is her story:
“From a fat child to a fat adult, being overweight had become my everyday normal. Fortunately for me I was blessed with confidence and a personality that was larger than my ever growing behind. In retrospect, I think that was actually the reason I didn’t realise how out of control my weight issues had become.
Mid December 2016, I had a wake-up call of note. Swelling feet (which I put down to the December heat) and daily headaches eventually had me visiting my GP. He did the general observations including checking my blood pressure. My blood pressure was dangerously high … I was hypertensive. My GP looked horrified and immediately started me on high blood pressure tablets. My GP had run several blood tests which indicated that my cholesterol, insulin and sugar level were all high. I was in denial and as a result had let my weight skyrocket and my health deteriorate. “What would happen to my kids if something happened to me?!?!” This thought played over and over in my head.
Well, my wake-up call had arrived and I realised it was time to be brutally honest with myself. It was time for a lifestyle change. So after some serious reflecting, I made a promise to myself to improve my health and get back my life. I owed it to my kids and to myself.
What a time to start this process … it was the end of the year; holiday time; socialising and lots of eating and drinking. I made a few small changes and cut out alcohol and increased my water intake. I also tried my best to watch what I ate over the festive season. Just cutting out alcohol, made a considerable improvement.
On the 4th of January 2017 (which couldn’t have arrived sooner) I signed up at Virgin Active and started hitting the gym.
I changed my eating to a low carb diet and cut out all sugar. I started eating 5 small meals a day and drinking 2 litres of water a day. The biggest change was actually getting more rest; I forced myself to go to bed earlier to ensure that I was getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Truth be told I hated sleeping back then, but over the past 10 months it has become my favourite pastime and I often find myself sneaking in an afternoon nap or two over the weekends.
To my surprise, the weight started falling off at an unbelievable rate. My energy levels had increased; I was sleeping better and I was less grumpy. I started enjoying being at the gym and I found myself even hitting the gym on weekends at 6am in the morning. I was obsessed with exercising and started doing the one thing I hated, I started running. Well okay, I call it running but its more like walking and maybe a few seconds of jogging. People at the gym started to notice my weightloss and often came up to me to congratulate me on my progress. I must admit that it was a great motivator. Not long after, friends and work colleagues also started to notice the change. It was 6 months since I began the journey to a healthier life and I was down 15kg and needed a new wardrobe. I was on a roll and nothing was going to stop me this time, or so I thought.
I was experiencing pain on the right lower side of my abdomen. The pain felt worse whenever I exercised at the gym or ran. Several trips to the doctor’s rooms didn’t help find a reason for the pain. I even had two trips to the ER at the hospital. Several tests and scans later had yielded no answers. I was so frustrated but determined to continue exercising. I continued training hard, but I had failed to listen to my body. This resulted in me ending up in the ER, but only this time I was admitted for a week. Countless tests were carried out and eventually the specialists found a cyst. They operated and the cyst was successfully removed. The doctor ran additional blood tests and my cholesterol, insulin and sugar levels had returned to normal. My healthy lifestyle was paying off. Great news indeed, however, having an operation meant my usual training was on hold. This was a setback and I was rather down. Seeing as I am a comfort eater, I started to slip back into my old eating habits. This was indeed a huge setback and meant I would not achieve my original weightloss goal by my 40th birthday.
Three weeks post-op and I received the all clear from the doctor to start with mild exercise again. No weights and no running but I was allowed to walk. I started doing Parkruns with my family and registered for 5km races every weekend where possible. Each weekend saw me achieve a personal best in terms of my running. I started to enjoy something I once hated. I was able to run for longer periods and I started losing centimeters again.
I made the decision to go public with my journey to a happier and healthier life and changed my Instagram account into a fitness diary so to speak. I figured that making use of social media provided a sense of accountability. No more being in denial and lying to myself. The truth would be out there for the world to see, horrific before photos and all. It was about keeping it real and doing me.
Unapologetic about my successes and failures, its 10 months on and I’m a week away from turning 40. My weightloss remains at 15kg and I still have 10kg to go. I hate the scale, truly I do, but what I’ve come to realise is that the scale doesn’t matter. How my clothes fit is more important. Being healthier and happier is more important than the number that reflects on the scale.
I’ve also come to realise that my original goal of losing 25kg in 10 months wasn’t very reasonable or practical. That a lifestyle change is a marathon instead of a sprint to the finish. That every successful day is a step in the right direction and should be celebrated. That I will have bad days but there’s no need to dwell on it. Most importantly I’ve come to realise that I’m too “old” to give a damn what anyone else thinks. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I’m definitely fitter than I have been in decades and I still have that larger than life level of confidence and personality.
Follow my journey on Instagram as I tackle one day at a time to a happier and healthier life”