I Lost 100 Pounds In One Year After I Realized Losing Weight Wasn’t Going to Make Me Happy

I’ve started and stopped weight-loss journeys more times than I can count. (I’m sure plenty of women can relate.) For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to change parts of my body I didn’t like, or doing everything in my power to get to ‘x’ weight. Why? Because I believed that once I did, I’d finally be happy.

This struggle with my weight has been going on since I was a teenager. I was always searching for the best diet to get “skinny” and even resorted to starving myself at times. It didn’t help that I was always told that I was a “big girl” and would never be “petite.” Eventually, I accepted what people were saying as fact and began using food as both a reward and a punishment. 

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This continued—treating my body poorly and eating emotionally—up until I gave birth to my second child at 29 years old. Before I got pregnant with him, I was already overweight. Then, I took “eating for two” to a whole other level: I used being pregnant as an excuse to eat anything and everything. Not to mention, I believed I needed to rest all the time, which contributed to even more weight gain.

Post-pregnancy, I knew something had to change. There wasn’t one exact light-bulb moment—it was just lots of little things that added up. My family had long been urging and inspiring me to be healthier and I wanted to be a role model for them too. I wanted to be around to see my two boys grow up and live a long happy life with my wonderful husband.

So in July of 2017, I decided it was time to regain my health. I knew that this time was going to be different because I didn’t make drastic changes—like try a crazy diet or go nuts in the gym—right away. Instead, I gradually made small changes and, looking back, it was those simple steps that eventually led to big changes.

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To start, I knew I had to change my attitude toward weight loss. This time, I was going to think of weight loss and happiness separately. I made an effort to find things about my body that I loved just as it was. I’d focus on those things instead of the things I didn’t like—my arms. At first, it was tough. I had to try really hard to find things about my body that I appreciated because my whole life, I’d looked in the mirror and picked out my flaws. But after weeks of telling myself that I was worthy of self-love, that my body was amazing for giving birth to two healthy children, and that it was capable of accomplishing anything, it became easier and easier to find the positives and push away the negative thoughts.

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I began to accept my body as it was, but also enjoyed improving it. (More: You Can Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It) Instead of wanting to be “skinny,” I wanted to be strong and fit. Sure, the actual loss of weight also helped with my confidence and being happier and more comfortable. But I really think that the mental shift in how I looked at myself—from the beginning—made losing the weight a lot easier.

Changing my diet was part of this too, but I didn’t follow a rigid plan. I decided not to make any food off-limits—and I still don’t. I’ve found that the more you deny yourself of something, the more you want it. (That goes for anything in life, not just food.) Knowing you can eat something if you really want to kind of removes the urge to “cheat” or overindulge.

I did, however, focus on being in a calorie deficit and making sure that each and every one of my meals was balanced: I started having protein with each meal and including a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole foods like vegetables and fruit. I also made sure to include food I enjoyed eating, like the occasional chocolate or some chips. My food consumption became mindful and I really enjoyed it—mostly because I didn’t feel like I was necessarily giving anything up. (Here’s why eating more might actually be the secret to losing weight.)

The next step for me was to start being more active—but first, I needed to change the way I looked at exercise. I knew I had to separate my exercise intentions from my weight-loss goals. I worked hard on not viewing being active as a punishment or simply a means to lose weight. I began approaching it as a way to feel good and reward my body. It helped that, within a few weeks, I started seeing my body change. From there, I was hooked. (FYI, science found the best workout to overcome your weight-loss plateau.)

What started as a couple of at-home workouts per week turned into a routine—one that I continue to follow today. On top of running around with my two kids all day, I lift weights four times a week. (Two are upper-body days and two focus on lower body.) My diet varies but is still centered around sufficient protein and nutrient-dense foods with a good splash of what people might consider “treat food.” (Here’s why you seriously need to stop thinking of foods as “good” or “bad.”)

Yes, I’ve lost 100 pounds so far—but the most welcomed change in my life has been emotional. In the past, if I was busy or stressed, exercise would be the first thing to drop from my schedule. Now, in situations like that, it’s what helps keep me grounded and makes me better at handling stressful situations. Overall, I’m much calmer and I don’t get upset as easily. I’m also now able to see my body as strong and capable and am so thankful for it after all it has been through.

For anyone who might feel like they’ve been in my shoes and are thinking of building a healthier lifestyle, I’ve got one small piece of advice: Make it simple. (More evidence: How Making Small Changes to Her Diet Helped This Trainer Lose 45 Pounds)

You don’t have to do crazy fad diets with hard-to-follow rules. Find a diet that you can stick to—one that you can enjoy for the rest of your life, not just for a few months. A diet is only ever going to be as good as your ability to stick to it. So if you can’t live without bread and a diet is telling you that you have to cut it out, it’s probably not going to be good for you. (See: Why You Should Stop Restrictive Dieting Once and for All)

Also, find a supportive network that knows what you’re going through, even an online community. Find an exercise that you actually enjoy, and don’t just look at working out as a way to lose weight but as a time to do something valuable for your body. Finally, be patient and celebrate small victories. Remember that small achievements = big results. That’s the key to creating a healthy lifestyle that’s lifelong—and to actually being happy.

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News24.com | 2 Western Cape schools to offer Sign Language as matric subject

South African Sign Language (SASL) will be offered as a matric subject, the Western Cape education department said on Monday.

The department embarked on a three-year South African Sign Language pilot project from 2011 to 2013 to establish SALS as a subject in schools for the deaf.

It is the first SASL curriculum worldwide to be implemented at a Grade 12 level.

“There are currently only nine schools in the country that will be sitting for the 2018 (NSC) SASL exams,” DA spokesperson on social development Lorraine Botha said. 

“Two schools in the Western Cape, De La Bat School for the Deaf learners in Worcester and Dominican Wittebome’s matriculants have the privilege of presenting SASL on home language level at the end of 2018.”

SASL will be offered as a subject at home language level from Grade 1 to matric.

Promoting inclusivity

“The DA in the Western Cape remains committed to eliminating all barriers to deaf learners and to ensure these individuals can fully exercise their right to be taught and assessed in their own language,” Botha said.

“Furthermore, this offers a platform for those with hearing impairments to also be recognised as a fundamental part of South African culture.”

The Western Cape Education Department has been promoting a culture of inclusivity in schools.

Earlier this month, spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said that Western Cape schools had been encouraged to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A handful of schools have started allowing transgender students to wear the uniforms that suit their gender identity.

News24.com | ‘We’re not Zuma’s mouthpiece’, says new party, noting it met with 3 former presidents

The Mazibuye African Congress (MAC) claims it is not a mouthpiece for former president Jacob Zuma and hasn’t spoken to him since establishing itself as a political party in July. It is, however, still in touch with people close to him, the party said.

The newly formed political party’s president Reggie Ngcobo said after approaching former presidents, among them FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, Zuma was the only former leader interested in hearing the organisation’s views.

Ngcobo said the party had not met with Zuma since a July rally during which supporters decided that the organisation could not remain a civic movement “addressing political ills outside of the political space”.

“We had three or more meetings with the former president to get his input as far as the ills that we identified in the country. [He] gave his own personal input but didn’t ask us to become a political party,” said Ngcobo.

He was speaking to a near-empty room at a media briefing called by the party in Ekurhuleni on Monday.

AfriForum partnership

The organisation, which only accepts people of African descent as members, is well-known for its pro-Zuma stance and is widely believed to have been formed with his blessings, a claim Ngcobo denies. 

The MAC, which also said it wants to contest the 2019 polls, announced that it was partnering with a few small civic organisations and that right-wing lobby group AfriForum would possibly be one of them.

The two parties are an odd pair as they differ on their approach to the land question in South Africa. AfriForum is opposed to the call for expropriation of land without compensation while the MAC supports the proposed policy.

“AfriForum, they regard themselves as Africans, because they are Afrikaners, the only thing that separates us from them is the economy and complexion of their skin,” said Ngcobo.

However, he reiterated calls made by the organisation when it was launched just over three months ago that land in South Africa must be given to “African natives”.

He said it was necessary for Afrikaner land owners to “admit the land they are occupying and using was a result of theft” and for them to “take it back to the native people of this land”.

He said he would like to see Afrikaners continuing to work the land, however.

“We cannot dispute the fact that Afrikaners are good agricultural people. We don’t want to see a situation like in Zimbabwe where the farmers were chased out and serious famine happened in the country,” he continued.

State capture revelations

Ngcobo also used the opportunity to hit out at Zuma’s detractors and to give his views on current affairs.

“We are witnessing the uncovering of top surface corruption committed by our respectable public leaders, we can’t trust anyone anymore,” he said.

Ngcobo said leaders were suddenly unable to prioritise the needs of South Africans, even welcoming the resignation of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene who stepped down last week.

“The resignation of Nhlanhla Nene leaves a lot to be desired. He was long portrayed as a financial saint who was victimised by president Zuma for alleged corrupt ends. We remain surprised by the allegations that led him to resign,” said Ngcobo.

Nene stepped down after admitting to having lied about meeting with the controversial Gupta family at the heart of state capture allegations.

The former minister admitted during testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture to having met with their family six times at their Saxonwold home.

Ngcobo also noted that the SACP had, through its leader Blade Nzimande, said it would approach the commission. He called on Transport Minister Nzimande and Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi to testify before the commission.

Sport24.co.za | Big psychological blow, but pressure is on WP

Cape Town – Getting what was needed in terms of log points to top the log was one objective for Western Province against the Blue Bulls at the weekend, but there was another – to strike an important psychological blow ahead of a likely return meeting between the teams in a semi-final.

WP returned to Cape Town feeling that it was very much a case of mission accomplished. Their 34-7 win in a rain-shortened game gave them pole position on the log which means a home final for them if they win their semi-final, and the Bulls should be carrying plenty of mental scars as they head to Newlands for the one that really matters this coming weekend.

However, Dobson is also probably all too aware that all the pressure is now on his team. A home game at Newlands, against a team they thumped on their home patch seven days earlier – what could go wrong?

Well, funny things do happen in the Currie Cup, and the stage could be set for the biggest upset in a semi-final since Wynand Claassen’s B Section Natal side knocked over Free State 26-15 at Kings Park in 1984. Natal had been thumped in a promotion relegation game against Northern Free State in Welkom the week before, and like the Bulls now, they had nothing to lose…

When a coach starts talking about complacency, you know he has accepted the favourites tag, but there again, how could he not after the margin of victory on the Bulls’ home paddock? What Dobson is right about though is that he can’t expect the Bulls to make the same mistakes in dry conditions that they did in the wet, and provided we don’t see a repeat of the freaky conditions that prevailed when WP thumped the Cheetahs earlier in the season, Saturday’s should be a completely different game.

“We are completely aware that the conditions favoured us, and some of those (Bulls players) made a few mistakes. We gained our territory largely off the Bulls’ wet-weather mistakes. It won’t be as easy as that next week,” Dobson told SuperSport.com.

At the same time though, what won Province the Loftus battle, namely forward power and good tactical acumen, is just part of the WP strength. As he hinted in a television interview after the game, the approach will be different at Newlands (provided it is dry). He said that his team will go back to their usual template, which is based on giving freedom to the team’s many X-factor players.

Dillyn Leyds, who ended up missing the Loftus game, is one of those, so is Damian Willemse, who ended up starting at fullback. If Leyds is ready to play at Newlands, Dobson faces an interesting dilemma, as Josh Stander, when asked to step in as the starting flyhalf, was again outstanding and arguably deserves a run in a semi-final as a preparation for a possible role in next year’s Super Rugby.

Right now though it is the Bulls who have most of the thinking to do, and some hard work ahead of them this week. They will know they never showed WP their full capabilities, but then they will also know that the same could probably be said of Province. The psychological blow delivered by WP was an emphatic one.

“What we wanted to do was to come here and make it seem very daunting for the Bulls to come to us next week,” said Dobson.

“Captain Chris van Zyl’s talk this week was to make a statement so that they will have a lot of doubt coming down for the semi-final. Maybe some of our play today could have created that. This a special group and they are definitely not going to be complacent for they are completely well aware that the conditions favoured us.

“The big win we scored over what was effectively the Cheetahs PRO14 side earlier in the competition prepared us for this game. The conditions in that game were not better than what we experienced here.”

What Dobson had no doubt about was that the Loftus performance was an exceptional one from his charges.

“We are absolutely thrilled because with those conditions we knew we had to get four tries and to do it before half-time was exceptional. When the message came that we might only get a half in, you can ask the players to play with massive intensity and do damage and I think they responded incredibly. I thought it was a really exceptional performance from us.”

Maybe at the same time, given how Dobson asked for extra intensity in a shortened game, Loftus was a microcosm of the WP season so far and offered an indication of why they have been so much better this year than they were in 2017. They did win the Currie Cup last year, but they only really seemed to switch on for the final league game against the Sharks and then the playoffs.

This year there were only six games due to the decision to cut the league phase to a single round and thus fewer matches that the players might have felt were meaningless. Perhaps the WP performances in the Currie Cup are an advance for the argument that less is more.

At the same time though, as Dobson will no doubt be telling his players on Monday, the season is not yet over, and WP haven’t won anything yet. They have made it easier for themselves by securing home ground advantage from here on, but in 2013 WP lost a home final to the Sharks everyone expected them to win…

They won’t want a repeat.

READ the story on SuperSport.com

Health24.com | Is canned or frozen produce bad for me?

National Nutrition Week 2018 runs from 9 to 15 October 2018.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to help prevent non-communicable diseases. Unfortunately, eating healthy food is often seen as a luxury, as fresh produce, fruit high in antioxidants, such as berries, and quality protein sources, such as lean beef and seafood, can be expensive.

There is a myth that fruit and vegetables that are preserved through canning and freezing are not as healthy as fresh, organic produce.

Many South Africans are not privy to exclusive fresh produce purchased at organic markets and quality supermarkets. Cheaper, processed meats and sources of refined starch are often more affordable and stretch further to feed an entire family on a low budget.

But canned or frozen produce can form part of a healthy diet, studies suggest. An analysis by researchers at the Michigan State University recently showed that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. These findings were published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

In fact, this research found that the level of B vitamins, vitamin E and carotenoids increase in canned tomatoes. As for canned beans and legumes, the fibre become more soluble through the canning process as compared to beans that are cooked from scratch.

It will last you longer

Canned and frozen produce can be stored for far longer than fresh produce, which eliminates wasting food and money. The price of off-season fruit and vegetables will fluctuate during the year while the cost of frozen produce will remain mostly stable. You are also able to buy in bulk and store this produce, which can work out cheaper in the long run.

Choose wisely

Adults should include a wide variety of vegetables, including greens, red and orange vegetables, legumes and starchy vegetables in their diet to get an optimum range of nutrients. Ensure that you buy different groups of these vegetables. A bag of mixed vegetables may contain green beans, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, which is a good variety of vegetables to include with your meal.

As for tinned fruits and vegetables, you need to think a bit more strategic – as some varieties are packed in syrups and sauces with high amounts of sugar and sodium.

The bottom line is that it’s often a more budget-friendly option to purchase frozen or canned produce, which is better than no produce whatsoever.

Here are a couple of handy tips for budget-friendly healthy meals:

  • Rinse canned fruits, vegetables and legumes to reduce the sugar and salt content.
  • Look out for low-sodium or low-salt varieties if you can afford it.
  • Stretch your budget by shopping for no-name or store-brands.
  • Use canned tomatoes as a base for pasta sauces.
  • Replace starchy, sugary desserts with canned fruit cocktail (drain and rinse to eliminate the sugary syrup, or buy a variety with no added sugar). Serve this with a low-fat, plain yoghurt for added protein and creaminess.
  • Canned peaches and pineapples served with cottage cheese are delicious and offer fibre, vitamins and protein.
  • Replace the meat in soups and stews with lentils and beans – this will stretch the meal further and you will pay less.
  • When cooking mince, add soy, lentils, beans, oat bran and/or vegetables to bulk it up. You can also add beans, lentils, potatoes and other veggies to stews, casseroles and curries.

Image credit: iStock

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