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A Story of Food and Getting Your Life Back by Amanda Pruissen

Category: Life Talk
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My earliest memory of having issues with weight was when I was 11 years old.  I can clearly remember my Mom taking me to a weight loss meeting and at that point, I do believe I thought to myself, "I have a problem".

I remember food being my crutch from a young age – when life knocked me down, it seemed that the only thing that could fill the void in me was chocolates, sweets and anything not good for me.  I would eat enormous amounts and would mostly hide my eating. I avoided going to the same shops due to an intense fear that the cashiers would recognise me and take note of what was in my trolley each time I was there.

At this point, I barely left my house – other than going to work.  I was a veritable hermit.  I can honestly say that I'd finish work on a Friday afternoon, go to a supermarket and purchase every item of junk food I could afford.  The weekend would then be spent stuffing my face and trying to fill the void inside of me.

During this time, I felt mostly invisible, I preferred to eat in privacy and load my plate as I saw fit without the fear that people were talking about me.  While walking around in malls or shops, I would not make eye contact with anyone, I'd keep my head down and hope that I could avoid anyone I knew.  My biggest fear was that I'd run into someone who knew me, but wouldn’t recognise me because of the weight gain.

The turning point came at Christmas 2015.  I remember having 4 items of clothing in my cupboard that fit, 2 shirts and 2 pairs of tights.  I was sitting next to my Mom, my sister wanted to take a picture of the two of us and I panicked. I didn’t want to be in any pictures, I didn't want to admit the size I'd grown to.  I certainly did not want to look that challenge in the face.  I refused to put on a costume – I didn’t want to eat in front of my family, or anyone else for that matter.

I made a decision, my new lifestyle would start on the 27th of December.  It was the perfect timing for me as I was on annual leave and I made sure that I had my supplies stocked up at home.  This worked well for me.  I had a week on my own to get used to my new eating plan.  Upon my return to work, there were only a few of us back which again gave me another week to get my eating in line without any external pressures.

I followed a plan that suited my lifestyle – I believe that this is the only way any change in your life can be effective.  I also suffer from chronic eczema so cutting out carbs was something I had to do as the gluten in carbs affects my skin badly.  For me carbs are just not worth it.  I also cut out sugar for obvious reasons.  I actually feel that I was addicted to sugar and I really think that the best thing for any person to do is to eliminate sugar as far as possible from their lifestyle.  All the processed and sugar loaded foods we eat are slowly but surely poisoning us.

I set myself a task of weighing once a week and I chose to do this on a Friday morning.  Obviously, my first task was facing the number that glared back at me.  This was devastating, as I had never acknowledged my actual size.  However, when you come face to face with the scale there is no more hiding.

As the weeks went on and my eating plan began to adapt to my lifestyle I started to gain something that was new to me, confidence. I had started following a lot of health conscious people on Instagram who were uploading pictures of their meals, their workouts, their transformations – I was motivated, inspired and driven to get the weight off.  I also began posting pictures from my life – including my weekly weigh in’s.  Something in me just clicked and the weight started to fall off.  Tracking myself this way made me feel accountable to my Instagram account and I felt accountable to myself.

Initially I set a goal of 30 kg’s for the year as I felt that this is what I was capable of achieving, I hit this in August.  I then decided to go big and set a new goal of 42 kg’s for the year.  I ended my year with a weight loss of 47.6 kg’s and am currently on 48,7 kg’s – only another 1.1kg’s to reach my final goal.

I only started exercising in April, which was about 4 months after I started my new way of life.  I had lived a very sedentary life, so knew that I could not throw myself into a manic workout routine.  I set myself a goal of 40 minutes 4 times a week and would mostly stick to brisk walking on the treadmill.  It was important to me to get my heart rate up and to get the workout in.
I soon fell in love with exercise and it is now part of my life – I will never give it up.

My eating plan is very simple and I am happy to share it with anyone who may be interested.
You can follow my journey on Facebook and Instagram:

Instagram: @amandapruissen

I believe with my whole heart that if I can do this – then anyone can.

Losing weight is hard, being overweight is hard, maintaining weight is hard – you just have to choose your hard.