Fol­low­ing His Heart

Rikus Visser re­cov­ered from a heart at­tack scare to lose 65 kilo­grams and re­de­fine his health

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THE GAIN I was mor­bidly obese from a very young age. I was a good sports­man, but al­ways jus­ti­fied to my­self that I looked and felt just fine when I wasn’t. The real damage hap­pened af­ter school when I left to study at Stel­len­bosch. It be­came all about par­ty­ing and eat­ing the wrong things and with the lack of a bal­anced life­style my weight shot out of con­trol. Be­fore I knew it, I was clock­ing in at a mor­bidly obese 180 kilo­grams. I had lied to my­self for years and jus­ti­fied why I was so big, but now there was no way I could jus­tify the num­ber on the scale.

THE CHANGE I made the de­ci­sion to change my life. I’m an avid golfer and it was one Sun­day af­ter­noon on the 17th hole that I got a ter­ri­ble pain in my chest af­ter a steep climb. It was a mas­sive scare and I re­alised that if I didn’t do some­thing about my weight I might die of a heart at­tack. A week be­fore the in­ci­dent I’d got en­gaged and I knew I had to shed weight in the 12 months that re­mained be­fore the wed­ding.

THE STRAT­EGY From the start I knew that it wasn’t go­ing to be a quick fix, and I made a con­scious de­ci­sion not to fol­low any crash di­ets. I started work­ing out in a buddy’s garage with just a few home gym ma­chines and fol­lowed what I thought was a good bal­anced diet. I started see­ing re­sults im­me­di­ately and then I chal­lenged my­self to lose three to four kilo­grams each week. My de­ter­mi­na­tion grew ex­po­nen­tially as I lost weight and soon I started work­ing out in a gym with a per­sonal trainer.

THE RE­WARD I feel fan­tas­tic and I’m the fittest I have ever been. My health has im­proved in all as­pects. It’s also re­ward­ing to see that you have made an im­pres­sion on oth­ers to get their bod­ies into shape. I feel fan­tas­tic and am ad­dicted to ex­er­cise and the gym. I am con­tin­u­ing my weight loss jour­ney and I am mo­ti­vated to trans­form my body. I want to tell oth­ers how much bet­ter I feel and that the jour­ney to looking and feel­ing bet­ter is a mind shift. There is no med­i­cal or phys­i­cal rea­son why you should stay obese.

THE RE­SULT My to­tal weight loss is 65 kilo­grams. My waist has dropped from a size 52 to a 38. I’m still a big guy, so I’m fo­cus­ing now on in­creas­ing mus­cle mass and de­creas­ing my body fat per­cent­age.

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