ELLA PIKE

17 | LEARNER

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - YOUR BODY -

FOOD DE­LIGHTS

Through­out my child­hood, food has been a ma­jor as­pect of my life, bring­ing fren­zied de­light at the mere men­tion of one of my many favourite in­dul­gences. It has al­ways been some­thing that is usu­ally play­ing at the back of my mind: what I’ll make for lunch, or whether I should have a quick snack, or if I de­serve a treat.

CHANG­ING OUT­LOOK

These sorts of things led to my steady weight in­crease be­tween the ages of 12 and 14. I wanted to lose the ex­tra weight, but I didn’t know how, and I cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing to lis­ten to my par­ents. So I agreed to see a di­eti­tian to­wards the end of my Grade 9 year, when ado­les­cent is­sues of­ten reach a peak.

FO­CUS AND DRIVE

My reg­u­lar vis­its to a di­eti­tian, Kate, brought a struc­ture and a goal to my ap­proach. Grad­u­ally, the kilo­grams be­gan to shave off, and by the end of Grade 10 I had lost 15kg. This, in my opin­ion, is the most sus­tain­able ap­proach, be­cause in­stead of go­ing on a diet, I was merely chang­ing my out­look.

After six months, I had stopped con­sult­ing my meal plan and had be­gun choos­ing cre­ative al­ter­na­tives and mak­ing health-smart choices on my own. The progress was cer­tainly slow, but steady, and I re­fused to al­low my­self to stray from the path.

CON­FI­DENCE BOOST

Los­ing weight did won­ders for my self­con­fi­dence, and I would partly at­tribute my jour­ney from be­ing an in­tro­verted recluse to a func­tion­ing so­cial be­ing to it. Food re­mains a ma­jor as­pect of my life, and those thoughts have not left, but it’s the choices – fewer carbs, fewer fats and much smaller por­tions – that I have changed.

I have learnt not to feel guilty about food, but to change my re­la­tion­ship with it, turn­ing it into a pos­i­tive, healthy ac­tiv­ity. If I have had a bad-eat­ing day – it hap­pens to the best of us – I don’t beat my­self up. I just pick my­self up and get straight back on track.

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