ETHEL SNYMAN

44 | IN VOIC­ING CLER K

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - YOUR BODY -

DRAW­ING A LINE

My weight was per­fectly nor­mal when I was a teenager, but I wasn’t too ac­tive. I only played a win­ter sport. After school, I started ex­er­cis­ing at home in the evenings. It toned my body well and I looked great. Un­for­tu­nately, we moved to a smaller place and I no longer had the space to ex­er­cise.

That’s when I started pick­ing up weight. It hap­pened grad­u­ally over time and I ac­tu­ally didn’t re­alise how big I was un­til I ended up weigh­ing 122kg. I was shocked and des­per­ate. I de­cided enough was enough.

SMART CHOICES

First, I ad­dressed what I ate. I cut out bread, pasta, rice, pota­toes and sugar. I tried to drink more wa­ter but I didn’t – and still don’t – do very well with wa­ter, but that doesn’t worry me too much.

Then I ad­dressed ex­er­cise and joined a tug-of-war club. I par­tic­i­pated in my first league com­pe­ti­tion in April 2016. I en­joyed the so­cial as­pect, the com­pet­i­tive side and meet­ing new peo­ple.

BRAV­ING THE GYM

Then I joined a small gym. I was so shy. I had to do burpees, but couldn’t even bend down. When I tried plank­ing, my breasts would hang on the floor. It was hor­ri­ble. I couldn’t walk for two weeks – it hurt so much – but I went ev­ery evening from Mon­day to Thurs­day.

I would go home and prac­tise burpees un­til I got them right. I started to do CrossFit and ended up lov­ing go­ing to the gym and mak­ing gym bud­dies. The coaches were pos­i­tive, pa­tient and per­sis­tent with me. Join­ing a gym was the best de­ci­sion I made and money well spent.

FAM­ILY SUP­PORT

Of course, with­out my fam­ily and friends this jour­ney would not have been so bear­able. When I ate some­thing my mom would ask ‘ Mag jy dit eet?’ (‘Are you al­lowed to eat that?’) I loved her for that.

Two years ago, I never thought I could be so ac­tive. Now, with so much weight lost and a new ac­tive life, I feel alive for the first time in a very long time.

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