I’ve just put in for a week’s leave – I’m going home, I mean, “home” , my parents’ home, to attend my cousin’s wedding!  You may not think there is anything unusual about that, so I must tell you, it takes a lot for me to go home, and my cousin’s wedding, a few months ago, would have been a real no-go occasion! So what’s changed? Why am I prepared to enter the lion’s den? And why is going home such a big issue for me? Well, let me start at the beginning.


I’ve always been overweight, ever since I was a little girl. My mother, who is no light weight herself, always used to say, “You’re just like me, it’s our genes, it’s hormonal, you’ll never be able to lose weight”. She was always on some crash diet or other, during which times she was depressed and impatient with us, so I came to associate a lack of food with being unhappy and eating lots of food, with being happy. Because when she came off one of her diets, she used to indulge in every kind of forbidden treat, and of course, we followed suit. My brothers, being boys, were not so badly affected by this, as they were always out, playing football with their friends in the street, riding their bikes and generally being active. I on the other hand, hated any form of exercise; for me the biggest torture was PE classes at school. I hated undressing in front of other girls, I hated squeezing my rolls of fat into gym clothes, hated trying to run and knowing that everyone was laughing at the way I wobbled along. And of course, the teacher wasn’t very sympathetic. So more often than not, my mom wrote a note to the teacher to say that I wasn’t well, and was not allowed to do PE.
After leaving school, and during my tertiary education years, I followed my mom’s example of going onto many crash diets – every new fad, every idea put forward by a friend, I tried. My weight went down, true enough, but then it would sky rocket up again as soon as I gave up, which I usually did quite quickly. That was me, when I started my current job. I was in one of my slimmer periods, which gave me the confidence to apply for this job, but then of course, I again got caught up in working long hours, not eating regularly, grabbing a packet of crisps and a fizzy drink when I felt hungry, and binging on everything I could find when I got home to my flat at night.
Going “home” to my parents was always torture, having to listen to my mom’s endless laments about my weight, about me not making more of an effort, about my beautiful slim cousin getting married …. I avoided it at any cost!
BUT THEN – our HR manager, Lebo, one day called us together and said that she had found this amazing eight week programme for changing our lifestyles. We would each get some paperwork to complete, and once that was done, we would get a link to an online coaching programme that would supply us with exercise programmes and eating plans designed for our particular needs, which we could follow on our phones. We also had to enter our weight and certain measurements onto our profiles, and every time we ate the right food and completed an exercise programme, we logged that too. In addition, we were each given a coach. This person (my coach is Coach Adrian) communicates with me online, commenting on the times when I did a workout, always willing to assist if I neglected to make an entry for a few days. I also had a Skype consultation with Adrian. He was very nice and encouraging, until I said I would try to stick to the programme. Then he very sternly told me – Never Try. When you say you’ll try, you’re actually giving yourself a way out. You’re saying, well, I couldn’t maintain it, but at least I tried. Don’t try, JUST DO IT.
The GFIT programme is actually so easy to do. The meals are great, no starvation. I had to of course learn to eat more veg, and cut out a lot of the things I really loved, but at the same time, I found that I could really have tasty meals without adding a lot of empty calories. In addition, GFIT worked with our company canteen, so they offered the meals on our meal plans, which made it so easy to eat the right food! I feel so much more empowered, because I know so much more about correct eating and what my body needs to function well.
Of course, I never expected to actually stick to the exercise programme, but strangely enough, I found my programme, a home programme for a complete novice, so easy to follow that after a few tentative tries, I was able to follow the video on my phone, do the right number of reps, have my little rests and then start with the next one! And at the end, I could tick it off on my profile as done! It was an achievement every time, and Coach Adrian received many messages saying, I’ve done it! I completed every exercise session this week!
My boss was also very chuffed, because our department came second in the challenge – I forgot to say, the GFIT programme was offered as an inter-department challenge, to see which department would get the best overall results and be the most consistent. We’re planning on winning the next eight week challenge!
So here I am, on my second eight week programme, two dress sizes smaller, and going to my slim and beautiful cousin’s wedding, to show off my great new figure! I still have a little way to go, but if you look at my before and after pics, you won’t believe it’s the same Shereen! Can’t wait to hear what my mom’s going to say!