Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

How to lose 15kg in 8 weeks



  1. Stop drinking alcohol. Have minor nervous breakdown. Get talked off the ledge by sister, friends, and life coach on an almost daily basis. Drink enough sparkling water to sink the Titanic.
  1. Train every day. Squeeze into gym pants that are two sizes too small but refuse to buy new ones because A) you don’t have money, and B) YOU WILL NOT BUY LABELS THAT SAY XXL! Start weightlifting again. If 40kg squats can ever be considered weightlifting. Go back to Adventure Boot Camp. Wear black T-shirts so no-one can see how drenched in sweat you are after the warmup. Sign up for trail runs. Reconsider the run part about 30 seconds in. Do trail walks instead. Push, push, push. Don’t stop. You can walk slowly, but you can’t stop.
  1. Eat actual food. KFC, McDonald’s and Mr D do not count as actual food. Go grocery shopping. Buy stuff that expires. Eat it before it does. Cook meals. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, complex carbs. Make the best choices you can when you go out for meals. Say no to dessert. But eat the chocolate cupcake that your boot camp buddy gives you, because life is short and chocolate is sent from the gods.
  1. Talk to life coach. Your head is a fucking mess. Adulting is hard. You need help. Remember that survivors ask for help; victims sit back and blame everyone else for their mistakes. So go get some help. You badass surviving bitch you.




  1. Get out of the house and do things. Apparently there’s stuff to do in Cape Town other than sit in bars every night and get hammered. So go do it. Play bingo, take part in pub quizzes, go to the cinema, paint clay pots, go for hikes, cook dinner for friends, sing, dance, go to plays, concerts, parties, eat out in restaurants, say yes to anything that gets you out of the house and gets you living again. And then come home exhausted to a big comfy couch and a hard drive full of series. Because, balance.
  1. Connect. With family. With old friends you haven’t seen in ages. With new friends who are now part of your posse. With acquaintances who become friends before you know it. With women in your Facebook group. With yourself. Not with Tinder. Good Christ.
  1. Track your progress. Take before pics. Take before measurements. Try to fit into jeans. Think ‘fucking hell’, and pretend that you’re wearing a skirt because you want to, not because your tubby butt is now too chunky to even fit into your fat jeans. Keep at it, keep tracking and weighing and measuring, and keep remembering that even though it feels like a waste of time and effort, you will get to wear jeans again. Track your progress after 8 weeks and realise that you’ve lost 15kg, 50cm, and that your smallest pair of fat jeans is now too big for you. High five everyone you possibly fucking can. Feel like a rock star, because you are. Write this blog post, and get back to it. Life is too good to miss out on.




Food for thought

Skinless chicken breast, 100g. 23g protein, 2g fat, 0g carbs.

Egg, large. 6.3g protein, 4.8g fat, 0.4g carbs.

White potato, 100g. 2g protein, 1g fat, 17g carbs.

And on, and on, and on, and on.


For almost four years now I’ve followed this way of eating. IIFYM. If It Fits Your Macros. A lot of very clever people on a lot of very good sites can explain it far better than I can, but I’ll give it a shot. Essentially it involves you tracking all the food you eat in a day, adding up all the protein, fat and carbohydrate values of every gram of food you put in your mouth, to ensure that you don’t go over the collective total of protein, fats, and carbohydrates (also known as macronutrients) that you’re allowed to eat in a day – a total usually worked out for you with an online calculator, or preferably, by a professional nutritionist. If that’s confusing, then Google is your friend.


The point is that it works. It works like gangbusters actually. It helped me lose 55kg in the space of 3 years. The fact that I gained a shitload of weight back isn’t the fault of the eating plan, it’s the fault of my damn self. Not enough self-control, not enough self-care, not enough self-love. My water bottle says it best I think. Zero fucks given.


Before IIFYM there was moderate carb. Before that there was fat free. Before that there was eat as little as possible. Before that I can’t remember, but there was most definitely something, as I’ve been on one eating plan or another since I was 16 years old. As have most women I know. Being female is awesome.


But back to the here and now. January last year I was at 80kg, which sounds like a lot, but looks like this:




I’m smiling in that pic, but my head is going a million miles a minute. I had just run 5km into Knysna from the white bridge (my shirt is soaked through with sweat if you look closely) and I’m wondering how to track the breakfast I just ate, and what kind of oil my mom will be using to cook dinner that night so I can enter it in MyFitnessPal to make sure that I’m not over my macros for the day. And then I have to figure out who’s driving into town tomorrow so that I can catch a lift to the gym I signed up with so I don’t miss out on a weightlifting session. On my fucking Christmas holiday. There was no keep calm and carry on, there was only plan and track and work and sleep and plan and track and track some more and run and lift and push and pull and PRESSURE SO MUCH PRESSURE.


And eventually I cracked under all of it. All that time, eating right and tracking and training and making good choices and not drinking and being completely, totally, 100% focused on my health journey and nothing else. I cracked. And then I did the only thing I could do – I went 100% the other way. And ate and drank and ate and drank and did as little training as I could get away with. Because when I fuck something up, I do it good and proper. No half measures here.


I had the occasional glimmer of hope. I did the SleekGeek challenge in October last year and lost 12kg. Gained it all back. I went balls to the wall in February and lost 10kg. Gained it all back. And then somewhere in March or April this year, I came to a realisation. I just did not give a fucking shit. I didn’t care about being healthy, I didn’t care about losing weight, I didn’t care about eating right. I just didn’t care. It was too hard, and too much work, and too much effort, and I didn’t believe that I could do it again anyway.


At the same time though, I didn’t LIKE being overweight. I didn’t like that I couldn’t fit into any of my jeans, even the fat ones. I didn’t like that I was huffing and puffing like a stampeding rhino after climbing the one flight of stairs to my flat. And I didn’t like that I felt bloated and tired and lethargic and just plain crap. So even though I didn’t give a shit about being healthy, I WANTED to give a shit about it. Which meant that I had to ask for help. So I did.


I usually hate asking for help. I’d rather struggle on my own than inconvenience someone else. I have zero issue admitting that I have a problem, it’s not about that. It’s about imposing on other people, having them go out of their way, and thinking less of me for asking in the first place. So when I say that I asked for help, trust me that it was a big step.


But ask for it I did, and it came in the form of a health coach, who I’m still seeing. And I won’t bore you with the details, but we’re looking at a lot of stuff. Why don’t I value my health, why do I drink like a sailor on shore leave, why am I so stressed and anxious and worried about EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME??? I also began consulting with her partner, a holistic health practitioner, not about how to eat healthily (dear God I should bloody well know by now) but about how to adopt healthier habits, and to find physiological balance and healing through the help of natural supplementation. I am paraphrasing like a champ right now, but hopefully you get the picture.


What I also did, was make a promise to give up alcohol for six months, which you can read more about here, and to focus less on any kind of stress or trigger and fixation, and to focus more on living.


Which is what brings us to this. Five weeks of no alcohol, healthy eating choices, regular training, and an 11.6kg loss to show for it.






Simple. I’m not obsessing. I’m living. I’m not making healthy living THE ENTIRE FOCUS OF EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s important, sure, but it’s not my whole life – it’s just part of my life. I’m not following any type of structured eating plan. I’m eating all food groups, and following the basics that I’ve learned from IIFYM along the way. More carbs on days I lift weights, fewer carbs on days that I don’t. Big, low-calorie nutrient-dense meals, with no snacking in between. Food bursting with colour, taste and texture. Starch at night, if I’m eating any, so that I sleep better. Simple, sensible, easy-to-follow guidelines that I stick to without much thought. And I’m able to stick to them because after years of IIFYM I know the types of foods I can eat and the portion sizes I need to get the right kinds of nutrients for my body, while creating enough of a calorie deficit in order for me to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable, consistent way.


Here’s what I had to eat yesterday, if you’re needing more than that. I did an hour of weightlifting in the morning, so I got to eat more carbs, to give my body the fuel it needed.


  • Pre-workout: Fitchef green smoothie with apple, spinach and other stuff (I didn’t look at the label, sorry)
  • Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs on rye, with smoked salmon and mushrooms
  • Lunch: Homemade vegetable stirfry with chicken strips, and 1 tbsp of soya sauce
  • Dinner: Sirloin steak (with the fat cut off), garlic baby potatoes, and steamed vegetables


It was delicious, and eating tasty food like that, without stressing about it and tracking it and making it my one and only focus – that’s what’s helping me lose weight in a calmer way this time round.


As for training, yes, I’m doing it. Right now I’m doing four weightlifting sessions a week, three boot camp sessions a week, and one trail or road run. If you can count, that adds up to eight (well done you!) because I train twice on Fridays, purposefully. By the time I’ve finished my Friday night boot camp, I’m so exhausted I can barely walk, let alone drink. Which means instead of fantasising about drinking 12 bottles of wine and 90 tequilas at my local, I’m on my couch in my pjs, trying to lift my fork to my mouth while watching MKR. If you set up your life in a way that helps you succeed, that’s exactly what you’ll do.


And what else am I doing? I’m living, in a way that brings balance. I’m going out but I’m also staying in. I’m meeting friends and reading books. I’m eating out and I’m cooking at home. I’m weightlifting in the morning and going to pub quizzes in the evening. I’m crying with my coach about all the work stress I’m under, and I’m laughing with my friends and loving every moment. And while I’m doing that, health is becoming a part of my life, not my entire life. Will I fall down? Yes. Will I drink too much again? Absolutely. Will I become angry and frustrated and want to smash an entire lemon meringue pie in my face? Almost certainly. But there’s one thing I won’t do, and that’s make the same mistakes again. Life’s way too short to keep making the same ones anyway. Time to make some brand-new ones, and hopefully learn some brand-new lessons along the way.


*Disclaimer: While I may not be following any structured eating plan, the way I’m eating is very much based on IIFYM principles. So that doesn’t mean I sit around all day in my pajamas eating cake and drinking wine. It means I make healthy choices and eat healthy food. And I train every day. If you want to lose weight, those are things you have to do. What you don’t have to do, however, is obsess over them every second of every day. That’s all that’s changed. Just so we’re clear…




Promises, promises


On the western head of Knysna sits a house. Not just any house. My house. A house that was bought 26 years ago with two bedrooms, bunk beds and plastic chairs. A house that has grown as we have grown, doubling in size, filling with furniture, knickknacks, memories, and love along the way. It is the place I last hugged my grandmother; the place I first held my nephew. It has celebrated countless Christmases, Easters, birthdays and anniversaries, welcomed friends and family, seen laughter, tears, despair and hope. And yesterday, it watched as Knysna burned.

I’ve always loved my birthday. When I was younger, it was because of the presents and the cake. Now that I’m older, it’s because it gives me the opportunity to celebrate something special with my family and friends. And eat cake. Yesterday however, I couldn’t eat cake. I could only watch as reports came streaming in. 10 000 people evacuated and displaced. 150 homes burned. Our dear neighbours’ house, razed to the ground. Lives, possessions, security, sentiment, gone, in clouds of smoke and fury.

I don’t pray often. I know that as someone who willingly identifies as Catholic, I should. But I don’t. I like telling people that I’m the worst Catholic ever, then ordering another round of tequila and lighting a cigarette. Street cred, yo. But yesterday I prayed. For the people of Knysna, for the town, for the animals, for the emergency workers, and for that house, on the western head.

But because I don’t talk to God often and I spend more time drinking than praying, I figured I had to throw something extra in. Just to let Him know I was SERIOUS. So at 3am on 8 June, just a few hours into my 40th birthday, I promised God that if He kept our home safe, I would give up alcohol for six months.

Your move, big guy.

Now, I have no idea why God would care if I gave up drinking. From all New Testament accounts, Jesus was a mad wine fan. And I’m certain the people of Knysna would care even less. My not drinking is in no way useful to them whatsoever. But as I say, I had to show the man upstairs that I was hella serious. So a sobriety pledge it was.

Spoiler alert: As of 1 July 2017, I will be giving up alcohol for six months.

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that alcohol has always been a big stumbling block for me. You’ll know that I’ve gained weight, that I’ve been struggling with consistency, that breaking my ankle hasn’t helped, and that I’m seeing a life coach to help me get my mojo back. Believe it or not I was actually planning on giving up alcohol for 100 days from 1 July anyway. But in the great game of life, the big man has seen me, and raised me.

So yes. If in the coming months you’re wondering why I’m sucking on sparkling water while you’re getting tiddly on wine, here’s your answer. And you can laugh and think I’m an idiot or tell me why you think God doesn’t exist or try to get me to have JUST ONE DRINK or attempt to convert me to atheism or something. Go wild. Unfortunately I have this annoying characteristic where if I make a promise, I stick to it. It won’t be easy. From past experience I can tell you right now that it will be very, extremely, massively, fucking hard. But when I go home to Knysna, I’ll have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, a lounge to veg in, a patio to braai on, and many many more memories to be made. And it will all be totally worth it.

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone want to get unbelievably hammered with me on 30 June?

NB: While my giving up alcohol will do sweet bugger all to help the residents of Knysna, there are plenty of ways to show your support. Click here to find out how you can make a difference.


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All you need is love


So I’ve been on my new eating plan for two weeks now (haha, EATING PLAN – funny thing to call something with fuck-all food on it) and it’s been going pretty well. Two weeks in, seven kilos down. Fist bump city.

I’d like to say it’s been plain sailing, but that would be plain lying. Funnily enough, the hard part hasn’t been the eating right and the training regularly. The hard part has been doing that while undergoing potentially the most stressful situation of my adult life. Ooh, dramatic! For someone who deals with every negative emotion, even the tiniest of frustrations, by drinking themselves into a coma, this has been HARD. It has been a situation that I have wanted to escape, ignore, stress about, worry over, get angry about – all things that I would usually turn to wine, beer and tequila to help me with. So the fact that I have instead been tap-tap-tapping away on my laptop, eating tuna salad and busting out deadlifts is nothing short of a fucking miracle.

It’s not something I’ve been able to do on my own though. If I’d had to do this on my own, I’d be face down in a dumpster right now clutching an empty bottle of Cuervo and trying to find my panties. Instead, I’m washed, dressed, fed, and about to start work for the day. But I couldn’t start to write for other people before first giving a shout-out to the people who have been talking me down from the ledge, literally (yes, I know how to use this word correctly) on a daily basis. I know that I shouldn’t be drinking tequila shots at 9am, but I do need people to remind me of this occasionally.

So to the people who have generously given of their time, support, kindness, and resources, my heart thanks you all the way from the bottom to the top. Mom, Dad, Caren, Corne, Sue, Pat, Lynn, Wendy, Jill, Lisa, Dom, Chantel, and everyone else I’m lucky to call a friend – my wins are only my wins because of you – no more so at this time. Going through rough patches is indescribably awful, but the one thing it does do is show you who your friends are.

I was telling Jill on Valentine’s Day about how things had been so bad that morning that I’d almost had a breakdown in the middle of a shopping centre. But I got my shit together just in time (for God’s sakes Nicola, have a word with yourself) and managed to have a thought that actually helped. That I may be (very) poor in cash, but what I’ve realised over the past few weeks (and honestly should have realised a VERY long time ago) is that I’m beyond rich in love. And if Valentine’s Day isn’t the perfect day to realise that, then I don’t know what is.

Strongs, love and hugs to you all. This too shall pass. And by the time it does, Imma look hot AF.




Pop quiz


I don’t usually blog on a Sunday, but since I seem to be at home rather than at a dodgy pub somewhere (weird, I know), I thought I should do something useful with my time, aside from sitting in front of yet another Big Bang Theory marathon. (Also, has anyone seen the new MacGyver reboot? Hollywood, what have you done to my childhood??)

So in my last blog, I mentioned that there were a few questions I was going to try to answer for myself this year. I think it’s good to have goals – I’m definitely the type of person who needs to work towards something – so this year, instead of simply working towards a scale goal and a can-I-get-my-ass-into-those-Levis goal, I’m going to be working on some answers goals as well. Because hopefully by working through these questions, I’ll finally find the solution to long-term health success. Huzzah!

  1. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy for the love of god must it be all or nothing all the time? Why is it either stick to your eating plan 100%, stay away from booze and train 6 days a week, or sit on the couch in your pajamas for a month working your way through the Mr Delivery menu? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Seriously, it’s the biggest problem in my life and it’s a total pain in the ass. I hope I find an answer to this soon, because I know that when I do, I’ll make a fricking fortune out of it.
  2. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy must having a drink be the answer to everything bad and stressful and annoying and irritating and boring and otherwise blerg? Why can’t I be one of those people who goes to the gym instead or phones a friend or watches Sex and the City or gets a haircut or whatever? Why can things only be solved with 3 bottles of chardonnay? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Even after 15 months of sobriety, I was back on the bottle quicker than Charlie Sheen on a hooker’s ass. IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.
  3. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy am I finding it so hard to stay consistently motivated and committed? 2015 it was as easy as falling off a log. 2017 and I’m consistent from breakfast till about lunchtime (and sometimes not even that long). I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. So many healthy habits, so painstakingly cultivated, and so easily swept aside like KFC chilli salt off a counter. Don’t judge me, that salt is awesome.

I think that’s enough for now. Considering I’ve spent most of my life trying to answer just those three questions, it’s actually plenty. I know that some things are human nature. It’s human to want to stay in bed on a cold morning rather than get up and run. To want to go for the easy takeaway option when you’re tired, rather than having to cook. To want to sit on the couch all day blaming everyone else rather than having to get up and take responsibility for your actions. But I think if I can find a way to balance work and play, to cope with life constructively and to sustain healthy habits in the long term, I’ll find running in the rain child’s play by comparison.

Get your scoresheets out people – I’ve got some ticks I need to start putting into boxes.


Back from the dead

SURPRISE! Thought I was gone forever didn’t you? Well I’m back, finally. The poking and prodding and pleading finally did the trick, and here I am putting pen to paper once again (metaphorically speaking of course).

I’ll have you know though, that I’m not happy about it. And why? Let’s go through the list shall we.

  1. I’m feeling uninspired as fuck. It’s very difficult, nay, impossible, to inspire others when you’re not feeling very inspired yourself. So I thought instead of going through all that effort of pretending to be sparkly and shiny and yay, hooray, I’d do nothing instead.
  2. I’m fat again. That’s actually the real reason to be honest. And while I’d love to blame the fuckshow that was 2016 (Alan Rickman, sniff), unfortunately the only person I have to blame is myself. Too much drinking, too much junk food, not enough running, not enough training, too many excuses, not enough hard work. Plain and simple.
  3. I’m embarrassed. Do you know what it’s like to give talks on losing tons of weight, to be in magazines, to be trending on News24 as a “weight loss inspiration”, and to then go and gain a metric fuckton of weight inside of a year? It’s embarrassing as all hell, and I was ashamed of myself. I felt like an imposter, a joke, and a laughingstock. So instead of actually doing something about it, I chose to hide and eat and drink my way through it instead. This is a wonderful coping mechanism – I would really recommend it. Hashtag sarcasm.
  4. I’ve lost my way. Where I once found consistency and sustainability so easy, now it’s harder to find than a virgin on prom night. It was the one weapon in my arsenal that I could always count on – the ability to recover from setbacks in a nanosecond and soldier on regardless. Now, however, when I fall off the wagon or have a shitty day, I let old habits and bad decisions weigh me down and keep me in a rut far longer than I have any business being there. Why? One of the many questions I hope to find the answer to this year.
  5. I feel like I’ve let people down. I’m supposed to be Nicola the Amazing – the health coach with a solution for everything, the one who works and works and works, who motivates and inspires and is insanely, overwhelmingly positive and fabulous. And I haven’t been that way or felt like that for the better part of a year. There have been so many people who’ve supported me along the way – my family, my friends, my coach, the SleekGeek community, my health coaching clients, Facebook friends, internet strangers (the ones who don’t send dick pics) and many many more. And I feel like me going back to unhealthy ways is a giant middle finger to each and every one of them. It’s a hugely heavy burden to bear so again, wine. And more wine. You see the pattern?

Before you start to slit your wrists however, this isn’t going to be a completely negative, my life sucks, I’m a terrible person, woe is me kind of thing. I’m back from the dead but it’s not a fucking zombie apocalypse. Good job because holy crap I am too unfit to outrun anyone. Instead I see it as more of a phoenix rising from the ashes type thing, new life, rebirth, clean slate, the whole bang shoot.

So that’s what I’m doing here. Giving you a wave, telling you what I’ve been up to (mostly Home Bar and Mr Delivery), and letting you know that both my blog and my health journey have been resurrected. With gusto. Please join me as I get back on the horse. For one thing, I’m going to need a crane to lift me back on the saddle. For another, life is always so much more fun with company around. I hope that includes you.

Kiss 1


In sickness and in health

So last week this happened:


Which of course meant that this happened:

Eat all the things

Which now means that this has happened:

Mr Staypuft

So of course this won’t happen:


Until a lot more of this:

Lifting weights

And this happens:

Healthy food

So, tune in next week and find out what happens!



No rest for the wicked

What do you get when you train like a motherfucker for weeks and weeks on end, take very few rest days and get very little sleep? Apparently, you get this:


A weight gain. In fact, not just a weight gain, but ANOTHER weight gain. Second week in a row. That makes 1.3kg I’ve gained in two weeks. It’s almost enough to make me sprint for the oversized scones at Mugg & Bean and start shoving their creamy jammy carby goodness into my face. Thank fuck M&B isn’t open at 5am, because that’s exactly what I might have done if it were. Instead, I had to content myself with eating my caramel oats vigorously, while expanding my already impressive vocabulary of F-bombs. It’s been a wild morning so far.

Jokes aside though, one thing I’ve learned is that if you feel you’re doing everything right, but yet things are still going wrong, you obviously aren’t doing everything right. And apparently increasing your training while decreasing your rest time doesn’t fall under the headline of “doing everything right”. Who knew?

My hatred of sleep has been well documented here, so I’m not going to go into it again. Suffice it to say that I hate sleeping, always have, always will. So the idea of having to sleep more is about as enticing as taking a bath in a tub full of battery acid. FML. But I’m tired of working my ass off only to see gain after gain on the scale – and clearly my body is tired too, which is why it’s apparently trying to get my attention in the most irritating way possible.

What makes it all the more annoying is that I actually took a rest day this week. I needed to, after an awesome birthday party the night before. I even said to myself, ‘Self, you’ve been working so hard, you deserve to take the night off, let your hair down, and have a bit of a party’. So I did, as you can see.


Which I then followed up with a day of rest, couch, and very little else. So to see a gain after that is just obnoxious in the extreme.

If I’m honest though, I will say that sleep has been very thin on the ground. Usually I average about 4 – 5 hours a night, which I know is less than ideal. And Sunday was just a complete balls-up, having gotten home from Mumford at 2, and then getting up three hours later for an 11km trail run in the searing heat. It wasn’t one of my better ideas, I’ll give you that. So I can totally understand my body screaming at me, “BITCH IF YOU DON’T SIT DOWN I WILL CUT YOU!”  Point taken. You don’t have to be so hostile about it though.

So for the next week, I’ll make myself a promise. I promise to sleep more. I promise to take a rest day. I promise not to push myself beyond the ridiculous. And I promise to CHILL THE FARK OUT! Hopefully by being a little more relaxed, and a little less obsessive, I’ll start to see the progress I’m looking for. There’s a lesson in everything, and today I’ve learned mine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to watch some stuff I taped on my Explora. Don’t hate the player, hate the game 😉

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Keep on moving, the time will come one day

I really struggled with finding something positive to write today. In fact, I’ve just spent the past half hour watching 90s music videos on YouTube, procrastinating. Which is where my headline came from. Thank you to Jazzie B and the gang.  

Why is today’s blog such a hard one? Because after seeing this on the scale last week, I was absolutely CONVINCED that today I would finally, FINALLY, move down into the 70s, after having had a full-on relationship with the 80s for the past ten months:


So when I got on the scale this morning and saw this instead:


You can imagine how devastated I was. Usually I only allow myself to feel the emotion of a weigh-in, good or bad, for the amount of time I’m actually standing on the scale. As soon as I step back onto the bathroom floor, it’s out of my mind and back to work. But this morning was a little different. Instead of immediately going to my room and changing into my gym gear, I sat on the (closed) toilet seat for a few minutes, taking some deep breaths and trying not to cry. I also made a mental note to put my underwear back on before doing that again, because that toilet seat was COLD.

It’s one thing to see a gain on the scale when you’ve been sitting on the couch stuffing your face all week. Sure it’s never fun seeing that you’ve picked up weight, but you know you deserved it. Pizza isn’t a food group, and neither are chocolate brownies (more’s the pity). But when you’ve been training like a motherfucker 6 days out of 7, hitting your macros spot on every day, and saying no to all manner of sweet treats and cocktails and calorie-laden awesomeness, having the scale tell you that you’ve gained weight is like a slap in the face. And a cruel one at that.

A few years ago, seeing that would have sent me straight back to bed, then straight to McDonald’s as soon as they opened. Because fuck it, if being healthy won’t help you lose weight, then who gives a shit anymore. Might as well be unhealthy and enjoy life, right? Thankfully, those days are behind me. I might not like seeing the scale go up, but I’m made of sterner stuff now. So I went and put my gym gear on, had my oats and coffee, watched QI, and then banged out some back squats like a boss. Because that’s what I do now. And it’s better than being knee-deep in Big Macs.

I won’t lie though, I’m not exactly feeling full of the joys of spring right now. It’s times like these where I honestly and truly question if I’m ever going to reach my goal weight. As soon as I think I’m making progress, it’s like I take two steps back. It is massively, hair-pullingly frustrating, and I am exhausted.

Thankfully, I’m not quite at the ‘fuck this shit, where the McD’s menu’ stage quite yet. But I have to carry on somehow though. Which is why, instead of focusing on what I haven’t achieved this past week, I’m going to focus on what I have. Such as:

  1. I ran my fastest 5K EVER on Saturday!

Parkrun result

  1. I fit into a dress that I haven’t been able to wear since I was TWENTY YEARS OLD!


3. I ran (ignore the mileage on the watch) 12.5km WITHOUT STOPPING ONCE!


  1. I was in a photoshoot for Women’s Health! No pics now, but wait for the May issue. I am planking like a rock star!
  2. I look better naked! Although I’m not showing you any pictures of that. You’ve already seen me in my underwear – I have to draw the line somewhere. You’ll just have to use your imagination 😉
  3. Finally, and most importantly, I’m blessed with the support of family, friends, and Facebook groups, reminding me why I’m doing this, reminding how far I’ve come, and reminding why I still need to keep going. There are too many of you to mention, which is a reward in itself, and I thank each and every one of you.

Mostly this is what they keep reminding me about.

So that’s what’s going to get me through the next week, and that’s what I’m going to be focusing on, rather than my relationship to gravity at 4:45am this morning. Although I’m still giving the scale the finger every time I walk past the bathroom. Because that’s what it deserves.


5 life lessons I’ve learned from trail running


I am a trail runner. You wouldn’t think it to look at me though. I’m not fast, my form is non-existent, my breathing sounds like a cross between a stampeding rhino and a hippo in labour, and most of the time I have to push just to finish. But I can run for a few metres, and do so on a trail, which automatically makes me a trail runner.


If I’d had any sense, I never would have taken up this sport. It is HARD. But when I started almost 18 months ago, I was completely clueless, blissfully ignorant, and heavily overweight. I had also stopped drinking in an effort to shift some poundage, and needed something other than lifting a glass to fill my time. I entered my first trail run without a notion of what I was getting myself into, with no clue that many experienced road runners would rather fake an injury than run trail. I didn’t know that it was hard, I didn’t know about injuries, I didn’t know about your lungs feeling like they were on fire, your legs feeling like lead and molasses at the same time, I didn’t know about grass and sand and dirt and mud and water crossings and single track and switchbacks. And most of all, I didn’t know about HILLS! But what I did know was that at 108kg, with very little cardiovascular fitness, something needed to change. And slowly, one finish line at a time, something did change. Not just me on the outside (since starting trail running I’ve lost 28kg), but me on the inside as well – as the more I hit the trails, the more a number of realisations started to hit me right back. Five, to be exact.


  1. Live in the moment


On any given trail run, my thought process usually goes a little something like this.



“Everything hurts. Like, everything.”

“Surely I must have done at least a kilometre by now. ONLY 600 METRES??? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY???”

“Ok so I’ve done 2km and the race is 8km long. So I only have to do what I’ve already done another three times and I’ll be finished!”

“Five kilometres left? I can’t, I seriously can’t.”

“I’m dying. I am actually dying right now.”



“The hills are so NOT alive with the fucking sound of fucking music.”

“Why am I doing this stupid race in the first place?!! I hate my life and everything in it!!!!!”


Anxiety, stress, pain, exhaustion, irritation, and sometimes anger. Pretty much part and parcel of my trail running experience. When I’m in a race and I’m thinking about how few kilometres I’ve done, how many there are still to go, the insane elevation I have to look forward to, how hot/cold/rainy it’s going to be soon, I become overwhelmed with negativity. And thankfully, after many, MANY runs, I finally realised why. Because I was too preoccupied with the past, and too focused on the future, to be able to fully embrace the present. As soon as I sloughed off the worries about having covered so few kilometres, and having so many more to struggle through, I was immediately able to find comfort and pleasure in the present. In appreciating my surroundings, in becoming fitter and stronger, in enjoying the beauty of nature, and in getting to my goal one single step at a time. And the minute I began to live in the moment, the more fulfilling each of those moments became. The finish line is still a challenge to get to, make no mistake, but the getting there is now infinitely more rewarding.




  1. The bigger the struggle, the sweeter the success


Ask any trail runner what they hate most about trail running, and they’ll reply “Hills!” (At least I hope they will, otherwise I’ll look like an idiot.) That’s what my answer would be anyway – particularly as I’m still incapable of running up hills, so I have to walk them every step of the way. Ridiculous elevation, usually 1,500 degree heat, huffing, puffing, burning, dying. Hills. Like seriously, what the F man???


By contrast, my absolute 100% favourite part of trail running is going downhill – particularly after a nasty, backbreaking uphill. The sweet release, the air in your lungs, the sensation of flying, the claws of Satan finally retracting from your screaming quads – there’s nothing quite as freeing, or as blissful. But one day as I was revelling in the awesomeness that is the downhill run, I asked myself, would it be quite as stupendous if I hadn’t just come off a blistering uphill? If trail runs, and life, were all downhills, wouldn’t bliss eventually become the norm, and one day even the mundane? Aren’t the downhills, the successes, the pleasures we experience made all the greater by the struggles we go through to achieve them? And don’t we need the struggles to make us resilient – to build our fitness and strength on the trails, and our power and confidence in life? Forcing myself up a strenuous uphill isn’t fun, but it damn sure makes me a better runner – just as successfully working through challenges makes me a better person. So while I may not like the hills, I’ve learned to appreciate them for the learning experience they are. And man, do those downhills feel good afterwards.


Mont Rochelle 

  1. Happiness is in the quiet moments


It’s easy to find happiness in the big, bold moments – in celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, in buying a new home, in being promoted, in driving a new car. But I’ve found that the purest form of happiness lies in the spaces between – the calm, quiet, often overlooked moments that whisper, rather than shout. Like when you’re drinking the perfect cup of coffee. When your favourite song suddenly comes on the radio. When you finally get the hang of winged eyeliner. Or when it’s just you and the trail, your feet crunching against the dirt, the sun rising over the vineyards, the wind at your back, the cool, crisp air your companion, and you realise that maybe, just maybe, this being alive thing isn’t so bad after all.


Bastille Day


  1. Always be grateful for what you have


I am an extremely slow runner. I wish this was false modesty, but it’s the truth. If I’m ever in a race against a tortoise, I advise you to put your money on the tortoise, because it’ll be a safe bet. When I started trail running at 108kg, I was literally the slowest runner at every single race – crossing the finish line last, coming in with the sweeper, sometimes so far behind everyone that the organisers had packed up and left. I hated it, and I was mortified. I found it beyond embarrassing that I was so slow, and so bad at running that I was dead, stone, absolute last every single time. I didn’t want to come first (hahahahahahahahaha chances!) but just coming in somewhere in the middle would be enough. Please, just for once!!!


And then during one race, something strange happened. For some bizarre reason unknown to man, at the beginning of the race, I found myself in the middle of the pack, able to keep pace with the other runners for a bit (ok, two minutes). And I absolutely hated it. I hated being caught in a huge bunch of people, I hated the noise, I hated having to move aside every two seconds for faster runners, and I hated the frenetic claustrophobia of it all. That’s when it struck me. That all those times I had been right at the back, I hadn’t been losing – I’d been winning. I’d won freedom from the chaos at the front, I’d won the chance to complete my race at my pace in blissful peace and quiet, I’d won the opportunity to work on my technique, and I’d won valuable advice and insight from the sweepers as we finished together. Lightbulb. Always, always give thanks and be grateful for where you are at any given time – because chances are, it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. I’ll get to the middle of the pack when I’m good and ready, but until then, as long as I’m grateful for what I have and where I am, I’ll be winning at running and at life.




Speaking of the sweepers…


  1. Don’t fight the slide


Without a doubt, this is the most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever been given, and it came to me via the sweeper on the second trail run I ever did. Don’t fight the slide. At the time, it made absolutely no sense, and given that it was said to me as I was busy careening 400 metres down a muddy hill on my backside, I think my reply went along the lines of “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK??”


After I had recovered from my minor aneurysm and he had recovered from his laughing fit, he explained. Don’t fight the slide. If you feel yourself falling, don’t correct yourself, just go with the flow. The same way you’re supposed to steer into the turn if your car skids. If you let the slide take you, the worst that can happen is mud, dirt, and some bumps and bruises. But if you fight against it, that’s when you run the risk of real damage – sprains, breaks, snaps and potentially months at home in casts and rehab and traction. It’s the same with life I’ve found. If you go with the flow, go with ease, go with positivity, you’ll get to where you need to be far more quickly, far more safely, and usually with a laugh as well. But if you flail and flounder, caught in a storm of negativity and unease, you may just fall down and never be able to get back up again. That’s why since that day, I don’t fight the slide anymore. I ease into it, I fall down, I get up, I wash my muddy clothes, and I come back for more. Because that’s how you fight, and that’s how you win. Every single time.


La Capra


The school of life. Now open at a trail run near you.