Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

I’d HIIT that


So to complement the brand-new eating plan that I’m now on (more about that later in the week), I have a new training plan too. Instead of two sessions a week of throwing balls, lying down and getting up, and crawling like a drunken bear, I have to do two sessions a week of HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. Or as I prefer to think of it, Hell In Its Totality.

According to Wikipedia, High Intensity Interval Training is “an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods”. Hahahaha! Love how they make it sound so innocent.

Perhaps this is true for elite athletes, or even for people who can touch their toes. But for someone who only just stopped breaking a sweat while putting on her gym socks, I can tell you that HIIT is an exercise strategy alternating periods of sweat and pain with periods of vomit and near-death. Wikipedia can kiss my ass.



HIIT it 3


Of course I didn’t know this at the time. Last Thursday I was blissfully ignorant and childlike in my naiveté. Oh how the exercise gods must have laughed.

Jump right into my nightmare with me why don’t you? The water’s still warm.


Virgin Active Claremont, 6am. Inside Nicola’s head.

La la la la. A new workout routine, what fun! Now, what machine should I use for my HIIT? Oooh, I haven’t been on the spinning bike in a while – let’s use that. Fun!

Hmm, haven’t been on this in a while – completely forgotten how to set it up. Hope no-one’s staring at me wondering why I’m twiddling all the wrong knobs. Blind.

At last! Managed to do that without embarrassing myself too much. Let’s do this!

This seat is a bit small… I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

Okaaay – 5 minute warm-up, no problem.

It must have been 5 minutes already, come on. No, only 2 minutes? Strange…

Shit. Bike seat is too low. My knees are not happy. Oh well I’ve started now, will just have to grin and bear it.

Finally, warm-up done! I wonder if I’m supposed to be sweating this much. Okay, onto the first interval. 2 mins 30 seconds of cycling at 50% of my max. I have no idea what 50% of my max is, but let’s pick up the pace a bit.

Okay not that much. Let’s take it down a bit there Armstrong.

La la la la. I can do this, I don’t know what everyone complains about.

First sprint coming up, 30 seconds at 100%. Easy peasy. And gooooo!

I must have done 30 seconds already surely? 12 seconds WHAT THE FU–?

And I have to do FOUR MORE of those? There is no way, there is absolutely no way. Whoever thought of this must be sick in the head.

Interval number 2 here we go. No no no, there is no way 2 minutes and 30 seconds is up already. I only just got finished with my last spri—-aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg!!!!

Interval number 3. Am I supposed to be seeing spots?

Interval number 4. I wonder, if you vomit next to the bike, do they throw you out of the gym?

Interval number 5. <No data. Subject blacked out.>

Cool down. Can’t sit down anymore. Ass too sore from bike seat. Also too tired to speak in full sentences. Or breathe.

5 minutes of cool down over. Time to disengage from the bike seat. And go die.


Permission granted.

Mission accomplished.


Apparently doing HIIT regularly gives you a whole mess of benefits. You burn more fat and calories after an HIIT session than you would after an ordinary cardio session, your heart gets healthier, your metabolism gets faster and you lose weight without losing muscle. Blah blah blah. All I know is that after one session I was ready to sell my first-born so I would never have to do a second session. Oh, and the fun part is, it never gets easier either. If it does get easier, you have to go faster. So I guess nausea and I are destined to become best buds. Whoop de doo.


HII it 2


So I can’t get out of doing HIIT, and I can’t look forward to one day getting used to it. But I can look forward to the benefits, like losing weight, getting fitter and healthier, and getting into a smaller pair of jeans. So that’s what I’m going to have to focus on instead of how much I want to die while doing it.

I’ll have plenty of time to put this to the test when I do my second session tomorrow morning. If you want to join me, you’re very welcome. Claremont Virgin Active, 6am. I’ll be the one dry-heaving on the bike in the corner.









The stress factor

Stress 1


I don’t handle stress well. For two years, while I was going through one of the most stressful periods of my life, I chose to manage my stress by putting Jose Cuervo’s grandchildren through university and having a more intimate relationship with Colonel Sanders than anyone really should.

There’s a reason why they don’t promote this as a healthy stress management technique.

When I started my journey in July last year, I thought I had all the bases covered. Emotional eating, check. Weekend afternoon boredom, check. Feeling sad, feeling angry, feeling anything – check, check and check. I’d been over all my triggers so many times, I was confident that I could overcome the emotions and situations that normally sent me spiralling out of control. Bitch, you got this.

No, no I didn’t. Because I completely forgot about stress.


Stress 4


I’ve been very lucky for the past 8 months in that I haven’t been exposed to much stress, either in my personal or professional life. To have so much stress and negativity finally removed from my life was like having a 2-year root canal finally come to an end – and the aftermath was so peaceful and joyous and blissful that I just lapped it up. And completely forgot to do any kind of thinking or growth around stress management going forward.

So last week, when things went from la de da to FUCK MY LIFE, I was completely unprepared. I had nothing, literally nothing, to fall back on. I didn’t have any tools to deal with it, I didn’t have any calming techniques to breathe through it and I didn’t have any constructive coping mechanisms whatsoever.

What I did have was alcohol.


Hello darkness my old friend.

Hello darkness my old friend.


Things started off slowly at first. There was a brief catch-up over a glass of wine as we got reacquainted. But after that first meeting, we got on like a house on fire and there was no stopping us. Of course a party isn’t a party without lots of guests, so pretty soon we invited another long-lost friend to the table.


Hey long time no see! How you doin’?

Hey long time no see! How you doin’?


And oh, then what fun did the three of us have together!


Party Time


We talked, we laughed, we ate, we drank and boy were we merry!

Funny thing though, when I woke up in the mornings, I didn’t feel any better. I was still stressed, and now I was tired and full of rubbish and fabulously guilty to boot. Hmm, do you think that could be because eating and drinking yourself into a coma ISN’T a good way to deal with stress????

Who knew.

So yes, it’s been a pretty shit week all in all. Going from joy and rapture at having hit the 30kg milestone to literally that evening having a glass of wine and sitting back passively as my demons ran riot for the rest of the week. It just goes to show that in this journey you can never be complacent, you can never just go a little way down the slippery slope, and you can NEVER stop fighting for what you want and what you deserve.

I forgot that for a while, but it’s something I’m going to remember from now on.

So what did I learn from this week?

  • Never drink red wine on an empty stomach.
  • Sparkling wine and tequila are not a good combination.
  • They don’t make Castle Lager like they used to.
  • And for fuck’s sakes woman, you need to find some healthy ways to cope with stress.


Stress 3


I had a bit of a pity party earlier in the week but it was a lonely place to be as no-one ever wants to go to THOSE parties. So I’ve snapped out of it and I’m back where I need to be. This lesson has come at just the right time, as I’m on a new eating plan as of yesterday, and there are a lot of good things I can take from the past week to help me along the way. Mistakes can be valuable tools if you choose to learn from them, rather than wallow in self-defeat for weeks on end. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Something else I’m going to do is snap on my big girl panties and go for my weigh-in tomorrow. It won’t be pretty, but that doesn’t matter. There’s no time limit on when I get under 100kg, or when I reach my goal weight, or when I start to maintain my ideal weight. Obviously I’d like to get there while George Clooney still has some lead in his pencil, but putting time limits on these things is a surefire way to create stress in my life. And as we’ve already established, I don’t deal too well with that.


Stress 2


PS: In the meantime, if anyone has any fabulous tools or methods to deal with stress, I’d love to hear about them. I need to be better prepared for the next time I metamorphose into a stress bunny with the IQ of a piece of soggy lettuce. (And please don’t tell me to take a bubble bath. I might just have an aneurysm.)


A brief recap and a big winner

The title of my blog couldn’t be more appropriate because this week I really have been losing it. What with a whole whack of shit going on in my personal life, being sick and just generally feeling like crap, it has not been a good week. And yet it started with such promise. Oh well, them’s the breaks. All I’m saying is that if you’re looking forward to next week’s weigh-in post, you’re going to be disappointed because there isn’t going to be one.


Let’s just keep the memory of this golden shining moment alive for a while longer shall we?

Let’s just keep the memory of this golden shining moment alive for a while longer shall we?


But, the best way to break out of the negative is to focus on the positive – which is why I’m now going to reveal the winner of the free Evo Fitness personal training session! (Yes, yes I know I promised to do this days ago, but life is just full of disappointments.)

Anyway, as you’ll see I once again used my foolproof selection method.


I put everyone’s names in a bowl and shuffled them around.

I put everyone’s names in a bowl and shuffled them around.


Which resulted in the following name being drawn:




Well done Paulie! I’ll be in touch and let you know how you can go about claiming your fabulous prize. Please also note that we want lots of pics of you working out like a champion!  I maybe even see some sort of fitness calendar in your future…

Thanks to Evo Fitness for the awesome prize – I’ll catch you guys next week when I’m back to full speed.

Smoochies xxx


Weigh-In Day 11.03.14




I love maths today! Because 134.4 – 104.1 = 30.3kg! That’s THIRTY FREAKING KILOGRAMS gone!!!!

With all my focusing on double digits I completely forgot about the 30 kilogram milestone looming, but now I’m going to celebrate it for all it’s worth!

Thirty kilograms!! Woohooo!!

That’s 30 of these:


1 kg


60 of these:


500 g


3 or 4 of these:




And a huge massive fuckload of these:




I definitely think a happy dance is in order!


Happy Dance


It’s been a long, HARD road, full of sweat and vegetables and going to bed early, but fuck me has it been worth it! And now that I’ve lost 30kg I can fit into:

  • My bras
  • The bath
  • My size 40 jeans
  • Cinema seats
  • Restaurant chairs
  • Passenger seats in cars
  • My seatbelt
  • That gap when only one of the doors in a two-door entranceway is open

And the list goes on!

A big thanks to:

  • My trainer De Waal for kicking my ass
  • My nutritionist David for making me eat the good stuff
  • My family for their non-stop encouragement
  • My friends for being SO AWESOME
  • The Sleek Girls for being a support system second to none
  • The Evo Fitness team for everything they’ve done for me
  • And everyone who’s taken time out of their day to read this blog. The fact that people other than my mother read this is still a wonderful surprise to me, so a massive thank you!

And to show just how much I love you all (and how much I love my ass in my size 40 jeans) I have another fabulous competition for all you super-awesome Losing It readers!

If you’ve always wanted to experience the power of personal training, then now’s your chance – because I have ONE FREE personal training session* to give away at the fantastic Evo Fitness establishment! So girls and boys, if you want to get your ass kicked in the most personal way possible, leave your name in the comments section within the next 24 hours, and I could soon be seeing you at one of the best training facilities in Cape Town!


Pictured: One of the best training facilities in Cape Town.

Pictured: One of the best training facilities in Cape Town.


And now if you’ll excuse me, I got me some work to do – those next 4.2kg ain’t gonna lose themselves!


*Evo Fitness is in Claremont, Cape Town, so if you’d like to enter the competition, please make sure that you’re able to travel there. And if you’re already an Evo client, you won’t qualify for the competition, sorry. But you will qualify for a hug from me if you see me there, so it’s a win either way 🙂


I got nailed this weekend

As if. The most R-rated action my flat’s seen lately is back-to-back episodes of True Blood. Actually the reality is less risqué but far more relaxing – because Saturday was the day that prizewinner Kelly and I went for our fabulous Rouge Day Spa pedicures!


Say hello to the nice people Kelly!

Say hello to the nice people Kelly!


This weekend was a work-a-palooza for me, so having a pedicure sandwiched in between seeing clients and writing websites was just what the doctor ordered.

Last pedicure’s bright yellow Glowstick was a massive hit, so this week I wanted something equally stunning. And because I’ve made a few bright sparkly decisions over the past week, I wanted my pedicure to reflect that – which it did in not one but TWO glittery shades of gold:


Shimmery Orly Luxe

Shimmery Orly Luxe


And fabulous Orly Sashay My Way

And fabulous Orly Sashay My Way


Not to be outdone, Kelly went for something equally as WOW – bright fuck-off pink:


Orly Beach Cruiser

Orly Beach Cruiser


And after that strenuous nanosecond of decision-making, it was time to relax and be treated like queens!


We could get used to this.

We could get used to this.


Look ma, bright pink!

Look ma, bright pink!


And then of course the finished product:





You can’t see my gold-on-gold toes so clearly, so let’s go in for a closer look:


That’s an undercoat of gold, with an overcoat of gold glitter. I feel a Spandau Ballet tune coming on…

That’s an undercoat of gold, with an overcoat of gold glitter. I feel a Spandau Ballet tune coming on…


Many thanks to the divine Rouge Day Spa for hosting us – Kelly, myself and our toes are all super grateful!

Oh, and if you’re feeling blue because you didn’t win the competition this time around, keep an eye out for tomorrow’s blog post. There may or may not be something in it for you again…


And the winner is…

I know you’ve all been eagerly anticipating the chance to cuddle up on a couch with me – frankly I’d think you were mad if you weren’t.

And so with that in mind, I employed a very serious, strict, rigorous selection process:


I wrote everyone's name on a piece of paper and put it into a bowl.

I wrote everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it into a bowl.


I then shuffled the papers…




And shuffled them some more…




Before eventually picking a winner!




Oh wait, you want to actually see who won?




Congratulations Kelly! You’ve won the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to squash up next to me for an hour and be treated like a queen, with a free pedicure, courtesy of Rouge Day Spa!

Our appointment is for 3pm this Saturday the 8th of March – I’ll see you then!

Much love and thanks to everyone who entered – and if you didn’t win this time, don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have lots more fabulous things to give away to you soon!


Smoochies xxx




Weigh-in Day 04.03.14




So from this picture you can see two things.


1. My toenails are FABULOUS! (Thank you Rouge Day Spa!)

2. The bloody scale hasn’t bloody moved.


Number one makes me happy. Number two makes me do this:


Nicola Sad Face


It’s moments like these when I think, man will I EVER blimming well get that scale to go under 100kg???!!! Right now it’s just toying with me – giving me a loss one week, a gain the next week, and all the while getting tantalizingly close to under 100, but never just bloody well getting there!!!!




I don’t know if it’s my training, my eating, the fact that I might have gained a billion kilograms of muscle overnight, or what. What I do know is that it is very VERY frustrating. So let’s take a closer look at the past week to see what it could be.


Training: I worked my ass off and did all five of my weight training/conditioning sessions. So it’s not that.

Sleeping: I managed to get MORE than 7 hours sleep on TWO occasions! So I’m pretty sure it’s not that.

Drinking: Water, water and yet more water. If it turns out it is that, I will be one very sad panda.

Eating: I was feeling very dizzy and light-headed this week, to the point where I had to go home from work twice. My doctor said it was an inner ear infection, but my blood sugar was 4.0 non-fasting, which I thought was very low. So instead of having just one meal with carbs this week, I had four spread out over the weekend, to help bring my blood sugar back up a bit. It could have been that.


Yes, it could have been that.

Yes, it could have been that.


Honestly though, I’m not going to go mad and start changing a whole bunch of things just because I didn’t lose any weight this week (according to the scale). What I’m doing is working, so I’ll keep on doing it. All I need to do is stick to what works, stop having an aneurysm on weekend afternoons when Bad Nicola wants to go drinking, and trust the process.


Bad Nicola, no biscuit!

Bad Nicola, no biscuit!


I was a bit meh this morning after my weigh-in, but I didn’t stay that way for long. Why?


1. I deadlifted 100 freaking kilograms this morning! Wooohooooo! That’s one of my goals for 2014 done already, and it’s only March! I am the official Queen of Awesomeness!

2. I am getting me some compliments on my weight loss and it feels good!

3. I get to spread the awesome toenail love – so Cape Town ladies – listen up!


Rouge Day Spa, the fabulous sponsor of my oh-so-beautiful nails, has given me one spa pedicure to give away when I go for my next appointment this coming Saturday. So if you’re free at 3pm on Saturday the 8th, are able to make your way to Kenilworth, and wouldn’t mind sharing a couch with me for an hour, then enter the draw pronto!

Just comment below with your name to let me know you’re entering, and then I’ll draw the lucky winner’s name tomorrow (with photographic evidence of course). Not only will you have your toenails painted in luscious colours, but you’ll also be helping me spend an afternoon FAR AWAY from a pub. Two birds, one stone.

And with that I leave you – full of renewed energy for the week ahead, scabby hands from my deadlifts and determination to kick double digits in the balls as soon as humanly possible.





Weekend warrior

Weekends are a bitch if you’re trying to stay healthy. During the week you can keep a lid on your clawing desire to eat and drink everything in sight thanks to work, routine, school nights and a healthy lashing of responsibility. But then the weekend hits, stretching before you in a minefield of temptation from Friday “ooh let’s just go for one” post-work drinks to the Sunday “god I’m too lazy to cook” 8 o’ clock movie and pizza. And maintaining control in the face of so much YUM is nigh impossible.


Morning Evening


Last year I was pretty good at navigating these pitfalls, either going out and being good, or staying home and working (and therefore not being bad). This year, however, weekends are becoming my nemesis. I start the day off so full of positive energy and good intentions, and a determination to make only healthy choices all day long. Then, round about lunchtime, the voices start.


Good Nicola: Hmm, I’m a bit bored. I really should have made plans for the day.

Bad Nicola: Plans you say? We can make plans! Let us call people and organise these plans!

GN: Ja, but like what plans? And everyone’s probably doing something already.

BN: Arg, you see this is what comes of being a freelancer. You can never make plans because you never know if you’re going to have to work. And now we’re stuck here at home while EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD is out doing something interesting on a Saturday.

GN: Ja ok fine, this is our life, so suck it up. Anyway, let’s get back to making those plans. What do you want to do?

BN: Drink.

GN: How about we go for coffee?

BN: Drink.

GN: Or a movie?

BN: Drink.

GN: We could go for a walk?

BN: Hahahahaha. Drink.

GN: Go visit friends?

BN: And take drinks.

GN: Go out for lunch?

BN: And drink many drinks!

GN: I’m sensing a trend here.

BN: You win the prize! And guess what? It’s a drink!

GN: Fuck my life.


Every bloody weekend.


Weekend 1


For the past few weeks, I’m sorry to say that Bad Nicola has won, to the detriment of both my weight and my mental state. But I’ve been back on track with a bang lately, and was determined to make this two weekends in a row where I stuck to my eating plan. The more good days I can string together, the closer I’ll be to my two-toned lady lovely locks!


This is what double digits is going to look like.

This is what double digits is going to look like.


I started off well – woke up early, did a bajillion burpees, ate a good breakfast, and spent the morning doing healthy, positive, fulfilling things. But then, like clockwork, the voices started around lunchtime. And honestly I would have sold my soul for an ice-cold pint of Castle Draught.


Ah sweet mother, how I long to suckle on your frosty teat.

Ah sweet mother, how I long to suckle on your frosty teat.


I was going so crazy with boredom and longing and frustration that I forced myself to get up out of the house and go for a walk before I spontaneously combusted and had to put myself out with a glass of something fabulous. So I walked all the way from my house, down 2nd Avenue in Kenilworth, all the way to the end and back again. Right past the Harfield Street Carnival, where everyone was (you guessed it) drinking.

Through sheer willpower, determination and divine intervention, I made it back to my house, tired from the walk, exhausted from the heat, and stone cold sober. The walk took an hour, but it felt like a year. And I still have tomorrow to look forward to. Whoop-de-doo.

I guess sometimes though there aren’t any tools or tricks to get you through. You can have bits of paper up all over the place with motivating messages. You can have lists and more lists of things to do other than eat/drink/eat some more. And you can have all the accountability structures in the world in place. But there comes a time when the only thing that’s going to get you through is discipline – sheer hard work, determination and gritting your teeth like a motherfucker. It’s not pretty and it’s not easy, but it’s what it takes to get the job done.

Which is why I’m here now writing this, instead of sitting out in the garden at Banana Jam getting off my face on beerquilas.

Will the weekends eventually get easier? I hope so, because fuck me, this is hard work. But for now it’s what I’ve got to do to get me where I’m going. So as hard as the weekends fight, I’m going to fight harder. There’s a pair of skinny jeans in my cupboard and dammit if they aren’t going to fit me by Christmas. Every weekend I invest in myself now is another stepping stone towards my goal – and the sooner I get there, the sooner I can have my guilt-free beerquila afternoon. And that’s some great ammo for Good Nicola to use the next time the voices start arguing.


Weekend 2

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