Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

Seven days

No, this is not a Craig David song. No-one was making love by Wednesday, and on Thursday, and Friday and Saturday. Although we did chill on Sunday.

Monday: Taking a break from civilisation. Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 9:30pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Know I should really be going to sleep. Watch more stuff anyway.

Tuesday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 7pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Big Fat Quiz of the Year cracks me up. Even though I’ve seen every episode 3 times now.

Wednesday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 4:30pm. Watch The Cutting Edge. For the millionth time. TOEPICK! Bed. Watch stuff on laptop again. Starting to develop a crush on Jimmy Carr. May need to return to civilisation sooner than I thought.

Thursday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 5:30pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. I like Noel Fielding’s hair. And his dress. That was a weird sentence.

Friday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work, then return to civilisation. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Wishing the year would hurry up and end so they would bring out a new episode of Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Obsession with Richard Ayoade is now at an 11 out of 10.

Saturday: Up at 4:30am. What in the name of all that is holy??? Eat breakfast half-asleep. Drive 500 miles (ok, 50km) through to Landskroon Winery. Not to drink. To run. Because I am mad.


Run 10km in 1:16. Not quite last, but almost. Eh, don’t care – was a beautiful run. Realise that left arm is in an immense amount of pain, with almost zero mobility. Drive home, shower. Carefully. Drive through to hair salon. Changing gears is excruciating. Yay for me. Sit in chair and wonder if everyone looks revolting in those awful hairdressing capes, or if it’s just me. How come I never noticed I had so many chins??? Drive home. Ow. OW! Healthy lunch, watch tv, take drugs given to me by pharmacist. Drape hot pack over arm. Pray for slow death. Realise that getting dressed for function later will be almost impossible. Call friend over to help. Drink bubbly, get dressed very slowly. Bubbly helps. So does friend. Call Uber. Thank fuck I don’t have to drive. Get to Pigalle (fancy!) for freelance Christmas party. Have super awesome time with friends!



Eat healthy food. DRINK ALL THE DRINKS! Move on to some other clubs. Not feeling it. Some weird-ass dude is trying to feel my face. Dimly recall there’s some sort of song about that. Realise that when I am in a club surrounded by 25-year-olds on E, it’s probably time to leave. Pour myself into an Uber and go home to pass out. Getting undressed doesn’t hurt quite as badly. Thank you alcohol.

Sunday: Why am I asleep on my couch? Remember moving there in the middle of the night. Don’t question it. Headache. Arm still hurts like a mother bitch. Yay Myprodol and Rehidrat! Healthy breakfast. Shower, Cavendish, Mockingjay Part 2. Biltong snacks. Home after decent movie and appalling Point Break trailer. Crave pizza. Have a chicken and salad wrap instead. I would high five myself but it’s too much effort. So traumatised by previous trailer, watch real (and only!) Point Break to calm myself down. Snooze on couch. Wake up to Keanu yelling “I AM AN FBI AGENT!” Yes you are baby, yes you are. Skype parents, watch random crap on TV. End off day with a healthy dinner and half of Ghost. Apparently I’m in a Patrick Swayze kind of mood. He would never put me in a corner.

Monday: Up and at ’em, go go GO! Drive through to Clifton, climb a fucking ridiculous amount of stairs (whatever 280 x 14 is). Die.


Home. Breakfast. Doctor. Cortisone and anaesthetic. Bliss. Work till 6:30pm. Healthy meals all day. Perve new intern on Grey’s. Again. Assessing whether or not this means I am in need of a life. Bed. More Big Fat Quiz. Wonder if Eddie Izzard is straight or gay. Google. Straight apparently. You learn something new about transvestites every day.

Tuesday: Step on scale.


Realise that after a week of regular training, healthy eating, positive thinking and doing a lot of what I love, I have managed to lose 3.7kg in one week. Because I am a fucking legend.

And that, my friends, is balance.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been writing a lot of FAQ pages recently in my professional capacity, so I thought, why not write one in my personal capacity too and tackle some of the queries that have been coming my way. Just go with me on this.


Q: So where’ve you been recently Nicola?

A: At home. Away. Home some more. Away some more. Not wearing pants. Bars. Also bars. And then bars. I did wear pants in the bars though.



Literally do not remember this photo being taken.


Q: So does that mean you’re drinking again?

A: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.


Q: You know we’re in South Africa right? The Fifth Amendment doesn’t apply here.

A: Oh for fuck’s sakes.


Q: Would you like to try that again?

A: OK FINE! YEEEEEEEEEEES I am drinking again.


Q: What are you drinking?

A: Kenilworth mostly.


Q: Why are you being so difficult?

A: Permission to be acknowledged as a hostile witness Your Honour.


Q: Again, not an episode of Law & Order. Seriously, what’s going on?

A: I don’t KNOOOOOOOOOOOW! Ok well actually I do know. Drink, drink, drink some more. Make some very questionable choices. Throw name like a fucking champion. Wake up feeling like SHIT. Eat all the food. Have one to two days of making healthy choices. Ooh I feel like a drink! Repeat ad infinitum. Feel guilty, feel like crap, feel ashamed, feel like burying myself under the duvet and never coming out, feel li… WHERE IS THE MYPRODOL???


Q: Yeah no, that’s not good.

A: That’s not a question.


Q: Ok, so here’s the question. What the actual fuck is going on?

A: Genuinely, honestly, I have no idea. It could be a number of things. Work is BEYOND insane, so there’s that. I’ve been working relentlessly at my health and fitness journey for nearly 18 months now non-stop, so there’s that. And it’s the end of the year, when everyone is naturally tired and exhausted and broken down anyway, so there’s that. Throw my biggest trigger and my knee-jerk go-to coping mechanism on top of all of that, and it’s like chucking a Molotov cocktail on top of all your hard work and watching everything go up in flames.





Q: So are you going to go back to sobriety again then? Because it seems that all your issues started as soon as you took that first sip of wine a few weeks ago.

A: I’ve seriously contemplated it. Giving up alcohol and committing fully to my health journey was a massive catalyst for change in my life, and it not only introduced me to new friends and new pastimes, it introduced me to my authentic self, and a better quality of life overall.


Q: So that’s a yes?

A: You would think so, but no. I thought about it a lot, I discussed it with friends, I mulled over it at 3am when I couldn’t sleep, and I most definitely considered it when I was hunched over a toilet at 5am having a dramatic technicolour conversation. And at one point I was genuinely convinced that I was going to embrace lifelong sobriety. But then I realised, I don’t WANT to be sober for the rest of my life. What I want is to be able to go to wine festivals and dinners and lazy lunches and ladies’ nights and enjoy some drinks, some giggles, some good conversation, some blissful tipsiness, and embrace everything that life has to offer, not just part of it.



Case in point.


Q: What do you mean by that?

A: Well, when I gave up drinking, it was the absolute best thing for me at the time. It forced me to confront the fact that there IS a way of existing, of living, of coping and of being happy without having to depend on alcohol constantly. I’d heard this was possible, but I’d never experienced it for myself. So that’s what sobriety allowed me to do – enjoy life to the full without any chemical enhancement. But looking back on it now, I realise that it wasn’t a balanced way of life. There were a lot of things I sacrificed and missed out on while I was so determinedly focused on my health journey. And that’s fine, I was fully prepared to give up those things for the sake of my physical and emotional health. But now I want to embrace life in EVERY way – to enjoy the same awesome moments and the same amazing quality of life I did while I was sober, AND to enjoy the fun of partying and socialising with my friends too. I want both sides of life, and even though I’m struggling to reconcile them at the moment, it’s something I know I can make happen for myself, if I work hard enough at it.


Q: How?

A: Well isn’t that the fucking million dollar question. Obviously I don’t know right this moment, hence the struggle and the falling and THE SHAME and the everything. But I’m determined to once and for all find the thing that has so far escaped me for most of my adult life – BALANCE. Drinking all the time obviously wasn’t balanced – but then neither was being sober all the time too. Both were very all or nothing ways of existing, and yes, while sobriety worked wonderfully well for me, it was a temporary phase, not a permanent way of life. Now that I’m finished with that phase, it’s time to move on to the next, far healthier, far more sustainable one – BALANCE.


Q: And you think you can?

A: I gave up alcohol for 15 months. If I can make it through dinners, parties, blind dates, concerts, my high school reunion, and a freaking car accident without resorting to alcohol, I can do this. Embracing sobriety was literally the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I genuinely didn’t think I could do it. I’m looking forward to surprising myself again.


Q: Don’t hit me, but I need to ask. Has all this up and down and sideways and what what affected your weigh-ins at all?



Q: I’m taking it that’s a yes?

A: That’s a big fat yes.


Q: Ok, so what are you going to do about it?

A: Well I’ve taken a few lessons from the fuck-up that has been the past five weeks – the biggest one being, never, ever, ever, EVER drink the night before a trail run. I’m serious kids. Don’t do it. There are few other guidelines I’ll be putting in place for myself in order to achieve more balance in my life, but the biggest one is, just let it freaking go man. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, you don’t have to be better than anyone else or hold yourself to a higher standard or be perfect ALL THE TIME. Because you can’t. So when you fall down, don’t lie there yelling and screaming and drowning in your own shame and guilt. Just let it go, get up, and get back to work. Ain’t nobody got time for that. As for the few (ok, ok, 6) extra kilograms I’ve picked up, the rest of the year I’ll be making as many healthy choices as I can, as often as I can, I’ll be getting back on the trails and back in the gym, and come January, I’ll have lost it all and be ready to pound 2016 into submission!


Q: High five sister!

A: High five.


Q: Ok so those are all the questions I have for you.

A: Thank god for that, I’m starving, and my chicken and lettuce wrap awaits!


Q: One more thing.

A: I knew it was too good to be true.


Q: Don’t think that because you have a blog and do health coaching and post transformation pics of yourself and have a health and fitness group that you can’t ask for help too. This shit is HARD, and no-one expects you to be Little Miss Perfect, 24/7. Because frankly, how boring. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel fat – just learn, get up, do better and don’t stop sharing. Because people care, and you’ll see that whenever you fall down, you have hundreds of hands waiting to help you back up. Don’t ever forget that, ok?


Birthday fun

I see what you mean.