The year was 2013 and my daughter was almost 2 years old. I was getting dressed to go watch a basketball match and I chose my usual pair of jeans. Low and behold, it wouldn’t go up past my hips! At that moment I burst into my tears. I had to finally accept that I had gained a lot of weight and I had to do something about it. I signed up for a boot camp class that was being conducted around Beau-Vallon. The first Monday I started I was extremely shy and intimidated by the women who actually looked amazing to me. That first week was the toughest week of working out that I ever endured. Running uphill over and over again, doing burpees, crawling up the hill and so many other variations of torture! I wanted to quit right there and then, walk away and never look back. But I didn’t! I had my mind set on doing this thing and by all means, I was going to succeed. Working out is fun! Right??? I was supported by my family, friends and the ladies who were in the same class. To this day I am still in touch with some of them and we constantly motivate one another.
Come 2014, I had to leave Seychelles for further studies in Botswana. I figured once there I could just do some of the H.I.I.T workouts I did at bootcamp, minus rolling tyres on a beach 😀 But depression hit me like a ton of bricks during the first few months. I was not happy to be away from home, especially my daughter who was only three. My house mate and I were living in a village called Tlokweng and my depression worsened. I packed up and said ‘That’s it, I’m going back to Seychelles’ Luckily we managed to find a better apartment in the capital, Gaborone, just 5 minutes from the University. The housing situation was sorted, but my mind was still not at peace. What to do???
I tried everything, shopping, eating, going out, burying myself in my school work. Nothing worked. My housemate then suggested we look up some gyms and see what we can do. I went for a week and gave up. It wasn’t helping.
One morning I woke up early and stood on my balcony, “to run or not to run?” that was the question going through my head. Screw it! Go! So I went. I’m no runner so my “jog” involved a lot of walking. That was day one and it was all I needed in order to feel right again. Unbelievable! I had been in this state of depression for a good two months and a walk/jog session of 1 hour did the trick. The next couple of days I stuck to my routine unless I had a morning lecture at 7am. I mean, it was Winter 😀 I got to see Gaborone when all was still, no cars, no cows and definitely no monkeys! Only others who were doing the same thing as me. We would smile through the burn and silently encourage one another. It was awesome!
I eventually found a gym further away and decided that I would jog to the gym after classes and then jog back home. By then I was actually able to jog pretty much all the way! Success! I was not just losing weight, but I was feeling great mentally and it showed. I didn’t have to fake a smile and pretend to be happy. It was all genuine. Going to the gym, lifting weights, pushing my boundaries and getting stronger was some of the best feelings I had while attending university.
In my second year, I decided to start swimming again. This had been my faverite sport when I was a teenager. The moment I hit the water I had this feeling of euphoria. So I joined the swim team, UBSC, and in my final semester, we traveled to Lesotho with other athletes for the yearly Inter-varsity games. There I won a gold and a silver medal. It brought back a lot of memories from my school days.
So, fast foreword to 2020…is it still the same? Pretty much! I had my second child in 2017 and I was careful the whole nine months. I went for daily walks because I didn’t want a repetition of what happened in 2013. I joined the gym in 2018 and slowly got back into working out daily. The whole of 2019 I pushed myself beyond the limits I thought I had. I had a lot of support and that was key! No one let me give up. I had a trainer and I remember the arguments like it was yesterday. Everything he asked me to do I yelled I can’t, but in the end I could. It was all in my head and it’s important to understand that. The limits we have are only the limits we set for ourselves. It’s basically our downfall!
A lot of people ask me “how can you love the gym so much?” or I’ll get comments like “I’ll rather spend my money on food”…well that’s ok…for you! My peace of mind is more important especially with the job I have. Teaching is stressful and being a working mum isn’t easy. I have moments where I want to lock myself in the bathroom and scream. The best place to release all that built-up tension is in the gym. After a session, I feel so much better. Exhausted yes, but mentally I’m awesome.
Right now I am still not where I want to be physically! But I’m slowly getting there and with the closure of all gyms I feared my depression would hit again. So, to ensure that I remain ok, I blew the dust off the workout books I had lying around, I googled for apps I could use and I made proper use of youtube a lot (Popsugar fitness is my ultimate fave). I try to workout first thing in the morning because that sets the tone for the rest of my day. I have a 9-year-old and a very energetic 3-year-old. My youngest is always with me when I work out. She enjoys “helping mummy” with sit-ups and other forms of exercise.
To sum it all up…exercise saved my mental state of mind, hence it saved my life. I always like to encourage others to take it up. But saying you want to lose weight isn’t enough. You have to WANT it and then you have to take the first step towards getting it. I’m not a fitness expert, but I assume walking is a great way to start. And since you’re aiming to lose weight, please don’t forget that abs are made in the kitchen! So watch what you eat and have fun! Trust me, when you start seeing results, the addiction becomes real! Don’t give up, remain consistent and you will reach your goals!
And of that note, click here to look at some really good workouts you can do at home! What else have you got to lose? Remember, working out is fun!