My Ultra-Lite Story
How can one thank someone for giving their life back. That’s basically what happened to me. Sometimes it’s not until you look back at your life that you realize how life changing certain events are.
I think I’ve always been an emotional eater. I ate when I was happy, sad, stressed and I ate to keep emotions and problems at bay. I would eat to hide situations that I did not want to face. I was also a secret eater, eating or shall I say gorging on chocolate, chips or anything that made me ‘feel’ good.
I’ve always been a competitive person. Since the age of three I have been involved in a sport called Calisthenics. I grew to it love so much that it became a part of me, of who I am. My dedication was extreme, practicing nearly everyday. I loved a challenge; I wanted to be the best in my class.
This wasn’t always the case, and even though I was a good sport the disappointment in myself for not achieving my goal was still there.
I wasn’t always overweight but as the teenage years took hold I began to struggle with my emotions and weight. We have all faced problems in our lives and mine was no exception. Dealing with the divorce of my parents, gaining a step-mother, high school, the love-hate relationship with Calisthenics and finding out who I am at that time of my life was difficult, and like so many of you I ate my problems away.
Having a job in the child care and make-up industries I knew I needed to be fit with a healthy appearance. The honesty of children is never far way, and on a few occasions I’ve had my fair share of remarks about my weight – children will never see things through rose colored glasses, it’s black and white, no grey!
Becoming a young adult my weight fluctuated but this wasn’t a priority to me. At the age of 17 I began teaching Calisthenics and having control became powerful.
Don’t get me wrong, the teaching process was and still is extremely rewarding and I have gained many lifelong friends and fond memories, but looking back I also enjoyed the control of musical choice, choreography, costumes, lighting, and the way I taught my girls. I’m very proud of all these achievements but it came at a price. I sacrificed a social life, family events, holidays, and most of all I sacrificed my health.
I began to eat a lot of foods that just filled my voids, whether it was related to stressful moments or emotional ones. During this time I was in denial. My Callisthenic teacher at the time told me to lose weight or I wouldn’t be in the 1st team! Can you imagine how devastating it is to hear that. Having your body scrutinized by someone else! And for the first time in my Callisthenic career it happened…I was not picked for that team. Complete disbelief, utter shock, and total humiliation.
During this whole time I would be putting on a brave front. I was the “happy” Sam, always smiling, helpful, supportive and caring.
Driving home from a class one night I even contemplated driving off the road….It still plays on my mind.....’What if?’
Unfortunately for my wonderful Mum, I took a lot of things out on her. My mood swings were incredible, I’m sure it had something to do with the foods I was eating with huge amounts of fats and sugars.
So being competitive I chose to lose weight and signed up for ‘Jenny Craig’.
Looking back I was after a quick fix, something that didn’t make me think, a lazy way out. And yes the weight fell off. In a flash comments were coming hard and fast which made me feel terrific, but what I didn’t realize then were two things, one, this wasn’t the program for me and two I wasn’t mentally ready.
To me having struggled with my weight, losing it is mentally and physically just as important. The power is in your mind.
Because of the weight loss I fell back into old habits. I started eating junk, because I thought I could. I let food take control of my life once again. This time I had put on so much weight I retired from competing in Calisthenics and retrieved back into my non-social world.
I suppose you could say I had some form of depression, I think a good majority of people with an eating disorder have a depressive tendency.
Combine this state of mind plus a lack of exercise and you have a ticking health time bomb!
My teaching career needed to go on hold although very successful I knew there were other interests out there, maybe they could turn my life around?
I enrolled in a Stage Management course which gave me good distractions. It was great learning a new course and meeting different people but the temptations were still there. In fact because of the late nights and long hours it became worse. I gave myself excuses not to eat healthy foods.
By the end of that year I was in hospital having my gallbladder removed! This was the most frightening wake-up call that I’ll ever have. It really hit home. Imagine lying in a hospital bed having an operation because you’re eating too much fat! I knew then and there I wanted my life back.
In stepped a wonderful Naturopath named Kim Robinson. Kim and I had built up a good clientele relationship from previous visits, and the trust and honesty was well received between us both.
Sensing my urgency Kim suggested a weight loss program called Ultra-Lite, designed by another Naturopath.
My first reaction was wow! It just made sense. There were no short cuts but the weight loss from previous clients seemed amazing.
Kim’s approach was straight down the line, explaining symptoms I would feel during detox. And yes, the first 2 weeks were tuff but because I was mentally ready for the challenge I got myself through it. Taking time off work helped me get into a routine and adjust. Every week after that became easier and the weight was just falling off. I loved the fact that I was gaining my energy back, exercising everyday and learning about food.
This was a particular interest; many programs give you pre-packaged foods so you become complacent and even lazy. The danger is that once off the program you can get back into old habits.
Ultra-Lite teaches you how much to eat, what foods to eat and an appreciation and respect for food.
I kept losing weight and my outlook on life improved. With it came heaps of compliments and praise from family friends and work. I started the program at a heavy 108 ½ kgs, by the end of the third month I had lost 30 kgs, within another 2 months another 18 kgs.
You may ask, was I tempted or craving sweets? It would be a lie to say no. Of course there were occasions when I would have loved to have a slice of cake or two, but my mindset was extremely strong willed, not once did I weaken to the ‘naughty’ foods as I call them. I’m so proud of this fact.
The way I got around this dilemma was to change my way of thinking. Instead of saying ‘no’ to myself over particular foods I would say yes, I can have that but just not now. I also put myself in situations like walking down the sweet isle of a supermarket or going into a bakery, knowing that I could handle those temptations.
Exercise is important not only to weight loss but also for your well-being. I was determined to get my fitness back and along with that approach I became my own personal psychologist. I was able to walk long distances and this gave me time to work my life out. To this day I exercise everyday, some more than others.
A variety helps tone your body, and along with apple cider vinegar I have a body with much less body fat and more tone .I think nothing of going for a 15 km walk, or hiking, and I have gained my love of Calisthenics back. Pilates, yoga, dance and bike riding also help my confidence and fitness.
One of my finest moments was going to Canada to visit my sister. Having lost a lot of weight my sister walked straight past me at the airport, she didn’t recognize her own sister!!
I don’t want you to think I’m perfect, far from it, but I’ve learnt to indulge the ‘naughty’ foods to an extent that’s not harmful.
If you don’t allow yourself to have some indulgences once on maintenance you are likely to fall off the wagon.
I know I’m doing things in the right way for my body, having kept the weight off for 8 years.
I wish to thank Kim and the Ultra-Lite team for giving me my life back. I don’t see Ultra-Lite as a lifestyle change, more than that it has taught me to get real!!!!