I was in Grade 1 when I first started putting on weight. It
was gradual, but noticeable enough for others to start teasing me. This was the
beginning of a very difficult time in my life. Whenever they would see me on
the playground they would say, “Here comes fat Dominique”. Though I had
incredibly supportive and loving parents, not even they couldn’t protect me
from the unkind words that would often be thrown at me.
My bad eating habits simply fed my weight problem; I loved
bread, sweets and Coke! Also, whenever I did well at school I was rewarded with
sweets and whenever I was sad or down, I would find comfort in food. The
problem is that the bigger I got, the more I was teased! On top of mocking and
name-calling, I struggled to find the correct clothing sizes because whenever I
found something that would fit my body shape, the rest of the shirt was either
too long or the sleeves had to be rolled up.
Overall my weight affected all aspects of my life; from my
self esteem to participating in extra murals; I even struggled to take part in
athletics. It was a bad cycle that went on for four years before I finally
realised that I could no longer handle being overweight anymore. When I reached
Grade 4, a classmate went on Weigh-Less. She wasn’t ashamed to share how much
weight she had lost on the Eating Plan and for the first time I realised that I
could possibly change my life too.
I went home and told my mom about my classmate and
Weigh-Less, and asked if I could join too. She was thrilled at the suggestion.
She said that she would stand by me through the whole experience, but added
that I had to give it 100%, or I would simply be wasting my time by joining
Weigh-Less. I knew she was right.
A few days later, my mom took me to my first Weigh-Less
Group in Nigel. My Group Leader, Thea du Preez, took the time to explain
everything to both my mom and I and showed me how the whole process would work.
She told me about the importance of weighing my food, drinking all my water and
doing exercise. Whilst it was very daunting walking into the Group for the
first time (I wasn’t sure what the people would be like), by the time I left I
felt positive that could give this 100%!
I had never been on a diet before, so all this was very new
for me. My mom and I went shopping and bought all the right food so that I
could start my new eating plan on the right note.
Initially, I did struggle to say no to sweets, but the more
I said it the easier it became. Also, my mom was incredible and she ensured
that I had healthy lunches and snacks daily so I never got hungry and never
really wanted to cheat. This meant that I didn’t have to go to the tuck shop
either. On the special days that my mom gave me money for the tuck shop, I was
careful to only order ‘hot food’.
I lost 800g in my first week I couldn’t believe it! By the
end of my first month I lost 4kg! I was so proud of myself and it made me even
more determined than before. The food was surprisingly enjoyable and my mom
made a special effort to make me delicious breakfast, lunch and suppers. I
especially loved the fact that I could have spaghetti bolognaise for supper (it
is my favourite)!
It wasn’t long before people started noticing my weight
loss, and for the first time, instead of teasing me they were complimenting me.
All the kind words from people made me feel good about myself again. My mom was
especially proud of my determination and because I preserved.
Over the next six months, I continued to lose weight. I was
careful to eat exactly what was given to me by Thea; a typical day consisted of
cereal and milk for breakfast, fruit and yoghurt for snacks, a healthy sandwich
for lunch and a hot supper served with lots of vegetables. It was a gradual
weight loss, but I lost every week and never gained once. If we went out, I
would always make sure that I had smaller portions of whatever was available.
Thea was a great support (even now) and was so kind to me
every time I weighed. Interestingly, every month she had to readjust my Goal
Weight according to my height because I am still growing. So, as I grew, my
Goal Weight had to increase ever so slightly making my target even more
In addition to Thea, my entire family stood by me, and
supported me in such a positive way. In fact, even though they were never on
Weigh-Less, they ate Weigh-Less meals with me. Because of their support, I
never felt like I was on this journey alone.
I loved the fact that my clothing was becoming loser – it
was a reminder that my hard work was paying off! It was great!
'I can wear skinny jeans and tights'
Reaching Goal Weight came with more benefits than I could
ever have imagined. From not really being able to participate in sport, I am
now able to play netball three times a week and even go to gym with my mom. I
am no longer self conscious when I participate in sport and no longer have
people staring at me.
I used to hate my baggy clothing but now look forward to
shopping and especially love that I can wear skinny jeans and tights. The best
part of all this is that I can now buy clothes from my own age group! Everyone
is so proud of me, and I must admit I am too!
Maintaining Goal Weight hasn’t been as difficult as you may
think; I still stick to the eating plan, although not as strictly and I am
always mindful of what goes into my mouth. You see, Weigh-Less has taught me
portion control which means I am always careful about how much I eat.
I am so thankful to Weigh-Less for helping me change my life
at such a young age! I have learnt so much from this experience!