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Body Image and Weight Issues

I haven’t gotten too personal for a while now and although I love a good review every now and again I think it is important to remember this is my space on the internet to share a piece of myself, there is nothing more authentic to this than sharing my real life experiences and let you into different facets into my life. I always want to be as real as possible and that’s why I thought I would share a struggle that I have faced for most of my life actually about 90% (10% of it was spent doing something about it!) AND that is weight and exercise.

Side note, this is going to be a long one and even though I want to type get a snack and a cup of coffee that kind of defeats the point of this post but get yourself comfy at least!

So my body/weight ‘issues’ started when I was in junior school, I had a family friend that always called me fatty. I remember it so clearly, I remember never wanting to get into a swimming costume and I would find ANY excuse to get out of it or out of PE/athletics. I never enjoyed exercises as much as I enjoyed food – food I love, I remember being told that when I was a baby my eyes would follow the food that other people were eating. From super young I stopped wanting breast milk and had to have porridge as well because I was always hungry – so you see the food obsession started from baby blue eyed Cara Fay.

My body image continued to be a problem for me, when I got to high school again I didn’t have any desire to play Hockey or Basket Ball but because we had to do some sort of extra sport I did aerobics, it was super boring and it just ticked the box for the schools sake. I started getting a little conscious within my first few years of high school and joined a gym. There I had no idea what I was doing and would walk aimlessly on the treadmill the best part for me was the roman chair as one of the trainers had shown me how it works and all of a sudden I felt sore the next day – I was all about trying to see/feeling results. I even got some wheel thing with handles for abs that I actually still have!! I attended my Form 4 (I grew up in Zim so I was 16 at this stage) and I had been doing my wheel handle thing and actually felt like I looked good, got loads of compliments ‘you’ve lost weight’ also how BS is this comment, yes it’s nice to receive BUT then with an anxious mind it takes you down a spiral thinking so they thought I was fat this whole time.

I can pin point times/periods in my life by the way I felt fat/not so fat, times in my life that were meant to be happy are clouded with the way I looked on the outside. I have always felt like my outside doesn’t match my inside, as if I am in the wrong body and that I should be skinnier with leaner more petite features.

Fast forward and the exercise – non exercise – eating – putting on weight cycle continued, I’d join a gym not know what on earth I was doing, sweat it out and eventually end up giving up. I go to the gym see all these people that have their shit together know what they’re doing and even with a workout plan in hand or Pinterest print outs the thought still scroll around my mind ‘I wonder how long it will take me to lose weight’ ‘Why is he/she looking at me, am I doing this wrong’ ‘I wonder how long it’s going to take for this to become routine’ ‘I wonder how long until I give this up and go back to square one’ – the last one is more like a fear statement that comes around when I start seeing results, fear that I will give up which is exactly what always happens.

The 10% of my life comes down to 2014 where I took gym really seriously, I had an amazing trainer that really pushed me and I enjoyed it! I didn’t feel sick at the thought of gym – granted sometimes I didn’t want to go but I still would and she was awesome. I still have her programmes saved into the notes section of my phone in the hopes I will get back into it. She ended up leaving my gym and that was basically when I checked out too, we had a hard time around the same time where a family member was in hospital so this threw the gym routine out and honestly its been a nightmare trying to get back into it again.

I had a short stint with RushTush which I absolutely loved the results I saw in just 3 weeks but I had major anxiety attending the classes, it was the most bazaar thing but the night before the class I would get into a huge tiz and panic. Silly things from where will I park, how will I walk when it’s dark, what if something happens to me – again welcome to the mind of an anxious person! This is when I truly saw another side of Mandla, I have always known that I struck lucky when this man came in my life and that he accepts me with all my flaws as I do with him but you never know what someone is like until you are being completely irrational and can’t explain why you feel in panic he swooped right into the situation to ensure my concerns were addressed, he dropped me off every time I went to RushTush and made sure he was outside waiting for me when I was done. This was all around the time another family member was diagnosed with cancer and I just couldn’t afford the classes anymore (I still had my R150 gym membership) So as per usual I gave up, even though I was meant to be prepping for a beach holiday in Mozambique.

I have gone back and forth to the gym, tried Kayla at home but I always end up giving up. Don’t get me wrong I love the feeling after exercise, I love when my body feels strong and sore (it has never felt as strong as when I trained with RushTush for the short period I did!) its just this stupid mental block that I have to actually show up! When I do show up I don’t feel motivated to do anything in the gym. I make all the excuses that I don’t have time and when I go after work the gym is so gross its stuffy, dark and makes me feel so panicky. It’s so stuffy that the windows mist up and you can actually draw pictures with your fingers on the windows!

Recently I realized I don’t want to be bound by weight, I’m tired of this being the thing that makes me remember certain periods of my life. I want to be healthy, active and strong – if losing weight comes with this then BONUS but I am just tired of being a prisoner of my own mind.

I am now in a space where I have to make a choice, do I cancel my R150 gym membership and search for something else to do, do I see if there are any affordable PT’s available at my gym or do I just push on through and look for some sort of workout routines that are obtainable for me to do at the gym by myself. So although there is no conclusion to this post, I just wanted to keep it real and share a little part of my weight/exercise story. Let me know if you relate to any of my hang ups or if you have any tips/tricks to get me back into the right head space?



  • Nicole Jansen van Vuuren

    Have you tried practising gratitude towards your body? It might sound silly and all that but it really helped me get rid of my body issues. Just think of all the reasons why you love your body and the rest will follow. I also HATE exercise and recently started doing Yoga, in the comfort of my home. There are sooo many yoga classes on YouTube and it does wonders for the soul aswell. Best of luck x

  • Ha I also always find excuses and never really did any sports in school (group sports being the absolute worst!). But recently I found that I liked hiking! The first time was absolutely terrible though as I struggled all the way up and down the mountain, so that really gave me a push to focus more on just becoming fit instead of focusing on weight loss. So although the idea of a gym completely scares me, I go walking in our neighbourhood quite often (haven’t been able to get into a good routine again, but honestly anything is better than nothing) and I struggle through the occasional park run. I struggle to motivate myself to go, but afterwards I always feel so amazing and am less likely to jeopardise my hard work by snacking on crap (my ULTIMATE weakness). So I think you should keep looking for something that excites you and also accept that it is okay to go through ups and downs with your routine. I think exercise could be anything that isn’t just sitting, so maybe it is yoga and dance classes for you? Maybe it is the RushTush classes? Keep looking for something that you don’t dread and that makes you feel amazing afterwards, but it is okay to not always look forward to it. 🙂

  • Siobhan Hughes

    I can totally relate – I’ve had body image issues since as long as I can remember! Even when I was at my slimmest (and I felt good for the most part) I’d still be shy to get into swimming gear, and I hated looking at photos of myself as I felt huge. Even for my wedding, I shed 10kg and I still wasn’t happy with how I looked in a lot of photos – all I can see is the double chin. I just have that shaped face, so no matter how much weight I lose, my face often looks like the moon in photos!
    I have stopped weighing myself, and am trying to eat healthier and drink a lot of water, and do a bit of exercise when I can. I’m not pushing myself to do something I hate, and if I want a chocolate, I’ll damn well have it! My husband helps a lot, as he hates it when women are too skinny and starve themselves – he much prefers curves, which is perfect for me!

  • I totally get where you’re coming from, Car! The bit that I related to the most was then you look back and attribute weight as a part of the narrative of a memory. I remember that time, it was when I was skinny… So toxic! I am sooo over my shape, I need to get moving again! I have signed up for a 10km run!

  • Ah Cara my friend! I’m so sorry that you have been going through this! You are not alone I have been struggling with my weight more so recently watching what I eat and literally starving myself to be that skinny bitch! But then I released why on earth am I doing this to myself yeah to make me feel more comfortable in my clothes but it’s not worth it my body is just not built to be that skinny I’ve got wide hips to. So I am still struggling with these mind games. Good luck xxx

  • I’m actually working on a post similar to this…and I totally understand.

    in 2013 I worked with a PT and lost 30kgs. I was on top of the world, working hard..then fell pregnant and had a really hard pregnancy (where I lost MORE weight), but on maternity leave I just ate it all back on. Now….2yrs later, heavier than ever I just don’t know how to start again. I have gotten to a point where I’m like..’fake it til you make it’, but in doing that, I’m just gaining more and more weight. So I don’t feel defined by my weight, but I am not happy with my weight gain at all. And I enjoyed being fit and strong…… but….food…lol. Oi….