My weight loss, eating disorder and recovery journey through photos
Click on the images to view them in full size Images are sorted from oldest to most recent, per year
I consider this the "fattest" I've ever been! Although I wasn't as fat as I once thought I was, looking back at the pictures, I started feeling uncomfortable with my body by the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010: when all the negative remarks from my friends & family finally caught up to me. I never paid any attention to how I really looked, but I figured that all the negative comments served a purpose. I didn't exercise during 2009, I ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted. I mostly opted for any candy or chocolates, pies, bread and any other junk food.
Weight: 65-70 kilograms Bottom size: 36-38 (12-14) Top size: Large
Another year.. another year not exercising and another year still eating shitty foods. The only thing that was different was that I started taking weight loss pills beginning of 2010. Unfortunately I never weighed myself before or after, nor did I take pictures. But I did drop a jean size. The weight loss pills decreased my appetite a bit, so there were times when I skipped a meal or two. I met my ex boyfriend in June 2010 (dated until 2016), up until then I've lost quite some weight, and was no longer using weight loss pills at that time. But nearing the end of 2010, I started feeling "fat" and "imperfect" due to comparing myself with the lean, stage ready, fitness-model body which an ex said he liked and found attractive. I immediately started feeling self-conscious so I went on another cycle of weight loss pills again, I did not lose as much as before, but I dropped a jean size again. By the end of 2010, I had finished Matric and decided to start going to the gym when I go to University in 2011. I contacted a girl I saw in the Fitness magazine, which conveniently was also studying in Potchefstroom. I told her about my predicament and that I wanted to look similar to what she had looked like. She agreed to help me start out after explaining to me that "fitness models" doesn't always look like what I see in the magazines and that it takes hard work at the gym and very strict dieting to be able to look like that but mostly it also takes professuonal photoshopping skills to erase imperfetions. I was eager to start training and had something to look forward to.
Weight: +- 55 kilograms at the lowest Bottom size: 34 (10) Top size: Medium
The first photo was taken in the very beginning of January before I went to University. It was before I had ever lifted a weight in my life, and before I knew what "strict dieting" was. The second picture was taken less than a month after I started working out and following my set out "diet" on-off. I trained rigorously every day, sometimes even on Sundays as well. I started out doing 2 sessions per day, one cardio session of 40 minutes and one weight lifting session of 1.5 hours. It was during this time that I had developed mild Anorexia. I felt "fat" most of the time and I had an obsession over getting fat. What I saw in the mirror was not the same image my friends & family saw in reality. There were times I would go do extra cardio in my lunch hour after class if I felt that I ate too much or if I deviated from my diet plan. Nearing the end of 2011 I struggled with Bulimia as well, I would try to induce vomiting every now and again until I just couldn't get myself to do so. Instead, I turned to other compensatory means: strenuous exercising!
Weight: 50 kilograms start of 2011 (I gained 2 kg's after starting to train, so 50-52 kg's) Bottom size: 32 (8) Sometimes squeezing into a 30 (6) Top size: Extra small - Small
After my first year in University, I still continued to weight train 5-6 days a week, I also did cardio daily after my weights. I never weighed myself during 2012 but I did stay the same size as during 2011. I did not "diet" so strictly as the year before, but I was still on a "diet" for most of the time. I did not have any knowledge concerning nutrition so I ate what I thought was healthy or beneficial towards my goal of getting a six pack. Looking back, I did not consume nearly enough protein and I was exercising way to much, no wonder I struggled to put on some muscle. I can't remember much of 2012 since I did not track whatever I was doing. Although I felt happy about my body, there were times I thought I could still loose a little. I remember 2012 being the year I thought I was pretty muscular and jacked, lol! I can barely see any muscles here!
Weight: I never weighed, probably +- 53 kilograms Bottom size: 32 (8) Sometimes squeezing into a 30 (6) Top size: Extra small - Small
My fitness journey officially started to get intense! I started following my own "diet" and have been following my own gym programmes since middle 2012, so I decided its time to seriously step up my game in my quest for "that look". I did my own diet and training with guidance here and there from a professional (mainly with regards to "cheat meals").
Middle April, I decided to diet strictly and follow what I had though to be the magical "diet" and magical types of "foods" to get me in shape. I was getting more and more Orthorexic as time passed. I was obsessed with "eating clean". Results came pretty quickly, I saw progression in my core just after a month or so. My abs started to show slightly about 2 months into my "diet". I pretty much started to binge slowly as soon as I started my strict "diet". My 3-course "cheat meals" per week led to additional snacking afterwards, it wasn't long before I started to have "cheat days" and then "cheat weekends" which after some time led to "cheat weeks" where I'd just decide to quit out of the blue. I gave up and started over soooo many times.
I started to supplement with a fat-burner sometime in late April or May, which, with the severely restricted diet, led to even faster results. After a few months of finishing my very first fat-burner, I decided that I was still "fat" and not lean enough, so I ordered a second bottle. What had actually led me to keep on buying fat burners, was the fact that I started to cheat so bad and I was hoping that the fat burners would ultimately lessen the consequences of my bad cheats. The more I swayed off plan, the more I started to train excessively and take fat-burners to compensate for my "lack of willpower" and "loss of control".
The more I attempted to "diet" and the more strict I got, the more my disordered eating behaviours intensified. By middle of 2013 I was Bulimic again. By July, I completely lost my menstrual cycle due to under-eating, having a very low body fat percentage and not getting in enough good fats to balance my hormones.
Nearing the end of the year, my "cheats" worsened every time, up to the point where I would binge an entire weekend, all weekend. The binging got worse month after month, as did my compensatory methods. From hours of training, attempting to fast, buying more fat loss pills to using diuretics & laxative teas. By the very end of 2013, I had regained a lot of weight, and obviously my six pack abs were gone too, along with my sanity. I was depressed, alone and humiliated. During all this time, NO ONE was aware of what I've been going through, all I ever heard was unsupportive remarks about myself and how I looked. NO ONE understood what I did and why I did it (before I spiraled out of control). They all just bombarded me with constant annoying comments.
This was the year I was completely unhappy. I was happy achieving my superficial goal of "getting abs" but the actions that I had to take in order to reach my goal made me depressed. The more I saw myself in the mirror, the more I picked myself apart.. "I could be skinnier" or "I need to lose more body fat" or "I'm not attractive enough". I was never ever truly happy in the past 4 years. I never accepted myself for who I was and my eating and exercising behaviours ruined my life, happiness, love and confidence.
Weight: 48 kilograms at my lowest & +- 54 kilograms at most by year end Bottom size: 32 (8) and 34 (10) by year end after my eating disorder dilemmas Top size: Extra small - Small & small
This year was the year I finally decided to do something about my bad relationship with food and work on ridding myself from the multiple eating disorders and abnormal behaviours. I started counting my macro-nutrient intake since January, eliminated all cardio, focused on heavy strength training and just doing whatever makes me happy and stopped doing whatever doesn't.
I have improved my metabolic capacity through reverse dieting (read more about Reverse Dieting here, just search for the correct topic), I ate all the foods I enjoy, no longer restricting or limiting myself and certainly NO MORE DIETING! I also started to focus on being a well rounded athlete, doing strength training, mobility as well as flexibility and yoga.
I am no longer focused on aesthetics but instead on health & happiness. Check out my entire weekly progress & photos for 2014-2015 on my Reverse Diet blog.
Highest calories: 2499 per day Weight: 54 kilograms at my lowest & +- 59.5 kilograms at my heaviest (my weight fluctuated due to still binging sometimes) Bottom size: 32 (8) and 34 (10) Top size: Small - medium
This year is the start of my very first time being completely rid of all my previous eating disorders. I am still reverse dieting and being flexible with regards to training and nutrition. I am CONSCIOUSLY gaining weight in order to be at a healthy weight, have a little more body fat be in a healthy range to sustain an optimal functioning of my organs and hormones. Part of my controlled weight gain is to build muscle and strength. My goals have always been to build some muscle and I could never reach my goals due to eating way too little to be making any kinds of gains.
I have never in my life eaten as much as I currently do! I’m way over 3000 calories and nearing 4000 calories per day! I have built some quality muscle this past 2 years, I have also gained quite some body fat but that is understandable. You cannot gain only muscles without gaining some fat!
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in 6 years and will not lose sight of my end goals. I’m doing what I’m doing FOR MYSELF!
I ended my 'bulking' phase in the end of November, and for now, I will shed a few kilos and bodyfat and then remain constant on my current weight. I won't be cutting next year but maybe the year afterwards (in 2017).
I have never ever been happier in my entire life and I'm finally confident and accepting of myself!
Highest calories: 3955 per day Weight: 58 kilograms at my lowest (only once) & 72.3 kilograms currently at my heaviest (December= 68 kg) Bottom size: 32 (8) for a very tight fit and 34 (10) for a comfortable fit, some 36 (12) pants for a better fit around my legs Top size: Medium
My goals for 2016 are simply to maintain my current weight and improve on my lifts at the gym. I don't have aesthetic goals and my goals mainly relate to getting stronger and better in the gym. I finished my bulking phase in 2015 and won't continue adding in calories or eating more food for now. I will be more lenient regards to tracking my macros and logging my meals. I will, however, start a small reverse diet again in middle July 2016 just to up my metabolism again and be able to eat a ton of food while maintaining body weight.
I lost quite some weight (and muscle) during December all the way through to March due to eating very little. Circumstances made it hard at the gym and even harder on my plate. Personal drama interfered with my fitness journey. I don't mind the weight loss but I'll try and maintain my current weight and still add in calories to get back to the intake where I was prior to the December holidays. I ate nearly half the calories I used to for about 7 months and I'm slowly going to increase it again until I start gaining weight or body fat. If my body composition changes, I'll stop increasing my calories and maintain on my caloric maintenance level as not to gain any more weight or body fat.
My goals for 2017 was to build up muscle and strength and to get back my 2015 physique where I was strong, muscular, flexible and mobile. It didn't go as plan though as I lost my younger sister in a car accident the 6th of May 2017. I ate less, trained less and thus lost even more muscle, strength and size. My fitness was put way on the back-burner in 2017.
This year was by far the hardest year- in my personal life as well as life in the gym. It took a toll on my body, physically and mentally and I know it will continue to. I started a blog (though I rarely write about her anymore to avoid emotions). Read about it on my personal blog