“When I Hit Triple Digits, I was Mortified!”
At a crossroads, Sophia chose the more difficult path, but one that ultimately led to success and happiness
As someone who constantly struggled to control her weight Sophia Strydom had tried numerous diets throughout her adolescent and early adult years. “Occasionally they worked but I always seemed to put the weight back on, each time adding a little bit extra.”
Her growing desperation at the situation meant that she became obsessed with finding ‘quick fix’ solutions. “From starvation diets to the ‘magic pill’, I tried them all but none ever worked. My weight and insecurities soon began to overwhelm me. I felt lost, and I certainly didn’t feel confident or happy with my condition.”
Forlorn and exasperated with a complete lack of inspiration to keep going Sophia eventually gave up. “I had always been the ‘big one’ in the group, so I decided to settle and embrace my perceived place in life. I decided that my weight defined me. It was, to me at least, clearly who I always going to be.”
Life carried on this way for Sophia until, in 2011, she found herself stuck in a bad relationship. “I didn’t have the courage or the self-confidence to end it. My relationship with food, much like my relationship with my partner at the time, was also going from bad to worse.”
At that point Sophia was about to turn 24 and she realised that she had come a crossroads in her life. “I couldn’t stay where I was. I knew I had to step up and make a change. It took a lot of courage but I finally broke things off with my boyfriend. I had never broken up with someone before; I had always been the one who got dumped.”
After all the emotions and emotional eating subsided, she discovered that she had lots of extra time on her hands. Spurred by her confidence to tackle the things in her life that were making her unhappy Sophia decided to forge on.
“I was yearning to improve myself. I needed to build up what my past had broken down so I decided to join a gym” For her birthday that year Sophia asked her parents for money to pay the gym contract initiation fee. “I then scheduled the obligatory assessment with a personal trainer.” When that day finally dawned Sophia put on her men’s XXL t-shirt, took a deep breath, and headed off to her appointment.
“Predictably, the person taking my measurements was the hottest personal trainer at the gym. Blushing from ear to ear I reluctantly stepped on the scale for my first measurement – my weight.” Sophia didn’t own a scale at the time as she had no interest in knowing her weight. “Sadly, that has become a memory I can never forget.” Sophia looked at the number on the scale. “I instantly felt nauseous. ‘That can’t be right’ I blurted out, ‘there must be a glitch.’ I stepped off and stepped back on again. This time it said I was 200g heavier. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so embarrassed.” Sophia had tipped the scales at 106,9kg. “I hit triple digits. I was mortified!”
After gathering her composure Sophia continued with the remaining tests. The personal trainer then measured her body fat percentage. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed her once more as the hand-held device registered 42%. “That certainly can’t be right,” she said. The trainer agreed, so he got his callipers and measured her body fat using ‘old school’ methods. “I should have just stopped him there and then. It would have been better for my soul.”
Sophia’s Transformation Stats
Occupation: Graphic designer and part-time CrossFit coach
Lives: Fourways, Johannesburg
Weight before: 106,9kg
Body fat before: 47%
Weight after: 63kg
Body fat after: 14%
Instagram: @bonsaibunny #fatgirlslim
After pulling and squeezing at her flabby body parts for a time the trainer did a quick calculation and then delivered the bad news. “You have a body fat percentage of 47%.” he said. “The realisation hit me like a ton of bricks – that was nearly half my body weight. I just wanted to run away.”
After the whole ordeal Sophia sat in her car feeling extremely fragile as she looked over her measurements once more. “I felt empty. I felt ashamed.” She started to cry. “When I got inside I went straight to bed without eating dinner.”
Read on to find out how Sophia faced her challenge with renewed energy…
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.