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#StrongWomen Cassandra Veldtman Battles Bulimia

Cassandra

Cassandra Veldtman’s fitness journey started the moment she discovered her own strength after being bullied for years, which lead to a low self-esteem and eventually, bulimia. Today, Cassandra inspires and motivates women and teaches them about the benefits of exercise, and the importance of balance.

Tell us more about yourself and your journey.

My name is Cassandra Veldtman, I am 21 and living in Cape Town, South Africa. I am a qualified personal trainer, exercise specialist & nutritional adviser. I am currently a personal trainer at BUC Fitness Club – World Class gym in Sea Point and I also run my own bootcamp in Green Point called Get Fit Bootcamp, where I take a bunch of girls for a fun & high-intensity workout. I am a health and fitness enthusiast and my passion is helping people to achieve their desired goals and become the best version of themselves; physically and mentally. I am always excited to learn new things and grow within myself and my experiences. My only dream is to motivate, inspire & help women all over the world!

What has been some of your challenges and triumphs throughout your journey?

The path that I took on my journey was filled with plenty of ups and downs, to say the least, but nevertheless, it has made me so strong and determined to succeed and I couldn’t be more thankful for taking the path that I did. I learnt so much along this treacherous journey which taught me so many things that I will always cherish.

For as long as I can remember I was bullied. In pre-primary school, I was bullied for being a tomboy. When I was 5, I loved wearing a Spiderman outfit to school and the kids teased me and called me names non-stop. I used to come home crying every day after school. At 6 I entered primary school and the bullying continued up until grade 7. The kids used to throw away my invitations to birthday parties as well as name call me and belittle me non-stop. The bullying got so bad that I used to come home and wish I could sleep forever. As harsh as it sounds, that was the way I started feeling – I felt like I was absolutely nothing and I was worthless. I went to many psychologists but I disliked going to them and they didn’t seem to help me. My parents wanted to take me out of that school and take me to another school to finish my grade 7, but I didn’t want to let the bullies get the better of me.

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#TransformationTuesday ‼️ July 2012 ➡️ May 2017 ‼️ as you can see this transformation wasn't over a few months, this transformation was a long journey that wasn't easy. There is no easy route! 🙅🏽 as the saying goes – 'Rome wasn't built in a day' 🙌🏼 You may look at the before and think I look fine but what you don't see is the struggle behind it, the depression and the eating disorder that I went through. This transformation is much more than improving my body; it's about my mental state. A healthy body ➡️ a healthy mind. I believe in a balanced lifestyle & want to inspire others with my story & through my fitness journey. 👊🏼 click the link in my bio to find out more about my story 🙏🏼 the right picture is me right now – today ate two slices of left over pizza & a LINDT bunny because a) I can and b) gotta make the most of my last two weeks before prep starts am I right 😆💁🏽 c) I believe in a balanced lifestyle 💪🏼 balance is key to success 👊🏼 but you gotta grind day in & day out 🔥🏋🏽‍♀️ remember that being fit isn't a destination, it's a journey ✨ #eatmorenotless #gainingweightiscool

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I actually became friends with my “bullies” eventually. They stopped the name calling and belittling once I had discovered my own voice. I had been through so much, I wasn’t going to let people walk all over me ever again. I started standing up for myself and that’s what made me stronger. 

I entered high school and remember how amazing it felt to get out of that horrible environment I was in for so many years. It felt like a whole new start to my life; new friendships, new memories, a new chapter of my life – it was the best feeling ever. However, things quickly turned and a year into high school I started developing some sort of hatred towards myself. I began believing that I was never good enough for anything or anyone. I wished I could go to sleep forever and never wake up again – these were the darkest times of my life, no one deserves to go down this dark road that can suck you in so deep you may never come out.

I developed bulimia in grade 9 because of this low opinion I had of myself, it was a way of controlling the way I felt. It made me feel better about myself, it was a sense of control. That’s when I started a love/hate relationship with food. I used to starve myself for days on end and then I would sometimes binge eat. I used to over-exercise and obsess about the way I looked and weighed. I used to look in the mirror and see this fat, ugly girl that was worthless. I was weighing about 48kgs, which was a very unhealthy weight for my age.

In grade 11 I had an epiphany: I knew if I carried on I would be seriously ill and could get sucked so deep into that dark road that I may never find myself again. I started eating normally again after this realisation, but because I deprived my body of so many carbohydrates, sugars and salts, I started to binge eat and quickly picked up 54kgs, which is a normal, healthy weight. 

After all those years of self-hatred and obsession, I finally found this balance and a healthy relationship with food which sparked my interest in the fitness world. This all lead to who I am today.

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Monday I'm coming for you 😈 life has its ups & downs. It isn't easy, it is damn hard but what is life without a struggle am I right? 💁🏽 Due to social media being what it is, you may think I live this life with no worries but let me tell you I have plenty of worries and fears. I fear that I'm not where I should be right now. I worry that I won't achieve the goals that I need to. I could go on & on & be negative but that's what the problem is. We place all our energy into negative things when we should be focusing on the positive. When you focus on the positive you will be surprised at how your world starts to change! 🌍 You got to keep your head up, stay focused, keep grinding & do the best that you can! 💪🏼 Have a POWER Monday! 👊🏼💥#BeStrong #BePositive #MondayMotivation

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I entered my first fitness competition last year, competing in the bikini fitness division and came 4th and I am now currently prepping for my next competition in August in the hopes of making it to SA’s and Arnold Classic next year. One of the reasons for me doing these competitions is that I want to show people that one can compete and do it extremely balanced and naturally without being extreme and restricting yourself. I am in love with fitness – especially the health side of it. This has become my life and I have learnt to find a balance within it. I still have those days where I look at myself and get upset, but at the end of the day, that stuff is not important because as long as I got a beating heart, 4 limbs and eyesight, I am grateful more than anything on this earth. That is what truly matters in life. 

My fitness journey is the most incredible experience thus far and I couldn’t have chosen a better path to take in my life. My dream is to help people achieve their desired goals mentally and physically and to inspire people through my story. I believe in a balanced lifestyle and this is what I live by. I don’t believe in being an extremist when it comes to your health; physically and mentally. It’s all about the balance. I believe that it is important to listen to what your body needs and to treat it as your temple.

Follow Cassandra’s fitness journey on Instagram.

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.