Marla Naidoo is an Educator in Shallcross, Durban
0 Kg Weight Lost
“Being called ‘aunty’ by a person much older than me was one of the most hurtful comments I received when I was overweight. ”
Marla Naidoo never saw her weight as an issue, but giving birth to two children coupled with bad eating habits simply accelerated her weight gain. She began using extensive weight loss methods that would either leave her sick or gave her poor results. After facing the tragic loss of her brother and father she soon started suffering from depression and high-blood pressure. Her health was quickly deteriorating and she had to do something! What started as a “why not” weight loss option, later changed her life.
I was born an overweight baby and I grew up knowing that I was a heavy young girl. This continued into adulthood but it never seemed to bother me, until I had to get married. Prior to my wedding, I went on a soup diet as I was desperate to lose weight and fit into my wedding dress. After weeks of eating soup I only managed to lose 2kg, and to make it worse, the day before the wedding I got seriously ill because I hadn’t been eating properly.
After the birth of my first and second son, the kilos continued to pile on, and my weight peaked at 90kg. However I was oblivious to the reality of my weight problem. I had always believed that I had inherited my ‘structure’ from my father and nothing could alter this genetic factor.
My weight problems were further aggravated by my unhealthy cooking. Every meal consisted of a curry served with rice or roti, and my speciality dishes like Biryani were prepared using butter or ghee. I had no idea the negative effects this was having on my family and I. Our poor eating habits simply continued. Over the weekends we would enjoy eating out at restaurants, where burgers and French fries were a light snack for me. I loved my food and I lived to eat!
“It was always sick − even family holidays would be disastrous, because my family had to take care of me instead of having fun..”
Concerned about my weight, my late brother would constantly remind me that putting on weight would someday kill me. He dragged me to the gym and I did it religiously for two years, but I soon got bored as the scale never showed a reduction because I never controlled what I ate. Also, being a teacher and under constant surveillance from students, I would often hide my body underneath a big coat. Summer was agonising as nothing ever looked good on me, and I had to shop for Summer dresses in the maternity aisle.
Dealing with tragedy and weight woes
In 2006 our home was robbed and, I watched in horror as my brother was shot dead. My dad died shortly thereafter too. My weight gain combined with my depression began to affect my health. I suffered from high blood pressure, I was put onto chronic hypertensive medication, and as a result I would have at least three migraines a week. I was severely depressed and the anti-depressants I used only added to my weight problems.
Despite my constant illness, I continue to gain weight until the doctor advised me that I had to lose weight, or else I would very likely have a stroke.
I tried almost every diet on the market to lose weight which not only didn’t work, but also cost me a fortune. I tried diet pills, drops and soup diets. I even used extensive methods that included slimming parlours, injections and slimming pads. I would lose some weight, as promised by the product, but soon afterwards I would put twice as much back on. Many of these diets also aggravated my migraines, and the slimming pads left huge dimples where I had placed them.
“Two weeks after joining Weigh-Less, I began to see the results. I lost my first 1.5kg and thereafter the weight just kept falling off. ”
A positive healthy change
One day while my husband was on the net, he came across a Weigh-Less advert. Even though he assured me that he liked the way I looked, he recommended it for the sake of my health. After the countless weight loss products I had tried before, I thought one more couldn’t hurt.
I joined a Weigh-Less Group in Shallcross and Jody Naidoo was my Group Leader. She welcomed me with a warm heart. Walking in for the first time, I was expecting to be sold yet another weight loss pill or diet-shake. But, to my amasement, she just asked a few questions, I filled out a form and she gave me a Menu Plan that was designed just for me. I left feeling a bit skeptical because I wasn’t given any appetite suppressants. I wondered how I was going to survive off salad instead of my favorite dish of curry and rice. But after two weeks on the plan, I was amazed at how much there was to eat, and that I could eat foods from all the different Food Groups.
This was nothing short of miraculous! My husband also started noticing the positive changes. Soon, the whole family gained interest in my meals, and they were eating what I was eating. Joining Weigh-Less was a positive, healthy change for the entire family.
A month later the results were so obvious that people started to think I was ill because I was looking so much thinner. I told them, “I’m fighting a terrible disease called obesity.” My brother and his wife saw the positive change in me and also joined Weigh-Less. They said that I motivated them to live healthy lifestyles.
On my sixth week on Weigh-Less I put on 600g, I was devastated! I went home feeling very distressed. However my Group Leader and my husband motivated me not to give up, and so I returned to my trusty Eating Plan.
“Weigh-Less has been a joyride, and I have loved every minute of it. Everywhere I go I’m speaking of the wonders of Weigh-Less!
Reaching for higher heights
As I reached my Goal Weight, I realised I had dropped two dress sizes. I never expected to fit into a size 10. Since childhood I suffered from acne, but now my skin is glowing and I only wish I started Weigh-Less sooner. My health has also gradually improved. I no longer use my anti-depressants, my blood pressure pills have been reduced, my thyroid is functioning normally and I no longer have migraines.
My new-found confidence and my new positive image are now my most treasured assets. The greatest moment for me was when a learner (scholar) walked up to me and said, “Mam”, you look beautiful!” Because of Weigh-Less, I have regained myself esteem, and I am so happy!
Healthy habits and living
I have also changed the way I feed my family, especially my children. Now instead of packing chocolate bars in their lunch bags I now include crisp apples, peanuts or raisins. The boys love it! They copy my behaviour, and drink water too!
My husband is ecstatic about my new look. He has always supported me in all my weight loss efforts, but now I have been able to inspire him to join Weigh-Less. We exercise together and take walks three times a week at the local stadium.
What I enjoy eating:
The whole family starts the day with cereal and preparing lunch in the morning is easy now. As we all take the same sandwiches.
My typical breakfast is: A bowl of instant oats, an apple and a cup of fat-free yoghurt.
My favorite lunch is: Two slices of low GI bread filled with a boiled egg, light mayonnaise, a chopped chili, lettuce and cucumber.
Supper: A piece of chicken prepared with tikka spice and chilies, served with a hot vegetable and some brown rice.