Tracey began her weight loss journey as @fitnessgirl_za on the 1st of January 2016, weighing 109kg. However, with no guidance and doing it alone, it was an unsuccessful start to a hopeful beginning. At the time, Tracey wasn’t following a strict eating plan or at least one that was designed for her, and as a result ended up putting back all the weight she had lost in that time and more.
By the end of July 2016 Tracey weighed 114.3kg and had hit rock bottom.
I woke up one day and couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror, I felt hopeless, broken and alone. I was in a state of reverse-body dysmorphia in that I didn’t feel I was as big as I actually was. I ended up getting sick in that week and visited my Doctor. I was pre-diabetic, considered clinically obese, and heading towards major health complications. I remember my doctor advising me if I didn’t make a drastic change to my lifestyle I would have full-blown diabetes by my 26th birthday. That was the wake up call I needed. On the 1st of August 2016 I joined STS – Sheriff Training Systems with my now coach Jack Lotter. Very soon after joining I became an ambassador for STS, and have since then reached new heights with my body and mind. Jack has guided me throughout my 12 month journey and I honestly owe so much to him. Within one year of starting my weight loss journey I have lost 33kg.
My journey has been an incredible one. For me the most important aspect has been the mental shift. The weight loss and the physical achievements have been the by-products of what needed to happen mentally within my mind. When I say mentally what I mean is; learning about my body, learning about nutrition, learning about what certain food groups can do for my body; that has truly been the amazing thing to learn through my process. A year later I’ve learnt to love my body and be body positive at every stage regardless of what weight I am. I enjoy watching my body change, especially when I implement certain techniques at gym and then a week later I see how they have positively impacted my body. At this stage of my transformation I have started to see my body change form and that’s the most exciting and rewarding part of it all.
The opportunities that I have been given with my journey have exceeded my expectations. Getting to work with Adidas, a brand I have supported and endorsed for years has been incredible, especially when I have always chosen Adidas for their comfort and fit. Not to mention all the amazing people I have had the privilege of meeting. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
Has it all been smooth sailing? Well yes, that was up until 8 weeks ago. My body has hit a natural plateau. Something we need to understand is that our bodies and our fat cells sort of reach something I like to call a “new normal” and I think that my body feels like its “new normal” is to sit at around 80kg. Being my first plateau, I’m surprised that it’s happened this late on my journey, considering that I’ve already lost over 30kg.
This has been a huge mental battle to say the least. I know that I have to try to stay motivated even when I don’t see much of a change happening on the scale. Albeit, I do still see subtle changes in the mirror, and I still have people complementing me on my body even though the scale doesn’t move. It’s a constant struggle mentally to try divorce from your mind what the scale is saying right now compared to what you’re seeing in the mirror. I will say it’s been interesting trying not to allow the scale to influence me too much. Although a rough two months I’m hoping my body resets itself sometime soon, however I know consistency is key.
Even though I am currently at this difficult phase, there have and still are so many good times to celebrate. The moments throughout my journey that stick out the most have been the magazine publications, radio interviews, being interviewed by various blogs, working with Adidas, working with Dermalogica, as well as brands within various restaurants. It has all been very humbling, unexpected and incredible to say the least. I’m thankful and grateful that each and every brand and or person has given me a platform to inspire other women and hopefully not only woman but everyone to commit to a healthier active lifestyle. All these good times definitely outweigh the tough times, such as my current plateau. It has been a rewarding, fulfilling and empowering journey so far, and I am looking forward to the next couple of months
March 2018 I will be competing in the Transformation and Diva Bikini division for WBFF South Africa. I’ve always been a silent follower of the WBFF for about 5 years, and have watched many South African athletes compete overseas, and I’ve been extremely inspired by the level of the ranking worldwide. When you see athletes like Daniel Wessels who is ranked 4th in the world, you are naturally inspired. My main reason for competing is to say “screw the genetics” I would always come up with all the different excuses in the book as to why I couldn’t partake in certain sports because of my body type. So something like competing where you got to get up on stage in an itsy bitsy bikini is the biggest challenge of them all. I really took on the challenge, with my story going forward, being the girl that was once considered clinically obese is now standing up on stage in a bikini competing alongside other athletes.
It’s not about winning or losing or even placing, it’s about being confident enough in my body to get up on that stage with seasoned athletes and be proud of my accomplishments. I know if I put my mind to it I can achieve this bucket list goal of mine. I am also so extremely grateful to already have a bikini sponsor – Candice Firmani (Vivacita Bikinis) this is a huge deal and I can’t thank her enough for this opportunity.
Mental barriers are what hold you back, but all limits are breakable. Success comes when you leave your excuses at the door. When I stopped saying I can’t, and started saying I can, I realised my potential. The minute I started achieving it gave me the motivation I needed to continue pushing onto new heights and into new limits. Your mind can hold your body back, even when your body is capable of SO much. Having said that, I cant stress enough how important it is to gain that mental strength in order to push your body. In the context of weight loss its most definitely not glamorous getting up at 5am for cardio every morning, but it’s very much possible; you might not want to do it, but once you start putting in the effort your returns are far higher than expected.
I’ve learnt what works and what doesn’t work for me, I’ve also learnt that there will always be things that are out of your control, for example reaching a plateau, as I have. Your journey will involve a lot of trial and error but for the most part, and the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that happiness doesn’t come from what you see in the mirror, happiness really comes from within and if you’re not happy with yourself as a person than what you look like will be of no consequence. You need to start loving yourself from the inside out, before the physical impact will have an impact.
Wearing – Adidas
Photography by – Tegan Smith Photography