Genevieve Stander Jan 2016

Fat mom slim series: Genevieve Stander

Fat mom slim series Genevieve Stander

Genevieve Stander introHey everyone, I’m Genevieve, and I’m a now 34 year old mom of 3 little rats, I mean loves of my life! My eldest Morgan-Lee is 10, and my twins Alex and Maddie turned 5 in February. Life has certainly been interesting these past few years!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body which started in high school, honestly more hate than love, and it was during my unemployment period in 2018 that I took a serious look at myself, and decided that I really needed to make a change. Also, my orthopaedic surgeon told me to lose weight, so there’s that!

It’s been a long process; as quick and easy as it was to put on the weight, losing it has been a marathon not a sprint, and I’m so proud to say that in 22 months, I’ve lost 19.6kg, and am only 400g from my goal of 65kg. I look at the few pictures that I have of myself at my heaviest of 85kg, and can’t believe that I abused my body like I did.

I’m not an expert, I’ve done what works for me, and I’ve had help along the way. I’ve also learnt to ask for help, something I’ve never done before – I think I’m actually allergic to asking for help to be honest! I say it like it is, I don’t sugar coat anything. Because I’ve inevitably eaten all of the sugar anyway.

What was the catalyst for starting your weight loss journey?

I had a knee op in early 2018, weighing in at 85kg, and at my 4 week post-op check-up, my specialist told me at 32 years old, that I really needed to lose weight, that my frame was struggling with the excess that I was carrying around, and that my knee was only going to continue suffering if I didn’t do something about my size.Genevieve Stander Jan 2016

I wasn’t massive compared to some people, but I had been uncomfortable for some time, my clothes were all too tight, and I was pushing a size 40 pant, and for someone who is 5ft nothing, I knew in my heart that I had to do something. It was also quite a shock to my system to have a specialist tell me that for my own health and wellbeing, I needed to lose weight.

I was also unemployed at the time, and had been since November 2017, and this also affected my mental wellbeing, which resulted in me picking up about 5kg of pure fat in about 6 months or so, purely from depression, eating my feelings, and having given up on exercise due to not only my mental state, but my physical state with my knee issue. So after my 4 week check-up and having the go-ahead from my doctor for light, non-impact exercise, I got back into the gym, starting in the pool, then moved to spinning classes, and then finally back to my first love, which is running.

What did you start to change first?

The first thing I did was cut out sugar from my tea and coffee. Being at home as I was unemployed, I was drinking around 5-8 cups a day, and at a spoon a cup, that’s a lot of sugar! It was incredible – just by doing that I lost around 4kg in the first month, and that was with hardly any exercise included. I was flabbergasted.

From cutting out sugar in my drinks, I then started cutting out all sugars and processed foods which honestly sucked, as I have a massive weakness for jam donuts, ice-cream, and basically any and all junk food! But I felt my energy levels increasing, I wasn’t bloated like a beached whale, and I had so much energy!

Did you use any apps to help keep track of what you were eating?

When I first started out no, however from about November 2019 I started using MyFitnessPal – I found it so useful in tracking my calories in vs calories out.

What does a typical day of food look like for you now vs before?

Honestly, I struggle to eat regular meals or snacks, and that has been a major catalyst in my weight gain over the years, and then when I do eat, it’s generally all the delicious carb filled foods!

Breakfast is usually some low GI toast and avo, but most mornings that’s not possible, what with 3 kids all wanting different things, trying to get them and myself ready, school lunch, doing hair for my girls (and myself) etc.Genevieve Stander getfit Sept 2019

I try and have a mid-morning snack of some fruit or nuts (I’m a sucker for roasted and salted cashews, which do not help one on their weight-loss journey!), lunch is either a sandwich from work on either the rooibos & rye bread or low GI bread, but I do treat myself with the fillings sometimes, like chicken mayo, BLT and maybe even a portion of hot chips… My work also serves really fantastic salads, and I find myself munching down on one of them at least once a week.

Mid-afternoon snack is some lightly salted popcorn, and then supper is normally a portion of veg and protein for myself – I try and stay away from carbs and starch at night as those little buggers find my hips and just attach themselves with super glue!

Before I actively started trying to lose weight and get fit again, I honestly would go days without eating, and then when I did eat, it was a 2l tub of ice-cream, 2 big bags of crisps, slabs of chocolate, hot puddings, custard, plain white bread rolls (my absolute weakness – fresh and hot out of the oven) and just absolute crap. I ate the odd apple or banana, but not often and not enough. As for veg…. let’s just say I cut it up super small and hide it in food, as not only is that the only way my children will eat it, but it’s pretty much the only way I’ll eat it!

During those days of shocking eating, I lived on sugary tea, literally 8 cups in a day to fill myself up, loaded with sugar. I look back on my diet just 2 year ago to now, and I can’t believe I wasn’t bigger than I was. I ate so so poorly, just filling my body with non-nutritional food, but it was food that numbed my depression, if only for a short time.

Tell us about what exercise you do, when, where and how often.

Exercise has always been my safe space, a place that I could lose myself. I don’t go to the gym to look pretty and wear the fancy designer gym wear; I go to gym to work hard, work up a dripping sweat, and I wear whatever the hell I’m comfortable in, including old t-shirts that have seen better days, and takkies that do more talking that I do!

When I first started out in April 2018, I started in the gym as I was nervous to run in my neighbourhood alone. I would alternate doing cardio on the orbital step machine to doing laps in the pool, and once I felt a bit strong and fitter, I then found myself on the treadmill, attempting to run again. I last ran in 2014, and by run I mean half-died across a finish line due to my shocking levels of fitness, or lack thereof! From there I joined a running club, and started going to time trials, always doing the 4km, never quite brave enough to venture out to the 8km. But maybe one day I will – someone has to come in last!

From doing the strength circuits and running/swimming at gym, I then started running in my neighbourhood, anywhere from 2km to 6km, depending on how I felt. At that point I wasn’t chasing time, I was just out there enjoying myself, loving how one week I did 4km in 45mins, and 2 weeks later I did the same distance in 37mins. I felt myself becoming fitter, and I loved it. In August 2019 I joined the local GetFit 12 week challenge, as after managing to lose 10kg by myself in just under 16 months, I was struggling, and couldn’t break the 75kg mark. That challenge just pushed everything up a level – it was incredible. I learnt about HIIT training, eating right, fuelling my body, mixing up my training sessions, not just running. After 6-7 weeks of the challenge, I ran my first half-marathon in 5.5 years, and smashed 34mins off of my last half-marathon time – from 2hr53 to 2hr19! I was absolutely blown away, and it just motivated me to carry on, to dig deep and see what I could accomplish with this lifestyle.

I lost an incredible amount of cm’s during the challenge, and FINALLY broke the 75kg mark, weighing in after 12 weeks at just over 68kg. I was so so chuffed. I took a few weeks off after the challenge ended, and these days you’ll find me at our local parkrun every Saturday, volunteering but every now and then I do get to run, and parkrun is absolutely one of my passions.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays you’ll generally find me in the gym, alternating between the treadmill, a spinning class, doing laps in the pool, doing a HEAT class, a pilates class or doing core and strength exercises – the trick is to change it up, to not do the same thing over and over again. That’s when boredom sets in, and people lose interest in exercise. Wednesday afternoons/evenings I’m at one of our local running clubs, running their time trial, socialising with the other runners, finding out what their running plans are for the weekend ahead. Most Sundays you’ll find me at a road race, running anywhere from 21.1km to 42.2km, and if I’m not running a race I’ll either be at our local MyRun, or doing a training run of my own, anywhere from 16km – 25km around my area.

I’m fortunate to have memberships for my kids at the gym, otherwise there is no chance that I’d be able to train as much as I do. And some weeks I only get to gym twice in the week – it all just honestly depends on what curveball life decides to throw at me at that point in time! From 85kg in April 2018 to 67kg in February 2020 – it is so doable!!

How have you fitted this is with your busy life as a mum?

I’m not going to lie, some days it really is so tough. After a long day at work, kids bickering in the car, I just want to get home, throw some food at them, spray them with a hose pipe and then plop into bed! But I unfortunately can’t do that, and so I do the next best thing – try and make my training schedule work for everyone. I’ve got the kids signed up with our local gym, so they go and play and burn off any excess energy, whilst I go and torture myself in whichever way I see fit for that day! In an ideal world I’d be in the gym every single day, but some afternoons you do just want to get home, watch some Netflix, chat about your day over supper and homework, have some snuggles and cuddles, and then get into bed. I try and make it work as best I can; some days the kids simply do not want to go to the gym, and those are the days that when they’re in bed, I’ll try and do some pilates via YouTube but if I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it. It’s honestly not the end of the world.

Do you use any shakes or supplements?

During the GetFit challenge I was using a protein shake, but I struggled with it, loads of cramping and bloating, and so after about 8-9 weeks stopped using it. I take a daily multi-vitamin, but that’s about it. When I’m running anything over 30km, I do take a few supplements during my run to fuel my body like gels, anti-cramp, protein bars etc.

When do you find it hardest to stay on track?

I suffer from depression and anxiety, and life has sure thrown me some curveballs lately. I’m definitely an emotional eater, and find myself scratching through the cupboards for anything sweet when I’m down. I try not to have anything “bad” in the house but with 3 children, you can’t not have snacks!

When I’m alone, all I want to do is eat – I definitely have a love/hate relationship with food! When I’ve had a rough day at work, when finances are getting me down, I really have to reign myself in to not just throw away almost 2 years of hard work, by binge eating, feeling awful that I’ve binged, only to binge because I’ve binged. It’s a nasty circle, one that I’ve hopefully broken for good.

What do you love most about your new lifestyle?

Gosh, I love that I have clothes in my cupboard that I don’t even have to unbutton to put on! I love that I am back to looking at the medium size tops again, that I’ve had to buy a new belt at least 3 times because the others are all too big for me. I love that I now have the confidence to wear my cute mini-skirt without feeling so self-conscious, that I’d end up putting on the pair of leggings that I’d packed into my handbag. I love that I can see the muscle definition in my legs, in my arms, that my “mom-belly” is slowly, very slowly but surely shrinking. I love that for the first time in 10.5 years, I bought a bikini last November, AND I WORE IT IN DECEMBER TO THE BEACH!

I think what I love the most about my new lifestyle, is the confidence that I’ve discovered about myself, a confidence I’ve honesty never had before.

What are your top tips for other moms trying to lose weight & get fitter?

My eldest was born in October 2009, and I only lost all of that weight by November 2012! It’s amazing how our bodies can so quickly put on the weight, but it feels like we’re never going to lose it afterwards. What I’ve learnt over the past 21 months is that the weight will go, the cm’s will shrink, but only if you put in the dedication and hard work. It’s so easy to put on the weight, and it feels like a constant uphill battle in trying to lose it. I am so impatient, but I have had to have some semblance of patience during this journey, else I would have thrown in the towel months ago.

If you don’t know where to start, try and find some other moms who are wanting to lose weight, improve their lifestyles; do it together. That’s honestly what I miss most about the GetFit challenge – the people, the teamwork, the group motivation. It’s always so much easier and enjoyable when doing something with someone else, ok maybe not easier when it comes to exercise, but so much more enjoyable, so much more motivating, and so much more fun!

If you can afford it, I’d absolutely recommend hiring a personal trainer to not only push you in the right direction exercise wise, but who can also guide you with regards to the right foods that you should be eating. And you know what, if you want the chocolate, have the damn chocolate. Lord knows you’ll be burning it off either running after your toddler, picking up your kids clothes from their bedroom floors, or driving them from one extra-curricular to another. It’s ok to have the chocolate. Just not the whole slab, in 10mins!



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