Having been a yo-yo dieter her entire life, Pippa Pringle says she felt “fat, ugly and just extremely uncomfortable”. Desperately wanting to make a change, she consulted a nutritionist, who gave her a weighty goal to drop 50 kilos or face possible health risks.
Armed with a plan and the will to change her life, Pippa faced her challenge head-on and came out on top. Here’s how she did it.
City: Somerset West
Occupation: Communications company owner
Weight before: 114.8kg
Weight after: 67kg
Time taken to lose weight: 2.5 years
Secret weight-loss weapon: A nutritionist
Pippa’s struggled with her weight since puberty. In fact, when she was 12 years old, her mother enrolled her in a diet programme. “Looking back, I don’t think I was overweight, but she didn’t know any better and thought she was doing the right thing for me,” says Pippa.
This contributed to her unhealthy eating habits, which, over the span of 27 years, culminated in Pippa tipping the scales at 115kg. An average day’s plate was filled with chocolate, plus ham, cheese and mayo sandwiches. “I hit a low point. I felt fat, ugly and extremely uncomfortable. My breathing was laboured and I was experiencing severe joint pains,” she says. She even considered weight-loss surgery.
In 2015, Pippa ran into a friend who’d lost over 20kg with the help of a nutritionist. This inspired her to give weight loss one last shot. “Sitting in the nutritionist’s office, I remember feeling depressed. If I could just lose two kilos it would be a win, but I didn’t even think [I could do] that.”
To her surprise, the nutritionist told her she could lose 50kg. She was so motivated, she even started making changes while waiting for her new eating plan. By the time she returned to collect the plan, she’d dropped almost two kilos. And just like that, there was no stopping her.
For Pippa, the first three weeks of the new plan were the hardest. But once she’d made it past the first 22 days, giving up wasn’t an option. “In the past, I never got further than three weeks and this in itself was a major achievement for me,” she says. To maintain momentum, she started meal prepping, which allowed her to nip temptation in the bud.
She also learned how to better her relationship with food and actually start to like exercise. “I learnt which foods are good for me and how to eat the right food groups as this is beneficial to curbing cravings, which ultimately steer you in the direction of the ‘bad’ foods. And then incorporating exercise into my daily routine…” she says.
Just over two years later, Pippa had lost over 40kg, something that’s allowed her to live a very different life. “The cherry on the cake for me was being able to go on the water slides with my two children, which I had never been able to do before,” she says. “The looks on their faces made everything worth it!”
Since she’s shrunk from a size 20 to a 10, it was time to update her wardrobe.“I enlisted the help of a stylist to give me tips on what clothes would work for me,” she says. Besides having a new style, her quality of life and self-confidence has improved dramatically. “I have the self-confidence I never had before,” she says. “For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my own skin.”
Start slow: “When starting the process, take it one meal at a time, and then one day at a time. As this needs to become a permanent lifestyle change, you can’t rush in seeing big results. It’s a process and you need to be patient. If you can do this, the rewards are so worth it.”
Have a realistic goal: “Set realistic goals that you feel you can achieve. For example, if you have 50kg to lose, don’t look at the big number, but rather break it into smaller segments – set your first goal to lose five kilos, then work from there.”
It’s never too late to start losing weight: “My sister asked me if I regret not starting this process earlier on in my life, and my answer was ‘no’. I replied that if I had reached the end of my life and hadn’t got this weight thing right, I would have regrets, but I don’t regret getting this right at the age I am now, because my head is obviously in the right place.”