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Sometimes in life things seem to come together almost at random.  Many people spend the days leading up to New Years telling themselves that they're going to do this or stop doing that.  Most don't last and those going past a week are truly dedicated to the cause (or under doctor's orders).  Why does this happen?  Wrong mindset.  The dedication is there, but the true gravity of their decision hasn't sunk in yet.  So how does one go around changing your lifestyle for the better?

Up until February this year I was a smoker, not the pack-a-day kind of smoker, but a smoker nonetheless.  I also weighed the wrong side of 110 kg (242 pounds for the non-metrics).  For a very long time I wanted to quit, but nicotine addiction is a harsh thing and I failed miserably in my first attempt in 2010.  So I kept going, gradually reducing my smokes a day from about twelve to a rather less unhealthy seven.  I was proud of myself for achieving as much, but I knew the welcoming period for first years was upon us and that the stress it caused would ultimately lead to more smoking.  Apparently mother nature had other plans.  You see, that January was pretty damn hot.  Standing outside for longer than required was not an option and the inherent lack of sleep made it worse.  Eventually I found that when I had some time to myself, I would rather take a nap than have a smoke.  This went on for a while and before I knew it, it was Thursday and I last smoked on the Tuesday.  I picked up my pack and started walking towards the door when a thought hit me: I don't need this.  And I quit.  Just like that.

I was quite surprised by this sudden turn of events, as well as many of my friends, some of whom still thought I was smoking until a few weeks ago.  I thought about it for quite some time and realised that my mindset was right, I just needed that last push or opportunity to do it.  Over time, since the failed attempt at quitting in 2010, my mind subconsciously prepared itself to stop.  The physical craving would still be there, but the mental fulfilment wasn't always there anymore.  Eventually when the opportunity arose where my body was weak enough to stop caring for its dose of nicotine, quitting was the next logical step in the process.  I'll admit that I still smoke every once in a while in social situations, but since the 9th of February 2012 I consider myself a non-smoker.

The next big step was to get my weight in check, seeing as the not-smoking-anymore led to extra cookie money.  I knew that this would be a bit more painful than smoking. Not only would I have to quit eating, but actually start doing sweaty things like exercise.  I wasn't amped, but at 1,78 m tall and weighing 114 kg (a BMI of 36), it was time to make a change.  I learnt a lot from quitting smoking, so I knew to get myself ready for it before I could even dream of attempting it.  So in April I started getting myself worked up and mentally preparing myself for cutting out junk food and sugary drinks.  Another obvious reason for waiting was the fact that starting to eat healthy at home would be easier and cheaper than trying to do it at residence.  In June, 5 days after arriving home, my new life began.  I would cut out almost all calories from drinks, avoid junk food as much as possible, eat smaller and more balanced portions and start moving around more.  The going was tough, but a reminder from the doctor at my yearly check-up that my cholesterol was bad kept me going initially.

The first month was horrible, as the only impact you see is a number on a scale, but still, seeing the number shrink every day made me feel that little bit better every time.  Eventually, by the time I returned to Stellenbosch at the end of July, I went down to around 105 kg, a nine kilogram drop in five weeks.  Some people already picked up that I lost weight, but I didn't really see it, so I just took their word for it.  By Spring Ball at the end of August I achieved the impossible (at least, in my mind), my weight dropped below 100 kg for the first time since the eleventh grade and by end of term I weighed 98 kg, a total loss of 16 kg and two notches on my belt.  Now, in November, I officially weigh 92 kg with a BMI of 29, pant size 34 and shirt size large where I used to wear a 38 and a 2XL.  Technically I have gone from severely obese to overweight in 5 months and I'm not done yet.  By June of next year I want to reach the 80 kg mark, finally putting me in the "normal" weight class for the first time since primary school.

Many people might be asking what my secret is, and to be honest, there is none.  The best secret is written on the side of a Coke Light: only effective as part of a kilojoule controlled diet with mild increase in activity.  And CLA, 3,2 grams a day.  Furthermore dropping bread is one of the best options to easily cut the carbs along with standard soft drinks and fruit juices.  The most important ingredient is patience though, so never get frustrated if the scale is heavier today than it was yesterday, it happens often and causes a bunch of people to quit before they really even start.  Also remember that just because you cut out chocolate doesn't mean you can't have any.  Keep an eye on the energy you consume per serving and you should be fine.  An app such as Noom can be helpful in this sense, I would have been lost if I didn't have it and recommend it to anyone trying to lose weight.

Basically a year where I was supposed to focus on my academics and work as a HK member turned out to be a year where I bettered myself as a person on a physical level.  I am quite proud by what I have achieved so far, not many people can say they have successfully done what I have in the space of less than a year.  I do know this, though: if the world really does end on 21 December 2012, I'll be pretty damn pissed!
Story of my life in 2012. Things escalated quickly.

And the new thumb is all me, poor fellow was quite shy though and yes, I do know the difference between a cougar and a lion. Fun fact: there have been cougars imported and naturalized in Africa, although very few.
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:iconmistresskurumi:
MistressKurumi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Like everyone says... cougar not a lion. lol.
Reply
:iconwhiskeyii:
whiskeyii Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Congratulations on everything that you've achieved; it's nothing to sniff at, that's for sure! :D But I definitely needed this as a pick-me-up; with finals and other stress factors looming on the horizon (not to mention the holidays), this is just what I needed to remind myself that I can reach my weight goals, as long as I don't give up. :)
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:iconblazefirewolf1:
BlazeFireWolf1 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I dont get why people are so intent on complaiing about thethumb nail when there is so much more to it.I just finished reading it and all I can sayis that that must have taken a lot of determination.I cant beleive dropping smoking was that easy for you either..
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:iconxy2kura:
xy2kura Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Please be so kind as to remove the image you're using. It's not your own work and by no means is DA a photobucket, tumblr, facebook etc. DA has it's own copyright policy and using an image like this is in violation of it. If you insist on using something, get permission from an original artist on their work and show proof of that permission in comments. Ty.
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:iconmannedood:
Mannedood Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
Ah my bad, need to get used to this again. New one is all me though.
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:iconmowendesigns:
MowenDesigns Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Plus Pumas don't eat Zebras or Gazelles!!! D:

This person does bring up a reason not to use the image as well. :P
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:iconisolitude:
ISolitude Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four, calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg. You seem to think it would though.
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:iconkangeetheonyxfox:
KangeeTheOnyxFox Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Diets are evil.
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:iconmusapan:
Musapan Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a wonderful little narrative about your experience. I very much enjoyed reading in, for more reasons than one. It's well-written and really keeps you interested in a (what could be considered by some as mundane) subject, and more than anything, it's a story of a powerful and difficult journey.

I myself have been on a similar road for the better part of a year. While I have never been a smoker, my weakness was horrible food. For two years after leaving home and getting my first place, I lived on fast food and junk food, not thinking at all of how it could affect my body. While I didn't gain nearly as much weight as I SHOULD have, (the weight gain, let's just say, was the least of my worries; I was not considered obese, but definitely above average weight,) my immune system plummeted, I stopped getting my period, and I became altogether unhealthy. I was suddenly sick all the time, and didn't have much energy to do much of anything. I didn't even drink water. My excuse was, "It just makes me thirstier! And besides, I want something yummy to drink."

It was getting to the point where I was getting sick every two weeks. Who wants to live like that? I couldn't take it anymore, and I decided to take a look into how I was treating myself, and what I was putting in my body. Like you said, it started off as mental preparation for what I was about to give up; fast food and processed foods. I was also going to have to learn to cook, which I had previously been horrible at. I started making small changes to my diet while at the same time learning everything I could about nutrition. I knew that the way I had been eating wasn't good for me, but I had no idea about half of the things I was REALLY putting into my body... It was no wonder I was always so sick!

A few months later, both my fiance and I are eating great and feeling great. We got a cheap treadmill off of Craigslist, and we started shopping at an all-natural holistic grocery store (and no, it's not more expensive! We spent the same amount of money buying fast food 2-3 times a day!) and I'm slowing cutting meat out of my diet, as well. (I'll never be a full vegetarian, but I'm trying to get down to a 5% meat diet.) There was a time, a few months ago, when I would have told you that there was no WAY I could ever live without Taco Bell. But now I see things differently. The last time I tried to eat Taco Bell, I nearly threw up. After eating good, natural food for so long, my body literally tried to reject it. It tasted revolting... My comfort food, the food I had been eating weekly for almost 10 years, was revolting. It was amazing.

I have more energy, I feel so much better, and it's just getting better every day. Patience really is key; although it's taking a while, my immune system is starting to return to it's former glory, and my period has started again. It's been a rough road, but it's so rewarding!

Sorry for the huge comment... Your story was inspirational, and I hope other people offer their testimonies as well!
Reply
:iconmannedood:
Mannedood Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
Wow thanks for sharing this and good on you for making the change to a healthier lifestyle! I always say that nothing gets you as motivated to lose weight as a nice, sincere success story.
Reply
:iconsapphireleto:
SapphireLeto Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
One of my close friends is trying to loose weight, would you mind if I showed this to him?
Reply
:iconwishfulthinkiner:
wishfulthinkiner Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
I really like this! Congratulations on quitting smoking and I think I will try some of what you suggested
Reply
:iconheluethehedghehog:
heluethehedghehog Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
and wtf with the comments of the puma xD
focus on the story xD
Reply
:iconheluethehedghehog:
heluethehedghehog Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
wow, You must be really proud
you quit smoking, and you lost weight ( a lot of weight I'll say .3. )

and I don't think the world ends in 2012 :3 I'm from Mexico so I hear that story of the end of the world every day xD one hiphotesis is that live started in year 1, never in year 0, so we are suppose to be in 2011 right know :B
The other hiphotesis is that it's just the beginning of a new era, not that everyone will die (maybe they run out of rocks xD)
But the one I think is more possible, is that it'll just happend some kind of disasters, like the earthquates and tornados and all that kind of stuff :I
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:iconmabelpinesrules1:
mabelpinesrules1 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student General Artist
How I feel.......
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:iconlilxbyrd:
LilxByrd Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
shoulda used an actual lion....not a USA native animal lol
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:iconkyleehavoc:
KyleEHavoc Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Cougars/mountain lions/pumas are not only native to the USA.
Reply
:iconeyproductions:
EYproductions Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Filmographer
I think what they meant was, a Cougar/mountain lion/puma would never encounter zebras & gazelles in the wild. Big horned sheep and llamas on the other hand would totally be on the menu.
Reply
:iconkyleehavoc:
KyleEHavoc Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
Indeed. I don't know how many llamas, but certainly elk, big horned sheep, deer and maybe the occasional careless young moose.
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:icontheblackwolf25:
Theblackwolf25 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
why is a mountain lion staring at a zebra?
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:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I didn't read the artist's comments, but the picture is absolutely hilarious xD
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:iconghiest1:
Ghiest1 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist
Good job! I know weight loss is difficult, I myself have dropped 60 lbs in five months, and it is not easy.
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Filmographer
Uh. Pic's of a cougar, not a lion.
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:iconspazdoodle:
Spazdoodle Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
^
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:iconspazdoodle:
Spazdoodle Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
^
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:iconwolfben:
WOLFBEN Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
how did you know?
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Filmographer
Lions and cougars look nothing alike. Also, a lion out-weighs a cougar by a significant amount. Theoretically, if exposed to the same prey species, a cougar would be able to bring down the gazelle, but not the zebra. A lion could bring down either. A cougar isn't that much different in size from a leopard or jaguar, and both take down smaller animals.

Lions are also members of the family of "Great Cats" also known as Large Cats, while cougars are members of the Small Cat family. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is with the ability to purr. Small Cats are capable of purring, while Large Cats are not. Large Cats do something called "chuffing".
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:iconwolfben:
WOLFBEN Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
thanks for the info :D
but I believe both is dangerous. LOL
Reply
:iconkolala-bear:
Kolala-Bear Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
if that's not a sarcastic question, here.
Lion - [link]
Cougar - [link]
There's a difference in facial structure, fur direction, and color ^__^

Though cougars are called mountain lions. Does that make it count? d:
Reply
:iconwolfben:
WOLFBEN Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
oh... I see now, so th cougar have black color in it face?
Reply
:iconkolala-bear:
Kolala-Bear Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Yeah d: they typically have white-ish lips and black around that.
Reply
:icondancingintwilight:
DancingInTwilight Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student General Artist
thats what i thought. i will not read the story until the picture is corrected.
Reply
:icontaylor-youth:
taylor-youth Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Who's to say a cougar couldn't have escaped its encloser and found its way to the African game in the zoo? :dummy:
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:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Psh same thing.
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Filmographer
Not even close, dude. For starters, not the same continent.
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:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, they are. They're both totally in Australia...
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Student Filmographer
Not native. Cougars are in the Americas, and lions are Africa/Asia (though the Asian lion is essentially extinct).
Reply
:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Uh-huh native! I went there and learned so myself, right after I visited the Great Wall that they built back before they made the constitution.
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Student Filmographer
Also, Great Wall's in China. Not Australia. I think you've got your continents confused.
Reply
:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Or maybe you have your planets confused.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Student Filmographer
There is not a single species of cat that is native to Australia. All of them were introduced. And if you're talking about the Tasmanian tiger (or Tasmanian wolf, and yes, they're the same animal) [link], they have been extinct since the 1930s.

As I said before: cougars/mountain lions are native to the Americas. Lions are found almost exclusively in Africa, though there is an essentially extinct sub-species of Asian lion (and there's a difference between something being essentially extinct and actually extinct. Essentially extinct means that the breeding population isn't substantial enough to keep enough genetic diversity to keep the species from dying out. It's why there aren't any lions left in Europe).
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Student Filmographer
...no.
Reply
:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Si.
Reply
:iconcheezayballz:
CheezayBallz Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
uhm no, its not the same
Reply
:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Cougars have four legs, Lions have four legs. There. They're both the same animal.
Reply
:iconcheezayballz:
CheezayBallz Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Horses have four legs too amd they are no lions
Reply
:iconhekatelesedi:
HekateLesedi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Student Filmographer
They're entirely different species. They cannot interbreed successfully, so therefore they are not related closely enough to be the same animal. Also, here's a very helpful size chart that can be found on our very own deviantART: [link]

Have fun with that.
Reply
:iconphylos7:
phylos7 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You can't win this conversation with mere...facts. Don't be silly.
Reply
:iconvittring:
vittring Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
STOP LION
Reply
:iconlunaterasu:
Lunaterasu Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
(How can I be the first comment!?)
That's an amazing story dude! It's fantastic that you've been able to accomplish all this so shortly~!
I've tried to cut my weight dozens of times, but could never push down those cravings.
(It's odd, because today I went for a slice of bread and decided: You know what? I really don't need this. XD)
I always said to myself, "Hey I don't care about my weight!" But it seems the public does...and I am starting to as well.
This, honestly, gave me a booster to start dieting and exercising again.
Anyway, grand astonishment! I hope you accomplish even more than this year! :heart:
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