When you wake up one morning and decide that enough is enough, those kilos have to come off, then you embark on a huge commitment, and a new way of life.

That morning Fredo was thinking of a saying of Janey’s brother, Mick Westmoreland, who has been living in New Zealand for many years. Mick, a sailor and surfer of note, always used to joke at slightly overweight people by saying: “God made beautiful bodies, what happened to yours?”

The way to the new life – that is what Fredo found out after that momentous day in July this year – the day he and Janey decided that no matter what, they needed to lose some weight. Initially Janey suggested that we follow the 17 day diet which she read about. She even bought the book – and Fredo must admit that it made an impact. In those first 11 days Fredo lost 4,5 kgs. In the end it was our children’s advice which pointed us in the right direction, namely to consult a dietician.

[divider] On 11 July 2013 we walked into the offices of Munch Wise at The Quadrant where Johno operates the Transfit Gym and where he has worked miracles with people such as our national cricket heroes, Graham Smith, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher. The dietician Rochez measured and weighed and produced a print out which painted a bleak picture for both of us, but mainly for Fredo. On those dreaded print-outs just about everything related to Fredo was in the red, which simply meant that he was really not in a good shape.

The most shattering news was that Fredo’s metabolic age was 78 years – meaning that Fredo’s body was operating more or less like that of a 78 year old gentleman, and no-where near the 63 years he was supposed to be. To cut a long story short, new eating plans were developed, we started doing a lot more walking and got ourselves a new home bicycle so we can get in that hour’s exercise very day, if possible, but not less than 4 to 5 times a week. Needless to say, we had to reduce the calories dramatically, no carbs at night, and report once every three weeks for the weighing session and a discussion of progress.

[divider] For those already turned off by eating plans and things, it is really not that bad. There is so much diversity in the eating plan that you can make it really interesting. Fredo quickly settled into that breakfast of a cup of fruit, mostly strawberries and black berries (but you can vary with other fruits on the list) and milk and weatbix, taken within two hours of waking up. Then there is lunch at 13:00, either chicken or fish with almost unlimited amounts of salad. Man, lunch has never tasted so lekker! At 17:00 a snack of biltong and nuts, or some cheese wedges on provita, or an apple with half a cup of yoghurt. At supper, which must be taken before 20:00, we enjoy chicken breast (always cooked without skin), pork or beef and basically as much of the vegetables on the list as you can eat. We acquired a George Foreman griller and our chicken, pork or stake has never tasted better. Good man George, for giving us this amazing machine. We also found that skinless chicken on the braai is great to cook. And, after initial doubts, we are amazed at just how nice ostrich saugages are in stead of boerewors. At Stilbaai, that nice Stilbaai dried sausage are only acquired as a treat for the little dogs who live in the area and who regularly come for a visit.

With this way of eating you drink at least two litres of water a day, but for Fredo three litres was recommended. Most importantly, no sugar – so get used to that bitter coffee or tea, always with almost no milk.

The biggest thing is cutting out the beers, wine and other nice drinking stuff. We are allowed only half a bottle of wine each per week. Man, that’s tough and really takes dedication and commitment to conform to!

However, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and that is exactly what happened. Between the start of July and the start of November Fredo lost around 20 kgs, and Janey 11 (from a much lighter weight – she ran rings around Fredo in terms of her performance). Now Fredo is edging towards the green sectors on the printout and he is feeling great. He can get into clothes that has been in the cupboard for years – his metabolic age is now around 58 and dropping – Janey is now a sprightly 46 years, and reminds Fredo that he has some way to go yet.

[divider] Most importantly, we now understand what Johno meant at the beginning when he said: eight weeks for the rest of your lives.” It does not mean that you have to follow a tough regime for the rest of your life, but rather that if you can discipline yourself to follow a good and healthy eating plan, and exercise a lot, it changes your life.

So when Fredo and Janey now wake up, or eat out at a restaurant, we know what we can eat and have generally found that there are always things we can choose from. We have also found that restaurants are also willing to adapt their dishes if we ask them to do so. Healthy eating is always a topic the restaurant staff enjoys discussing and they are always ready to offer something special to us.

[divider] Our own cooking has become an adventure. We particularly enjoy haddock or tuna on those two slices of toast at lunch with that brilliant salad which Janey has become such an expert in preparing. Recently, on our trip in the Ranger and the Tourer we enjoyed some brilliant lunches, and dinners, at De Hoop National Park, Ebb & Flow at Wilderness and overlooking the ocean at Storms River Rest Camp in the Tsitsikamma National Park. When at home that George Foreman cooker works miracles and Fredo would say that is the most important piece of equipment that you need if you want to embark on this trial of renewal and rediscovery. Fredo often marinades beef and cooks it on the braai, then slices it in strips and serve it with the salad. It is simply great.

Our journey of different eating and living is not over – we are moving forward because Fredo still has some kilos to shed. But we doubt that we will every return to the old days. When we look around us and see how many of our fellow countrymen are obviously not caring for their bodies, then we know that we have crossed the line.

Sometimes we are naughty and enjoy a bit more of a good Merlot – and then dread that next visit to Rochez when the magical scales will reveal all. But hey, that’s life, and we are on a journey of fun and enjoyment too!