A few weeks back I interviewed Tessa Whitfield, one of our super star clients, on Facebook LIVE about her unbelievable weight loss transformation.
She kindly agreed to give me another interview in writing for those who are not on Facebook, or who don’t have that kind of time.
If you didn’t get to watch it, here it is. And if you don’t have the time, you can read her blow-by-blow account of her transformation below.
Tell us about your approach to your health before engaging with RMR.
Before engaging with RMR, my approach to my health was haphazard – I dieted and lost weight (mostly), but never kept it off. I tried pretty much every diet out there, including Banting way back when it was first popular in South Africa and bought the original Real Meal Revolution red book. Everything worked to some degree, but I was never able to maintain any weight loss and soon found myself back where I started, usually with a couple of extra kilos for good measure!
How did you see food?
I saw food as a source of pleasure and comfort, using it to entertain myself and also to numb emotions when life got uncomfortable. It’s odd thinking back that nutrition and nourishment was barely a consideration.
How did your health make you feel?
My health made me feel desperate and sad – like I was cornered with no way out.
How bad was your health, your energy levels? Mention physical stats – weight, blood metrics, any other ailments.
My overall health was dreadful and my energy levels were low and sometimes non-existent. At my heaviest, I weighed 99.6kg, was on medication for high blood pressure and had high cholesterol, along with the beginnings of insulin resistance. My sleep was appalling – I would be in bed for 8-9 hours, but if I managed 4-5 hours of actual sleep, it was as good as it got. And as a result of the lack of sleep, I was always tired and this also contributed to my lack of energy.
How did this impact your confidence and other parts of your life like your relationships, your career, love life etc?
The impact of this on my confidence was serious – I was really body conscious and didn’t go to gym or exercise much, as I felt like such a fraud. With friends and family, I would often bail on social commitments, because I just didn’t want to be seen – to expose myself in public. It often felt as if my skin was too sensitive and any interaction would irritate or rub it raw!
When it came to work, my confidence was better, I had faith in my ability to perform well and didn’t judge myself on my appearance as much, but rather on my performance. Having said that, I definitely didn’t have the confidence to push myself to pursue any opportunities for learning and growth, or put myself forward for potential promotions.
And as for an intimate partner, I simply didn’t see a chance for it – who could possibly find me lovable in my current state? I didn’t really like myself very much, how could anyone else?
What made you decide to make the change?
I decided to make a change after I weighed in at 99.6kg and could feel that my life was shrinking around me every single day. The less I did, the less I felt like doing anything and the more I ate and drank. I knew that if I didn’t change something, I would soon become quite ill as a result of my lifestyle and would find myself seriously confined by my weight and related health issues.
How did you discover RMR?
I had joined RMR way back in 2014, so I already knew about it – but I think I saw some advertising on Facebook, which drew back to try again.
What were you expecting?
When I signed up for the One on One Online Keto Coaching with Sharon as my coach and I was expecting it to be all about how to maximise my weight loss on a low carb eating plan. And I was really hoping to find the magic bullet that would make the weight stay off!
What did you actually get?
What I actually got was SO much more than a low carb eating plan! From attending the Mindset workshops, I quickly realised that in order to make the weight loss stick this time, I was going to have to do some serious work on my mental approach to eating and food. So I volunteered at every opportunity in the Mindset sessions – with sweaty palms and a racing pulse, I slowly allowed myself to be seen. When the Eating Psychology sessions started, I made a point of joining those whenever I could, so I could gain more insight and understanding.
And it goes without saying that going through the RMR Online Keto Course material and attending the Dietitian sessions on Fridays provided a treasure trove of information, which I dived into – and I still try to attend, as there’s always something to be learned.
What are some of the significant changes in your life that you believe came from RMR?
Some of the significant changes in my life as a result of being a RMR Client were:
How did your experience differ from other health or diet experiences you have had before?
The experience with RMR differed from everything I’d ever done before because it provided so much more than an eating plan – the lifestyle transformation approach which resulted from this experience has touched pretty much every aspect of my life and enriched it immeasurably. And as a result of all the learning that was offered, I feel empowered to take on the rest of my life, rather than allow it to diminish a little every day as I age.
Give us some physical stats. How much weight have you lost? What other physical or mental benefits are you experiencing?
In January 2019 I weighed 99.6kg and tried a number of different weight loss approaches and had some weight, but was starting to regain the kilos and that’s when I joined RMR in October 2019, weighing in at 93kg. Since then I have lost 17kg and am 4kg off my goal weight – I seriously doubted this kind of weight loss was achievable for me!
My cholesterol reading was super high in the middle of last year – 7.5mmol – and last month it was measured at 5.7mmol, which was entirely due to my current lifestyle – not a single statin passed my lips.
I’m still on meds for high blood pressure, but hope to reduce the dosage or stop taking them completely at some point in the future.
My sleep has definitely improved, but there were factors in addition to my weight that made sleep difficult for me, so it’s still not perfect.
And mentally, I definitely feel sharper and have so enjoyed working towards goals – this is a process that I’ve learned through RMR that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
How has this impacted your confidence?
The impact of the programs I’ve done with RMR has allowed me to develop my self-confidence in a way that will serve me for the rest of my life – this is truly not what I expected when I signed up!
And what has the impact been on your relationships, your career or your love life?
The impact of the RMR programs I’ve done has touched every aspect of my life. My relationships with family are stronger and I feel more connected than ever before. With friends and people in general, I’m trying to create a tribe – my tribe – of people that I value and choose to have in my life and I really don’t mind if it’s a really small tribe!
On the career front, as mentioned earlier, I decided to take voluntary retrenchment in July last year and have been working on myself consistently since then, as well as studying for and qualifying as a Nutrition Network Advisor in LCHF/Keto Nutrition. And in January Jonno approached me to join the RMR team as a coach, so I’ve been doing all the courses and training with the team and am totally thrilled with the new direction my life is taking!
Still haven’t got the love life sorted out yet, dammit! But it’s one of my goals, so it’s a process that I’m busy with, shall we say?
Having joined RMR to lose weight initially, I now find myself living an almost entirely different life than the one I was living 18 months ago – and that was totally unexpected. I feel like I am in charge of my life and have a plan for my future – as much as any one of us can – and I know how to go about achieving my goals. These outcomes are as a result of months of hard work, facing some uncomfortable truths and putting some things aside to improve the quality of my life. And I know that I will never stop working towards those goals while I live and breathe!
If you’re the type of person who has tried everything and maybe given up on weight loss, or even given up on yourself, then I believe you’re certain to find benefit in the RMR programs.
I found a quote yesterday that I’m sure will become my overarching life goal and it goes “The idea is to die young as late as possible” by Ashley Montagu – it’s great, isn’t it?