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“Unforgiving Mean Girls At School Motivated Me To Lose 45 Kilos”

Posted on: by Zinhlezonke Zikalala
Casey-Leigh Viviers weight-loss story before and after photo

“I feel sexier in outfits I never pictured myself in!”

Weight loss isn’t easy — no matter who you are. But when you’re surrounded by unforgiving ‘Mean Girls‘, things can get even more difficult. Here’s how student Casey Viviers lost a whopping 40 kilos — in high school.

Casey-Leigh Viviers

Age: 22
City: Johannesburg
Occupation: Student
Height: 1.79m
Weight Before: 125 Kg
Weight After: 70 Kg
Time taken to lose weight: 1 year, 4 months
Secret Weapon: Love yourself

The Gain

Casey grew up in a household where food feasts were part of every occasion. She learnt to love food and turned to it for comfort. Being an overweight child didn’t bother her much, but when she entered high school, making friends became difficult because of her size. “People aren’t as accepting in high school because this is where cliques are formed, it’s where the girls are a lot harsher on appearances and it’s where attitudes get a lot stronger,” she says. Naturally, Casey became unhappy and turned to food for comfort. “It got to a point where I wasn’t just eating for enjoyment, but rather eating my feelings,” she says. “By age 16, I was at my heaviest weight of 125 kilograms.”

READ MORE: Exactly How To Lose 2kg, 5kg Or 10kg, According To A Dietician

The Change

By this time, Casey couldn’t fit into her school shirt – the biggest size for men — and opted to wear tights and oversized T-shirts to school. She sat out PE classes too. “I was tired of being mocked as the fat kid,” she says. Then, in grade 11, her grade planned a fashion show to raise funds for their matric dance. But Casey couldn’t fit into any of the clothes. “I was sick of being treated like an outcast and the feeling of being absolutely worthless,” she says. “I decided that by my matric dance I would be slim enough to wear the most stunning dress and feel like a princess.”

READ MORE: Here’s What You Need To Know About Counting Net Carbs To Lose Weight

The Lifestyle

“Diet is a four-letter word that only made me want to eat more,” says Casey. She decided to do things her way by weaning herself off refined carbs and incorporating low-GI options. She also ditched the sugar in her tea and coffee and embraced salads. Because exercise was so heavy on her joints, Casey started with walks and, when she felt stronger, she started cycling and running on the treadmill. “I had days where I just felt depressed and all I wanted to do was eat my feelings, but what got me through was focusing on how badly I wanted to achieve my goal,” she says. By her matric dance, Casey had lost 40 kilos. “I felt how I wanted to feel and that’s what counts!” Casey kept up her lifestyle and now, after school, she’s a slim — and happy — 70 kilos.

READ MORE: “My Pre-Pregnancy Dress Was My Motivation For Getting My Body Back”

THE REWARD

Simple things, like how easy it was to move around, made the weight loss rewarding for Casey. “I felt so much healthier, I felt light on my feet and it was less strenuous to do simple things such as climbing stairs,” she says. While the people at school didn’t get any nicer, Casey realised that she was happier and more confident in herself and didn’t need them. “I know that my body isn’t perfect — I have extra skin and stretch marks — but this whole journey has made me a much stronger person,” she says. “I have a healthier outlook on life and I have a greater respect for my body.” Her body looks perfect to us!

READ MORE: 9 Things You’re Not Doing In Your Kitchen That Lead To Weight Loss

CASEY’S TIPS

> Don’t underestimate yourself. “We don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we achieve and we are so much stronger than we think.”

> Ignore negativity. “Ignore what people say, ignore what the scale says and definitely ignore the people who say it’s impossible and you can’t.”

> Love yourself first. “The only way to succeed is by putting yourself before the fat and loving yourself more than the food.”

Ready to transform your life too? Sign up to Women’s Health’s expert-approved eating and exercise plan — Lean Body Blitz — and watch the weight disappear. Looking for more inspo? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.

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