“Depression And Drug Abuse Was The Catalyst For My Transformation”
Weight loss isn’t always about shedding that extra padding – sometimes, more often than not, it’s a shift in the way we see ourselves that leads to the big change. For Nariman Ganief, a 37-year-old account coordinator, battling depression and drug abuse was the catalyst for her transformation, inside and out.
Time taken to lose weight: 10 months
Secret weapon: A fierce can-do attitude
“My depression was caused by the drug use (which started in 2005) and that’s what caused the weight gain,” admits Nariman. “I ate for comfort without even realising how it affected me and it stayed on for a long time,” she says. Adding to the frequent food binges were weekends filled with wine and cocktails, followed by the inevitable hangover breakfast: toasted steak sandwiches with a fizzy drink to wash it down. By 2015, she weighed 126kg – her heaviest.
While Nariman tried to conquer her drug addiction, she was also pursuing her black belt in karate. But her depression-induced weight gain left her uninspired to keep training. “I hated seeing my reflection while I exercised – everything wobbled. So I just stayed away,” she says. The penny only dropped one night at a restaurant. “I saw myself stuffing cake into my mouth in one of the mirrors. I was completely horrified; I cried all the way home,” she recalls. “All I knew was that I wanted my black belt and that I was going to do the work for it.”
First, fried food had to go. And booze and fizzy drinks got replaced with water. Next she found a personal trainer. Nariman worked out seven times a week: three sessions in the gym before work, three karate classes and a Sunday morning run with her sister. Once a month she did heated yoga to stretch it all out. “Every night I’d lie quietly for a few minutes reminding myself what I was working for and how awesome it was going to be in the end.”
Nariman has been drug-free for three years. She can deadlift 130kg and she’s got her black belt. “This is my biggest achievement. I feel much healthier – I sleep better and move more freely,” she says. “The fact that I’ve lost the weight, and am keeping it off, is a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to.”
> Get your mind in the game. “If you’re not prepared to make that shift and do the work, you won’t get ahead.”
> Ditch the quick-fixes. “Losing weight and keeping it off is a process that takes time and consistency.”
> Explore being healthy. “Try something new and you’ll reap the benefits without it feeling like a chore.”