“For the first time, I’m in the driver’s seat”
Kids can be cruel. But for Dabney Noelia, the constant taunts at high school ended up being the fuel for her weight-loss journey. “I wish I could go back to everyone who ever said a bad word about me and thank them for motivating me,” she says.
Occupation: Branch manager
Weight Before: 121kg
Weight After: 90kg
Time Taken to lose weight: Two years
Food was always a big part of Dabney’s life: “All family occasions revolved around food,” she says. As a result, she grew up carrying around extra weight. When she changed schools in grade nine, she was teased about her figure. “I even heard adults making jokes,” she admits. Her self-confidence waned and she withdrew from sport – causing her to balloon further. Her weight gain in one year: 20kg.
“When I was 17, I was told that my weight was literally going to kill me,” says Dabney. Her weight, coupled with her age, meant she could be pre-diabetic. But it wasn’t until her matric year that the warning really hit home: “I started comparing myself to my friends and the designs they were choosing for our matric farewell. I felt like a thorn among the roses,” she says. On her 18th birthday, something clicked. “I took a long, hard look at myself and knew I needed to change.”
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To kick things off, Dabney saw her GP again. This time, she was put on a weight-loss regime, with vitamin B12 injections to speed up her metabolism. “I stopped junk food cold turkey,” she says. “No more takeaways, fizzy drinks, fat or sugar.” High-fibre, low-GI foods became her new best friends. She also embraced daily 45-minute cardio workouts, mixing up treadmill running with spinning classes. “I alternated between morning and evening sessions to ensure my body wouldn’t fall into a routine,” she says. The first 15kg were the easiest to lose, but to get those extra 16kg off, Dabney dug deep. “I didn’t focus on what I still had to lose, I focused on what I’d already lost.”
Dabney’s set her sights on something more than weight loss: she wants to run a 10km race. Yet the bonus is more than just her fit, healthy body (she’s dropped a whopping five dress sizes!). “I’m studying comprehensive nutrition and basic exercise science, so I’ve even discovered my true passion!” she says.
> Persevere. “If you want something, keep at it with all your heart.”
> Compete against yourself. “If you have old pants you can’t fit into, make your goal to get into them in a set amount of time.”
> Love your workout. “That way, it’ll never feel like work.”
Looking for more inspo? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.