“People don’t even recognise me!”
Losing weight requires you to make a lot of decisions, says Hlonelwa Mpelwane. “It’s also a journey of a thousand kilometres, which begins with one single step.” The first step for her was simply deciding to start.
Weight before: 85 kg
Weight after: 60 kg
Height: 1,53 cm
Time taken to lose weight: 1 year
Secret weapon: Ditching fad diets
“I’m from a family with a couple of overweight people, but I wasn’t one of them,” says Hlonelwa. Her weight gain was gradual and started late in high school… And continued into varsity. She picked up a penchant for junk food, favouring slap chips, burgers, pizza and fried chicken. “I hardly ate any veggies besides potatoes,” she says.
In August 2007, Hlonelwa fell pregnant and found herself in a crisis. “I couldn’t afford to get any bigger,” she says. So she decided to take control of the situation. “I started making healthier food choices because of the pregnancy.”
“I introduced veggies into my diet, cut down on sugar and oily foods, opted for fat-free foods and I ditched bread, rice and sodas,” she explains. Her diet entailed five meals a day, all in small portions. “I mostly ate veggies and protein and drank a lot of water,” she says. As soon as she gave birth, she buckled down and hit the road. “I started with light runs three times a week and soon after that I was doing 10 and 20 kays every now and again,” she says.
“I bumped into someone I went to school with and she didn’t recognise me – I had to reintroduce myself because I was a different person altogether,” she says. “I was in awe.” Having dropped five dress sizes, she also had some shopping to do. Hlonelwa says her self-confidence got a much-needed boost and she now feels much younger and more energetic. “I fly through a 10k run now, something I never thought I could do,” she says.
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.
> Give up fad diets. “This should be your lifestyle; something you can sustain forever.”
> Celebrate small victories. “Be your own cheerleader and celebrate when you decline cheesecake.”
> Don’t give up. “Every hour make a choice to keep at it because it’s worth it.”
Looking for more? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.