A trip to the doctor helped her commit to changing her lifestyle
“It’s not just about the fat that I was losing, but also about the emotional baggage that I had been carrying with the fat, which was even harder to deal with. Change is good when you have a positive attitude,” says Nonhlanhla reflecting on her recent weight-loss journey.
Occupation: Student and Social worker intern
Weight before: 130.90 kg
Weight after: 109.2 kg
Height: 1.73 m
Time taken to lose weight: 8 months
Secret weapon: I had to remember “why”, which kept me going each day.
Nonhlanhla Ndlovu was always an overweight child; she was always bigger than her cousins and class mates. She got teased so much that she became comfortable with her fat self. “Most of my father’s family are overweight, therefore I thought being fat was hereditary so I did not care about exercising or going the extra mile to take of myself,” she says.
Nonhlanhla was active and played sports in primary school, however as she grew older, she stopped and found interest in music and arts. This led to her exercising once a week. She would often ‘give up’ half way through a workout, because it was too difficult and she would find herself making up excuses as to why she couldn’t do exercise. Ditching the gym wasn’t her only problem. “I ate a lot of junk food such as pies, fries and soft drinks every single day, oh and let’s not forget my muffin, biltong and chip ‘snacks’,” she says.
Nonhlanhla started getting strange chest pains, so she went to the doctor and discovered that she had hypothyroidism, which is what contributed to her weight gain. ”That was my turning point, I needed to make a choice and a commitment to myself with the aim of getting healthier… and I needed to follow it through this time. It’s true when they say ‘mind over matter’,” says Nonhlanhla.
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She had to completely makeover her entire diet: for breakfast, Nonhlanhla started eating oats with plain yoghurt and cinnamon; for lunch she ate a green salad and grilled chicken; for dinner she’d opt for chicken and steamed vegetables. And those ‘snacks’ she was so fond of? She started substituting muffins and chips with fruits, plus committed to drinking 1.5 litres of water every day. “Now my diet has evolved to a Paleo-based diet, which limits grains, legumes and diary. This works for me, because I am able to eat anything as long as it’s on the green list,” she says.
Nonhlanhla also joined the gym, where she focused on treadmill and cycling workouts, 5 times a week. “Now I do HIIT twice a week and cardio 3 times a week, I also lift weights for extra toning of muscles.”
People started commenting and giving her compliments on her changing shape saw — the support was flying in. Her close friends saw a positive change in her mood and a boost in her confidence, too. “I felt a great sense of achievement; I was more energetic and felt happy on most days. I could uplift myself and feel better quicker,” she says. Nonhlahla is normally a reserved person, however, now she is able to walk up to anyone and start a conversation now. “I look forward to new experiences and actually enjoy shopping for clothes and exercise equipment now”.
> Find your WHY. When difficulties come, go back to the reason why you started in the first place.
> Accept where you are to get where you want to be. When you give yourself some love you’ll be able to make good decisions.
> You will never always be motivated. You have to learn to be disciplined.
Looking for more? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.