By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
“With weight loss, you’ve got to put in the work”
Occupation: Risk Management Specialist and Blogger
Weight Before: 105 kg
Weight After: 73 kg
Height: 1.59 cm
Time Requires to lose weight: 18 months
Secret Weapon: Create an environment that allows you to succeed
Thozama says she was a chubby and cute child growing up. Years later she lost her pre-teen weight, but picked up the kilos when she got to varsity. She says her weight gain was due to her falling pregnant and the combination of a couple of unfortunate events, which were emotionally taxing. She lost her mom to diabetes, and just three month’s later her sister experienced complictions while pregnant and ended up losing her baby. It was a lot for her to take in. “I was depressed and pregnant and as a result I ate a whole lot of canteen food, McDonalds, KFC, Chicken Licken, cheese cake, ice cream, chocolate… and anything baked,” she says. And at this time, exercising was literally the least of her worries.
Thozama says there were a few defining moments that made her realise she needed to her turn her life around. “One of those life-changing moments was when I was trying to buy a dress that I desperately wanted… but it just didn’t fit. I got on the scale and it hovered on a number I didn’t want to see,” says Thozama. It was the motivation Thozama needed in order to start going into the to gym every single day. “I took on running, cycling and swimming to kick-start a more active lifestyle.” She ditched her fast-food habit and started prepairing her meals at home in an effort to make healthier food choices.
First, she gave her diet a major makeover. “I was on a low-fat, moderate-carb, kilojoule-restrictive diet for about 12 months and managed to drop 17 kilos,” she says. She steamed everything she ate and was having 6 mini-meals a day to keep her metabolism burning. “I had foods like fat-free yoghurt with fruit, low GI bread with fat-free cheese.” She later read up on the Banting method, and decided to give it a go. “I started including a lot of greens into my diet too,” she says. She also upped her workouts. “Initially, I did bootcamp classes then got myself a PT, while doing running, jogging and cycling on the side,” she admits.
She feels great — “I feel healthier, motivated and confident,” she says. Since her journey began in 2015, Thozama has managed to drop an amazing 5 dress sizes, completed JUMA (a mountain bike race) and JURA (a running race) which happen over the same weekend. “My highlight of the year was completing my very first Soweto Half Marathon,” she says. Something she never in her wildest mind imagined doing.
> Don’t be afraid to start — “You have to start somewhere, and at the beginning is the right place.”
> Ask for help — “If you don’t know something, ask. It’s as simple as that.”
> Handle yourself with love — “Your weight does not define who you are as a person, so be kind to yourself.”
Looking for more? Here are five basic rules you need to follow if you want to erase belly fat.