“Being Overweight Was All I’d Ever Known, Until I Committed To This Challenge”
When you’ve spent your whole life a certain way, it’s hard to expect things to ever change. “I’ve been overweight ever since I can remember,” Adette admits. It got to a point that she didn’t actually believe it would be possible to lose weight. Enter a weight loss challenge at work. Being extremely competitive, Adette knew she had to win. After the challenge, she never looked back. 55kgs later she’s never felt happier in her own body — here’s her journey:
Occupation: Production Coordinator (film/television)
Weight before: 132,8kg
Weight after: 77,2kg
The time required to reach current weight: 22 months
The secret weapon to her weight loss: Cutting out sugar/starch from diet and CrossFit training
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Adette grew up overweight. “I was always the fat kid at school, the kids would call me ‘vet-Adette‘,” she adds. It was hard but she tried her best to be positive with the body she’d come to accept as her only option.
During the week, Adette stayed at the school hostel. “My mom said that because we ate healthily during the week [at the hostel], we could eat [whatever we wanted] on the weekends,” she explains. Looking back now she realises that the food at the hostel was far from healthy. Being overweight limited her school participation. “There were so many things I couldn’t do or was afraid,” she admits. “I never went to sokkies as I felt I didn’t look pretty in a dress, and no one would ask me to dance anyway, so I avoided the embarrassment altogether.”
“I ate what I wanted and a lot of it,” Adette continues. “Ice-cream and chocolates were high on my list of favourites and it would be a slab or two at a time.” Carbs were a staple as well; bread, pasta, vetkoek and hamburgers. “I didn’t think twice if cake or sweets were offered to me,” she admits.
Along with this, she hardly did any exercise. “I love to swim so occasionally I would do this in an attempt to ‘live a healthy lifestyle’,” Adette says. But looking back on it now she realises it was pointless as, “you can never out-train your diet.”
“I tried multiple times to make a lifestyle change,” Adette continues, “but it never [lasted]. If I cheated during the day, I would feel that seeing I’d cheated already I could for the rest of the day — I would start again the following day or week even.”
It was only in August 2017 that this pattern changed. “There was an internal ‘Biggest Loser’ competition at work,” Adette explains. “Everyone who was interested paid R100 and for eight weeks the contenders would track their weight loss progress. The one that lost the most would win the money pool.” As a highly competitive personality type, Adette knew that this was a competition she could win — plus, the motivation she needed to stick to the change.
“I lost my first 20kg during that time and I just never stopped!” She exclaims. “The time given for the challenge was long enough to start adapting and to make lifestyle changes that I have suck to until today.” This included signing up for CrossFit with her friend and colleague, André Lötter…
“As a ‘secret weapon’ to win our internal Biggest Loser competition, I joined Against the Grain CrossFit box, where André Lötter was already a member,” Adette recalls. “I still remember my first day of training. I arrived at work feeling so nauseous and I was very pale.” Her boss even thought that she was sick and wanted to send her home. “It was NOT easy,” she says. “In the beginning, I couldn’t even do the simple movements like squats or lunges and I only trained twice a week.” This gradually increased and today, Adette trains six times a week.
At the beginning of the challenge, Adette stuck to the 28 day diet which she chose as the guidelines would help her stay disciplined. As she dropped the kilos, the training became easier and she kicked up the pace. “I had to eat more to sustain the training,” she says. Luckily André was there to guide her in understanding what she needed to be putting into her body. “I realised that you can’t out-train your diet — 70% is nutrition and 30% training. You have to look at what you eat.”
“I’ve cut out all sugar in my diet,” Adette adds. “I avoid cooking with sauces and if I’m out or at friends, I will carefully select what I put on my plate.” Her friends have been a great support and respect the journey that she is on. “Along with sugar, I’ve also cut out starch. The only carbs I will eat is in vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin.” Another trick that Adette has learnt along the way is to always have a snack on her in case hunger strikes. “I will always have a small bag of almonds and an apple in my bag,” she concludes.
Today, Adette struggles to go a day without training. Besides feeling stronger, she also feels more flexible and good in her own skin. “I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my life,” she adds. Among many achievements, she’s taken part in the CrossFit Open. “I was surprised to finish in the top half of all entrants across the world,” she adds. And that’s not all, Adette has also taken part in quite a few 10km runs, a 5km obstacle course race and she’s even completed her first triathlon. This new lifestyle has her feeling energized and happier. “Socially I don’t want to hide anymore,” she says, adding that lately she also loves to dress up.
“I feel much freer with the new lifestyle,” she adds. “I am able to do things I could never have done before.” Most women wouldn’t mind dropping a dress size or two, well Adette dropped 10 dress sizes from a 22/24 to a size 12. “It was only after losing a lot of weight and being able to shop for smaller dress sizes that I realised I wanted to lose more weight,” Adette concludes.
- Renew your mind: “Your mind is a strong weapon that can either be for you or against you. Get your mindset on the goal and don’t ever give up”
- Patience: “Don’t rush the weight loss process. It takes time. We all want to lose 5 – 10kg a month but that’s not sustainable. Make a lifestyle change and it will happen”
- Accountability: “Get friends and people around you to keep you accountable. When the going gets tough, they’ll remind you why you started in the first place”. Adette also started an Instagram page @fitlikeabos which helps to motivate her progress.