“I Decided To Ditch My Bad Eating Habits And Lost 26 Kilos”
Whenever Berlinda Gunn gets an urge to snack, she opts for a piece of fruit or biltong. “Maintaining a balanced diet, by starting with a good breakfast and ensuring meals are properly spaced out, is vital to achieving any weight-loss goal,” she says. Berlinda didn’t always have such self-restraint – for years, kilojoule-laden junk food made up a large part of her diet. But with determination and some help from a personal trainer, she shed 26.7kg and says she couldn’t be happier.
Time required to reach current weight: 6 months
Lesson learnt: “You have to want to lose weight for yourself”
Secret weapon: A balanced diet
In early 2009 Berlinda was enjoying a weight-loss streak with the help of a portion-controlled diet and regular gym sessions. “I lost a lot of weight (nearly 32kg) and was really happy for a while. But then drama struck…” Berlinda was involved in a car crash that left her with whiplash and a lung condition, which triggered a bout of depression. The medication she was given had the unfortunate side effect of weight gain – a problem exacerbated by her inability to exercise and growing fondness for takeaways. In an attempt to lift her spirits, she started baking. “I enjoyed anything that was quick to make. But she didn’t share her baked treats and the gain continued.
The tipping point came in 2010. “I was a size 44 and weighing 96.7kg,” Berlinda recalls. “I’d hit rock bottom. I couldn’t take it anymore. At the end of the year I decided enough was enough – I was going to take my body back!” Her first step was making contact with a personal trainer. “Jane reminded me to look after myself, inside and out.”
Berlinda started eliminating as much sugar as possible (even from her morning coffee). Fried food and baked goods were out; grilled chicken, fish, nuts and yoghurt were in. She trained with Jane twice a week. “We did mat work. Jane started with body weight, then weights, focusing on different areas each session.” Berlinda also invested in a home gym. “I bought a stationary bike, elliptical machine, medicine balls, dumbbells and a skipping rope.” And sure enough, the kilos started dropping off. “I stuck it out – and the more I lost, the more I wanted to lose.”
“My weight loss has given me new confidence, compared to the shy person I was before,” says Berlinda, who not only lost 26.7kg, but has kept it off. “My body has chosen to be comfortable at 75kg, but I’m still pushing. I’ve undergone a complete transformation, both physically and mentally.”
Be positive. “Positive thoughts are empowering. A negative attitude can make losing weight difficult.”
Make good time. “How and when you eat can impact your health – and your weight. So do it right.”
Set a target. “Set yourself attainable goals – I’ve run two 15km races to date.”