“I Survived A Stroke — And It Scared Me Enough To Change My Lifestyle”


Zinhlezonke Zikalala |

By Zinhlezonke Zikalala

“I feel great knowing I have the willpower to face temptation – it feels good and very rewarding,” says Brenda.

Besides that, she feels great. “I’m lighter, healthier, have more energy and my skin is glowing,” says Brenda about how she survived a stroke and lost over 40 kilograms! Here’s how she did it.

Brenda Fongqo
Height: 1.62m
Weight before: 107 kg
Weight after: 64 kg
Time taken to lose weight: 2 years and 6 months
Secret weapon: Clean eating and exercise

The Gain

Brenda grew up with a tiny figure, and was a very active youngster. But when she fell pregnant as an adult, she started packing on the kilos. “I loved food and ate al lot – I’d always say I was eating for two,” she says. “My daily diet was mainly white bread, pastries, fizzy drinks, lots of chocolates and fat cakes,” she adds. Eating this way meant she ballooned from a size 34 to a size 44.

Read More: 10 Best Fitness Foods For Women

The Change

One Sunday morning in March 2010, Brenda endured a massive health scare. “I collapsed in church and woke up paralysed in hospital – I had a stroke because my blood pressure was so high,” she says. She had to spend three months in hospital to recover, and recognised that she needed to make a change to her lifestyle. “I realised my weight was a death threat,” she says. “I changed my relationship with food, my grocery list, and added exercise in my routine.”

The Lifestyle

Brenda did thorough research on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. “Now, I have three meals a day with lots of oats and fruits, grilled steak or chicken, poached eggs and veggies,” she says. She also embraced exercise, taking to running on the treadmill or outside, and supplements cardio with strength training like crunches and squats.

The Reward

“I feel great knowing I have the willpower to face temptation – it feels good and very rewarding,” says Brenda. Besides that, she feels great. “I’m lighter, healthier, have more energy and my skin is glowing,” she says. “I bought more running shoes, because that’s my life now, cute dresses and beautiful heels here and there.” Sounds like our kinda girl.

Read More: How To Outsmart Temptation

Brenda’s Tips

Know your body
Set yourself realist body goals.
Be well informed
Read and ask.
Never underestimate your mind
Tell yourself you can and you will.

Looking for more real-life stories to inspire your own transformation? Check out the changes Xolile made to boost her self-confidence and lose 14kgs, and take a look at Clarissa‘s inspiring story. 

READ MORE ON: Real Women Success Stories Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips