“Switching To A Vegan Diet And Doing Zumba Classes Helped Me Drop The Extra Kilos”

This one's for all of us currently experiencing #WFH syndrome.


Aphiwe Mtwaku |

Abigail Hartney — like many of us now — works from home. And like many of us now, that exact set-up is what led to her weight gain. But she’s here to share her weight-loss secrets with you: Zumba training and a vegan diet. This is her journey to health. Use her tips to get you through the next few weeks…

Name: Abigail Hartney

Occupation: Forex trader and trainer/work-from-home mom

Age: 42

City: Port Elizabeth

Weight before: 76kg

Weight after: 71.9kg

Height: 1.63m

Time required to reach current weight: Five months

Secret weight-loss weapon: Zumba training and a vegan lifestyle

The gain

Abby’s vice was food — snacking in particular. “Since I started working from home, it was just so easy to have biscuits for breakfast and snack in between,” she explains. It took a toll on her body. “I always felt tired and sluggish… like I didn’t get enough sleep,” she adds. The number on the scale inched upwards.

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The change

A family photoshoot back in 2019 opened her eyes. “All my regular size dresses were either too small or you could see every additional bump and curve I had — it didn’t look great.” That’s when she decided she needed to make a change. “After the shoot I joined the gym and got hold of a personal trainer to start this journey off right.”

She began by changing her diet, cutting out sugar and her biggest weakness: snacks. But the results were slow and her motivation started wearing thin. So when she learnt the benefits of going vegan through her friends on social media, she started transitioning her whole family to a more plant-based lifestyle. “I’ve always loved food, and I still do,” she says, “but I’ve realised that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring.”

READ MORE: This Full-Body Bodyweight Workout Requires One Piece Of Equipment… Your Couch

Getting fit

Previously, Abby’s efforts to get fit were derailed by excuses. “I’ve always tried to stay active and would start exercising at home or go to Zumba training classes, but it would only last for short periods of time. I’d find excuses not to go.” What she actually needed was a change in her mindset.

“Weight loss is not only a physical thing – it starts with the right mindset… with making a decision and holding yourself accountable. [It’s about] setting goals and having a plan as to how to reach your goals daily, weekly and then monthly,” says Abby.

READ MORE: Take The WH 21-Day Challenge To Stay Fit And Healthy During Lockdown

With the support of her friends and family, and a personal trainer who pushed her to stay motivated, Abby found her fitness groove. “[But] it wasn’t easy,” she says. “I fell off the wagon a few times, but realised I had to cut myself some slack. As long as I got back up and made progress, it was all good.”

Aside from gym, Abby also started doing Zumba training classes three nights a week. “It fed my love for dancing and music and I got in some good cardio while doing it,” she says. On alternate nights, she hopped on her home bike or used the Sweat App “to do one of [Kayla Itsines’] Bikini Body Guide exercises.”

Building muscle required guidance and her personal trainer Darushka Chetty Williams helped to push her. “I loved every minute of it because she understood exactly where I was coming from,” says Abby.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Why I Have Newfound Respect For Zumba

The valuable lessons she’s learnt…

  • Start with the right mindset.
  • Remain accountable.
  • Reward yourself in ways that will improve or add value to your life.
  • Have a strong support system – people who will help you stay focused.
  • Throw away your scale!

Since transforming her diet and finding the type of training that best suits her lifestyle, Abby has seen amazing results. She feels healthier, is sleeping better, feels more energised and even dropped a dress size. And it doesn’t end there… “Even my hubby has been losing weight!” she says. “[Plus] I have more energy to spend quality time my kids.”

READ MORE ON: Success Stories Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips

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