This Is Exactly How Unathi Msengana Lost 28 Kilos
Then check out how she looks now!
As a South African hockey and first-team squash player, Unathi Msengana had no weight problems when she was growing up. But fast-forward a few years, add a busy work schedule and two babies, and weight management was no longer easy. Today she’s trimmed 28kg off her frame and once again has the athletic body she had at varsity.
Total Weight Lost: 28kg
Time required to reach current weight: 1 year
Lesson learn: “Don’t be too hard on yourself”
After her sons were born, Unathi realised the extra centimetres weren’t going away. “I tend to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy,” she says. She packed on the kilos during her first pregnancy and it took more than a year to lose the weight. When she fell pregnant again, Unathi hit an all-time high on the scale, having given in to her body’s carb cravings: toasted sandwiches and potatoes washed down with chocolate milk. The extra weight started affecting how she felt about her body and she desperately wanted to reclaim the figure she once had. “I didn’t want to look like my husband’s aunty – I wanted to go back to being his sexy girlfriend.”
Unathi decided to take action, but this time it was going to be different. “Losing the weight was going to be as much fun as gaining it, because let’s face it: gaining weight is mostly fun.” It was a nudge from a pal that gave Unathi the motivation she needed. “Last year a colleague challenged me to do the Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon. I decided to do it. I never back down from a challenge.”
Unathi realised that exercise alone wasn’t going to help her reach her goal weight, but she also knew quick-fix diets had failed her in the past. So she swapped extra helpings of carbs for veggies, included healthy proteins and banished chocolate milk in favour of water. “Eighty percent of weight loss depends on a good eating plan,” she says. The post-pregnancy kilograms finally started to shift. “I felt much healthier and had more energy. Had I not started this weight-loss regime, I’d never have been able to take on the Unlimited Dusi. I probably wouldn’t even have been able to fit into the canoe!” Her training was intense: “I paddled for an hour and a half every day – which works out to about 10km per day – and straight after that I’d hit the road for a six-kay jog.”
Within nine months Unathi had regained the athletic build she knew and loved. In fact, she’s so proud of her new fit figure, she tries on clothes just for fun. “I feel good in anything I wear,” she says. “I have more confidence than I used to.” Unathi rewarded herself with a New York shopping spree about a year before the Dusi. “I bought clothes I was planning to fit into. And I’m so glad I had the foresight and courage to do so. Now I’m still taking stuff out of my suitcase with new labels and get to wear cool NY clothing.”
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Set goals. “Buy a garment you’re aiming to fit into, but don’t get on the scale.”
Be focused. “I always push myself to the best of my ability.”
Have a love for the game. “I’m feeling fit and strong and love the discipline involved in training.”
Looking for more? Here are five basic rules you need to follow to lose belly fat.