“I Lost 23 Kilos By Changing The Way I Looked At Food”
By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
Proof you can lose weight at university.
“A lifestyle change is hard and choosing to trust the weight-loss process is even harder; but trust – it’s all worth it,” says , who is now 23 kilos slimmer. Here, solid proof that you can lose weight – even with res food!
Occupation: Medical Student
Weight before: 80kg
Weight after: 57kg
Time taken to lose weight: 11 months
Secret weapon: Nutritional supplements and jogging.
“Being overweight was all I knew, so my weight gain wasn’t gradual or quick, but rather a continual thing,” says Zamazindela. Her brother was also overweight, but he managed to lose all the weight and changed his life. Seeing him, she knew that losing weight was in fact, possible. “But because I was very sedentary and ate a lot of junk food and lead an unhealthy lifestyle – I still gained 10 kilos after I saw him lose his and my BMI read ‘morbidly obese’ at that time,” she says. Zamazindela also lived at a catered res, where food is prepared in bulk and not necessarily in its healthiest form. “For breakfast we had cereal, a fruit and a muffin. Lunch was a full meal (rice, pap, pasta, stews or chicken) with two side salads; or fast foods (burgers, toast, sandwich, pizza) or a pack of five items (chips, a muffin, chocolate, yogurt or amahewu and cool drink),” she says. With hardly any exercise and a diet like this, she was at her heaviest within the blink of an eye.
“I went home for school the holidays and people literally didn’t recognise me. I was big. My mom booked me an appointment with a dietician, who then told me if I carried on like this, I’d become diabetic – which I subconsciously knew as a medical student, but hearing it from someone else made it more apparent,” she says. Losing weight is not something of a “monkey see, monkey do” situation, either. “It requires a conscious decision within yourself, whether or not you want to take part in this change,” says Zamazindela. She made that decision and kick-started her lifestyle change.
“Initially, I thought depriving myself was the answer, but I was wrong. That made me miserable and my body was shocked. All it made me do is go crazy and sit in my room and have ‘binge feast’,” she says. Zamazindela needed to find balance. “I embarked on a journey where I had a shake in the morning, tea twice a day and a healthy lunch. I haven’t looked back since,” she says. She decided to wise-up about the res food and take what was healthy. “I’d have a protein source (chicken, eggs, meat) and salads. A Greek salad with chicken strips were my staple go-to food options. I had nutritional shakes to replace my breakfast and supper, which were high in protein and I snacked on nuts and fresh/dried fruits throughout the day,” she says. She also did exercises that were goal orientated – “First, I focused on cardio because I wanted to lose weight, but now that I want to tone up, I do more weights. I’m still learning what works for my body; it’s all trial and error process,” she says.
Besides anything, “I’m the healthiest I’ve ever felt,” admits Zamazindela, who has since dropped four dress sizes. “I love clothes, so I buy myself something I never thought I’d fit into, which is almost everything; and that’s most rewarding thing,” she says.
A goal without a plan is a wish.
Plan out your day before it begins. (Your meals, workouts and water)
It’s better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward, only to stumble backwards again.
Don’t be your worst enemy
The only thing standing in your way is you, overcome yourself and get things going.
Looking for more inspirational weight-loss stories? Check out how Katleho became a better person after she lost weight, and how Belinda transformed her life and became a personal trainer? Want to kickstart your own weight-loss journey for summer and beyond? Get our 12-week meal and fitness plan to turbo-charge your slim-down!