“I Decided To Ditch My Fad Diets — And Finally Lost 15 Kilos”


Zinhlezonke Zikalala |

By Zinhlezonke Zikalala

Nokutela Ncoko went from not being able to recognise herself in the mirror to being the motivation for other women! Here’s how she did it.

Notukela Ncoko
Occupation: Junior Site Manager
Age: 26
Height: 1.62 m
Weight before: 89 kg
Weight after: 74 kg
Time taken to lose weight: 2 Years
Secret weapon: Determination

The Gain

“I guess I have my mothers’ gene’s because my aunt has always been and still is overweight,” says Nokutela Ncoko. For her, growing up with an overweight family meant she came to see her size as normal. “I grew up an active person; in high school I participated in hockey for two seasons,  I did everything my male cousins did – street soccer, cricket, bike riding, jumping of fences – the works,” she says. But her diet wasn’t healthy. “I was destroying my body from the first meal of the day, to my very last meal,” she admits. “Leftover food for breakfast was my favourite thing: I ate vetkoeks with polony or mince fillings for lunch, ending off with a heavy dish of pasta. For desert I’d have cake and ice cream,” she says. Her diet felt natural to her.

The Change

Shortly after the birth of her daughter in September 2009, Notukela realised she needed to change her lifestyle because she had gained weight from the pregnancy. “I looked at the mirror and saw someone I didn’t know. I immediately bought a gym membership,” she says. But she paired her workouts with a string of fad diets. “I would jump from different diets – whatever was trending at the time I’d try out,” she says. “From the , liquid diets, cereal-only diets… I stocked up on weight loss pills, too, until I starting having an idea of what “”  is about,” she says.

The Lifestyle

Nokutela started taking her workouts more seriously. “I started jogging for 30 minutes twice a day and took spinning and body conditioning classes.” Because she didn’t have a personal trainer, Nokutela relied on magazines for tips. “I would collect fitness articles and teach myself how to structure my exercise routines and food choices based on my weight goals,” she explains. Being well-informed meant she also adopted healthier food choices. Now, she thinks it was one of the biggest hurdles to her weight loss. “I really think being misinformed is the worst thing when it comes to attempting to lose weight,” she adds.

The Reward

“I get comments that make me want to stay in shape and keep on going to gym,” gushes Nokutela. For her, being in shape has brought about a positive attitude towards the way she looks at life and herself. “I reward myself with new gym gear now, which is motivation for me,” she says. “I’ve promised myself a full wardrobe change – out with the old, in with the new!”

Nokutela’s Tips

Work Hard 
“Be determined and dedicate your workouts to becoming a better version of yourself.”
Set small goals.
“Achieving goals pushes you even more to want to achieve, to a point where you feel healthy living is easier to do.”
Compete against yourself. 
“Run your own race. Seek motivation from your own progress!”

Looking for more real-life weight-loss inspiration? Check out how Sithembiso, a self-confessed ‘sweat-phobe’ dropped her baby-weight and how  Thuli ditched the binge-eating and dropped an incredible 18kg!

Watch ON: Real Women Success Stories Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips