“From Depressed To The Happiest I’ve Ever Been — Plus 12kg Lighter”
It’s easy to turn to food when you’re feeling a little low – it’s called comfort food for a reason. Lesego Charlie did exactly this as she journeyed through the tough teenage years. She tried to follow a healthy diet, but binge eating and skipping meals became part of her routine. She spent time at the gym repeating the same boring workouts and just didn’t see the results she wanted. Throw in a stubborn metabolism and there was weight gain… and not the kind Lesego wanted.
Weight Before: 77kg
Weight After: 65kg
Time Taken To Lose Weight: 2 years
Secret Weapon: Consistency
Lesego grew up an active and skinny girl. Her family is very health-conscious and it was for this reason that her mother was surprised to see the extra weight her little girl had picked up. In her high school years, she went through a dark space which she describes as “the most depressed I’ve been in my life”.
Lesego would eat to feel better and then skip meals to ‘balance out’ the over-eating. “I convinced myself that the weight was going to the right places,” she says. But her bad eating habits had turned her into someone she was not happy to be.
In September 2014, Lesego decided enough was enough. “What made me realise that I needed to lose weight was the fact that I was not happy at all with myself and the way that I looked,” she admits. So, instead of turning to food for comfort, she decided to face her problems and deal with them. “I wanted to take control of my life,” she says. And she did so by joining the gym and committing to eating healthier.
Lesego started putting in more time at the gym and mixing up her workouts. She added in weights and strength training. “My body is very stubborn and it can get used to routine very quickly, so I have to keep shocking it by changing my workouts,” she says. She would focus on different muscles and chose workouts that engaged these groups.
Pair this with a balanced diet and no meal skipping and she could see and feel the results almost immediately. “I cut all starch out of my diet and I grill, steam and bake all my meals,” she adds. She also began prepping her own meals to avoid the temptation of fast food. It was a challenge, but the leaner, slimmer look kept her going.
“During the process of shedding the weight, I felt great about myself,” Lesego says. It was as though she had a new personality. She began accepting and loving the body she’d previously hated. As a curvy girl, she had despised her bum and her thighs but now she embraces her fit curves. She’s learnt to be proud of her body and what it can do. Lesego can now leg press over 100kg – how’s that for motivation!?
“I feel lighter and I am able to control my emotions,” she says. Whenever Lesego has a bad day, she heads straight to the gym and always leaves feeling refreshed and energised. “I’m just really happy with who I am right now,” she concludes.
Consistency. “You have to put the work in to get the results you want. Not every workout will be great, but you have to keep on going.”
Don’t take the scale seriously. “Weight is just a number on the scale – weight loss is about how you feel.”
It’s a mindset. “Everything starts in the mind – create a mental picture and chase that dream.”
Looking for more? Here are nine things you are not doing in the kitchen that could help you lose weight.