“I Got Hooked On Being Healthy — And Lost Over 50 Kilos!”


Zinhlezonke Zikalala |

By Zinhlezonke Zikalala

Sometimes there isn’t an agonising internal monologue that inspires your weight loss. Sometimes, it’s just the simple act of surrounding yourself with a different energy that becomes infectious.

That’s what happened to Sizakele. She just got hooked on being healthy. “The truth is, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I’ve achieved without my partner’s unyielding support,” says , who’s lost a whopping 50 kilos in the past year. Here’s how she did it.

Sizakele Phohleli

Occupation: Planning Manager and Author
Age: 29
Height: 1.68m
Weight before: 130 kg
Weight after: 80 kg
Time taken to lose weight: +/- 1 year
Secret weapon: Running

The Gain

Sizakele has always been a tad taller and slightly bigger then other girls her age, but she wasn’t overweight. But throughout the years, things changed. “I started gaining weight after high school,” she admits. She was a bookworm and traded burpees for books. “I hated sports, I focussed heavily on my studies instead,” she says. She also wasn’t a fan of greens. “My typical meal included pap twice a day, a lot of red meat and cans of coke,” she says.

Read More: 3 Reasons To Go Meatless Today!

The Change

“I met someone who is a health nut,” says Sizakele, and that someone was about to change her life. She influenced her diet and encouraged her to exercise. “There are no carbs and sugar in her cupboard! She’d say, ‘Just give me a year: you will have lost 12kgs by the time it ends,’” says Sizakele. Her friend was also a heavy influence in her sedentary lifestyle. “I was like a puppet! I mimicked everything my partner did, but she’d tone down things to fit my fitness level, and I didn’t give up,” she says.

Read More: 6 Worst Weight-Loss Tips Nutritionist Have Ever Heard

The Lifestyle

Sizakele had rearranged her life to chop off the 50kg extra fat she carried. “I cut out all carbs in her diet, replaced all red meat with white meat, my beloved bread with 100% rye and butter with plain yogurt and dressings with a dash of basil pesto for moist,” she says. That’s just to mention a few. “I started hiking every Sunday morning and I cried throughout it – but I didn’t quit. Later I joined the 5km local parkruns and gradually moved to 10km and then to 32kms, I’m now training for my first 42.2km Soweto marathon,” she says. In the midst of all that running, she still goes to the gym.

Read More: Yes, You Can Get Hooked On Running!

The Reward

The ability to understand your body is simply the best thing that can happen to you, and it happened to Sizakele. “My partner has always been adamant about the body speaking to you and us not listening to it, I have grown to appreciate that,” she says. “I feel lighter and happier. My stamina has improved tremendously from the running and I have more energy from my diet,” she adds. Now, she goes for the shorter dresses to show off her slender pins. Slay ‘em, girl!

Tips

Celebrate small victories.
Don’t let the scale demotivate you.
You cannot offset a bad diet with exercise.
If you treat your body right, it will also treat your right.
Be patient.
Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s, our bodies are different.

Looking for more real-life stories to inspire your own transformation? Check out the changes Xolile made to boost her self-confidence and lose 14kgs, and take a look at Amukelani’s  inspiring story!

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