Danielle Smart has been a sporty person for most of her life, but no matter how many races she completed, she just couldn’t outrun her bad eating habits.
With the help of a trainer, Danielle was finally able to kick a lifetime of bad eating and find her confidence — here’s how she did it.
Occupation: Medical Sales Rep
Weight before: 73kg
Weight after: 64 kg
Time required to reach current weight: 14 weeks (and have maintained for a year)
Secret weapon to your weight loss: Balance is key
Danielle recalls being ‘chubby’ for most of her childhood, “my mom took me to a dietician at 9 years old and unfortunately food became an enemy”. Her battle with food led to her being a yo-yo dieter who would emotionally eat on the regular. Although Danielle had been sporty for most of her life, partaking in numerous IronMan’s and races, she couldn’t out exercise her bad eating habits. “I would be so strict on myself and replace meals with protein shakes and eliminate all sorts of food groups and then I’d end up crashing and binge eat, which would cause me to gain more weight than before,” she explains.
Danielle says that her turning point came when she reached her heaviest weight, “I was 76 kg and nothing fitted me, I was so unhappy. Reality is society judges you for the way you look, I wanted to be happy once and for all.” Desperately seeking a change, she started training with Johno Meintjes, owner of The Fitness Faculty, who designs 14-week nutrition and fitness transformation programmes. With 14 weeks before her wedding, Danielle took up the challenge to regain her confidence and finally learn healthy eating habits.
READ MORE: How To Count Macros To Lose Weight
First to go was her endurance training. She started doing a combination of bodyweight workouts, strength training and high-intensity interval training 5-6 days a week. Next to change was her eating habits, “I started eating real food, and nothing that came in a wrapper. I would eat 5 small meals a day, which usually consists of mainly green vegetables and protein, oats for breakfast, fruit for snacks, and drinking 2 litres water a day,” she explains. Danielle keeps to this strict eating programme for 5.5 days of the week and rewards herself for the remainder of the week. “I don’t drink alcohol during the week and choose one night on the weekend to let my hair down. If I’m craving chocolate, I’ll have a block or two but that’s it,” she adds.
In the 14 weeks, Danielle went from a size 12 to an 8 and her body has drastically changed: “my body has changed so much with the gym workouts. If you looked at the scale, it won’t paint the same picture. But I’m so much more toned and my running times are better than ever,” she exclaims. Along with being stronger and faster, Danielle says that she is a lot more confident, “I really do feel like a woman now, you just have way more self-confidence being in shape. It isn’t the be all and end all of life but you sure feel a lot better, I have a lot more energy and shine from the inside out.”
The scale is the devil: “Get a trainer to take your skin folds and use that as your measuring tool.”
Real food in the correct portion size is key: “There is no supplement in any form that can make you lose weight. Anything that comes in a wrapper is packed with unnecessary hidden kilojoules. When you start to eat real food you will see how such a little portion keeps you full and sustained.”
Balance is key: “We human beings, take away and eliminate food groups and you will want them. I eat chocolate often, I have great red wine, bubbly and a good chocolate fondant but all in moderation.”