Eighteen months ago, Michélle could hardly recognise herself in a picture from her son’s birthday party. It was time to make a change. With the help of a personal trainer, a customised eating plan and a whole lot of dedication, this mom totally smashed her fitness and weight-loss goals.
Occupation: Executive Chef
City: Cape Town
Weight before: 85kg
Weight after: 69kg
Time required to reach current weight: 18 months
Secret weapon: Getting a personal trainer who helped her create a lifestyle plan.
Michélle admits that she was never really focused on living a healthy life. “The thought of kilojoules and macros never crossed my mind,” she says. Her love of sweets and the occasional junk food indulgence had her slowly piling on the kilos. Although Michélle is quick to add that it wasn’t that she was eating too much, but rather that she wasn’t mindful of what she was eating: “I didn’t really eat consciously.”
Along with her unbalanced eating plan (all the ‘bad’ carbs!), Michélle wasn’t exercising at all. “I’d never gone to the gym before and did zero sports or physical activities,” she says. Like many of us, Michélle was after the quick fix – aka weight-loss shakes or fad diets that left her starving and tired. Naturally, she couldn’t stick to those diets for long.
In 2016, Michélle had reached a turning point – she’d seen a picture of herself at her son’s birthday party, and knew it was time to make a change. “I was always tired and didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I decided then and there to take action.” She hired a personal trainer and started training twice a week. “It was really difficult and I couldn’t do much – not one sit-up or one push-up – but it was fun too,” she says.
Her trainer also developed an eating plan to help shed those unwanted kilos in a maintainable way. The best part: she never went hungry. Within a few months, the weight was falling off – and pretty easily too. “But it did take time…” she says. This approach worked because Michélle could stick to in the long run.
Michélle has since upped her exercise regime. “My training consists of cardio and weight training – HIIT mixed up with weightlifting, focusing on different parts of the body each day. [I do] resistance training, tyre flipping, box jumping and more,” she says. Michélle’s eating plan has also evolved to complement her training. And people are taking notice. “Being on my way to 40, people are always commenting on how I’ve inspired them to eat healthily and be more active,” she says.
Weight loss is never just physical – it impacts other areas of your life too. “I have better self-esteem and I’m more productive at work,” says Michélle. Besides feeling great, she’s dropped four dress sizes, run multiple road races and does the occasional Obstacle course too. Plus: Her healthier choices and new way of living have set a great example for her son: “I have a nine-year-old who loves doing the Parkrun’s with me!”
Michélle lists her trainer, Stephan Mulder from Ideal Physique, as her major motivating factor. “He leads by example, he trains with his clients and sets the bar high. He doesn’t let us settle, which means results at the end of the day,” she says. “It makes a big difference to be more active, have loads of energy and be a part of a community of people who have the same interests.”
Do it for yourself: “Decide to make a change for yourself, not anyone else.”
Just do you: “Don’t compare yourself to media images of what you think you should look like.”
Get a support system: “Having a personal trainer and/or nutritionist can get you started on the right track.”