When she decided to ditch the yo-yo diets, it was Ellen Edwards’ eye-on-the-prize attitude that helped her shape up. First, she created a vision board for inspiration. “It was mostly pictures of women with physiques I admired, images that motivated me and words that moved me.” Seven months on, Ellen’s vision board had become her reality.
Ellen Edwards, 36, Joburg
Time required to reach current weight: 7 months
Ellen had always struggled with her weight and embarked on her first diet at the age of eight. Her on-again, off-again eating and exercise habits were getting her nowhere and by 2010 she weighed 83kg. “I’d stop at the garage on my way home, wolf down a big slab of chocolate and throw away the wrapper before I got home.”
That same year a friend suggested Ellen toss all her small clothes as she wouldn’t be needing them after having her son. It got her thinking: was that lean, healthy woman inside her going to be buried beneath layers of fat forever? On top of that, somebody close to her referred to her as “fat”. “It sounded horrid, but they just verbalised what I already knew.”
Having joined a friend’s wellness company, Glorygirl Fitness, Ellen started a detailed exercise and nutrition programme. Waking up at 4.30am, she worked out six times a week – five days of cardio and weight training and one boot camp session. “It was hard at first; I sometimes felt like crying. It took every ounce of discipline to get up and train.” She also ate six small meals a day and drank lots of water. A large part of it was mental: “I learnt to be kind and complimentary to myself,” she says.
Ellen dropped two dress sizes. “As a size 12, I can actually walk into a shop and find something to wear,” she says. Although the Glorygirl programme is complete, the habits and routines it helped her develop have become part of her life. She’s more confident and has the energy to run around with her two-year-old son. Today, three months pregnant and with her doctor’s consent, she’s still training – and happier than ever. The biggest reward: “Buying a bikini and wearing it with pride.”
Think (and cook) ahead. “If I plan my day, I can exercise and still spend time with my family.”
Stay connected. “People in the same boat help you stay motivated.”
Tell the world. “It stops people from persuading you to drink or eat cake with them.”