By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
Belinda gives new life to the tired cliché ‘anything is possible’.
“You have to want it hard enough to achieve it, that’s how strong the mind can be,” she says. That’s how she went from being overweight to being a personal trainer.
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Weight before: 150kg
Weight after: 90 kg
Time taken to lose weight: 5 years
Secret weapon: Healthy diet and training
Apples never fall far from the tree. Belinda inherited her hefty weight from her mother. “In junior school I played tennis and did swimming, so my weight was okay. I only started gaining weight in high school,” she says. This was a gradual weight gain, the kind you never notice until it’s too late. “I’m an emotional eater which led to an eating disorder of hiding food and binging on it,” she says. Her diet was “junk food for breakfast, two litres of Coke a day, lots of fast food and bread. No fruits or vegetables.” She wasn’t winning with getting any sort of exercising either. “I did try but it was incredibly painful to move so I gave up,” she says.
August 2012 was when everything changed, after an eventful visit to her doctor. “My gynaecologist announced my blood test results were very bad. My cholesterol of over eight and I was pre-diabetic; my asthma was out of control, he told me I wouldn’t make it to the age of 50 if I didn’t change my lifestyle immediately,” she says. She was devastated, but that feeling was what led to her healthier lifestyle. “I swopped my food for healthier alternatives and I started aqua and training with my PT,” she says.
Belinda began a brand new way of doing things. “I started my day with a bowl of oats and a whey protein shake. I snacked on biltong and apples. Lunch was tuna and a sweet potato and rye crackers and peanut butter and supper would be chicken, veggies and salad,” says Belinda. Junk was no longer part of the program, even though she still had her cheat meal once a week, to stay sane. Accompanying her healthy diet was exercising. “I first did aqua, functional and strength training three times a week with my PT. Now I do four spinning classes a week at gym, where we do kickboxing, leg day, functional, abs and upper body workouts and rest on Saturdays,” she says.
Belinda admits that her journey was scary. “Losing weight is challenging and it’s depressing to have all your luxuries taken away so quickly.” But it’s all worth it eventually – she has the body to show for it. “People fussed over my weight loss, it was interesting and exciting. I have gone from a size 28 to a 16 and I’ve done the IMPI Challenge. I’ve climbed a mountain, ran a 10K walk with the greatest ease. I’m fit and strong and I absolutely love it,” she says. Belinda spoilt herself with loads of new clothes and surgeries to remove all the loose skin. Added to that, she’s now a personal trainer, so she gets to apply her skills and help other people. #Winning
Ready to transform your life too? Sign up to Women’s Health’s expert-approved eating and exercise plan — Lean Body Blitz — and watch the weight disappear.
Break your journey up into small goals.
Makes things a lot more achievable for yourself.
Eat your meals on a side plate.
Most people who struggle with weight battle with portion control. If the food is on a side plate it gives you the illusion of more.
Talk in terms of lifestyle change rather than diet.
We have all tried diets and most times we fail. Changed your mind-set rather.