Two years ago Nardine Smith was overweight and seriously unhappy with what she saw in the mirror. Deciding that it was time to take control of her weight, she ditched her unhealthy habits in favour of nutritious food and exercise. Through pure determination and self-motivation, this mom lost 30 kilos – proving that if you are your own biggest fan, you can accomplish anything.
Occupation: Creditors supervisor
Weight before: 102kg
Weight after: 72kg
Time required to reach current weight: 21 months
Secret weapon to your weight loss: Mindset and self-motivation
There was a running family joke that while in the womb she ate her twin’s food, having been born almost one kilogram heavier than her sibling. “I’ve always been the chubby one,” she confesses. During her teens, she didn’t care or even notice that she was gaining weight – a process that would continue until she was 27, the age she hit the heaviest number on the scale.
“I loved oily foods. Most days I wouldn’t eat breakfast. I’d have sandwiches and pies for lunch, and for supper I’d cook pasta and loads of meat, but very few vegetables,” she explains. Along with this carb-heavy diet, Nardine was a late-night snacker, often baking cakes and biscuits, a combo which saw her piling on the kilos. And she wasn’t exercising at all…
But the turning point did eventually arrive. “I woke up and looked [at] myself in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to my children.” Besides feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, even her size-42 pants were becoming too tight. In addition, she was running out of breath while doing the simplest tasks, like getting out of the bath and dressing. “I had no energy to do anything. Some days I didn’t even want to get out of bed,” she explains.
Nardine visited a pharmacy, where she was given an eating plan, which entailed her cutting out sugar, carbs and dairy, and filling up on protein and veggies instead. For the first 16 months of her journey, exercise wasn’t a big part of her weight loss – she basically followed the eating plan and went to the occasional boot camp sweat session.
Nardine still follows the eating plan, but she doesn’t deny herself when dining out. The difference: she knows her limits and when to stop eating. She also exercises daily and has fully committed to boot camp. “Our workout programme includes jumping jacks, crunches, Russian twists, lunges, push-ups, squats, planking, jogging and tyres.” And she’s noticed a real physical change: she can go harder and longer without rest. As for motivation, Nardine turns to other people’s success stories and motivational quotes to help her through the tough times.
“I felt good when others started noticing the difference and when people asked me what I was doing,” she says. And it feels great to inspire others. “People at work have seen my progress and been motivated to lose weight!” she says.
Nardine has gone from a size 44 to a 36. She’s completed both five and 12km walks and is so much happier in her skin. “It’s nice to now look in the mirror and like what I see,” she exclaims. “The best feeling is walking into a clothing store, being able to buy anything and not worrying about something not fitting or if they have my size.”
Believe in yourself: “The only thing standing between you and what you want out of life is the will to try, so have some faith in yourself.”
Looks aren’t everything: “How you feel about yourself is more important than how you look.”
Hard work pays off: “It’s hard and difficult, but in the end the hard work is totally worth it.”