By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
“I dropped a dress size within the first month – and now I’m a size 30!”
Occupation: Business Owner
Weight before: 86kg
Weight after: 59 kg
Time taken to lose weight: 5 months
Secret weapon: Exercise daily
Growing up overweight denied Sanelisiwe a lot of teenage joys, like feeling like the kid she was. “I looked like a 36 year-old and some even called me ‘auntie’! I’d be approached by older men, who said they saw a wife in me because of my body,” admits the 26 year-old.
Sanelisiwe was never slim, even though everyone else in her family was. “I’ve always been big. I ate like there was no tomorrow; I would eat up to 10 slices of bread whenever I was hungry, and eat everybody’s left overs,” she says. To top it all off, she didn’t exercise. Instead, she tried special diets – but they never worked. “I became bigger in my teen years to such an extent that when I saw relatives after a long time, they said I looked older,” she says. You might want to know what happens when you stop eating bread!
It wasn’t until last year where Sanelisiwe decided to ditch her unhealthy eating lifestyle. “I just stopped eating leftovers and cut down on the bread. I stuck to three slices a day instead,” she says. But people weren’t as supportive as she’d hoped. “People told me it was impossible for me to reach a size 30 because I had massive curves – they said it wouldn’t go anywhere,” she says. But it became the driving force behind her journey. “They were my motivation; they pushed me harder!”
Sanelisiwe made a commitment to exercise every morning, even though she didn’t have a gym membership. “Every morning I did 100 sit-ups, 100 crunches, skipped until I got to 200, and drank a glass of hot water with lemon in it,” she says. After a month, she saw serious changes. “I dropped a dress size within the first month of exercising every day – and it made me more determined to keep going,” she says. Added to that, her diet and workouts were getting more varied. “I started drinking green tea after my workouts, and added 50 squats and sprints to my routine.” While admitting that losing weight was one the hardest things she’s ever done, she’s proud she made it possible. “I had to get up and do the exercises even when I didn’t feel like it,” she says.
Careful though: Six Ways You Are Doing Squats Wrong!
“I’m healthier, happier and physically fit,” she says. “Now I’m a size 30 from a size 38,” she adds. But the biggest – and most unexpected perk? The emails she got from photographers. “I get approached by top photographers on Instagram who want me to model for them,” she says. Now, she’s decided to open a boutique, and model her own clothes, of course. Slay!
Never do it for someone else.
“Weight loss is a personal journey – it has to make you happy.”
Never listen to people who say you can’t.
“Keep going, even when you don’t see results. It’ll show eventually.”
Losing weight is a process, don’t rush it.
“Take it one day at a time, do it at your own pace, stay in your lane, run your own race. DO YOU!”
Need more weight loss inspiration? See How This Woman Lost Her Baby Fat – For Good!