By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
“Trying to lose weight humbles you!” says Sisanda Simoyi, a former chubby kid who’s just shed the kilos. “I became an emotional wreck but I knew deep down that something had to change.”
Here’s how this woman lost 24 kilos – without cardio!
Occupation: Candidate Attorney
Weight before: 105.6 kg
Weight after: 81 kg
Time taken to lose weight: One year and five months
Secret weapon: Good old consistency
“My weaknesses are potatoes and sugar,” Sisanda confesses. At varsity, her eating habits worshipped these food groups. “I only ate one proper meal a day and that was breakfast. On campus I would grab anything I could get my hands on: fried potato chips with a Coke and chocolate.” Added to that, she’d turn to food to reward her for succeeding in pretty much anything: acing a test, or even a little weight loss. “The reward was always to take myself out for a three course meal,” she says. Then, in January 2015, Sisanda’s life took a serious knock. She failed a module that she needed to complete her LLB – and with that, she lost the ability to graduate on time, along with internship she had lined up. “I started to be an emotional eater; I was antisocial and I picked up so much weight,” she says. Her outfits went from jeans to forgiving leggings and loose-fitting shirts to cover up her figure. “I looked like humpty dumpty,” says Sisanda.
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As the weight packed on, her health started to deteriorate. Sisanda was born with pelvic hypoplasia, a condition that meant one of her legs were shorter then the other. This spelled trouble for her body: “the more weight I picked up, the more cramps and pain I felt around my hips and I was limping worse than before,” she explains. Added to that, her back couldn’t handle her weight, so she experienced pain. A trip to the doctor confirmed the worst. If she didn’t lose weight, she’d have to undergo another operation.
Big changes start small, and the same principle applied to Sisanda. “I started to walk for an hour five days a week and took swimming lessons because it’s a low impact form of exercise,” she says. This would get her moving without having to negatively impact her joints. Next, her eating habits got a drastic makeover. Sisanda cut out bad carbs like potato chips and sugar. “I replaced two meals (breakfast and dinner) a day with a fibre-rich smoothie and had a low kilojoule, high protein lunch,” she says. But it was tough. “During the first week I cried. It was hard – I felt like I wasn’t walking fast enough for the weight loss to be effective.” She kept at it – and it paid off.
“You learn to be patient with yourself,” she says. More than a year later, she’s shed close to 25 kilos and went from a size 42 to a 36! “I’ve fallen in love with myself – I have an enthusiasm for life and I have more confidence,” she says. She’s also started inspiring people around her to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle. “At some point we were around 10 women! We called ourselves the PE Glamsquad and we worked out wearing red lipstick.” That’s how we’d do it.
Reward yourself differently
With every milestone, Sisanda rewarded herself with something to enhance her active lifestyle, like tights, shoes or ankle weights.
Be patient with yourself
It didn’t take a week for you pick up the weight, it won’t take a week to lose it either.
Cut down, then cut it out.
Want to quit sugar? Take it slow. Introduce your body to healthier changes, but don’t shock your system by cutting out everything at the same time. You’ll keep at it for longer.
Looking for more weight-loss inspiration? Check out Zimasa’s inspirational story on how she she the kilos.