Thandazani Zulu, a young and budding businesswomen, was once obese. Strangely, because of that, she now has a food company that’s about to blow up the catering industry. It’s the relationship she started having with food that saved her from extreme weight gain and led her straight to her passion. Here, her fascinating food and weight-loss journey.
Occupation: Student and entrepreneur
Weight before: 90kg
Weight after: 68kg
Time required to reach current weight: 1 year
Secret weapon: Gym and clean eating
“I was always a chubby child – happy too,” says Thandazani. The reason? Food. “I used to eat a lot growing up – four slices of bread after supper was totally my thing,” she admits. This unhealthy habit persisted through most of her primary school life, and the weight gain was as brutally bad as her eating habits. The kilos kept piling on – and the fact that she wasn’t exercising at all didn’t help.
When Thandazani started boarding in high school, things changed… a little. “I lost a bit if weight in Grade 8 – I suspect it was due to changing environments,” she says. But, as we all know, bad habits die hard. And, despite the fact that she’d started playing basketball and trained at least twice a week, the weight starting creeping back.
Why? Food. “I still ate everything. Vetkoek was my fave – I had about three of them during break time, with a side of fried chips, almost every day,” she admits. Junk food was also a contributing factor: “Chocolates, chips, the works.” But the thought of starting varsity life as a chubby chick wasn’t quite vibing with her, so she made the decision to ditch her unhealthy habits once and for all.
“I cut out vetkoek – and all the junk – completely. I never missed breakfast and supper. When I craved the baddies, I’d distract myself with fruit,” she says. Res life meant she had to prepare food for herself – and something clicked. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I took time to understand food, found a passion in it and actually made it work for me.”
Thandazani spent more and more time in the kitchen preparing healthy food. “Every time was different because I love experimenting, and it ended up as a business – long story short, Food By The Gift was born.”
Besides cleaning up her food act, Thandazani also refocussed her energies on exercise. “I started off walking and later improved to jogging every morning. I also joined the gym,” she adds. Through hard work and consistency, the weight fell off, bit by bit.
A weight-loss journey is like a coin – it has two sides. The hard part and the fun part, where you actually see results. Sometimes more results than you would’ve expected. “I feel brand new. That’s because I am! I have a food company, I complain less, I’m happier, lighter and I fit into my clothes again,” she says.
– “Don’t be discouraged by not seeing results as fast as you want to – just keep on doing the right thing and you will reach your body goal.”
– “You are you own competition.”
– “Lose weight the healthy way. Don’t starve yourself – just eat clean.”