After her four-year relationship came to an end, Sinesipho Maninjwa needed something to take her mind off the breakup and to help boost her confidence. She joined the gym, made better food choices and put her health first. Here’s how this 31-year-old found her confidence and lost 15 kilos in the process.
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Weight before: 86kg
Weight after: 71kg
Time required to reach current weight: 6 months
Secret weapon to your weight loss: Consistency and Support System
Sinesipho says that she was always “biggish” growing up but because she played sport in high school, she says that she was able to keep her weight in check. When she entered University she says that’s when the kilos started piling on. “My diet was a mess. I basically ate a high-carb breakfast, high-carb Lunch and a very carb-focused dinner. All of this with no physical activity what so ever,” she explains.
“The turning point for me came in February 2013. It was the end of an almost 4-year relationship, and my heart and soul were completely crushed. In all honesty, I largely blamed my appearance for why things ended,” she explains. Besides her breakup, she says that her Vitality Health assessment revealed that she was at risk of early-onset diabetes. These issues were enough to motivate Sinesipho to start working out. She hired a personal trainer and started working out six times a week. But when it came to her nutrition, she didn’t start with the best approach, “Initially my diet was quite restrictive and was basically borderline starvation,” she admits.
As Sinesipho’s journey went on, she developed better eating habits by including more protein in her diet, and keeping her fat and carb intake to a minimum. She also gave up eating out and opted for home cooked meals instead. With some consistency and determination, Sinesipho’s efforts started wielding some major results — even though it took her a while to notice. “During the process, I wasn’t aware of the changes in my body. It’s only when people started commenting that I started taking notice of just how much my body had changed,” she says. As the weight started coming off, she adjusted her exercising to include strength training. “My exercise routine was primarily focused around High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This has since changed to twice a week strength training, and three times a week I cardio.”
Since losing 15 kilos, Sinesipho says that she is now a self-confessed “health nut.” She’s taking her new “health nut” status and training for her first marathon — a feat that seemed impossible when she used to get winded climbing the stairs. “My biggest achievement was being able to climb 4 flights of stairs without having my heart rate increase,” she exclaims. After months of hard work, Sinesipho treated herself with a holiday in Cape Town, where she was confidently strutting her stuff on the beach, “For the first time ever I was able to confidently wear a bikini.” Although Sinesipho started her journey wanting to lose weight, she says that she learnt that it’s not all about how much you weigh… “It’s about being healthy and active. It really is a lifelong lifestyle.”
Get a support system outside your immediate circle: Get a therapist, personal trainer or join a weight-loss support group. You need to have people who understand what you are going through and can support you. Working out and eating clean is the easy part — dealing with your daily emotions is the hard part.
You are allowed bad days: The important thing is to start again. It’s not necessarily about chasing a specific goal, but more of an overall lifestyle change.
Don’t ditch the scale: It’s important to track your progress. And keep yourself accountable of you want to reach your goals.