She’s a soldier, aerobics instructor and fitness fanatic – but Veronica Markus wasn’t always the confident woman she is today. In fact, she was underweight and insecure… But joining the army changed all that. Here’s how she gained 1okg, found her confidence and learnt to love her body.
Weight before: 43kg
Weight after: 53kg
Veronica has been active since high school days. From dance and soccer to cheerleading, she did everything to stay active and slim. But she didn’t just participate in sports because she loved it – a large part of it was due to how she viewed her body. “During my teenage years, I was obsessed with having a flat belly. I felt like it was one of my best features,” she says. The result: She ended up underweight, with zero confidence.
When Veronica joined the South African National Defence Forces, she began to see her body in a new light. “I saw what physical activity can do to your body and I wanted to explore it,” she says. Inspired by what training was doing to her physique, she joined the gym and enlisted the help of a personal trainer.
“I had to change the way I see food. I’m no longer eating for taste or satisfaction, but for my goals,” she explains. “For example, I never ate broccoli – I found it boring. But since I’ve learnt about its nutritional benefits, I’ve come to love it.” Veronica meal preps two weeks out of the month; for the rest of the month, she eats what she craves – as long as it meets her goals.
“When I buy groceries, I ensure I buy healthy food. So, when I crave something or want to snack, I’m surrounded by healthy, beneficial foods while still feeding my cravings,” she explains.
Veronica trains six days a week, incorporating a combo of weight training and cardio four days a week and dance classes twice a week. She enjoys working her legs and abs – seriously, check out those abs! As for staying motivated, Veronica reminds herself that she exercises for herself. “People tell me I’m overdoing it and that my body is fine. This gives me the drive to put in more because they don’t know or understand where I’m going with this.”
Mentally, she feels fit and positive. “I know I’m not perfect and sometimes I fall off the wagon or slow down, but I’ll never quit. I’ll start over every day, every week if I have to. I’ll keep pushing forward to where I’m going.” She feels she’s at her best weight now, “with healthy muscle gains and curves just in the right places”.
Just start: “Figure out what health and fitness goals you want to achieve, then gather the information and ask for help. Figure out what you need to change or add to your daily habits to be healthier, look great and feel amazing.”
Take the steps: “Commit to taking small steps towards this new lifestyle. Prepare your food better or cleaner. Enlist a personal trainer or someone to help you start your journey.”
Be consistent and patient: “Be consistent, follow a plan and be patient with your results. Our bodies are different and transform differently. Healthy looks different on everybody, so don’t compare your progress.”