Joburg boy Lerato Malatsi lost 20 kgs in 8 months. He loves to travel and hates legs day! This is his story in his own words..
My name is Lerato, I’m 38 years old and I live and work in Johannesburg. Growing up I did not have any issues with my health or weight. I had a fairly well-built physique. Things only started changing when I finished my university studies and started working; my lifestyle changed. I resorted to not cooking and relied a lot on unhealthy take aways. Typically, like most young people, I was partying and drinking a lot, which meant hangovers the next day – more junk food and fizzy drinks to try and cure the hangover. This went on for years. Over these years, I picked up a lot of weight and grew a massive beer belly. As this carried on I just wished my weight and beer belly away.
Around November last year (2015) my size 38 pants and XL t-shirts started getting tighter and I was not comfortable in them, which meant it was time for a new wardrobe. I was invited to a party and was asked to wear jeans, so I went to get myself a pair and to my surprise the size 38 wouldn’t fit me anymore – and that was a turning point. I refused to buy a size 40 and decided there and then that I need to do something about my weight. Prior to that people my age and younger would often refer to me as “Grootman “ (old man) because I looked way older than my age. I was struggling with sleeping and my doctor would always advise me to lose weight. It was on that day when I was at the shop that reality struck and I knew that it was time to act.
Time for change!
I first had to make a decision to change my lifestyle for the better and that was done through the following:
- I redefined my relationship with food.
- Made myself a priority.
- Being prepared to embark on a challenging, but worthy journey.
I wanted to do this to be as “painless” as possible and I wanted to succeed. I decided not to go on a “diet”, but rather eat healthy. I didn’t think I’d have the discipline to stick to the diet. My approach was to cut down on things that were unhealthy and making me fat – namely fizzy drinks, alcohol, bad fats, sugar and starch.
I knew it was not going to be easy at first so I started small – by adjusting my portions and cutting down on the items I mentioned. Eventually my system got used to my new eating habits and I stopped buying those things completely to avoid temptations. I changed my diet to strictly veggies and protein, limited my sugar intake, had more fruits and drank lots of water.
After a few months (around April /May) I noticed that my clothes were getting loose and bigger. I then started weighing myself and BOOM, I was 10 kgs lighter. I was so happy and motivated by this that I then set myself a target of losing 10 more kgs in 4 months. At this point, I knew I could do it and that it was possible.
It was then that I decided to join the gym. My goal was not just to lose weight, but to get fit as well. At the end of May I joined the gym. When I joined, I didn’t know anything about gym so I worked with a personal trainer for a month. After a month I felt that I had the basics to go on my own. I did cardio 5 times a week. I made sure I ran on the treadmill for 20min without fail before doing any other cardio exercise. In July I joined the Shape, Grid and Bootcamp classes. On the 8th of August I had lost a further 10 kgs.
My overall weight loss goal was 20 kgs which I achieved in August. My focus now is to gain muscle mass so now I’m doing less Cardio and more light weight lifting. That has helped to maintain my weight at 75 kgs.
I first embarked on this journey alone, it was only when people started to notice the difference that they started to encourage me. There’s one particular friend of mine who is also a member of the Sleekgeek family who has supported me through thick and thin; ever since I told her about my journey. Her name is Thandi Lucas, I would like her to know how much I appreciate the love and support. The support and encouragement has pushed me to do even better.
This journey has taught me a lot of lessons and some of them are:
It all starts with you, we all have the power to achieve anything we set our own minds on.
Wishful thinking won’t change anything, act and you will get the results.
With focus, commitment and discipline it is possible.
The main highlight of this journey has been the number of people who got and continue to be motivated by my transformation to change their lifestyle . It feels good to know that through my journey I’m able to change people’s lives in one way or another.
I guess for every high, there’s a low.
Well, in my case, the low has been the negative comments on social media mostly from those who have tried and failed and those who don’t care about their health. These negative comments have, however helped me to be more focused, they keep reminding me that this is my journey and there are no other passengers.
The biggest improvement has been my health. I now sleep better, don’t sweat – I can’t remember the last time I was sick.
My physical appearance has improved a lot, I look much younger now.
When you look and feel good, your self confidence improves as well.
Some of my tips:
- Make a decision to change your life for the better and stick to it.
- Remember it is your journey and therefore you are responsible for it.
- It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible and doable.
- Focus, discipline and commitment are key.
Enjoy your journey!