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Diane Van Aswegen Success Story

In January last year (2014), I decided that enough is enough! I was tired of being overweight, tired of wearing boring big clothes. Tired of seeing myself in photos and having to crop half my body away to be able to share photos without having to see my big arms or big tummy. When I look back now, I realise just how bad I used to look, and feel… When asked to share my story with everyone, I decided to go onto Facebook and try find some old photos which had slipped on there showing my full figure. I did find and few and it shocked me to see the comparison of then and now!

I’ve always been a big boned person. I was never sporty at school and I had very uncomfortable boobs which were the biggest in my class at the age of 11.  They continued to grow and by high school I was wearing a size 40DD bra. Some were envious but they had no clue what it was like to carry those around with me and to be ridiculed my whole life about being “Diane, the girl with the big boobs”.  I could never wear the pretty clothes my friends wore and I looked even bigger than I used to be.


At the end of my first varsity year, my Dad told me that if medical aid would approve a breast reduction, he would be very happy to pay for any of the other costs involved.  That was one of the biggest blessings in my life.  They removed 1kg off each side and I looked like a new person. I was so much happier and more confident. My first bra shopping spree was the best one ever because I could finally wear pretty little bras. It’s much easier with a size 36 B!

I’ve always hated my body.  People always used to say to me “You have a very pretty face”. This phrase used to kill me inside because I was not just a face on head. I was a person, with feelings. I could never understand why they couldn’t just say, “You are a pretty girl”… Sometimes I feel this is why I got away with being overweight, because people thought I was pretty so it didn’t matter as much.  When watching movies and there were girls in bikinis, I used to be so sad inside with such a longing to look like them.

IMG_57696265766737-1In January this year my hubby bought an Xbox kinect with the sensor bar and he bought me a Nike fitness game to try out.  This was my turning point.  I’ve never been someone who enjoys exercise, or going to gym. So being able to do it at home by myself was a bonus.  It’s a wonderful program which tests your physical abilities and picks up your weaknesses. You then select the days you wish to train and your aim. I selected weight loss. It then sets your programme accordingly.  Your body then appears on your TV screen and you have exercises to complete and it will then tell you if you are doing it correctly and if not your rep won’t count.  Some days its cardio exercises and others strengthening and toning.

I decided in the middle of January to go and see a dietician and she was fully booked until the end of March.  In the meantime I had someone giving me tips on their eating plan and I started following this as best as I could.  By the time I went to see the dietician, I had lost 4kgs. I was so ecstatic.  My dietician is an amazing girl!  She set an eating plan for me according to my life style. If it wasn’t for her I would never have come this far.  The eating plan I follow is so easy and doesn’t cut out a lot of things which has made it so easy for me to adapt to.  I’m still allowed to eat bread, which makes my life so much easier because without bread I am lost. But I eat low gi seeded bread.  I’m still allowed to have carbs, but small amounts. And small amounts of protein. I have to of course, include salads or veggies with lunch and supper.

The main thing about my eating plan are the times I eat. I have to space my meals out 5 hours between each meal with snacks in between. Even if I’m not feeling hungry I will still have my snack. That way I’m not hungry often.  I have learnt so much about food.  I used to eat about 4 boxes/packets of cookies in a week. If not more. Because I didn’t believe they were bad for me! And they were my favourite thing in this world to eat! My nickname amongst friends was “The Cookie monster”.  But the way I’ve now been shown, is that a biscuit like a Romany Cream, is considered to be 2 slices of bread.  So I used to eat 15 of them at a time, which would be equivalent to 30 slices of bread… in A DAY!!  Only when it was put like that, did I realise what I was doing to myself over all these years.  Another thing I never understood was fruit juice. I absolutely love fruit juice.  But I’ve been taught that one glass of orange juice is equivalent to 4 slices of bread because fruit on my eating plan is considered a carb. And you can’t have 4 carbs at once!  And that’s something that adds up in the long run because I could easily have 1 litre at a time.

The truth about a lot of people being overweight is their lack of knowledge on the foods we put into our bodies.

I am a preschool teacher in a fairly large preschool and there are always birthdays with cupcakes. Almost a birthday every day in somebody’s class.  I always battled to say no to these because I always used to think ‘It’s only this one time”.  But it never is just the one time.  And that doesn’t help a person.  I also always have these little kids sharing their yummy cheddars or mini Marie biscuits with me and it was always so hard to say no to these little faces.  But I did explain to them that my doctor told me I’m not allowed to eat these things anymore.  When I do land up having one cheddar from one of the kids, I get these big eyes looking at me, “Teacher Diane, you are going to get sick because your doctor told you not to eat that”… So even these little souls are helping me more than they know.

One day while scrolling around on Facebook I came across one of my friends liking something on “Sleek Geek SA”.  I clicked on the page to see what it was about and I was so amazed at what I saw there. The amount of people who lift each other up, support them, comfort them, encourage them! What a community!! I had to be apart of it!! And BOOM! I became a Sleek Geek.  I cannot emphasis enough how important this community is to me and to my life.  My absolute favourite day is Transformation Tuesday. I am so inspired by what I see on there!  People who have lost huge amounts, people who have lost small amounts, people who have bulked up… etc.  A vast variety of people who all share common goals!  I’ve learnt so much by following what goes on there and I have also shared a lot which helps to motivate me more.  I’ve never know people who are all so motivating.  I’ve shared a lot of before and after photos and I’m amazed at people’s responses to these photos.

My only wish is that I had become part of this group sooner as it would have made my journey much easier.  People are so willing to help and I always see others lifting each other up! I haven’t personally gone to any Sleek Geek functions yet, and I haven’t taken part in any events.  But just to be a part of this family on Facebook is what keeps me going.  One thing that someone said the other day really stuck with me.  I can’t remember what the exact words were. But basically it was like this. “Give of your best. Even though your best might be different to someone elses. Even if it just means you walked a little further while exercising, or do a few more reps of your weights”.  People in this community all have an understanding of what each other are going through.

This pic got over 400 likes on the Sleekgeek page!
This pic got over 400 likes on the Sleekgeek page!

A photo I shared on Sleek Geek of my before and after pics, received over 400 likes, yet on my own Facebook page it received about 10 likes.  It just shows me how important the Sleek geeks are too me because they understand the process I’ve gone through and am still going through and they have such appreciation for my success. I’ve actually had some people say that I’m an inspiration to them, and some have even said they wish they had a body like mine.  These are such foreign concepts to me as I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined that people would ever say those things to me!

Sometimes I feel my weight loss is so minimal compared to other peoples, but then I realise that my 20kg loss also inspires a lot of people. I don’t train the way other people do. But I do try. I do weights a couple times a week and exercises with my kettle bell. I also still follow my Nike programme, but I do that twice a week.  Exercise is the weak point in my life. But I know I will get better at it.  But what people must realise, its what you eat that’s most important!  I know so many people who will exercise their asess off at gym, but eat whatever they like.  And they can’t understand why they not losing the weight!

My whole life has changed!  To hear the words, “Diane you are an inspiration!”…. I can’t even begin to explain what this means to me!  I’ve achieved something in my life!! And it’s a great achievement!!

The hardest part of this weight loss process is your mental processing.  I still see myself as the “fat girl”.  My body still feels fat to me. It’s all in my mind though.  When I see these after pics, I’m literally like “is that really how I look”.  I will definitely say this is the one thing I am struggling with t he most!  Weight loss is not just a physical process, its a mental process too.

I have shared these feelings with my fellow Sleeks and a lot of people do struggle with this too.  Other people have assured me that with time it will get better and I will begin to see myself as a thin person.  My body is far from perfect but it is way better than it was 20kgs ago!

What I would like to achieve with sharing my story, is this… I am just an ordinary girl… Who like a lot of girls, was overweight. I went through so many years being overweight as I didn’t know any better and didn’t know a good method to try to lose the weight.   But now I know.  I doubt I’m ever going to be the next Sports illustrated swimwear model, but I am finally happy in my own skin. And that to me is what counts the most.  Don’t just be stuck in your life, not knowing how to fix it and to be the person you desire so much to be.  Fight for what you want. You will realise you are way stronger than you ever thought you would be.  And I promise you, once you see results; you will continue the lifestyle change to achieve your goals.

People always said to me “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”.. And I truly understood this concept.  But it took me so long to reach the realisation for myself. But I have!!! And it’s amazing.  That piece of cake is not worth it!  And like I said previously, is it ever just that one piece of cake that one time?  It will always be something else at another time.

I’m not saying don’t eat something nice!  We are human and it’s impossible to not want to eat something we shouldn’t, or to not be tempted.  I do still eat wrong things at times but I limit the amount of wrong things I eat! My main cheat I do have is sushi every couple of months. Which is not really a huge cheat but the amount I have is a cheat… haha!  But I have learnt that eating chips with my meal is something I will never do again out of choice so I will always choose veg/salad to accompany my meal choice and grilled instead of fried!

You have to realise for yourself what you want to achieve and you have to stick to it. Lean on other people during the challenge of changing your life. You are not alone. There are thousands of people in the Sleek Geek community who are there all the time to help you!

Don’t give up. It can be done!



Diane You CAN


SUBMIT YOURSTORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher

Diane wins a R500 voucher courtesy of our sponsor for the “YOU CAN live life well” series Wellness Warehouse to be spent on their online store with free delivery nationally.

I believe very strongly that ordinary every day people like you and I derive great inspiration from the achievements of people who seem similar to us. If they can do it.. damn.. so can I! Right?

So through this program we will continue to tell people’s personal stories.

I want to great an archive of hundreds of stories of people who have changed their lives while others believe they cannot.

Submit your story to with the Subject line “You can live life well”

We require:

  • Your story in your own words covering at least (How you got to a point of change, how you made the change, tips and advise for others)
  • A selection of before and after photos
  • As many words as you need to tell your story

In advance, we regret that not all stories may be published. Your story is as important as anyone’s story but we can only publish one a week and the editor will make decision on this.

If your story is published you will receive a R500 voucher to the Wellness Warehouse online store with free national delivery.


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