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Q&A – Riana van Brakel

Here’s a quick Q&A with Riana van Brakel who came 2nd in the women’s transformation category in the latest 8-week Ultimate You Challenge.

  • Give us a short history of your journey to health and fitness before the challenge.

My road to fitness.  It was full of ups and downs.  I was always the chubby girl in school.  I was always shy and was always the outcast.  I never worried about what I ate.  And I always indulged in fruit when I got the chance because “it is healthy for you”.  I only started to worry about weight when I was out of school.  I started to jog in the morning that helped a lot but I was never satisfied with how I looked. 

I started to pick up weight again when I met my husband.  I think we all do when we fall in love.  We got engaged and then I signed in on my first weight loss challenge.  They called it The Biggest Loser.  I was amazed when I got first in my category.  I can not remember how much weight I lost but it was the first time in my life that I felt invincible in my whole body.  I was so proud.  Then I got married.  I fell pregnant on my honeymoon and then everything spiraled out of control.  I ate because I had a excuse.  You must eat for two and what ever other excuses people used, I used.  My son was a year and eight months old when I fell pregnant with my second son.  So, even more weight piled on.  I was so depressed and was on wellbutrin for a long while.  Can’t say that it helped me. 

I wanted to get in shape again.  I decided to join Weighless.  It helped me a lot.  I lost 27kg in 8 months and I was even a semi finalist in the woman and man of the year.  I lost my way again but not so far like before luckily.  I needed something again to pick me up out of the dust.  And that was when I joined Sleekgeek.  I never pushed myself so hard in my life like I did in the challenge.  You guys are an inspiration and all the women and men that has lost so much and gained so much health after they learned how to eat healthier.  You definitely have a winning plan on making South Africa a healthier generation.  Keep going! 

  • What prompted you to join the ULTIMATE YOU Transformation Challenge?

Easy one.  The Facebook page full of help, advice and inspirational stories.  You guys help people even if they did not sign in for the challenge.  Nothing is for free these days so that says also a lot.  The money that you pay is only for your head to say to yourself you better stick to the plan because you paid money for it.  Otherwise it’s a waste.  I love competition and I love to push myself.  

  • Give us a quick overview of the nutrition and eating plan that you followed during the challenge.

My eating habits changed a lot.  I hated black coffee.  Now I love black coffee with no sugar.  I cut out all sugar accept a bit that was in fruit.  All artificial sugar was out.  I cut out all pastas and white carbs.  Started to eat more protein and green veggies.  Can’t wait to make veggie smoothies in my new Nutribullet.  I did cheat a bit on weekends and when I drank something it was just a shot of whiskey on the rocks. Only if we are with friends. 

  • Give us a quick overview of the training and exercise plan that you followed during the challenge.

I did the exercise plan that the challenge supplied me with.  The advanced plan.  I did a lot of heavy weights and I went to gym 5 days a week.  I never skipped one day.  There was days that I tried to find a excuse not to go then I think of how good I would feel afterwards.  Losing weight is a mental thing.  You need to dig deep to do what it takes to get the results.  I find it easier to stick to a healthy plan when I go to gym.  I am proud to say I did everything on my own, no buddy or personal trainer. 

  • Did you take any supplements during the challenge, or anything else that helped you achieve your results?

I did use protein powder after all my workouts to help with building muscle.  Also, it is more convenient and cheaper if you need to add more protein to your diet. 

  • If you could give 3 pieces of advice to future challengers, what would they be?

Never go shopping on an empty stomach.  Always take an apple and water with you wherever you go.  Make sure you eat a lot of healthy stuff before you go to a restaurant., you will be less tempted to order something big.  

Don’t hesitate to start to eat healthier.  The older you get the harder it is. I wish I started to look after myself when I was younger.  So start now, not tomorrow.  Because tomorrow you will find a new excuse.  
 
Always keep you fridge stocked up on carrots and fresh veggies to snack on when you crave something and drink lots of water.  ALWAYS! 
 
  • What did you find most valuable about your experience? 

The thing that I found most valuable is that you only have one body.  Cherish it,  learn to love it now because you will never be happy with everything.  There will always be something wrong that you are not happy with.  Stop being miserable about your sagging skin and stretch marks and love who you are.  People care about your heart and not the amount of stretch marks you have.

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