Losing 32kgs Helped Mariska Find Focus & Become Super Mom!


My Story

I am sitting in front of my laptop having to write my “weight-loss” story for Sleekgeek and I  realise it’s not possible to write it without telling my life story. How do you however share and bare your soul to thousands of strangers? Easy I guess – because I hope I can inspire and motivate just one person who may read this. 

Growing Up A Nerd

I grew up in an Afrikaans family in a small town. I was a typical nerd that was great at academics, but didn’t participate in any sporting activities. I knew nothing about exercise and was thus heavier than most of my friends by high school. I know I weighed around 71kg in Matric and for a girl of 1.64m tall, that was definitely overweight – but as I said, nothing I even attempted to change.

Who Am I?

Ironically first year at university was responsible for the first 10kg weight gain. I was however more confident and happy in those 4 years at varsity than most of my school career. The biggest reason for the weight gain – eating unhealthily and still not having a clue about exercise, except walking to classes. I started working and gained about another 7kgs. I was still extremely dedicated and soon had a career where I spent most of my days either in meetings or sitting behind a computer. I started experimenting with diets and some exercise – but nothing permanent.

I met the man of my dreams and started getting more serious as there was a wedding dress to fit into – I even tried Duromine (major fail). I got married weighing in at 83kg and feeling very pretty. In our first year of marriage my husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes and being a dutiful wife we joined a gym and went to a dietician. This started a cycle of 4-6 months of trying some diet with exercise and losing weight, and then life as normal with gaining all the weight back. I made all my efforts linked to my husband – whenever he gave up, I gave up.  

Here I need to add a little story – which I feel is part of my being. I was adopted as a baby and although it never explicitly impacted me – somewhere there is a need of wanting to feel accepted and loved. In the year I turn 30, my biological parents find me, and I suddenly have a great big loving family – my beautiful parents that raised me, my biological parents (each with their own families) and 5 siblings from all these families.  A circle is completed – a girl now knows who she is.

Becoming a Mom

After 5 years of being married and not falling pregnant, we eventually sought the help of a fertility specialist, and after two cycles of IVF and a frozen embryo transfer I fell pregnant. The months of additional hormones and chicken mayonnaise sandwiches, with a weight gain to over 100kg made me develop gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension with a scare at around 22 weeks. I went to a dietician and because the baby I was carrying was my only concern, I did not gain any weight in my last 14 weeks of pregnancy. Our son was born at 36 weeks and is a healthy boy. Two weeks after his birth I had lost 14kgs and was beyond chuffed. Then started the late nights and little sleep and I ate and ate, gaining 8kgs back within 4 months. By the time my son was almost 1 year old, I was at my highest non-pregnancy weight of 99kg and couldn’t lose weight – didn’t matter what I did. I was unhappy, wearing a size 44 denim and hating my body.

The Penny Drops

By July 2015 I see a promo for a Danette May programme and decided I might as well try it – it’s just 30 days. It’s basically a form of Paleo and I lost 8kgs in my first month – even avoiding cake at my boys’ 1st birthday party. Something clicked – I realised the secret behind enough protein, healthy carbs and fat. I changed my mindset – I changed for me, not seeking approval from my husband or friends. I also joined a Facebook support group and this tribe of women motivated me and pushed me. I did my first Ultimate You Challenge in Jan 2016. By May 2016, I was tired of restricting eating plans, cutting calories and not seeing results. I find the world of If It Fits Your Macros and a coach that is willing to teach and not just take my money. I started logging all my food on MyFitnessPal and trying out some weight training at home. The fact that I can train when my son is sleeping, allows me the flexibility I need. I lost minimal weight the rest of the year, but upped my exercise, added some running (which I have learnt to love), that changed my body shape. A friend that became a trainer helped me with additional training plans. I learned that people are willing to help you on your journey and support you. The internet is laden with free information – you must be open to learn.

This Is Now

In February 2017 I won an entry to the Ultimate You Challenge and I decided to reach my final goal weight. I decided that to achieve something I have never had, I need to do what I have never done. I cut my grains and dairy – as per the Sleekgeek Reboot and exercised consistently – and I achieved my goal in the 8 weeks. Again, having a strong team helped me keep focussed. I have lost 32kgs in 2 years and am planning my next big goal. I still struggle with my head and matching the woman in the mirror, now being the thinnest I have been my whole adult life, to the woman in my head. My favourite part of being a thinner me – being able to play and run with my son and the clothes… don’t get me started on the clothes 🙂

My Tips

–         Support from family and friends is just as important as your inner voice.

–         My husband helps me by allowing me time to train. Use your support systems.

–         Plan and use your time efficiently – we are all busy – be smart about your time.

–         I have learnt balance and use tools like MyFitnessPal to log my food and mathematically see what I can allow in a day.

–         I have always loved to learn and use this to my advantage.

–         I train in ways I enjoy and would love to push my body harder.

–         My Fitbit and Vitality goals and rewards motivate me to move.

–         I avoid my triggers and know already that a weekend with family will mean bad food choices – which I balance with enough good choices surrounding this.

–         One small treat and then back on plan – it’s about consistency every day.