Here’s a quick Q&A with Taryn van der Vyver who came 1st in the women’s weight loss category in the latest 8-week Ultimate You Challenge.
- Give us a short history of your journey to health and fitness before the challenge.
I had always struggled with my weight while growing up; I used to eat the same portion as my father when I was only 8 years old! I had belonged to Weighless for a large portion of my school-going years, gone to see dietitians but none had helped me gain control over my appetite. I guess you could say I was a professional yo-yo dieter. In my first year of university I ballooned to over 125kg thanks to all the drinking (and the eating that went along with that).
- What prompted you to join the ULTIMATE YOU Transformation Challenge?
So that led me to New Years 2017, where I decided that this year would be different.
That was the big push I needed in order to look for ways to motivate (and discipline) myself. I had joined the Sleekgeek family in October of 2016 and went to their last dinner of the year in Cape Town. The success stories blew me away.
So when I heard about the ultimate you challenge at the start of this year I knew it was exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling! It was a leap of faith, considering I had failed on every other “challenge” I took part in.
I signed up, closed my eyes and jumped!
- Give us a quick overview of the nutrition and eating plan that you followed during the challenge.
I had a strategy in place. I was going to follow the Paleo lifestyle and stick to my recommended calories for weight loss (1200 calories). I’m short, so was very disappointed to find out that those were the calories I’ll have to eat (not only during the challenge, but once I hit my goal weight as well). Little did I know that it’s what my body needed, and nothing more. I NEVER went hungry (except for the first day or two, shhh!).
I ate chia pudding with protein powder for breakfast to get my fiber & protein in (it was super yummy)!
Lunch was usually a chicken/tuna salad (with all the trimmings). The fact that it was summer helped with this one, and I started really enjoying the freshness!
To end my day off I usually ate salmon or pork with half a plate of veggies (green veggies being my ultimate weakness).
I thoroughly enjoyed my “menu” and it never got boring. I had my basic meal and added things according to what I felt like at the time.
- Give us a quick overview of the training and exercise plan that you followed during the challenge.
As for training… I had my father to help me out with that. He was training for Ironman, so it was easy to fall in with his training a few days a week. It kept me going.
I wasn’t fit, but my body could take a bit of a push while still recovering in a reasonable amount of time.
I would do a spinning class, as well as an hour of swimming, 3 times a week with my dad. I can’t say I put 100% effort in because I knew my body wasn’t at his fitness level. I took it easy, just enjoying the fact that I could see how my resting heart rate went down almost daily and all the energy that came with the exercising too! I knew I was burning more calories than I would on the couch and my muscles were getting the oxygen I now know they needed all along. I did the parkrun every Saturday too, and that is where I challenged myself every week. I never ran, and I still can’t, but my time has been slashed by 15 minutes in the last 8 weeks!
- If you could give 3 pieces of advice to future challengers, what would they be?
The 3 pieces of advice I would give future challengers is PLAN, TAKE ACTION & REST.
Planning is crucial. As the saying goes, “Fail to plan is planning to fail.” Whenever I didn’t plan well, I either had to wait until I got home to eat, or I would cheat. Planning is often the difference between winning and losing.
Actually going out and doing what you planned to do is also important. I’m known in my family for the planner, but not for actually following through. Have somebody who can hold you accountable if it’s not your strongest point either, or if you’re a very disciplined person (which is a brilliant quality to have) then just follow your plan!
Lastly, resting is just as important as planning and doing what you planned. People often forget to rest, or think they’ll get more progress if they don’t rest. This is NOT true. I only really learnt that during this challenge. When I took a day (or two) off, I was often stronger when I went to train the first day again. It makes you feel good and it’s important to have that balance. If you don’t have a balance then giving up becomes an option; don’t let giving up be an option!
- What did you find most valuable about your experience?
My experience has been one of the most valuable ones out of all during my 20 years.
I learnt control; my biggest problem in the beginning. I became more disciplined. I started enjoying the feeling I got when I took care of my body – feeding it real food & moving more.