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💪 8-Week Body Transformation Challenge! 🥗

Jolinda Van der Merwe loses 30kgs and gives up the crash diets!

If you are like me, you would want to skip right to the end to see ‘how did she do it’

Unfortunately every success story starts somewhere.

From my mom who could cook up a storm, lack of knowledge when it comes to nutrition, not loving exercise, binge eating then throwing up, a fat feeding boyfriend, a pregnancy and raising a baby on my own , meeting my knight in shining armour, getting married then moving to a farm becoming a housewife/stay at home mom after being a successful business woman and then finally a second pregnancy…

My weight loss has always been up and down since the age of 9.

Over the years i tried so many different diets and diet drugs, but it always ended in yo-yo’ing.

Turning point 

In 2015 i was left feeling so depressed when 3 digits stared back at me , how could i let it get this bad?

I joined Weigh-less for the third time in my life  and this is where my life started changing. In that year I would say that’s where i started getting better insights about food, nutrition and calories.



Crash diets

2016 – 2018 I have been on and off crash diets like the 28 day diet. I saw a plastic surgeon for a breast reduction consultation Feb 2018  and he gave me an ideal weight before he would perform the surgery.

When we got home my husband said he gives me 2 months to get to that weight and we booked the surgery for that day. So I had no excuses I had to do it .. April 25th 2018 I had my surgery done.

After my surgery I gained 4kgs again and knew I am doomed to fail if I don’t take action now.

I have always known i needed a lifestyle change, but kept telling myself ‘ quick fix first, lifestyle later’ guess this time round it was later for me .

Enter Sleekgeek

I have been following Sleekgeek Facebook Group for a while and knew they were all about healthy living , so i decided to post on their group to say ‘NO MORE’!

A day or two later Elan our Sleekgeek founder messaged me to say a good samaritan wanted to donate her Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge entry to me. I mean I have always seen this challenge, even considered doing it , but who was i fooling – i could never do something like that…. I was in tears and immediately said YES!

When I got home I thought i made the biggest mistake of my life, ”how am I going to do this? I am going to waste her money, I am going to disappoint her and myself, I am 2 months post surgery so I’m limited with exercise”.

My husband who is such big support, immediately calmed my thoughts and my Dr gave me an ok for a slow start with restrictions on some exercises.

I used my calorie calculator on the internet to determine how many calories I need for my activity level and to lose weight . I then downloaded “Fat Secret” calorie counting app to help me keep track of my calories. I also made an old fashioned food diary where I write down a pre planned menu for the day , this helps a lot too for the days when you are out of ideas to page back. We don’t cut out any food groups and try to keep it as balanced as possible.

I have always been very disciplined when it comes to packing breakfast and lunch for work so I don’t have to buy anything. Staff love to buy lunch and clients treat us with nice things so I am surrounded by nice food all the time, and I am proud to say for the last year and a half 97% of the time I have said NO thank you.

Discovered exercise!

I have never been a fan of exercise, to me it was the biggest punishment ever. With this Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge my goal was to train at least 4 days a week. We stay on a farm and I have two kids so going to a gym is not an  option.

Luckily we have a home gym that i can use. I stood in the gym clueless with what to do, so I pulled out all my old fat loss and fitness magazines. They have awesome step by step programmes to follow.

To my suprise 7 weeks later and I love exercise. I can’t skip one day and I do up to 6 sessions per week. I started challenging myself with more intense workouts now that I got the greenlight from my doctor.

You know you are hooked when you drive to work on a Saturday and pass someone that is jogging and would trade places anytime – or when it rains and you can only do a little washing and must separate the important clothes from the less important clothes only to find your gym wear falls under the important bundle.

This journey ain’t always easy, I am not always motivated, I do get tired and frustrated. That afternoon when you get home after work and rather feel like going out for that hamburger and chips that’s when discipline kicks in.  Get dressed, exercise, cook your healthy meal. Afterwards I feel so much better and so thankful because I know my weaknesses and knew I would bully myself after my bad choices.

I don’t say never eat burgers, it’s just- I was in a ‘ bad mood ‘, feeling tired and had a lack of motivation. Rather have that cheat meal in a good state of mind.

Now I look back and see just how unhealthy the crash diets are not just for the person doing it.

 I was so deprived that at times I would think if I knew I was dying rather than spending time with loved ones I would chose to rather eat , anything and everything I can get my hands on.

I realised now how I sabotaged my family’s health by making or buying them the the quickest unhealthiest meal I had energy for while I had to eat the ‘meal’ my diet said.

I haven’t been cooking separate meals or anything extra, everyone in my family eats the same as I do.

Loving myself!

With my body transforming I have so much more energy and confidence. I have learnt to love my body and my stretch marks.Our marriage went from great to amazing. And my husband changed his life for the better with me.

My biggest challenge have definitely always been social gatherings –  christmas, new years ,stork parties, bachelors, family braai’s and even funerals since it’s all planned around food and snacks. I have come to the realisation that food has always been there, food will always be there, how I act around it will make the difference. I value my health and I love my body and because I do that it’s so much easier to stay in control.

Being overweight stole a big part of my life. I missed out on fun with my kids, I missed out being maid of honour on my own brothers wedding. I won’t allow it to steal from my future or my health. And I want my parents to see me at my best.

Sleekgeek Summer Challenge! – I am bringing the heat! 

My plan from here is to join the next Sleekgeek 8-Week Summer Challenge (already on the VIP waiting list) and in these 8 weeks I want to stop counting calories and learn portion control according to the Sleekgeek Foodlist. Let’s face it you can’t count calories till the age of 80.

My husband hid the scale because I let that determine my mood, and I now need to learn and understand that my body can change but my weight might not and that number won’t define me.

If I could give anyone advise, I would say to: 

  • Learn your weaknesses and know your strengths.
  • Everyday try and give 1% better than yesterday, 365 days later you will be 365% better.
  • Keep yourself busy with people that has the same goal and struggles as you – like Sleekgeek community fitness and fat loss magazines.
  • Keep looking till you find something you absolutely love about your body. Trust me you will soon love it all.
  • Remember that every little effort adds up . A year from now you won’t believe the difference.  

In these past 3 years with all the ups and downs I have lost 30.4 kgs. 




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