Name: Debbie Lourens
Location: Cape Town
What do you do?
I am a wedding photographer.
What else do you do?
I run an Instagram about body positivity, beauty, self-care and self-development. I also document my healthy journey and share recipes.
I’m also an animal activist and work closely with Rescue Bunnies South Africa. Apart from photography and beauty (I am obsessed with make-up) I am deeply committed to animals, especially bunnies.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
A couple of years.
How did you find Sleekgeek?
Via Friend suggestion.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The positivity and encouragement.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
Poor choices in food purely based on convenience. I was tired and unhappy all the time. I knew I needed to make a change but lacked the motivation to do so.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I realized that in order for me to heal my body I needed to heal my mind first. I unfollowed accounts that didn’t bring me joy, I surrounded myself with people who spread light and good vibes and before I knew it, the nourishment I had been feeding my soul was just as easy to feed my body. I wrote a kind goodbye letter to my fat and that is how my journey started.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I look for opportunities to move more. Previously I would be too lazy to even go down to the corner shop or open up the security gate in our complex. Now I try and do as much walking as I can. I am enjoying being able to be more mobile.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Eating for convenience or boredom or when I’m emotional. When I am going through a tough time, my knee jerk reaction is to find comfort in food.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
If you’re going to eat your feelings, make sure it’s something healthy!
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backward a bit on your journey?
Yes, so many times. At the beginning of my journey, I was very frustrated as I was eating well and also working out. It was only once I learned about macros that I realized I wasn’t eating as well as I hoped. I scaled down on fruits, dairy and grains and my weight shifted.
Further on in my journey as I reached 32 kilos lost, I got stuck in a plateau for FOUR WEEKS! It was honestly the most discouraging thing and I very nearly gave up. However, the great thing about running an Instagram account where you document your progress is that you don’t want to let the people down who support you. This was how I pushed through, and I will continue to push myself until I reach my goal… Then I will push myself to maintain my goal haha.
What is better since you got healthy?
So many things. Being able to cross my legs. Being able to take a bath comfortably, sitting in a normal seat in the cinema. Not waking up in the morning feeling like there was a tonne of bricks on your chest. My mobility has increased greatly and I am the most thankful for that. I no longer get out of breath climbing a flight of stairs. (unless I run up them haha) I took so many things for granted when I was a healthy teen, which I will never do again.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
Mid Feb, I joined the gym to help with movement.
What does your typical workout look like?
30 min cardio and 30min toning.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
How does exercise make you feel?
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Alone, I like the mental clarity it brings. I like being alone with my thoughts and it’s also the time when I hype and motivate myself more.
Most embarrassing training moment?
None, I’m always learning.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
Earphones, phone, towel and hand sanitizer.
Your next training goal?
Do a park run
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Stronger – Kanye West
- Work it – Missy Elliot
- Touch It – Busta Rhymes
- Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
- Numb – Lincoln Park
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
Again, it comes back to mobility. I’d like to say it has improved my mental clarity, but I constantly have my head in the clouds so I don’t know whether that’s true.
I can’t imagine my life without my walks though. Not only has it increased my fitness, but it has done wonders for my marriage. My husband and I take our park walks together and we talk about so many things. It’s amazing how we can connect with one another when we just set aside an hour uninterrupted by technology or commitments.
What’s your favourite meal?
Sushi sushi sushi. I could probably put an all you can eat buffet out of business.
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Tuna salad with all the crunchy veggies my heart desires. I’m a visual eater. I want to colour in my meals. The fresher the better. I prefer raw foods and whole foods.
Eggs. It’s so versatile.
What’s your nutrition philosophy/approach? [If you have one]
Eat healthy calories to fuel your body and mind, burn more calories than you consume.
How many meals a day do you eat?
I do intermittent fasting so I keep it to 2 meals a day. Sometimes I’m snacky, but I keep within my calories.
Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
In the beginning, we would schedule a cheat meal on a Sunday, but now if we crave something we eat it and just exercise more. I know calorie controlling doesn’t work for all, but at the end of the day, it works for me and makes me much more aware of what I put in my body and how often I put it in my body.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Never ever thought I would be able to walk 4 km again. Also never thought I would fit in a size 22 denim (I use to be a 30).
Progress not Perfection
Memoirs of A Geisha – Arthur Golden
What inspires and motivates you?
Inspiring and motivating others.
For what are you most grateful?
My husband. He is my entire life.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
You will never know unless you take that leap. There is a group of thousands of people supporting you. If they believe in you, what’s stopping you.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Change one thing at a time: Drink more water, move a little more and then just add to that.
- Journaling is your best friend. Brain dump every day and look back on the journey you are documenting when it feels like you’re standing in one place for too long.
- Move more, even if you’re doing exercise on your bed or low impact cardio for 15 minutes, just moving more will help you so much.
- Learn about your macros. It was honestly a game changer for me.
- Gather a support system. I honestly couldn’t do this without my husband and my friends who die-hard support me and want me to succeed.