QA: Claire lost 25kg and managed to find herself through the process.

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PROFILE

Name: Claire du Plessis
Age: 34
Location: Krugersdorp, Gauteng

What do you do?
I am a stay at home mom. I have 2 beautiful girls, ages 11 and 4.

I have a BCom in Marketing and I am a graphic designer. I am currently studying personal training as I want to open my own fitness studio.

What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
Hiking, kayaking, jiujitsu and pole dancing. I run a Girl Guide Unit which means I get to go camping and be outdoors often.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Since 22 May 2019.

How did you find Sleekgeek?
I was looking for a challenge to do and came across Sleekgeek online.  Within minutes I was absolutely blown away. I looked at the Facebook community and realised I had to join!

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
Do I have to mention one??  Wow – I LOVE the community! 

My favourite thing that I noticed immediately is that its full of REAL people.  It’s a place where people support and celebrate the smallest victories in another person’s life.  Nobody is afraid to show their true selves. I have received nothing but love whenever I post. 

Sleekgeek has such an upbeat, fun vibe and most of all it is so inspiring to see all these people out there going through what I am! The weight loss and transformation journey can often become a very lonely journey – people in your life often don’t understand or get jealous and do not support you.  But Sleekgeek has given me new friends who understand exactly how I feel.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
The old me… I only set foot in a gym at the age of 28. I always had a very unhealthy relationship with fitness and eating.

I got into the habit of having a glass of wine or Amarula most nights. Binge eating was all I knew.  But more than the fact that I was unfit and overweight – I was a very unhappy person.  My mental and emotional state were a total wreck. I had zero self-esteem. I had no discipline or dedication to anything.  I was merely a mom who went to work and came home, ate and cooked and made sure my children and husband stayed alive!

I lost complete sight of myself and who I was. I didn’t even have a favourite song, or flower, or colour. I was just existing.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?
Just after Amelia’s 1st birthday in 2016, I was sitting looking at the photos from her party. I opened up one of me and I just sat and cried. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt in my own body. I hated that my girls had “that” as an example.

I knew I needed to change.

Over the 3 years prior to 2016 I had started boot camp and then moved over to a gym. I had found fitness and I was already falling in love.  But I stupidly started trying all sorts of fad diets. I spent those years slowly gaining weight because I would eat soup for a week, or starve myself for 5 days. You name the fad, I probably tried it.

Nothing worked. Until that day I snapped and decided enough was enough. 

I had already started working with a personal trainer, Darren Hubbard at Virgin Active Krugersdorp. But, unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to follow me around and slap food out of my hand. I was already falling in love with fitness.  

What changed? I listened and I stuck to it. Darren showed me what to eat and I did.

I ate clean, I ate lean protein, good vegetables, good carbs, good fats.  I cut the junk. I cut the alcohol and I kept doing that.  

And then the magic happened!

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
The biggest thing I do differently is: I love me!

Am I totally happy with where I am? No.  
Have I got the body of my dreams? Umm no. (But it’s pretty awesome).

But do I love the person I am now? Heck yes!

No more self-hate! I mess up, but I keep going. I get knocked down, but I don’t give up.

I have become a better person overall.  I have more focus. I found passion. I started JiuJitsu 2 years ago and I fell in love. I started pole sports and fell in love.  I am enjoying motherhood even more because my mental and emotional state are so much better.  I am a better wife because I am not seeking attention and affirmation all the time.

I am driven, I plan ahead and I am better at not procrastinating so much.

I look people in the eye when I meet them. I laugh and I smile because I am so much more confident and happy in my own skin.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Chocolate, wine, bread, cheese.

I struggle to keep the discipline with my eating plans. It is so easy to get back into old habits.

I struggle with takeouts and binge eating, drinking wine and eating chocolate at night.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still eat delicious food, but its about balance.  I struggle to keep that balance going.  

I lost 25kgs and I have managed to keep it off.  But I do still yoyo – I eat well in the week and then eat badly over the weekend and get into a never-ending cycle. 

I struggle to say no and I cheat often when I am on a new eating plan.

But my 8-week Sleekgeek Challenge is fixing these issues!

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Don’t be so hard on yourself Claire!

You are a human being.  Life is full of stress and drama.  You are doing an amazing job.  Don’t stop, brush it off, get up and keep going.  Refocus, set a new goal and keep pushing.  Transformation is about slowly changing habits, one day at a time.  

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Yes. And often.  It’s called life. It happens.

I don’t think anyone who is completely honest could say “no” to that question.

Some days I would climb on that scale and go straight to the cupboard for some rusks, toast, chocolate. I wanted to give up often. I fell off my wagon so many times. But my results and the way I started to feel got more addictive than my eating. I had to keep telling myself over and over to “give yourself time!”

It takes time. I didn’t get fat overnight. It took years of bad choices. You won’t lose weight overnight either!

  • What is better since you got healthy? 
  • I feel stronger.
  • I sleep better.
  • I handle stress better. 
  • I don’t feel so fatigued.
  • I don’t get sick as often.
  • I am happier in my own skin. 
  • I live my life and I enjoy it. 
  • I am confident and I feel great.

TRAINING

What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I love functional training and boxing. I also enjoy weightlifting and I love HIIT cardio.

I do pole sports and Brazillian JiutJitsu and love every second!

How long have you been training and how did you get started?
6 years ago I started boot camp. Then moved over to the gym. I was never good at pushing myself so I found a friend, Tammy. We hired a personal trainer. We gym with him 3 times a week – I have been with Darren for 3 years.

I started pole a year ago after a friend showed me a spin and I loved the feeling.

I started JiuJitsu 2 years ago – I attended a Woman’s Empowered seminar and was immediately hooked.  I started class with Jacques Wagner and Rodney King at Crazy Monkey. I train 3 times a week and I got my blue belt last month. (I could write another 6 pages on everything I have learnt from JiuJitsu). 

What does your typical workout look like?
I do a lot of functional training and HIIT cardio.

Burpees, box jumps, battle ropes, kettlebell work, squats and lunges with sandbags, mountain climbers, pushups. 

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Movement – I love all kettlebell work!

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Long distance running.

How does exercise make you feel? 
Incredible. Fitness has become therapeutic for me.  It’s my time for me.  I love the rush I get when I push myself. I love feeling the results and seeing my strength improve and feeling healthier overall. 

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
With others. 

I guess its just the person I am. I like having fun while I train. But I am lucky to have a friend who trains just like me. And a trainer that pushes us further than we would go on our own.

Most embarrassing training moment?
Falling off a box during a box jump in front of the whole gym!

Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?

  • Water
  • Towel
  • Skipping rope

Your next training goal?
Do a pull-up.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
It’s given me drive, focus and discipline. I have found passion again. I have found myself again.

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?
Chocolate.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Still chocolate (teehee). 
Ok fine, it’s grilled chicken with mixed veg and coconut baked sweet potato.

Favourite protein?
Hake.

Favourite fat?
Avocado.

Favourite carbohydrate?
Oats.

What’s your nutrition philosophy/approach? [If you have one]
Cut out the junk, keep it clean. Drink water. Nutrition is everything. Fuel your body properly if you want it to perform.

How many meals a day do you eat?
5 meals a day.

Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
I have one treat meal a week.  And if I am really struggling during the week, I have one tiny little block of dark chocolate – and I let it melt in my mouth for ages! Nom, nom, nom!

MINDSET

Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
My Blue Belt in JiuJitsu!! 

I never imagined I would do a martial art.  And after the first few months on those mats – I never imagined I would have the discipline and drive to keep going back. 

Onwards to Purple belt now!!

Favorite quote?
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Gandalf

Favourite book? 
Nope – I love too many to name just one!

What inspires and motivates you?
All of my fellow Sleekgeeks. Getting up every day and trying their best!

My coaches. Jacques Wagner (a black belt in JiuJitsu) his passion, dedication and love of the sport.

Daniella Baker, my Pole Instructor. She is on her way to compete in the World Championships in Canada in October.

Darren Hubbard, my personal trainer. He lives and breathes fitness, day in and out.

These people are such an inspiration to me. For them it’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle.

For what are you most grateful? 
My healthy functional body, and another day to live my life to the fullest.

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Just do it.  Take one small step today. Take another one tomorrow. You owe it to yourself to make a change if you are unhappy.  And most of all: just believe in yourself!

What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?

  • Don’t do it alone. Join a community like Sleekgeek.
  • Make small changes every day and keep doing them.
  • Set goals. Hourly goals, daily goals, monthly goals. Small short term goals as well as long term.
  • Start giving yourself a positive affirmation.  
  • Don’t stop!