QA: Mbali ditches 30kg and gets hooked on running!

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PROFILE

Name: Mbali Dhlamini
Age: 39
Location: Mpumalanga

What do you do?
I am a Project Accounting Officer.

What else do you do?  [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
 I love to run. If I am not running I spend time with my family.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
I have been a member since January 2017.

How did you find Sleekgeek?
I joined after Sleekgeek came up as a suggested post when I was browsing on Facebook.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The support from other members, the transformations are inspiring and uplifting.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
My transformation journey has been on and off. 

My journey began in 2009 after I gained weight (scale was at 123kg) from unhealthy food choices I made as a student. In the same year, my sister convinced me to join her for a two week trial at a local gym. After the two weeks, I took a year’s contract and managed to lose 30kg. Just a few months before my gym membership ended I fell pregnant. After my son was born in 2011 I gained back most of the weight I had lost. 

In 2013 I moved back to Johannesburg and in August the same year, I did my first 10km race. The atmosphere of being around other runners got me hooked on running, and I was doing races every weekend. In 2014 I had my daughter and was back to running 8 weeks after her birth.

In the same year (2014) I ran my first 21km (Soweto Marathon). 

In the years 2015 and 2016 I ran a lot of races (10km and 21km) and lost weight again and in 2017 I ran my first marathon.

At the beginning of 2018, I took a break from running to focus on family and gained weight. In mid-October 2018 I started running and walking again, entered races in advance (first race was in Jan 2019).

I haven’t looked back since then and January this year I have been mindful of what I eat.

My starting weight in October was 115.5kg and I am now at 100.6kg.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?
Gaining weight and not able to fit in the clothes that I have. Also, I did not want to buy new clothes because to me it means I am accepting the weight gain. 

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I never thought that I could get up before 5 am so I can go for my run.  Also keeping on the commitment to run 5 times a week.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I still struggle with food choices and cravings for cake and sweets especially when I am under pressure.

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
To stay strong and not to give in to pressure at all times. 

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
I have fallen many times, got up, dusted myself and started all over again.

What is better since you got healthy?

  1. I don’t rely on my asthma pump anymore.
  2. I have been sick less, which means few doctor visits.
  3. I sleep better 
  4. I am fitter, stronger and increased energy levels.

TRAINING

What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
Definitely running but since mid-June, I have added bodyweight exercises to my routine.

How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I started running (again) consistently since mid-October 2018. I started with 5km run 3 times during week and 10km on weekends.

Since the beginning of January 2019, I have increased my distance a bit on my weekday runs and on weekends I run 15 -21km. 

What does your typical workout look like?
I do some of my short runs at a fast pace and include hill repeats. Long runs are done at a slow pace.

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Favorite distance is 21km.

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Most definitely burpees.

How does exercise make you feel? 
Strong and happy (especially after a hard day).

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Both. With others for motivation and to be part of a group and alone when no one is available to train with.

Most embarrassing training moment?
Putting on the heart rate strap and forgetting to attach the Bluetooth monitor.

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

  1. Towel
  2. Water bottle
  3. Fresh clothes.

Your next training goal?
To be fit enough to complete 42km within cut off and without any issues (eg. Cramping) and to one day be strong enough to run an ultra marathon.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  1. 2018 Ultimate Mixtape – Prince Kaybee
  2. Titanium – David Guetta feat. Sia
  3. Lose Yourself  – Eminem
  4. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
  5. 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
It has changed my life for the better, I have increased energy levels, confidence has been boosted, I sleep better and lasting weight loss. 

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?
Dumpling, stew and vegetables.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Vegetables and meat.

Favourite protein?
Eggs, beef, chicken, beans, lentils and whey protein.

Favourite fat?
Avocado.

Favourite carbohydrate?
Butternut and sweet potato.

What’s your nutrition philosophy/approach? [If you have one]
A balanced diet and eat more vegetables.

How many meals a day do you eat?
5 (3 meals and 2 snacks in between).

Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
As I mentioned that I struggle with cake, when it happens I buy that one slice and move on. The trick is to not overdo.

MINDSET

Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
I never imagined myself running a distance longer than 200m.

Favorite quote?
“Don’t let yesterday take too much of today.”
Will Rogers

Favourite book? 
Any book by Danielle Steele.

What inspires and motivates you?
The positive comments that I receive motivate me to work even harder.

For what are you most grateful? 
The gift of life. My children and family.

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Stay positive through your journey and you are more likely to be successful

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

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  1. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today.
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  3. If you fall, get up, dust yourself and try again.
  4. Make sure that your mind and body are on the same track.
  5. Have a plan.