Name: Natasha Pretorius
What do you do?
What else do you do?
Running, knitting, crocheting, cooking and reading.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Not sure, but a couple of years.
How did you find Sleekgeek?
A friend had mentioned they had joined the group on Facebook.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
I think the encouragement and way that people celebrate one another’s victories is wonderful.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
I had gotten firmly stuck in a rut. After putting on weight as a student I never managed to lose any of it.
I had prioritized work but had stopped taking the time to workout or make sure I was eating a balanced diet. My eating habits were not good. I would often comfort eat or overeat because the food tasted good. I also ate a lot of bread, despite the fact that I knew it wasn’t helping my gut health.
I had terribly low energy levels and was then diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I used the issue with my thyroid as an excuse and attributed my weight gain and sluggishness to that rather than my lifestyle. I never made myself a priority, had low self-esteem and felt uncomfortable in my skin.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
My doctor suggested I cut out wheat, yeast and gluten because of the negative impact it was having on my colon and overall gut health. I followed an elimination diet and found which foods I responded well to and which I should avoid. I cut out everything that wasn’t working for me, this was incredibly hard but I made the decision to do what needed to be done to get healthy.
I had also just moved in with my boyfriend who is a runner, this motivated me to get out and get moving. The more I was doing the better I felt so I started setting goals that I then worked towards.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I make time for myself daily. I make sure that I do something active each day. I spend more time prepping food and make sure that I am making food choices that are good for my body. I still have the odd “cheat” meal but even those have changed a great deal.
I have much more energy and am feeling comfortable in my skin. I have become more disciplined in other areas of my life and feel like I am more productive with my time.
I no longer smoke, which I am incredibly grateful for. I also now hardly drink and am super happy that Savanna now has an alcohol-free option.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggle with?
I have a weakness for sugar and have always had a sweet tooth, especially chocolate. I make sure not to keep sweets in the house or else if I am feeling down, they will get gobbled up.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Moderation is ok.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
After losing approximately 18kgs I hit a bit of a plateau. I was close to my goal weight but just couldn’t get there.
I entered the Sleekgeek 8-week Transformation Challenge with a friend of mine and that was a good way to get to where I wanted.
What is better since you got healthy?
My energy levels are up, I don’t get as moody as I did before, my skin got its glow back and my general outlook on life has improved.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I love running, but I also really enjoy yoga, pilates, weights and swimming.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I started in October 2018 with the running, pilates and yoga. I started going to the gym in about May 2019.
My running was spurred on by my boyfriend. He would go for a run every night which inspired me to get out of the house. He then would run with me and this became a special quality time together which I enjoy.
I started going to the gym as part of a transformation challenge but then the bug bit and it’s become part of my daily routine.
What does your typical workout look like?
I run 4 or 5 times a week (5 – 10 km) with long runs on Sunday.
At gym, I follow a structured programme with a light warmup, weights (depending on the focus area for the day) and bodyweight exercises followed by a bit of a stretch (I should do more stretching).
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Anything involving a pilates ball and I enjoy a 10km or 21.1km.
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Push-ups, I have worked very hard on trying to improve my upper body strength.
How does exercise make you feel?
Strong. I revel in seeing the improvements I’m making, whether it is getting a bit faster or adding more weight, completing circuits faster or with more ease. Exercise is also my break away and I enjoy having the time to think, the time with myself.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Both, it really does depend on the exercise. Sometimes I need the solitude but I also enjoy sharing the experience.
Most embarrassing training moment?
Trying to spit out some phlegm on a long run without anyone seeing.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
- My resistance band
- Body spray
Your next training goal?
I’m training for the Vaal River City Marathon.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Something just like this – Chainsmokers and Coldplay
- Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran
- Happier – Marshmello and Bastille
- Wild Ones – Flo Rida
- Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
I have more confidence and I feel so much more capable.
With more energy, I feel like I am more able to be present in each moment. It also means that I don’t take part in certain activities because I’m worried about not being able to.
Getting fit and healthy has left me feeling empowered and motivated, excited for life.
What’s your favourite meal?
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Chicken, with baby marrows, beans and pineapple topped with some plain yoghurt.
Chicken or steak.
Butternut or Sweet Potato.
What’s your nutrition philosophy/approach? [If you have one]
I try to eat food that makes my body feel good and that gives me sufficient fuel to sustain my training.
I also believe that healthy doesn’t have to equal boring and so I am constantly trying new recipes and finding interesting ways to make delicious meals.
When food looks good it tastes good so I spend a lot of time on presentation.
How many meals a day do you eat?
I have 3 small meals with two snacks each day.
Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
I still struggle on weekends but make sure that I don’t turn a “cheat” meal into a whole day and when having a treat I try to do so in moderation.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Running the Colgate 32km.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Shantaram -Gregory David Roberts
What inspires and motivates you?
The people around me.
For what are you most grateful?
The fact that I didn‘t wait any longer to make the changes I have made in my life.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Take the leap and believe in yourself.
You owe it to yourself to make time, take the time and make you a priority. It will be hard, and sometimes incredibly frustrating, but the change is absolutely worth it.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Figure out what foods your body doesn’t respond well to and cut them out.
- Surround yourself with supportive people who will help you walk the journey.
- Tomorrow is a new day, don’t beat yourself up for “slipping” every once in a while.
- Don’t be afraid, change is scary, but it can be so wonderful.
- Find something that you love and try to do it every day.