QA: Erin loses 10kg and goes from couch potato to no excuses cyclist and runner.

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Name: Erin de Kok
Age: 34
Location: Johannesburg
What do you do? Logistics for a Commodity Trading Company

What else do you do?
I’ve just recently taken up cycling which was quite a big thing for me as I had a bicycle accident when I younger and haven’t been on a bike since. That was one of the things I aimed at overcoming this year. 

I also LOVE cooking and I LOVE feeding people which is partly why I think I ended up in this predicament LOL – I’ve had to teach myself to make amazing meals BUT healthy ones!

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Just over a year now.

How did you find Sleekgeek?
I can’t actually remember, think I just stumbled across Sleekgeek on Facebook and decided to take a closer look. I’ve been hooked ever since 😉

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
I love Sleekgeek because it’s so full of positive vibes and like-minded people on the same journey as me. I’ve been attacked on other “fitness” social media groups about my food choices etc. and it was great to have such positive feedback and encouragement from the other Sleeks on Sleekgeek. 

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like? 
When I fell pregnant with my son, I made the mistake of thinking I could “eat for 2” as they say! I thought because I was pregnant I could eat whatever I wanted. This was a HUGE mistake which I will always regret, as I have struggled for almost 8 years to trying to shift the weight I picked up during my pregnancy. 

The “Old Me” was a rather lazy couch potato who would much rather come home and have an “amazingly UNHEALTHY” meal and a few glasses of wine in front of the tv instead of going to the gym or getting active. I would pack my gym clothes every day and say to myself “tomorrow I will go” BUT during the drive on the way home from work, I would come up with some or other excuse as to why I wasn’t going to go to the gym. 

What ignited your initial motivation to change?
Last year I did a 12km obstacle race and struggled and cursed my way through the whole thing from start to finish – honestly, there was one particular photo of me at the race, which triggered me, I hated what I saw and I decided it was time to change!

What are some of the things that the new you do differently now?

I don’t allow myself to make excuses anymore, I am much more honest with myself. I force myself to do things, on days when I really don’t feel like it. I would say all in all I am a much more disciplined and motivated person when it comes to my lifestyle choices. 

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Emotional eating is a really big one for me. The moment I hit the slightest bump in the road, I go into self-destruct mode. Luckily it only lasts a week or so, and I get back on track pretty quickly. 

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
That emotional eating only makes you feel worse in the end and that going to the gym after a horrible day will make you feel SO much better than eating that pizza! 

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey? 
I started training with a personal trainer last year in July – I worked extremely hard attending my sessions 4 times a week and also exercising on weekends. I followed the eating plan that was given to me (halfheartedly), and also with the exception of drinking alcohol. For a full year, my weight fluctuated up and down by 2 / 3 KG’s, I started to show some muscle definition but the weight never really came off like I would have liked it too.

My trainer kept telling me that I need to cut the alcohol but it just wasn’t what I wanted to hear, so I carried on as I was. Within that year, my whole outlook towards the gym, changed drastically. I loved what I was doing and was excited to go in the evenings, I never missed a session. My mindset starting changing about my lifestyle and I became more and more motivated to become this fit and healthy person I had longed to be.

It was this year around April, that I took the decision to stop drinking and really take my diet seriously and that is when I really started seeing the results. 

What is better since you got healthy? 
EVERYTHING has gotten better since I started looking after myself properly. I’m happier within myself, which reflects in my personal relationships, my career, my confidence etc. really all aspects of my life. 

Training has become so much easier too, I don’t struggle through every workout and hate every second of it. I enjoy getting out there and being active, it makes me feel so much better than when I don’t. 

TRAINING 

What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I absolutely love Yoga and meditation, although I don’t get to do it often enough.

Initially, I HATED cardio, but as I have gotten fitter over this past year I’ve actually grown to enjoy it.

I try to do a little bit of everything. 

How long have you been training and how did you get started?
Just over a year now, I started training with a personal trainer at a private gym. 

What does your typical workout look like?
I’ve been struggling a little to find my mojo at the gym since I am no longer with my personal trainer, so I’ve mostly been doing cardio and spinning classes etc. which I do really enjoy.

I’ve just started getting back into weight training and have written myself a proper program to follow. I need structure at the gym, otherwise, I end up roaming around aimlessly and not getting much done. The program I am currently following is this;

  • Monday: Abs and spinning
  • Tuesday: Cardio, back and traps
  • Wednesday: Chest, tri and bi’s and cardio
  • Thursday: Cardio and legs
  • Saturday: Cardio
  • Sunday: Yoga

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Legs! I LOVE training legs! 

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Planking! I just can’t!

How does exercise make you feel? 

  • Energized
  • Confident
  • I sleep better at night

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I lack direction in the gym, so I loved training with a trainer or with my hubby because then I just follow their lead. 

Most embarrassing training moment?
Trying to be cute and hold my husbands hand on the treadmill and almost landed on my face! 

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

Just the basics:

  • Headphones & Soundcloud App
  • Towel
  • Water Bottle

Your next training goal?

  1. Do the 947 Cycle Race
  2. Run a 21km race
  3. Break the 65KG mark

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

I listen to mixes on Soundcloud, so will list my top 5 fav mixes;

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
I’m not that same person I was a year ago…

A person that made excuses, never really achieved much.  A person that was unhappy because of my self-image.  A person that was constantly tired, sluggish – preferred to be one with my couch. A person that told myself “tomorrow I will start”

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?
Lasagne

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Interesting salads with yummy goodies in them

Favourite protein?
I’m a sucker for a nice big piece of steak (but for most days chicken breasts all the way).

Favourite fat?
Cheese!

Favourite carbohydrate?
ALL of them 😉 

What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
I was given an eating plan from my personal trainer, which is a low carb, high protein diet. 

I have eggs or oats for breakfast. I stick to greens in the form of salads or veggies and usually pair that with either chicken or fish for lunch and dinner. I usually have brown rice instead of white, sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes.

I am also conscious of which vegetables I’m eating and try and eat more of your green veggies and fewer veggies with carbs in such as butternut, carrots etc. 

Every couple of months or so I do the intermittent fasting, which really is just skipping breakfast and restricting calories. It’s my personal opinion that this jump starts my metabolism.

I found the “My Fitness” Pal app really helpful in the beginning, just to learn what calories certain foods have in them and also to give myself an idea of what I am allowed within a day. I don’t think it’s healthy to obsessively calorie count, but I do feel that it’s good to be mindful of what you are putting into your body.  

How many meals a day do you eat?
Between 2 / 3 depending on whether I am doing IF at the time or not. 

Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
I try not to restrict myself too much over weekends and rather just try and make healthier choices with smaller portion sizes. 

I’m super disciplined during the week, so if I feel like having something on the weekend, I have it, BUT in moderation. So I guess you could say the whole weekend is a cheat meal for me, not sure if that’s the best strategy, but it works for me. 

MINDSET

Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Honestly getting onto a bicycle again after my accident was a huge thing for me, which I never ever thought I would do. I plan to do the 947 this year so I guess my biggest achievement is yet to come 😊

Favorite quote?
“Courage doesn’t always ROAR. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Favourite book? 
“Oh the places you’ll go”  – Dr. Seuss

What inspires and motivates you?
I get inspired when I inspire others! Up until recently I thought to myself, “wow people must be getting so tired of seeing pictures of my food and my workouts on social media,” until people started reaching out to me and saying: “thank you for the pics of your healthy meals, its encouraged me to start eating healthy” and “thank you for posting your workout, you inspired me to go to the gym today.”

So that really makes me happy! 

For what are you most grateful? 
My family that love and support me and always encourage me to push my limits even when I don’t want to. 

My husband always manages to convince me to do the furthest distance on a race, the longest hike, the ride with the most hills – I ALWAYS curse him at the time, but once I am done and I have that amazing sense of achievement I am so happy he pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me do it, because I CAN!

So I am eternally grateful for his love and support. 

My sister HATES cycling, but she’s got on a bike with me every single weekend just to support me, training for the 947.

So I really do have people all around me that are helping me on this journey <3 and are by my side all the way! 

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
You will surprise yourself in ways that you never imagined you could just give yourself the chance to prove it! 

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

  • Every good food decision you make becomes a stepping stone to this becoming a long-term lifestyle instead of a short term fix. 
  • Keep on keeping on! We all fall short, we all fail. Some days are harder than others. As long as you pick yourself up and try again tomorrow. 
  • Don’t deprive yourself of anything and make this a miserable journey for yourself, but in moderation.
  • Make small goals that you can work towards and be disciplined about sticking to your plan to achieve them. 
  • Consistency is KEY!