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QA: Helena Douwrie lost over 20kgs and here is how.

Helena Douwrie-Smit (Helen)


Villiersdorp – Western Cape

What do you do? [Job]
Admin Clerk at Primary School (Kosie de Wet)

What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
Part-time amateur photographer. Mom to two little girls.


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Not sure think somewhere in 2016

How did you find Sleekgeek?
Expresso Show

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
All Sleeks are so inspiring. Daily motivation comes from visiting the page.


Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a big girl. When I first fell pregnant I ate like I was “eating for two”. Ultimately resulting in me gaining a massive amount of weight. When I weighed myself I saw 118kgs. Oh-My-Word! How did this happen? I needed to lose weight and fast. I managed to lose 30kgs using a banting strategy. Then I fell pregnant with my second daughter and again lost sight of how healthy I was supposed to be and gained 25kgs back. Oh gosh! I was extremely devastated. I became depressed because I felt so extremely disappointed and angry with myself. I kept asking myself how could I have destroyed all my hard work, how could I gain almost all the weight back and how do I get “back in the game”?

I struggled for a year after my last birth. I was not a very happy mommy. A while later my husband and I went to a dietician and our life changed for the better. It resulted in losing 20kgs.

Some friends and I started a “fit mom club” and the four of us exercised regularly. I started participating in trail runs (doing 5kms walking). I attended the Muddy Princess Cape Town event last year, the Total Sports Womens` race, and a local packhouse trail run.

I am considering joining the local gym. Which I can attend on days when I have the time. Part-time photography is keeping me busy most weekends and I am not always able to attend more fitness events on weekends.

Instead of buying clothes on a regular basis, I invested in equipment to help me exercise at home. I was becoming a sporty mom. Always seen in gym wear and I love it.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?
In September last year, I photographed my sister in law and her daughter. We then decided afterwards to take some family images. When I got home I looked at the pictures and really saw myself – I was overweight, unhappy, sad and depressed.

These images ultimately led me and my husband to a dietician on 6 November 2018 and we began following her eating plan strictly!

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I make sure that when we go out I’m never hungry. Hungry shoppers tend to binge on unhealthy stuff so I always try to eat before or make sure I pack a healthy snack or opt for healthy eating choices when buying lunches or dinners. I try to exercise at least three times a week and try to get 10 000 steps in daily.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with? Sometimes I get confronted when eating something sweet or outside my eating plan and need to explain why this is not a diet but a lifestyle change. I do make up for eating “wrong” by not doing it again tomorrow.

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
That others` opinions about your life and eating choices should not matter. YOU are the only one responsible for YOUR body

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Yes. In fact, I’m stuck now even slipped back a kilo.

What is better since you got healthy?
I can play with my girls without getting tired, I look and feel better in my clothes and I can even cut my toenails without getting out of breath. I perform better during my photography sessions and I am able to capture great shots because of my flexibility.


What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I recently started weightlifting but I am taking it slow as I am pretty new to it. I love the feeling of feeling strong. I love HIIT exercises also.

How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I approached the local gym and asked them to help me with a home workout plan. I ultimately started training in February 2019.

What does your typical workout look like?
Usually HIIT for 20 minutes and 30 minutes weights. When I have a chance I try and walk before exercising.

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Weighted burpee.

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Jumping jacks.

How does exercise make you feel?
Alive. Powerful. Accomplished.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
With others. I love the general motivation that comes with it.

Most embarrassing training moment?
Four years ago I went to a gym for the first time and I had no idea how the equipment works or what they were for. I remember one time I sweated so much that when I went to the shop afterwards a friend asked me if I wet myself.

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

Your next training goal?
Becoming a runner.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
Normani – Motivation
Sho madjozi – John Cena
Cardi B ft Migo – Drip
Bebe Rhexa – The way I are
Shekinah/Tellaman/Nasty C – Whipped

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
When my GP told me I would not be able to be a runner let alone walk during trail runs I was determined to prove him wrong. I had major spasms in my calves and a bad ankle and I shouldn’t put too much strain.

Exercise has taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to. That the body follows the mind, that willpower is stronger than anything. I’m fit, I`m strong and I am getting better every day. I WILL be a runner. Maybe not right now but somewhere in the future. Sometime soon.


What’s your favourite meal?
Chicken ala King.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Steak and salad.

Favourite protein?

Favourite fat?

Favourite carbohydrate?
Whole wheat bun.

What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
A little bit of everything in moderation.

How many meals a day do you eat?
2-3 depending on how hungry I am or how big the meals are.

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
Once a week or when I fall off the bus I try to do better the next day.


Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Total sports Women’s race and Muddy princess obstacle course.

Favourite quote?
If it is to be it’s up to me.

Favourite book?
Can’t remember the last time I had time to read.

What inspires and motivates you?
My eldest also wants to join me on trail runs so well definitely do more of those this year.

For what are you most grateful?
That my body still carries me even though I’ve treated it badly over the years. Also that God thought I deserved being a mother. What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start? Stop trying to do better for others. You owe it to yourself to do better to be better. Love yourself enough to want to be the best version that you could possibly be. Forget about the rush to lose weight or be skinny. Think about how great you’ll feel every time you reach a little goal.

What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
1. Take your time, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
2. Be better, do better for YOU and not others.
3. Take before pictures, you’ll want to see where you came from. It’s not a must but it’s nice to see.
4. Get yourself a support group. It helps you to stay focused. But since you’re in the Sleekgeek group, you got that covered already ?
5. Do not think of your new lifestyle as a diet or a punishment.

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