Ella Lisa Kavita
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
25kg to date. I started at 98kg in June 2018, now at 73kg.
What do you do? [Job]
I work as a Private Equity Administrator for a Pension Fund organization.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
COVID19 robbed us of our outdoor hobbies. But, I enjoy traveling. I love reading, currently reading a book titled “The Conscious Parent” by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, side note: don’t be fooled by the title, less to do with parenting, more to do with self-awakening.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
How did you find Sleekgeek?
I know someone here in Namibia, who had taken part in one of the challenges, and it appeared on her feed, so I was curious to find out what this community was about.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
I like the support members give each other. I love the various transformation journeys, really inspiring! I particularly love the Sleek Chantel Williams Menziwa and just how inspirational her story is. She has become like my virtual family, and I mean I don’t know her at all. I love Elan Lohmann’s love for chicken breast, we would get along like a house on fire with chicken, lol!
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
So apart from being asthmatic, and having a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure, I had gotten to a point where I asked myself, what else from Asthma do I need to wake up from my “slumber?” I was “active” however, I must admit, I was not eating wholesome food, not as much as I could’ve. Also, I think my relationship with food was not healthy. Binge and emotional eating was an occasional thing.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I started running and it helped a lot with my Asthma (I admit, I don’t get attacks from exercising, so that was a plus). In 2017, I ran my first Two Oceans 1⁄2 marathon in a time of 03:05:05, but personally, it felt as if 2018 wanted to take me out, literally! I cannot remember what my weight was in 2017, the last time I remember was 2008, and probably 65kg. In June 2018, I got onto a scale and I was a whopping 98kg. I needed to introspect and find my “why”. I have a 9-year-old son and yes, he was a big motivator for my why, but in all honesty, I decided to love Ella a little more every day and that inward love and care fueled my journey. Side note: The last 1⁄2 marathon time was 02:27:00 in October 2019.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I give my body enough rest, I drink 3L of water daily, I consistently eat wholesome food, which is nourishing to my body and its cells. I am active at least 5-6 days a week, and my son loves cycling, so he keeps me active too. I still allow him to be a child and not subject him to any strict eating whatsoever, however, I am making sure the seed is planted and being watered (i.e. teaching him healthier food choices, and letting him be involved in our meal preps, etc) and encouraging him to be active in a fun way. Children are like sponges, they soak up everything we do. Also, I am more patient and kind to myself.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I cannot say it is a struggle, but perhaps just being aware of the constant “fear” (fear of going back to where I was, obese and unhealthy…).
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Perhaps I would say don’t fight the fear/negative thoughts? When it comes to recognizing it, perhaps trace where it is coming from, and change the negative thought with a positive one. I have done a lot of mental work over these 2 years too, so I am well aware of “the mind is everything, what you think you become…”
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
I would say yes. I was rather more obsessed with the weight (and yes, I know the number does not define me), but I was living in a danger zone at 98kg. At some point in 2019, the scale would not move, it was frustrating. But I learned the journey has other small wins. For example, my resting heart rate (55bpm) is that of an athlete according to a health chart and that is a small win the scale won’t show.
What is better since you got healthy?
I appreciate the value of life more. I am more patient with others, as I know we all need an awakening to be ready for our journey. I have helped inspire others to start their journeys too and that has been humbling and rewarding. This journey has made me selfless. I will wake up with the intention of running and when I find someone I know who is starting out and slower, I will walk or run at their pace to help motivate and push them.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I enjoy running. I have three 1⁄2 marathons under my belt, however, when I am 55 years old, I want to have worked towards becoming a certified Zumba Instructor by then. I will then dance my way into my 96th birthday.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
What does your typical workout look like?
I have apportioned my exercises over days. I have a Back & Delts, Bum & Legs, Arms day(s), and weekends are for cardio. However, I am flexible for short runs during the week, any day I feel like and I am flexible to change it up every now and then, as long as I get a good sweat in.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
My legs are quite strong, I will squat and lunge any day. I also truly enjoy skipping with a skipping rope.
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
I know burpees are good for me, but gosh, no! I went as far as researching who invented burpees, and it is a guy called Royal H Burpee. If he were alive, I would take him out for coffee. Bless his soul, burpees are good for all of us!
How does exercise make you feel?
Exercise makes me feel good. I have learned that the magic lies in finding an exercise you enjoy and it will not feel like a chore doing it. You do it and have fun while at it.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I think I am ok with either or, I don’t mind. I find myself exercising alone mostly because I go to the gym at 5 am or go for the long runs on weekends at 5 am with a local running club and not everyone (friends) can commit to waking up that early.
Most embarrassing training moment?
I have had a big chest for the most part that I have been obese (I lost some of it now, see my before and after pictures) and as much as it is not embarrassing, because it is pretty natural, I did not enjoy doing jumping jacks or high knees when exercising in a group, because regardless of how much support I had on, my breast would shake heavily and I’d have to hold it. It was rather uncomfortable.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
A towel, my asthma pump, and a skipping rope. Side note: I have never had to use my pump while exercising. I thank God for this.
Your next training goal?
At the moment, I am doing an online challenge with my coach Annelize Dohne, she’s based in Durban. Once COVID19 becomes more manageable around the globe, I want to go run my first full marathon at The Great Wall of China. The idea was to do it May this year as a gift for my 35th birthday coming in July.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- The Blessing – Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes & Elevation Worship
- New Wine – Hillsong Worship
- It’s Not Over –Israel Houghton & New Breed
- Victory – EBEN
- Nothing Without You – Dr. Tumi
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
Definitely made it better. I know I am healthier than I was 2-3 years ago due to exercise, I have made new friends, I have been able to have people reach out to me and tell me they started their journey and are motivated by me. Also, I used to have painful menstrual pains, the past 8 months or so I cannot remember when last I took a pill for this pain. I know it is not true for everyone, but I believe my weight loss and active life has contributed to now manageable and enjoyable menstrual days ☺.
What’s your favourite meal?
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Tuna with a green salad. Quick and easy to make.
That will have to be chicken.
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
I have learned that food is fuel for the body. It is there to nourish your body. I have also read the book “Think and Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf, and yes she’s a Neuroscientist and speaks a lot of scientific terms, but in truth, our bodies need wholesome, fresh food to function well and be healthy. I think most of us can relate when our meals are not balanced (high sugar perhaps), we feel tired and have low energy levels. And the opposite is true, when we make healthier choices, we have more energy and are more awake. Or at least this has been my personal experience.
How many meals a day do you eat?
5 meals, I have learned the benefits of this for my metabolism, so yes, I eat 3 main meals and snacks in between.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
At the moment, I am following my eating plan to the T. But in general, I don’t really have cheat meals. I have learned so much about calories, macros, etc in my journey, so I may have ice cream for example but will incorporate the calories in my daily intake. I had a really bad relationship with food, so for me, I can say no to food if I do not want to. Remember again, food is fuel for the body, not necessarily something to make you feel happy
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
I am currently a size 32/8 or small, down from size 40/16. I don’t think I saw it coming, not by a long shot. I cannot remember when last I was size 32.
“You are still alive, Act like it” – Tanu Bajaj
I read a lot, I have a lot of books. But I think my Bible is safely my favourite.
What inspires and motivates you?
I am motivated at the opportunity given to me each and every day to be an improved version of myself. I am excited to find myself here (on earth) every morning. I have learned to live in the moment, and each morning I wake up with a question/mindset of what am I to do to make myself proud and to make God proud. I am motivated to be the mother my son needs and truly motivated to be the vessel God needs me to be for the world.
For what are you most grateful?
I am grateful for the gift of life and grateful for the lives of my family and loved ones. Grateful for an able and healthy body. I keep a journal and often write down everything I am grateful for.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Be kind to yourself. Be patient, and if you fall, pick yourself up and hit reset. We become so hard on ourselves, especially when we fall off the wagon, that we forget to get up and get on again. Find an activity (exercise) you love, that way it is enjoyable and not a “chore”.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Do this for you. Please do not follow the crowd.
- Know you’re why be honest with yourself about your shortcomings and how you want to make positive changes to these.
- Be kind and patient with yourself, I cannot stress this enough
- Eliminate guilt and self-criticism. If you have 1 or 2 bad days, it does not have to define the remaining 5 days.
- Celebrate small wins and celebration does not necessarily have to be a food treat. Promise yourself something nice and get it when you achieve your small wins. You are your cheerleader, keep clapping for yourself, always!