Jenny de Pontes
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
What do you do? [Job]
Stay at home homeschooling mom to 5 children.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
Haha there isn’t much time for other things with 5 amazing, spirited children, but I do work hard to carve out some time for myself, I enjoy being creative – at the moment that looks like colouring in, organizing my planner, LEGO, and trying to make food I love a bit healthier. I also love working in the garden but don’t get to it much in this season of my life – gardening with a toddler in tow isn’t that exciting or productive. Something that feeds my soul is walking solo in the morning.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Umm . . . not too sure I think since sometime in 2017.
How did you find Sleekgeek?
It popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook because a few friends were members and I was intrigued to see what it was.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The support and the community vibe of so many people working towards similar goals.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
The old me had no coping skills or tools to deal with stress and emotions other than food. I was very inactive. I was unable to embrace change or do things differently, even when things were clearly not working. I was also really struggling with Postnatal Depression.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I had just had enough. We had to suddenly travel to Cape Town for my daughter’s medical needs and I had almost no clothes that fitted and I couldn’t find any in the shops. I also was grumpy and miserable while we were in Cape Town because I was so overweight and unfit.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I am active – 10 000 steps a day is non-negotiable, I even went for a walk on Christmas Day. I have also only very recently moved away from my perfection mindset, to value progress over perfection. This has been life changing. I don’t keep trigger food in the house but I also include treat food in my daily plan. I am more organised in life in general. I try to plan ahead as much as I can. As a busy mom I plan when I will fit my workouts in, in a week, not just trying to workout ‘when I have time’ I am more intune with myself and I am more able to take steps to control my stress before it becomes overwhelming. I do my best to get enough sleep and to make this a priority, my toddler frequently has other plans though. I recently came across Diren Kartel’s concept of #neatup247 and it really resonates with me so i try to build as much extra movement into my day as possible.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Making time for myself to relax / ‘do nothing’ without feeling selfish. As an emotional eater, this is something I always have to guard against and be aware of. Environment design goes a long way to help with this.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Many times. Notably, I had a miscarriage and then a full-term pregnancy and a baby who did not sleep or let me put her down. I have come to embrace the ups and downs. Doing the Sleekgeek Coaching course with Elan as my private coach really helped to give me the tools and perspective to be ok with the ups and downs in my journey. Lockdown also hit me hard and I slid into some old ways but managed to pick up my ‘new me habits’ again.
What is better since you got healthy?
I have more energy. I feel more in control of so many areas of my life. I don’t battle to buy clothes. I don’t dread going out or having photos taken of me. And a funny one – a bath towel can go all the way around me without having a big gap.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
Walking and weight lifting
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I started working out in mid-2017, initially just walking and then I Googled and found an at-home workout plan that just consisted of bodyweight and a few dumbbell exercises. I did this for a while and I could see results but realized that the time I was going to spend trying to find plans etc was time I didn’t have so I reached out to Craig Brown in the last part of 2017 and I still work with him with the at-home exercises he plans for me, I do not have access to a gym.
What does your typical workout look like?
At the moment I do a bodyweight/weight workout 3 mornings a week – I get up early to do this before my family is awake and I absolutely love this alone time. I have very recently started a C25K program and I do this 3 days a week. On the days I don’t run I walk 4-5km depending on how much time I have.
I also try to walk at least 1km with the children every day.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Solo walks, dumbbell arm exercises and deadlifts.
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Anything that required balance. My balance is terrible – but has improved.
How does exercise make you feel?
Alive and capable
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Alone. I love the quiet, me-time – there is not much of this in my day. Although I would love to join a running club or group but we are too rural.
Most embarrassing training moment?
Haha so glad I train alone so the farts and mishaps go unnoticed by anyone else! One morning while on the stationary bike on the veranda I had pulled my shirt right up to wipe my face and one of our staff had come to fish at the dam and walked past at that exact moment.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
I only workout at home, but I put absolutely everything ready the night before so I don’t waste time running around looking for things.
Your next training goal?
Run 5km, push myself to use heavier weights
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
I mostly only listen to music when I run/walk.
- In Hell, I’ll be good company – The Dead South
- Pumped up kicks – Foster the People
- Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
- S.O.B – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
- Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
Oh yes. I am so much stronger – I can carry heavy things without hurting my back and I have almost no back pain.
What’s your favourite meal?
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
A steak salad
Prawns haha but I am terrible at cooking them. Really love chicken breasts because they are so versatile.
Homemade peanut butter
Fruit or sweet potatoes
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
Not to demonise any food. I try to make sure I get enough protein in. Really it’s about balance. I do find counting calories a useful tool because you can fit in a higher calorie meal and adjust the rest of your day accordingly.
How many meals a day do you eat?
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
I work 2 squares of chocolate into my daily calorie allowance and have this after dinner. For most other things I focus on portion control. We have pudding on a Sunday and typically I will have that instead of dinner.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Get under 100kg – I have chased this “unicorn” for so many years. I never thought I would be the kind of person who loves working out.
Stop overthinking it. Eat moderately well. Workout a few times a week. Get enough sleep. Repeat FOREVER.
I have gained so much from both of James Smith’s books – Not a diet book and not a life coach.
Fiction – Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, but it is based on a true story so not entirely a fiction book.
What inspires and motivates you?
My children- I always want to do better and be better for them and to be an excellent role model. Maxine Chowels, my special friend I have made through Sleekgeek, especially the 8-Week challenge and Team Iron Maidens.
For what are you most grateful?
That I am surrounded by amazing, supportive people.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Just start, don’t focus on the bigger picture, don’t try to change everything at once. Build small sustainable habits.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Do what you can with what you have. Don’t get stuck in the “if only . . “ trap – I thought for ages I could not succeed because I don’t have access to a gym
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and – personal trainer, psychologist, cooking course etc if you have a need and can afford to pay for someone to help you do it.
- Just start. Identify one small habit that you can sustainably work on and do it.
- If you are on a weight loss journey try to not be all about the numbers on the scale (hard I know) build the kind of lifestyle you want to have and the weight loss is likely to follow
- Find a “healthy community – Sleekgeek is a start but it also really helps to have a friend who understands this journey who you can check in with regularly.