Give us a short history of your journey to health and fitness before the challenge.
After many false-starts and short-lived attempts to get fit and healthy after my babies were born, I got to the stage where I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, didn’t feel attractive in any of my clothes, and was desperate to feel confident again.
What prompted you to join the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge?
Summer holidays were approaching, and I was contemplating rejoining the gym after years of doing nothing when an advert for the Sleekgeek 8-Week Summer challenge popped up on Facebook. I loved the basic fundamentals of the challenge: that it was flexible, didn’t force you to stick to any specific eating plan or exercise style, and talked about changing mindsets, rather than going on diet. I was ready to make the change and this challenge fitted perfectly with how I wanted to achieve it.
Give us a quick overview of the nutrition and eating plan that you followed during the challenge.
I chose to make small behavioural changes. I was adamant that I wanted this to be a long-term lifestyle change, rather than a diet. It was as simple as deciding to start every morning with a glass of water. And then I put together my “eating rules”- Recognising and changing the behaviours that were stopping me from losing weight. For instance, I told myself every time I went out to a restaurant I would order a salad, and I wouldn’t eat crisps at our weekly braais. I was never big into eating breakfast, and, so listening to my body, I also decided to fast every morning until 11 am to save some calories. I never starved myself, but cut out starch, and tried not to eat carbs in the evenings. I failed every now and then, but where previously I would let that be the end of my “diet”, I just regrouped the next day and got back on the wagon.
Give us a quick overview of the training and exercise plan that you followed during the challenge.
I streamed free fitness videos from a website/app called FitOn, which offered a range of different exercise styles. I loved the versatility because I could do low-intensity pilates one day, and high-intensity kickboxing the next. I battled a lot with consistency and often felt as though I was too busy to find the time to exercise. But the reality is that if you truly want to make a change, you won’t “fit’ exercise into your schedule, but rather plan your exercise first and fit your life around it. I am still on this journey to make this change.
If you could give 3 pieces of advice to future challengers, what would they be?
- Make sure you’re ready to start and that it’s your idea to do this challenge (no-one else’s) so that you “own” and commit to the process. Absorb yourself in all the articles and emails and tips that you are sent by the Sleekgeek team and the community.
- Realise that it’s not a smooth journey. There are ups and downs. In the beginning, you are on a high, excited, and motivated, then you move across a range of emotions and mindsets on this journey, including frustration, apathy, and of course the times when you feel like giving up. But don’t!….. Realise that this feeling will pass and even if your behaviour is not perfect the day before, you have a chance to do better today, tomorrow, and the next day.
- Don’t see the foods that you are cutting out as a sacrifice. It’s all about perception. If you see yourself “sacrificing” sweets, chips, pasta, soda, etc, you’re telling your mind that you’ll eventually go back to eating all these foods after 8 weeks, and yoyo back up to your starting weight. Instead, fall in love with the green-foods-list: Focus on the texture, flavour, freshness, and wholesomeness, and you will brainwash your mind into feeling as though these foods are your favourite, not the stodgy, sugary, starchy foods that make you feel unhealthy.
Why should people enter the challenge?
8 weeks will pass either way. You can either look back after 8 weeks and feel regret because you are still feeling unhealthy, fat, and unhappy, or you will look back and feel as though these 8 weeks were well-worth spent on improving yourself and that this is the start of the rest of your life!