Michelle De Villiers
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
This is quite a tricky question as it’s been an ongoing journey, currently I am weighing 78kg At one time I was 90kg (in Lockdown 2020) and then almost 82kg when I rejoined the 8 week challenge, so let’s go with my latest journey.
So that 12kg down so far and counting as I am doing my second in a row 8 week challenge.
What do you do? [Job]
I am self employed – I run 3 companies
MV Photography- Wedding Photographer
Artmedia – Marketing Agency
And then the AM Clothing from Artmedia where we do printing and branding. Been self-employed since I was 22.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
I love the outdoors and nature so anything outdoorsy is my happy place.
Also enjoy sporty stuff like hiking, netball, fun runs like colour run, muddy princess The beast race, park run, anything active really.
I also enjoy game drives and wildlife , any and every holiday it’s out in nature surrounded by wild animals.
Then the not so active hobbies, reading, and meditation. And from time to time I play chess, online, or with the board game at home.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
I’ve been a member since 2017
How did you find Sleekgeek?
I honestly can’t remember as I didn’t know how I found the group because when I joined I didn’t know anyone or have mutual friends, it may have come up as a suggestion as I’ve always been active and joining groups.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
My favourite part of the Sleekgeek community is the knowledge and tips being shared, before Sleekgeek I never knew how, “diets” worked and my body, I just followed diets and exercised without knowing how it is helping me reach my goals, like calorie counting and calories in vs out.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
The old me would binge days in and days out and right before a big event, I would follow some crazy diet to lose the weight in time. I was very unhealthy in the sense of the way I did things, the extreme diets, living off of just fruits or eggs and coffee. Binge drinking every other day. I made terrible decisions, and this was all because I didn’t know better.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
My recent motivation came from winning an entry into the challenge, even though I started a couple of months before but the challenge helped me keep accountable and pushed me to continue. My knees were also starting to give in and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I’ve also told my fiance if I started looking like x, you need to tell me because then I’m going too far, needless to say, no one around me noticed it and made me feel crazy until I compared old pictures … then only did they see what I was seeing the whole time. And then from May 2020 I restarted my journey on my own and then in October 2020 I won a free entry and by then I was already 8kgs down.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
Creating a routine, with being self-employed I don’t have working hours so I would always skip exercising on busy days or late nights at the office but not this time, I turned my office into a mini gym studio, bought some equipment, and started weight training as my previous training was just running and my sports and now due to covid I’m no longer doing sports and had to change my ways. So now every day I take breaks and get a quick workout even if it’s at 11 o’clock at night, I will not miss a workout again. It’s not just for weightloss, being active always made me happy even when I was skinnier than my goal weight, I’m an active person that’s just who I am and to have lost that was really hard and I’m forever grateful to have won that entry that pushed me a bit further.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Routine, really I try to exercise every day at the same time but my lifestyle has no routine whatsoever and with no routine, you can’t plan properly and not having that time to prep all the meals, it does set you up for failure but I’m managing it with some quick and easy snacks to make now and just ensure that I exercise daily, it will get better with time I hope.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Haha, plan your things and set up a routine, don’t overwork yourself and taking a day off never killed anyone. Find Balance.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Yes, of course! It’s not always easy and apart from the Sleekgeek community, I don’t have that home support, and with my nonexistent routine and working hours, it happens more than I would like, but then I’m not too hard on myself as I know tomorrow I’ll just get back on the wagon, my power to bounce back is strong.
What is better since you got healthy?
My hair, I’ve always struggled with fine damaged and short hair, since restarting my journey my hair has grown a lot. My skin is softer and shinier. I feel happier when I make good decisions and proud of the hard work I’ve put in.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I would say running but really netball, if I could play all day every day u would. I also love running though. But I’ve started to get a liking in bodyweight training as I can see major differences in my body and form than just always doing cardio workouts.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
Yikes, difficult question. I have always been active and an athlete, from my school days, I did athletics, cross country running, netball since I was in grade 5. Parkruns every other Saturday, fun runs when they pop up. Lockdown 2020 affected my movements because we were forced to stay inside and that made me super lazy.
Starting after the lockdown was not easy, I’ve gained so much weight that it was hard on my body, I couldn’t run and that was my go-to exercise, I tried bodyweight training but my upper body strength was weak, and if you know me, I like doing things I’m good at.
I also then moved to the west rand from the east rand and my workout buddy was too far away, I eventually found a new workout buddy but with her schedule, she couldn’t come most days and without that motivation and extra support, I would also skip those days. Then the 8-week challenge came and that forced me to workout alone, and it turns out I like that better. I started walking to get the weight off and then slightly jogging, I found a YouTuber that had good bodyweight workouts and after two weeks of doing her workouts, I skipped walking and just focused on the bodyweight workouts. Now I incorporate both and will soon start playing netball again.
What does your typical workout look like?
20min bodyweight workout
They all differ from day to day
But it will be
- 60 sec left fire hydrant
- 60 sec right fire hydrant
- 60 side plank
- 60 side plank
- 30 sec normal plank
- 60 sec burpees
- 60 sec up-down planks
- 60 sec v ups
- 60 sec cat-cow pose
- 60 sec bicycle crunches
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
It would be aerobics (netball) and cardio workouts still like walking and running.
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Planks and push-ups! I have a fractured wrist that never healed properly so these two put a lot of pressure on my wrist. I have found alternative ways to do them and got some handlebars to assist with the pressure.
How does exercise make you feel?
Free, and happy, and healthy. I cannot explain it, it’s my escape. Earphones in and the world is off in that moment I think of nothing but my workout and how I’ll glow after it.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I always like training with others but I’ve learned my pace differs and I don’t like waiting to move to the next round of sets so at this very moment I prefer to workout out alone. It’s like me time and I’m working on myself. Lockdown changed me so much and I couldn’t be happier.
With sports and events, a team is perfect but when it comes to weight loss or just my daily exercise, alone is the best option for me. It’s my time to recharge, switch off and regain my inner and outer strength.
Most embarrassing training moment?
First time in the gym on the circuit. I had no idea how those machines worked. Nothing happened. It was just funny and embarrassing having to ask for help and not even being able to do 5kg weights on the machines. I never liked the gym anyway, everything I enjoy doing and can do, I don’t need a gym for. So that’s a plus lol (I still don’t know how some of the machines work).
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
- Lots of water!
- Your earphones with epic energy busting music.
- In covid times – sanitizer
Your next training goal?
To be able to run a 5km again non stop.
And to do a plank for a whole full 4 mins (normal plank).
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Vinaj – on and on
- Vinaj – rise up
- And then the mixes spinning records make on YouTube
- Sia the courage to change
- And any other gym playlists YouTube plays
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
It has changed me in a sense of not knowing how strong you are until you get through a round of exercises you didn’t dream of doing, I would previously look at a workout and be like I can never do that, but no I’m up for any challenge, give it to me, I may not do it right or do everything in one go but I know my body is strong enough to get through it. It made me view my body in a way of being strong and not just to look good, it is there to protect our organs and keep us moving and doing the things we love, exercise also relieves stress so I’m less stressed, more open-minded to new things and just overall happier than before. This has affected many things like my relationships, my views, and opinions on things. And I know it sounds silly but the happier you are, the happier everyone else seems around you. So much less conflict and because now I focus on what’s important to me and how much time I have to exercise I no longer waste my time with pointless things and getting into debates over things that have no influence on my life.
What’s your favourite meal?
Sushi or donuts
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Salmon and avo salad
Avo and cheese
I don’t do carbs anymore (#keto) but if I had to choose it would be patsies. And a healthy option would be rice cakes.
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
It’s the Sleekgeek approach, just make the best decision based on what you have right now. And I always tell my team that every meal is a new start, so if you had one bad meal today, that’s fine, your next meal is a new start.
How many meals a day do you eat?
It depends on the day but on average 1.5 meals.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
I do, previously it was once a week but now I plan it more properly like I keep it for special events and birthdays and so on as it’s a busy time of the year for me with things like that, I rather skip 2 weeks and enjoy myself at an event where I know I’ve covered those calories already and not feel guilty about having something else.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Planks … lol. Burpees, those two exercises always made me uneasy and I would skip them but now I can do a couple.
The body has no limits, it’s your mind that has limits.
I love self help books so I have a few but my top one that changed my life was The power of habits by Charles Duhigg.
What inspires and motivates you?
Myself, I know it sounds weird, but I know where I came from, what I have survived in life and I still have this positive outlook and mindset and I motivate myself because if I could get through all of that and be who I am, losing weight shouldn’t be that hard, being healthy and active shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve survived things no one could ever dream of and therefore I inspire myself. My journey has taught me to love and respect myself and if I’m not my own inspiration then I’m not loving myself correctly.
For what are you most grateful?
I’m grateful for Sleekgeek because as I said previously I didn’t know how the mechanics worked and if it wasn’t for Sleekgeek I probably would still be following dangerous diets, drinking diet pills, and starving myself. I’m grateful for the knowledge and power gained to make true life-changing decisions and turning it into a lifestyle instead of on and off dieting. I can now also help others and I always share my knowledge because I know there are so many that don’t know how it should work and how deadly those diets and pills can be. When you understand in vs out (part from hormones and all that jazz) there is no magic way to lose it all overnight but so many companies use that to sell their products that aren’t helping them but causing more problems, where Sleekgeek is solving the problems and finding the cause and then fixing it from there. I was treating symptoms but Sleekgeek healed me in my core.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
It’s never too early or too late to start, it’s not easy starting but small changes here and there can make big differences. It’s not all in here, we accept who you are and we know this is a long journey, a never-ending journey but you don’t have to become a fitness freak overnight, saying no to an extra piece of cake, is a start, stopping your coke for coke zero is a start, changing your oil to avo or olive oil is a start. It’s not an all or nothing journey. You can start on any day at any given moment, start small and move up to the next level.
Can’t cut out anything? Fine, start walking, 500m a day, 1km a day whatever you can manage, and don’t ever compare your journey to anyone else’s.
A start doesn’t have to be big , small changes leads to big results!
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
1. Start small, (see above advice)
2. Start moving – walking your dog or playing with your kids, just get up and move more. It doesn’t have to be running, find something active you love and focus on that.
3. Arm yourself with knowledge, read up about how it works, with knowledge comes power, the power to change your life, having all the correct information makes it simple and fairly easy, and knowing you can have a chocolate and still lose weight is great! Nothing is bad and nothing is good, everything in moderation has its pros.
4. Plan – you have to have a set plan because if we are left to decide everything at every moment we get overwhelmed and then We can’t think straight, so always have a plan, planned meals, have recipes on hand and know what is in your food.
5. Self-love and acceptance. You can accept how you look and still change it. Make time for pamper days, find the balance between work, home life, and some me-time. My time is so important.
The last one – not only does the outer you need work, but the inner you too, get some self-help books, read blogs and posts because our outer is a representation of how we view ourselves from the inner perspective, and even if you reach your goals, that will be a short victory if you’re not happy with the inner you. They go hand in hand.