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QA: 87kg loss for JHB Sleekgeek Caren


Caren Zita Parkinson





How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
The last recorded starting weight was 177kg – Lost 87kg in 22 months
Current Weight 90.1. I have maintained this for 4 years 🙂
I can not lose more, as I have around 15 – 18 kg loose skin. It does not bother me as I would rather have the loose skin than the 87kg I used to carry around with me. This would have taken me to my original goal of wanting to lose 100kgs.

What do you do?

I am a consultant for a company in Johannesburg dealing with processes and procedures. I am also a coach for People who need my help in losing weight. The ones that have totally lost hope and more than 30kg to lose, with health conditions. I don’t want them to go through what I did. I hold their hand and get them to their goal. I love what I do!

What else do you do?

I enjoy my grandkids, they keep me very busy. I used to walk 5 and 10 km walks but due to my current health condition I can only do small walks daily which I do with the kids.


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

I think it has been 3 years.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

Was referred by a friend

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

Its people over profit – honesty – and also of friendly faces doing what they do best – getting healthy!


Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?

The old Caren had tried everything from starvation, diet pills, shakes, injections, every single diet on the market, nothing worked. I kept on failing all the time! I felt like such a loser. I even considered a gastric bypass. I was at a loose end and hated myself.

I had had 2 heart failures, 2 kidney failures, lived on a handful of chronic tablets morning and night, a sleep apnea machine to breathe at night – the list was endless – EVERYTHING was just so HARD to do. I would take a few steps and have to stop to breathe.

There were 2 days a month I would visit the government hospital for my meds and check-ups and every time more bad news and every time another tablet was added.

Once I hit 120kg it just added on and added on and added on. I was an emotional eater who ate all the wrong foods. A lot happened personally and I turned to food for comfort.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

My kids deserved a healthier happier mom. I was in the ICU emergency room AGAIN for the 5th time. It was such a common thing but this time it was different.

What broke my heart was hearing my son banging on the door hard, for them to open up as he thought it was going to be the last time he would see me.

Everything I still do is for the LOVE of my sons, and I am extremely blessed with a grandson too.

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?

I no longer walk with my head down ashamed I look people in the eye and smile. I can wear anything I want – could never ever do that – had most of my clothes made. I can fit into a bath and so enjoy it! I can drive my car, I could never sit behind the wheel I was just too big. I can walk into any restaurant and sit in any chair with no fear of embarrassing myself and my kids.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?

Getting used to the new me. It’s been 4 years and I am still finding things that hold me back. I’m so used to NOT BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING that every day is a new challenge and I love it.

Fashion, I never had a smaller body and really battle with clothes and what to wear and be happy with how I look – It will take time I suppose, but it is a struggle but practise makes perfect 🙂

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?

Rome was not built in a day. Be kind and patient with yourself, trust your journey and lastly YOU MATTER!

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?

Yes, I could not get beyond 95 – was there for months. Did I quit – no – I just kept on going!

What is better since you got healthy?

What is not better??? I LOVE TO LIVE NOW – LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER at the age of 50 and a very proud granny to a two-year-old. Blessed and grateful. It’s mind-blowing for me how limited I was.


What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]

I am only walking at the moment

How long have you been training and how did you get started?

Once I hit 80kg loss I started walking. I had a friend inspire me and I got into it. Started a 5km and did a 10km as we went along.

What does your typical workout look like?

Playing with my grandkids at the moment.

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

Love swimming, miss it will get back into it as soon as I can.

How does exercise make you feel?

Great – was at a gym and enjoyed the treadmill and sauna.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?

Alone I am shy I suppose due to the 2 left feet and loose skin.

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

When I was at Gym, my towel, my cell for music and water.

Your next training goal?

To be able to jog – I just have 2 left feet and feel off-balance hence the fast walking.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

One republic – I lived
Can’t recall any others now.

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]

I would love to get back to the gym. You have no idea. I am at stage 5 Renal failure and do dialysis 3 days a week for 4 hours. I had this kidney problem before the weight loss and unfortunately, they never recovered. I can not do any strenuous exercise anymore, so I walk as much as I can. Waiting for a donor and will most definitely get back to a gym when I can.


What’s your favourite meal?

A braai – lamb chops and salad

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Low carb bread with bacon and eggs

Favourite protein?


Favourite fat?


Favourite carbohydrate?


What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]

Nothing processed – just real food

How many meals a day do you eat?

Now I eat 3 due to my renal failure but before only 2 a day. When I get a transplant I will most definitely go back to once or twice a day.

Do you have a cheat meal / tratategy?

No, as I did not want to waste healing time.


Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?

Going down a slide at wild waters (best thrill ever) – and doing a 10km walk.

Favourite quote?

If you believe you can or you believe you can’t – you right

Mindset is everything!

Favourite book?

Cooking with Fikz – brilliant food and banting cookbook

What inspires and motivates you?

Life just being able to be granted a new day every day – I just want to do more and more and help others understand that they can make a change.

For what are you most grateful?

LIFE – Period

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?

Just take one day at a time – its, not a race but you will get to the finish line.

What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?

  1. Trust your journey
  2. No one can do this for you but you
  3. You matter and so does your health
  4. If you mess up it’s ok you are human – get up dust yourself off and move forward.
  5. You will get negative vibes along the way ignore them – Don’t SAY it SHOW it.

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