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QA: 30kgs down for working mom, Tiffany

Name:

Tiffany Pillay

Age:

32

Location:

Makhanda (Grahamstown)

How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?

30kg

What do you do? [Job]

Plant Ecologist and Lecturer

What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]

I love cooking and spend most of my time trying out different recipes and cuisines.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

I have been lurking in the shadows for a year now (since June 2020), but this winter challenge is my first Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

A family member recommended the page when she heard I was on a weight loss journey. I am forever grateful to Azraa Williams.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

I love the focus on getting (and staying) active. This is key to maintaining any weight loss in the long term, and it’s underestimated in other programs that are diet-focused. I also love how people from all walks of life and levels of fitness commit to this daily. It is so motivating and refreshing.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION

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

I have always been a very determined person, but also very narrow-minded in my goals. If I set my eye on one thing, I would pour my energy into it until completion. This may sound great, but it worked to my detriment most of my adult life. While at university, I spent all of my time (10 years!) in a stress-induced food coma. I ate a lot of fast food, while lumped in front of my computer, convincing myself that every waking moment needed to be devoted to my thesis. I gained so much weight during that period that I essentially skipped dress sizes as my weight soared. I never exercised or kept active in any way. When I completed my degree, instead of feeling proud and elated, I was utterly disappointed in my physical image. Before I could commit to turning my health around, I found out I was pregnant with my older daughter and spent much of the following years raising her, and again neglecting myself. After my second pregnancy, I was well over 93kg.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

A photoshoot for my daughter’s first birthday was an eye-opener. I did not recognize myself. I was sad and angry at myself for getting to that point. I knew something had to be done. So, the academic in me starting researching – reading journal articles and testimonies for a few months. I decided intermittent fasting and Banting were for me. I later switched to keto. I haven’t looked back since, 30kg later!

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

I have a more balanced lifestyle, which incorporates my family, work, and self-care responsibilities. I eat only when hungry and I recognize when I am full, which the old me always struggled with.

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

I still battle with poor body image and sometimes push myself harder than I should.

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

Reflect on how far I have come, and be proud of showing up for myself, irrespective of the scale or mirror.

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

Yes! I often plateau, especially when I am on the same IF routine for too long and/or not training enough. This causes serious anxiety and self-loathing. I hit a plateau (followed by a 4kg backslide) and this was my motivation to join the Sleekgeek Winter challenge I am already seeing great results.

What is better since you got healthy?

Where do I start? All my previous PCOS symptoms are non-existent, better skin and more energy.

TRAINING

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

Spinning and weights.

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

After losing about 20kg I decided it was time to start adding exercise. That was about 18 months ago.

What does your typical workout look like?

Crossfit HIIT

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

Squats, because boy do I need them ☺

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

Running – something I am working hard at improving.

How does exercise make you feel?

Strong, confident and invincible.

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

I love group fitness. The energy of training with others keeps me motivated.

Most embarrassing training moment?

Placing the safety clips on the inside of the bar while my coach watched intently ☺

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

Towel, water bottle, and mat.

Your next training goal?

Running 5km using the Sleekgeek Couch to 5km program.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

Anything Calvin Harris, Bingo players, Tiesto, Doja Cat, and Cardi B (don’t judge me!)

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

I feel like a brand new person – physically and emotionally. I am energized and no longer irritable and lethargic. I can play with my young children without getting breathless and that makes me very happy. Overall, my quality of life has improved so much and I am very grateful.

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Breyani

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Butter chicken and cauliflower rice.

Favourite protein?

Steak

Favourite fat?

Butter

Favourite carbohydrate?

Beans

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

A healthy lifestyle is not a death sentence. You should not demonize certain food groups or deprive yourself of things you enjoy. Balance is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the long run.

How many meals a day do you eat?

I follow intermittent fasting so I usually have two meals or one meal and a snack.

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

I am not at my goal weight so I try not to cheat often, but life happens. When I do cheat I make sure to fast longer and to train harder in the following days.

MINDSET

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

My first full RX deadlift. I used to think that weights were out of my league, but my CrossFit Grahamstown family has made it the best and most enjoyable journey.

Favorite quote?

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi

Favourite book?

I’m currently reading The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma, and enjoying it!

What inspires and motivates you?

My students inspire me – through great adversity they shine and that makes me so proud. My children motivate me – I want to be the best I can, for myself but also my girls!

For what are you most grateful?

Good health and the love of family.

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

We are often the only obstacles in our path. Don’t overthink it or set unrealistic goals for yourself. Take it one baby step at a time, and soon motivation will turn into a habit. The Sleekgeek community is a wealth of knowledge and motivation. Take advantage of the fantastic advice and programs on offer – there is something for everyone!

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

  1. Set realistic, short-term goals and rewards yourself when you reach them.
  2. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are also into fitness/health – their energy will resonate with you.
  3. Likewise, keep a clean pantry. A fridge full of cake will sing to you!
  4. Make small changes to your daily routine to get more active – take the stairs, walk to the shops, play catch with your kids – it doesn’t have to start with a marathon.
  5. And finally, something I learned very quickly – never go shopping when you’re hungry!

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