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QA: Sherilee Smith loses 30kg

Name:

Sherilee Smith 

Age:

32

Location:

Johannesburg

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

From when I first joined Sleekgeek I’ve lost almost 30kgs.

What do you do? [Job]

Business analyst.

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

I didn’t have many other hobbies before starting this journey, I would sometimes keep myself busy by baking and decorating cakes. However, I now love to play squash and do a little running. 

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Since 2012

How did you find Sleekgeek?

My mother introduced me to Sleekgeek, she knew I needed to do something.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

The Facebook group – seeing all the transformations is inspiring. While I don’t post often I do read the majority of the posts for some information and inspiration. 

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

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

I have always enjoyed socialising. It is my favourite thing to do and has been since I can remember. Socialising normally included drinking a little too much, and going places where we could feed our faces. I did this for years and years, and eventually, the bad eating habits crept into my daily life. It was no longer just eating unhealthy while I was socialising, but all the time. 

I hated the gym, I just found it so boring. I was never very sporty, I played a little squash when I was much younger but never competitively, that was out the window because my knees or ankles hurt after every game. I just stopped doing any sort of exercise, even dancing (which is my absolute favourite way of moving) didn’t happen often anymore. 

I never felt like I was thin enough, pretty enough, or just generally enough of anything. So I ignored my weight gain. Now and then I would decide to go on a strict diet. I would be able to keep this up for about 3 months, losing quite a bit of weight. But the diets were so unsustainable and I just could not keep it up and picked up all my weight once I gave up. I was demotivated and felt like losing weight was just a lost cause. 

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

I was getting too close to weighing 100kgs and decided to try out Sleekgeek. 

After losing 10kgs and keeping it off for the next 8 or so years. I was still not happy with the way I looked but I just ignored it again, I just avoided being in photos and told myself this is how I am and I must just accept it. At the beginning of 2020 I saw a photo of myself that my friend took on holiday. I was absolutely disgusted with how I looked, I looked at that photo and hated myself for what I had become. I decided then to try to seek professional advice and started my journey with a dietician, after about 6 months of eating healthy I had lost about 10kgs and started exercising.

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

I make better choices in general. I am more confident and generally feel better about myself. I exercise a lot and have found enjoyment in pushing myself further than I thought I could go (I’m quite competitive by nature and seeing how far I can push lends itself to this trait). I have developed a love-hate relationship with the gym (I don’t look forward to going but when I’m there I enjoy myself – weird I know). 

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

I still love to socialise. While the extent of this is limited – partly because of the current COVID situation and partly because I try to not go overboard every weekend. I still do enjoy some wine and a big meal on the weekends. I sometimes struggle to get myself to the gym, if I don’t have someone to be accountable with I generally don’t go. 

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

Just remember the goal, and just keep going. What you eat today or allowing yourself to sit on the couch will give you 5 minutes of pleasure. Doing what you need to do gives you exponentially more pleasure in the future. JUST KEEP GOING!

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

Yes, I plateaued a few times. I think I slid back twice. It’s super tough, especially plateau’s. You know you are doing everything right and yet you are not seeing any results. It’s so hard to keep going, I just told myself it MUST be working, just keep going. Backsliding is hard in another way – you know you’ve done it to yourself and you feel very disappointed in what you did. But as long as you just pick up with the next meal and keep going you know it’s going to work. 

What is better since you got healthy? 

Everything. I feel better, I can do more, I look better, I don’t get sick as often, I don’t have heartburn anymore at all. It’s incredible what a difference it makes in everyday tasks. Just walking up the stairs, getting up off the couch. I can dance the entire night and not feel like I need to sit down. 

TRAINING 

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

I love to play squash. It was a sport I played when I was a lot younger and have always loved it, I had to stop for a long time but am back at it. I also do some weight training at the gym – I enjoy competing with myself every week. And I’m starting to dabble in running – with the goal of running a 21km. 

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

I started training about a year ago. I started with just doing bodyweight exercises and skipping with a friend in the park. Once the gyms opened back up we went to the gym together. Once I got stronger I signed up for a squash league at our local club. 

What does your typical workout look like?

I try to do a little of everything so that my body is balanced. So at the gym, I focus on weight training (with a personal trainer because I am worried I’ll hurt myself) or circuits. When I’m not at the gym I’ll do cardio in the form of a run or an hour of squash.

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

Playing squash. The competitive nature makes me want to be better every time. I also get a kick out of being fast on the court and able to return balls that most people would not even try to get to. 

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

Currently, it is weight training, I think I’m a little bored of it and the muscle pain after exercises (especially in my upper body) is not fun. 

How does exercise make you feel? 

Accomplished. Because I have never been very fit or very sporty when I prove to myself that I can do something I feel incredibly proud of myself. After every session I think to myself ‘I can’t believe I just did that. 

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

I have to train with someone. I need an accountability partner, as well as a bit of a social experience when training. Doing it alone just feels very boring.

Most embarrassing training moment?

I don’t think I have been embarrassed while training. But I laugh a lot at myself when we go to the weight section of the gym and there are these huge guys pumping 10s of kilograms and there I am with my little 3kgs weights struggling to complete a set. My trainer and I always have a good laugh at my expense. 

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

  1. My watch – I want those discovery points ( I might make it to the diamond this year, can you believe it?!)
  2. My towel – I sweat like a crazy person. I’m sure people think I’ve jumped into the pool in my clothes when I leave the gym
  3. My water bottle – although I don’t drink a lot of water during training, it’s like a comfort to me that it is there. 

Your next training goal?

I want to squat with 35kgs (I’m currently on 30 so I’m sure I will make it there), and I REALLY want to try to run a 21km race and get a medal.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

I don’t listen to music while training – I rely on my gym to play some good tunes and prefer to run in silence. 

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

I can do more. I don’t get tired. I have been able to see a lot more of nature than ever before because I can do the longer hikes to the more remote places. I can dance the entire night away instead of needing to take a break. I move better. This might be a little weird, but I love the feeling of my muscle, I love the look of my legs and my arms (my arms have always been very flabby, even before picking up weight). I just feel better and look better and can do a lot more than I ever could. 

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Unfortunately, it is still pizza. A girl’s got to have a cheat meal right. 

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

I love some zucchini ‘pasta’ and Bolognese!

Favourite protein?

Ostrich sausage from Woolies – that stuff tastes like it should be a cheat meal.

Favourite fat?

Avocado!!!!

Favourite carbohydrate?

Pasta, by far. But that’s not very good for me so I limit my intake. 

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

Be consistent in doing something sustainable. Don’t punish yourself and avoid everything nice, find things that work for you in the eating plan. You can’t keep going if you are forcing yourself to eat things you hate

How many meals a day do you eat?

5 – main meals with 2 snacks in between

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Of course yes! 1 cheat meal a week for free. And if I have exercised 5 times that week then I can have an extra one.

MINDSET

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

I ran 10 km this weekend. No walking in between. Never in my life would I have imagined I could do that.

What inspires and motivates you?

I motivate myself. In the beginning, I used the photo that I hated to motivate me, once I started losing weight I would do a cupboard clean out every 3 or so months, and throwing away the clothes that were too big motivated me. When I had lost a little more and could fit into some of my ‘skinny’ clothes from school days that motivated me. Now it is what I can do that motivates me to do things I’ve never done before. And of course, looking at pictures of how far I have come. 

For what are you most grateful? 

Do you remember my friend that started exercising in the park with me? She is super fit, she didn’t have to help me, she could have left me to do my own thing and pushed herself harder to reach her goals. But she took a break from her goals and introduced me to the joys of exercise. Now we push each other to be better. I will be forever grateful to her for doing this for me. 

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

This does not have to take away everything you love to do, and you will find so many other things you love to do. 

Take 1 day at a time. Once you start and you start seeing the results you will immediately start to feel better about yourself. I know it’s hard to start something you don’t feel like you know anything about – ask for help. And don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once, start with changing 1 thing, and then add the rest when you are ready. 

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

  1. This is all in your head. You can do it, your mind just thinks you can’t. Don’t let your head sabotage you.
  2. Find something sustainable – you can’t continue if you hate everything you eat
  3. Change slowly – you don’t need to go from being a couch potato to exercising 5 times a week. Gradually work your way up to it. 
  4. Ask for help – from a dietician, a personal trainer, a friend who has done this. Get someone on your side that will give you advice when you are stuck
  5. JUST KEEP GOING – whether you just ate your entire pantry over the weekend, start afresh today. Whether you have been doing everything right and are stuck, just keep going. You will get there. 

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