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QA: 3x Challenges and 30kgs down for Stephanie!

Name:

Stephanie Witbooi

Age:

35

Location:

Cape Town, South Africa

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

I weighed in at 147kg’s for my first ever challenge which took place in June 2020. I now weigh 117 and still going strong.

What do you do? [Job]

I was working as an Emigration Administrator prior to my retrenchment in October last year. 

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

I am a wife and mom to a beautiful almost two-year-old baby girl named Sage. We have a close-knit family and we spend lots of time together making beautiful memories. 

I am a full-time student studying towards my Higher Certificate in Economics and Management Sciences and hope to start my degree in Human Resource Management next year.

I also volunteer at my church with administrative duties and sing in our Worship team.

In April 2021, I joined a beginners running program in my area. It has always been a dream of mine to run but the time never worked with my work schedule. Since I am not currently working I took the opportunity to join the program. I never ever thought I could do it but I am getting stronger and stronger the more I show up. 

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

I heard about SG in 2017 but was a silent member who never contributed in any way until June 2020 when I took part in the Winter Challenge.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

A member in the health group I was a part of mentioned it to us. They said they heard about it on the radio.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

I love that there is so much information available to me at a click of a mouse. I have had the same team since my first challenge which encourages and equips me daily. Also, I love the different challenges which encourage me to get moving or work on my nutrition.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

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

I picked up a considerable amount of weight while I was pregnant and afterward. My weight really made taking care of my daughter and doing normal activities cumbersome and exhausting. I quickly realised I wasn’t going to be able to do much with her if I didn’t change my eating habits.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

I felt uncomfortable in my skin and felt so tired all the time. I just thought my daughter deserves better and I deserve better.

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

I am active, for as many years as I can remember I wanted to run but just didn’t feel I was capable of doing it. I joined a beginner’s running group in April and we ran our first 10km in July. I was so proud of myself I just couldn’t believe I finally did it.

Also, I pay attention to what I put in my mouth. I am more intentional about my eating habits and plan my meals.

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

I love sweet things especially tea-time goodies. Also, drinking water is something I still struggle with. However, I try to make better choices. If I feel like having something sweet, I will get prepacked items that maybe have one or two biscuits in it which is a better option than me eating a whole packet.

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

I would say start with a small step forward and make small changes consistently which assists you in reaching your goal until you get there.

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

Definitely, some days I have it totally under control, and some days I just don’t. I find that having people in your corner who understand the struggles and keeps you accountable really helps.

What is better since you got healthy? 

Overall, I feel lighter on my feet and I don’t feel so tired anymore.

TRAINING 

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

Running and Zumba

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

I joined a beginner’s running program in April 2021.

What does your typical workout look like?

We usually run about 5km during the week and 8-10 km over the weekend. I also like to walk about 1-2 times per week or attend fitclub 1-2 days per week. At fitclub we do various exercises that focus on different parts of the body.

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

I love Zumba and walking

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

Core Excercises.

How does exercise make you feel? 

Each time I complete a 5k, I still can’t believe my body carried me all that way. I am so grateful to be able to move.

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

I enjoy group training, I find that I feed off their energy and the encouragement keeps me going.

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

Phone, gum, and water.

Your next training goal?

I hope to run 21km in the near future.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

My husband is a DJ so he always creates amazing playlists for me. It ranges from Afro-Fusion to Commercial it depends on my mood.

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

When I started running I couldn’t run for even two minutes. Now I can run for almost 10km with minimal stopping. I can feel that my legs are stronger and that my breathing technique is much better.

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

I love Chicken Chow Mein.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Chicken and Broccoli

Favourite protein?
Chicken

Favourite fat?
Peanut butter and Avocado

Favourite carbohydrate?

Potatoes

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

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Benjamin Franklin 

How many meals a day do you eat?

I eat three meals per day. I also factor in two snacks when I feel like it.

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Not really, I don’t cut out any groups from my meal plans so I don’t feel like I need to cheat. 

MINDSET

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

Being able to run 10km’s. I never thought I could do it.

Favorite quote?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson

Favourite book? 

Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers

What inspires and motivates you?

My family motivates me and Sage (my daughter) inspires me to be the best version of myself.

For what are you most grateful? 

For a loving family and my health.

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

When I thought about the amount of weight I needed to lose, I kept finding it unattainable and would basically do nothing which moved me further away from my goal. However, when I started looking at what I wanted to achieve in each challenge it made my goals more accessible. I suggest starting with smalls goals and then taking it from there.

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

  1. Make small changes in your everyday life that will assist you towards your goal.
  2. Show up even when you don’t feel like it.
  3. Progress over perfection
  4. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  5. Be Kind to yourself.

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