Monique du Preez
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
Start weight 117kgs current weight 73kgs, total weight lost, 44kgs
What do you do? [Job]
I am a grade 2 teacher
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
Most of my free time is spent at the gym, at the beach, in nature, outdoors! I am currently studying personal training through Trifocus Fitness Academy to pursue my other passion.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Since 2014, going on 8 years already!
How did you find Sleekgeek?
One of my best friends, Verushka, just secretly added a photo of me and my weightloss achievement on the page and she messaged me to say, I hope you don’t mind but I did a thing… I was welcomed immediately by other members, and from then I stayed.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
That’s a difficult one to answer, there are so many positives to being part of this community, everything I’ve learnt, all the ideas, workout tips, diet tips, life hacks, mental support, emotional support. The list goes on and on. I’ve been in the community for so long, eventually what you read becomes part of your thoughts. And so without even realising it, just from scrolling through over the years, I’ve picked up on some really important skills and tools on how to navigate this process. Everyone is supportive, and what’s more important really?
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
The old Monique was so busy overcompensating on being nice to even begin working on her own self. Being bigger almost forces you to be more likeable, funnier, more accomodating. Generally, being fat means you have to win people over because there are very few people who can overlook if you are fat and just see you as a person. so to appease the masses you overlook yourself and attend to everyone else. Growing up we had a sweet cupboard, and a coke machine, my house was the gathering place for all my cousins. I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I always had the best lunch boxes at school. The younger version of myself was extremely lazy. I would huff and puff if I had to walk anywhere. I would hate going to Clifton 4th beach knowing I’d have to climb up those stairs on the way back to the car. The strange thing was that I was never really self-conscious about my weight, I just accepted it, but if I look back now and think about it, I realise how ignorant I was. There are so many health factors that I did not even take into consideration when I was bigger and younger, and if I could get a redo, I 100% would purely for health purposes.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I was going through a tough time, I did not know if my teaching contract was going to be made permanent for the new year, my best friend at the time fired me from being part of her wedding, I was part of three weddings all at once and working, my boyfriend at the time had just broken up with me, so there I was, driving back from work one day, and I just thought, enough is enough. I need a change. So instead of driving past the gym, I decided to stop, take out a contract and I started the very next day.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I make sure to eat healthy, and balanced. I make sure that if I eat a cupcake I allow myself extra time to be active. I am not too hard on myself, I don’t allow myself to obsess on a negative feeling when it comes to my body, I have realised that all I need to do to feel better is actively work towards my goals and reach them. I practise what I preach.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I struggle with the fact that I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am and I still feel like the biggest girl in the room. There’s definitely a mental aspect to weightloss that you don’t even think about before starting this journey. This is a very passionate topic for me, when I am certified and I have my own personal training clients, the mental aspect will be a very important aspect of my plans for my clients. I really feel this is an area that is lacking.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Be kinder to yourself, with your thoughts and your actions.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Yes, oh my word. This process is not linear. It’s an up and down and back and forth and upside down story! I’ve reached my goal weight more than a handful of times, I’ve picked up some weight and lost it, I’ve been on a plateau for a year and finally broke it. This journey is not for the faint of heart, it’s for the ones who are able to say, ok, I’m human, I’ve made mistakes, but I’m able to start again and keep going. Consistency really is key, and every single choice should be held accountable by you. You are the only person stopping yourself, or you are the only person enabling yourself. Your choice!
I’ve managed to maintain my weight at around 75kgs for about six or seven years now. And it has not been easy, but so worth it.
What is better since you got healthy?
My overall quality of life has improved. I have control over my life, my choices and I am accountable for what I do and what I allow in my life. It’s a great thing really because it has overflowed into all aspects of my life.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I started training about 7 years ago, I was approached by Gerald “Pops” Olson at the Zone Fitness in Wynberg. He saw me doing cardio for weeks and saw that I was determined and losing weight. Eventually, he came up to me and said, you are not built for cardio, you are built to be in the weights section. He took me under his wing, trained me every single day, and instilled a love for bodybuilding in me that I am forever grateful for. “Pops” sadly passed away, but I will never forget how he believed in me. Also, I will never forget him shouting in the gym at whoever was around “if you are not eating right, get out of my gym” what a legend. He would be so proud today.
What does your typical workout look like?
I start with a ten-minute warm-up, on either the treadmill, or the bike, or the rower. I normally train back and biceps on one day, shoulders and triceps on another day, and then legs on another day. I don’t train chest as per se, but I do exercises that include chest like push-ups etc. I workout first thing in the morning for about an hour. Sometimes, if I feel up for it, I will go in the afternoons for core workouts and whatever I feel I have slacked on during the week, usually triceps, or glutes.
Favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Swimming. Hands down. I am actually a mermaid.
Least favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Any kind of exercise where you are in the sun and heat combined is torture.
How does exercise make you feel?
It gives me an instant sense of accomplishment, so translated, it makes me feel great!
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Definitely prefer to train alone, I don’t have to wait for anyone to show up, I don’t have to hear anyone else’s excuses. It would be great to have someone as equally determined and persistent but for now, I’m winning! If it’s a hike then definitely prefer to go with people, the more the merrier.
Most embarrassing training moment?
The leg extension machine trapped me and flipped me right over from a seated position to laying flat on my face. Claremont Virgin active. Not even that long ago!!! Hilarious.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
Am I showering there? If so I need way more than three things.
But if I’m just going for a workout, water, gloves and music.
Your next training goal?
Pull-ups and to be a bit leaner.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
So contextual. It varies. Mostly heavy metal though.\
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
Exercise has really improved my life in a way that has impacted my mental health, my physical health and my overall confidence. I can’t stress enough the benefits of exercise! Once you start seeing and feeling results it really is a no brainer anymore.
What’s your favourite meal?
Dessert. Ice cream. Does that count?
Nachos. I’m going through a phase
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
A fillet steak and some sweet potato baked in the oven, skin on, wrapped in tinfoil with a teensy bit of syrup.
All of them
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
Plan your meals. Be accountable for what you put in your mouth. Make adjustments for those cheat meals, be aware of how your body reacts to certain foods. Read the labels, the carbohydrates, the fats, the proteins. It’s amazing when you know more, then you can understand your body better and be able to work out what works for you.
How many meals a day do you eat?
3-4 meals a day.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
I allow myself to eat the ice cream if I really want it. I do not feel guilty because I know I will just keep on keeping on afterwards. It’s all a mental thing! Be strong in your thoughts and your actions will follow.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
I would never have thought that I would climb Table mountain, and not to brag but we practically ran up and down the thing! Was amazing.
If you quit now, you’ll end up right back where you first began. And when you first began you were desperate to be where you are right now. Keep going.
What inspires and motivates you?
I know that I never want to go back to where I was before, that’s my motivation right there.
For what are you most grateful?
I am most grateful on this journey for my ability to have believed in myself right in the beginning.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
You can do this. It may seem like a mountain, but every step in the right direction is you physically doing it! You may backslide, and that is where you will have to be the strongest. The reward once you’ve passed where you backslid from is so worth it.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Set small attainable goals
- Do research
- Do the work, make sure your actions lead to the result you want
- Don’t give up
- Don’t be too hard on yourself