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Q & A : Latisha is dancing off her kilograms

Name: Latisha Govinder

Age: 35

Location: Johannesburg

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

Since starting on the Sleekgeek journey, I have lost 10.1kg. Start weight 65.8kg and current weight 55.7kg.

What do you do? [Job] 

I am an HR Business Partner (Professional Belly Dancer, belly dance and yoga instructor, and most recently completed my studies to become a nutritional advisor 😉)

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

Workouts, every day – addicted to the FitOn app. I love yoga, hiking, bachata classes with hubby, belly dance classes, and being a mom to two amazing fur babies. 

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Since the Summer 8-Week 2021 Challenge (October 2021)

How did you find Sleekgeek?

My friend (Natalie Clark) sent me a link and thought it would be a great challenge to join, we had both wanted to get back to optimal fitness and decided to buddy up as well 😊

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

I love how supportive everyone is of each other. Everyone is so helpful and encourages every step of the way. I have not seen one negative comment. That is rare to achieve, especially being part of a Facebook group. It makes you feel like your journey is important and that the whole community is cheering for you and wanting you to succeed.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

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

I feel like I have had many different stages of being unfit and then fit and back again. 

Growing up, I was always thin but still had shape. I was actually under 50kg right up till the age of 25. I never did any sport, never had to or wanted to work out, and I ate whatever I wanted – not a very healthy life, but I looked fine, so I didn’t think anything of it. But, I gained weight very quickly after 25 and I then decided to start belly dancing, just as a way to lose weight and be fit. I hated the gym back then but, dancing gave me so much more than a way to keep healthy. Those ladies became family, and dancing gave me a way to start loving my body, I was in awe of what it could do. 

Fast forward a few years and a couple of crappy relationships, my weight yoyoed and apart from dancing, I was just unfit and unhealthy. I had a very negative self-image, was going out a lot – drinking a lot – as you do in your twenties. I didn’t take the time to take care of myself and what my body needed. I even stopped belly dancing at the end of 2013.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

In 2014 I met my husband, we had a year of gaining happy relationship weight. A  significant amount of it. After which, I decided I needed to start paying attention to my body. Hubby encouraged me to go back to belly dancing which was the best advice ever and I haven’t looked back since. We started going to the gym and got a fantastic personal trainer to show us the ropes. That was our initial motivation and there have been others since. We became vegetarian in 2018 in an attempt to eat less meat and get fit in preparation for our wedding. 😊 After our wedding, we decided to go vegan (for the love of the animals, not the health aspect). I started Pole fitness and aerial yoga, I joined a fitness challenge in 2019 and won. We were very consistent health-wise, then 2020 hit, and we both got Covid, it didn’t hit hubby as bad as it did me. I was utterly man down for 21 days, after which it took a full eight months to get back enough energy to even get through an entire dance class. A year after contracting covid, I had gained nearly 13kg. It was a terrible year health-wise, I lost my motivation because of my lack of energy, and I ate whatever I wanted once I got my taste and smell back (6 months after contracting covid). July 2021 is when I decided that I had to get back on track, we started hiking again. Even the shortest uphill climbs killed me in the beginning, it felt like I was breathing in fire. I slowly started to regain my stamina, started working out again, started doing daily yoga again, breathing exercises and meditation. Queue the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge in October 2021 – just in time to start reaching my goals. 

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

I focus on all-around health and wellness now vs just weight, if I am losing weight but feeling miserable, there is something wrong. If I maintain or gain a small amount of weight and feel great, I am on the right track. I focus on the amount of energy I have, what my skin looks like, whether I get headaches, being constantly hydrated, the quality of my sleep, the time of day I start feeling tired, my headspace, my motivation, my consistency. 

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

Judging myself, I judge myself hard. 

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

It would be best to focus on your journey and not on the fact that you are not yet where you want to be or that other people are better. Everyone has their challenges.  

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

Of course, many times. The trick is getting yourself back up, the first step is always the hardest after sliding backwards. But, once you make the mental decision to pick yourself up and move forward and get back into a healthy routine, I find your body tends to play ball.

What is better since you got healthy? 

Everything Absolutely Everything!

TRAINING 

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

I can’t run to save my life, I love dancing as exercise – I can dance for six hours straight. Other than that, HIIT and strength workouts are my favourite form of exercise.

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

I have been training since 2015, got started with a personal trainer at Virgin Active. My training methods have changed a lot over the years though.

What does your typical workout look like?

My most typical workout is a full-body strength workout followed by an ab/core workout.

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

Squats

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

Burpees

How does exercise make you feel? 

Invincible 😊

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

Alone, I like to blast my music in my headphones and use the time to zone out completely. It’s my time, there is no capacity for overthinking, for judging. It is my favourite form of me-time

Most embarrassing training moment?

When I first started working out one on one with a trainer, the one session was so intense, and I was so unfit at the time that I had to run to the bathroom mid-workout to throw up.

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

Weights, resistance bands and water

Your next training goal?

I need to start seeing them, Abs!!!! I don’t need an entire six-pack, but I want to start seeing lines and definitions.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  • Seven Nation Army (Feat Koysina) – Strange Fruits Music & DMNDS (of course love the original as well, but this version I find better for training 
  • Stay – The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber
  • Out Out (feat Charli XCX & Saweetie) – Joel Corry & Jax Jones
  • Goodbye – Imanbek & Goodboys
  • Bad Habits (Meduza Remix) – Ed Sheeran

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

Wow, I could go on and on about this one. All in all, it has improved my quality of life, 

  • As stressful as my job is, when I start my morning with a workout, I see a marked difference in how I deal with my stress versus when I don’t start my morning with training. 
  • My body craves healthier food 
  • The workout ‘high’ is addictive, keeps you wanting more
  • I feel stronger every day
  • My mind is clearer after training, which helps with my daily focus 
  • I am just a happier, more positive person when I am training

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Homemade Vegan Lasagne 

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Hmm, it’s a toss-up between Peach and tofu salad and Roasted veggie bowl with tofu/ homemade hummus for protein

Favourite protein?

Tofu

Favourite fat?

Avocado

Favourite carbohydrate?

Potatoes in every form! Sweet potato for the healthy version

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

I am vegan but other than that I don’t believe in completely depriving yourself of anything. I follow a balanced diet, small portions- everything in moderation. 

How many meals a day do you eat?

It depends, most often it is three meals per day with two snacks. I also go through periods of 16:8 intermittent fasting, though. I like to change things up, I think that is the secret to avoiding a plateau as well as to make sure you don’t get bored.

Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?

Sort of,  I stick to no more than once a week, but not always a specific day. I generally say that cheat day could be one meal on a Saturday/Sunday, but if I have an awful day at work and don’t feel like cooking or am craving something ‘unhealthy’, then that becomes my cheat day and the rest of the week will then adjust based on that.

MINDSET

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

I lost most of my covid weight in 8 weeks while remaining healthy and not starving myself. The Sleekgeek community helped with the motivation behind that. 

Favourite 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? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Favourite book? 

This is a really difficult question, I would have to say the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

What inspires and motivates you?

The journey, I started a video blog with my first Sleekgeek challenge, and I find that seeing my progress inspires me to push harder. It also gives me a sense of accountability. 

For what are you most grateful? 

My health and my family – my husband and pups and my amazing dad, mum and brother. They show me every day that I can achieve anything

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

Don’t let the fear of starting rob you of this incredible journey, it is the best thing to do for yourself and being part of such a fantastic community makes it easier – we push each other here to be better, and we are there for each other when things get difficult

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

  1. Meditate/Practice breathwork – even 5 minutes a day will benefit you
  2. Create a morning routine – mine is: 
  • Hot water with lemon
  • Workout
  • Meditate/breathe/listen to a podcast (in a perfect world, it would be all three, but with time constraints, I choose one of these each morning)
  • Breakfast smoothie
  • To-do list
  1. Do something every day towards your fitness goals, even a 5 minute walk around your garden if you are not up for anything else helps. Just get yourself moving each day
  2. Warm-up and Cool Down!! People underestimate the importance of a warm-up and cool down – research it – be kind to your body and implement these in your daily routine. 
  3. If you stumble, pick yourself up quickly and get back on track, the mindset of “Oh well, I already screwed up, I may as well have that second bag of crisps or not work out for the rest of the week” is what separates the best from the rest. The quicker you pick yourself up, the more your body will thank you.

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