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Q & A: 38kgs down for Zelda as she reclaims her life.


Zelda Jina





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

Lost: 38 kg

Goal weight: down another 10kg

What do you do?

I am a part-time tax consultant.

What else do you do?

I homeschool my grandson.


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

31 March 2016

How did you find Sleekgeek?

I came across a Facebook post from a lady who had lost a lot of weight, I in-boxed her to ask about her journey. She invited me to the Sleekgeek Facebook page.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

The Sleekgeek 8-week challenges really keep me motivated and accountable. Sleekgeek is like a village full of like-minded people. The support structure is phenomenal. I love everything about Sleekgeek.


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

My manic-depressive husband had committed suicide in 1999. I had four babies to raise, life was so hard and from there on, I had no zest for life. I withdrew into my shell and became more and more overweight and in no time, I was very sickly. I had very high blood pressure, with readings always around 145/115, I was a diabetic on Glucophage 1000mg and still had sugar readings above 15 to 21 at any given time. Doctors wanted to put me on insulin, but I always refused.

In 2008, I had two MRI Scans done and the diagnosis was that I had spinal disc protrusion, spinal degeneration, a cracked hip, also some bleeding in my spine. It was so bad that I was in a wheelchair for 3 years, in the most excruciating pain.  The government hospital refused to perform a spinal operation, on the grounds that due to my bad health, I wouldn’t survive the operation, which required intensive and a very lengthy period of rehabilitation and would therefore waste the government’s money. I had no purpose other than to lie in my bed and think of the day I would leave this earth.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

One day, one of my sons (13 years old at the time) sobbed and told me, “For God’s sake mummy, do something, your children are suffering”.

I started to fight the pain in my back and legs and got a job, I would work through the pain. I had no choice, my family needed to eat!

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

I make healthy choices in what I eat, I love to gym! 😊 I take long walks, I dress up, I love myself.  I have learnt to ONLY look back, to see how far I have come. I complain less, I live more. I have become bolder, daring even.

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

Sleep! I have been an insomniac for many years, I refuse to medicate myself to sleep. This is something I am still working on being successful with.

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

Meditation (I have difficulty in shutting down my mind) so even meditation seems to be a challenge now. I should be more consistent, I know. I am still a work in progress.

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

Oh yes, many times, in fact, this is the 4th 8-week challenge that I am taking part in. The thing I love about Sleekgeek, is that the group is easily accessible and always ready to welcome me back with motivation and inspiration.

What is better since you got healthy? 

I am confident, I have energy, I have more quality time with my kids and grandkids. I also realized that I am no longer being taken for granted, people have more respect for me these days. I am also no longer spending a fortune on doctors and medication. My hair is growing stronger and looks healthier, my nails and skin look better.


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

I currently have a personal trainer (yes, I decided to invest in my well being rather than spending money on clothing and make-up). My favourite form of exercise has got to be aqua-aerobics. The water just relaxes me. This week I start weight training and I’m looking forward to that!

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

I have only been training for 2 weeks since I joined my 4th 8-week challenge. Prior to that, on my other challenges, I mostly exercised at home and followed the Sleekgeek Movement  Challenge. Normally, I take long walks just for fun.

What does your typical workout look like?

  • A 10-minute treadmill warm-up, 
  • 3 sets of 15 reps of push-ups, leg raises, wall pull-ups, squats, glute bridges, 
  • 3 x 30 second planks 
  • 15 minutes of lovely stretches. 

I do kickboxing 3 times a week, that’s quite intense and includes jumping jacks, criss- crosses, kicking, squats and loads of fun.

From this Monday, I will also be doing the Sleekgeek Movement Challenge.

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

The wall pull-ups and planks (I hate it, but I love it if you know what I mean).

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

Squats and treadmill.

How does exercise make you feel? 

Alive and so much more in control of myself.

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

I prefer being in a group because they encourage me when I feel like I can’t go on!

Most embarrassing training moment?

I once fell off the treadmill as I tried to get off, I was just lying there on the floor, too embarrassed to get up haha.

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

Towel, water and my asthma pump (for just in case, I’ve never had to use it as yet and hope I never do).

Your next training goal?

Weights, I want to be super fit, to be able to train without getting so breathless!

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

I don’t train with music on, I like to live in the moment and feel every beautiful pain.

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

Well, I don’t have high sugar readings anymore, I have stopped all medication and my readings stay around 5 – 8, my blood pressure is normal without medication. I’ve noticed that I don’t get leg spasms anymore, my knees no longer creek and pain, my back isn’t troubling me, I have energy, I move quicker and run up and down the stairs (at one stage I had asked my son to put railings on the staircase to help me use them better, now I run them).


What’s your favourite meal?

Roti, bread, butter, pasta, slaap chips.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Scrambled eggs, plain fat-free cottage cheese, avocados, chicken breasts, tomatoes, cucumber and I love the skinny hot chocolate (I hope it’s healthy).

Favourite protein?

Chicken and eggs

Favourite fat?


Favourite carbohydrate?

Sweet potato and watermelon

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

Sleekgeek’s red, yellow and green lists are like my food bible.  I also use the MyFitnessPal app to track my nutrition intake and am learning about nutrition every day.

How many meals a day do you eat?

Breakfast, lunch and supper with a collagen shake after gym.

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

NO! If I feel like something, I will have it in moderation, a tiny bite or a healthier alternative just to stop the craving. In the past challenges, I have had cheat days, and would it quickly escalate into cheat weeks.


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

Lose 37kgs. I never imagined that I could do it, I dreamt it, I craved it, but I didn’t think I could do it.

Favourite quote?

“The process may be slow, but quitting won’t speed it up” (I’m not sure if this quote belongs to anybody)

Favourite book? 

The Bible is the only book I own. I’ve never read it completely yet, but I aim to.

What inspires and motivates you?

True life stories of people who had been there and lived to tell their stories. 

For what are you most grateful? 

I am most grateful to God. Without him, I can do nothing. (when I’m gyming and my body pain becomes unbearable, I start praying in my mind and before I know it, the gym session is over and my trainer is happy with my progress).

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

Just start, don’t be afraid of failing, failing to start is failing and that’s the greatest injustice you could ever do to yourself.  If you aren’t successful in the first challenge, try again and keep trying, one day you will look back and say, hey! I’ve lost 37kgs!!

We are all going to die one day, right, so at least die trying.

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

  1. Be consistent
  2. Turn up, show up and keep showing up even on the days you hate it most.
  3. Love yourself enough to do it for you.
  4. Your mind is your worst enemy, learn to control it.
  5. The magic starts to happen outside of your comfort zone.

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Sleekgeek 21-Day Challenges

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