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Q & A: Elaine is cycling off her kilograms

Name:

Elaine du Toit

Age:

33

Location:

Swellendam

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

12kgs

What do you do? [Job]

Admin and accounting (desk job)
Breastfeeding counselor for La Leche League SA

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

Homeschool my two children. I love reading, spending time outside with family. Working on our never-ending construction at our house.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Years and years think I became a member around the time my eldest was born, so about seven years.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

On a random mom’s Facebook group, checked it out, liked what I saw, and joined.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

Real people inspire real people. The coaches and founders are right there sharing their life and showing that they also have good and bad days and how they get through them. It just feels so real.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION

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

Life just happened, my work, homeschooling my kids, my marriage, we started construction at our home, I was a part of so many different projects, I was all over the place.

With each project I took on my life just got busier and busier and one day I stopped, looked myself in the mirror, and thought:
“Who the hell is this girl??? What happened to her? And WHY is she so sad?”.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

I started feeling more depressed by the day, no matter how hard I tried to diet, nothing was working… because I was just too busy.

My family started to carry the brunt of my irritation and disappointment in myself and I realised that I had to do something to like myself again. I have two young girls that look up to me. So I joined the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge, with the idea that it will help me lose weight and it did, but boy was I in for a surprise. It completely changed my life. Weight wasn’t the only thing I had to lose. I had to lose the denial, the ‘quick fixes’ and most of all, I had to lose the stuff that’s preventing me from taking care of myself.

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

I decluttered my life, I learned to say, ‘No’ more often. Untied myself from all the unnecessary projects and decided to get to know myself again.

I set the standards to what I am willing to do and if it leaves me drained, tired and anxious just thinking about it, it’s a ‘no’ from me. And boom, it became easier saying ‘No’, to the bad food choices as well.
I also now love to learn about food and what each food group and choice does for the body, how it works for muscle gaining, what happens if I do this or change that etc. Instead of moaning about not having time to exercise, I find ways to either include the whole family, hit up a YouTube channel, grab opportunities where kids are at a playdate etc.

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

Believing in myself. For example, I will get invited to cycle with a group and the first thought will be:
‘Why? I will probably just hold you back.’

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

It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you cycle or run. What matters is that you are there, you showed up and you finished.

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

Not disillusioned, I always knew how hard it will be. The key is a good support system and never let denial step in, own it, talk about it and move on.

What is better since you got healthy?

My self-confidence is so much better and if I decide to have a piece of cake, there’s no more guilt and feeling ashamed afterward. I can finally say that I am friends with my body and I trust myself. It’s a chain reaction, everything just gets better.

TRAINING

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

Cycling! Running and any form of group activities, like boxing / spinning / cardio blasts, etc. A very firm believer in a good yoga routine to start the day and get everything stretched out and working properly.

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

About 8 months committed, dusted off the bike and just went for a cycle- 5.6km, nearly died. Used to cycle before my kids (8years ago, but was never really committed).

What does your typical workout look like?

YouTube / own interval workouts: about 45 – 60min
Cycling, minimum 20km if it’s single MTB tracks or at least 30km if gravel road.
Running: 6km minimum, max 7.5km, was working my way up to 10km before my accident.

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

All of the above! I love to go as far as I can on my bike, but I love a good old downward dog.

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

Can I say burpees? I hate burpees.
And Superman’s, bleh!

How does exercise make you feel?

Alive, like I had a really good session with a psychologist!

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

With people! When you are 3 hours and more on a bike, it gets SO lonely! And it keeps you motivated not to give up. Running, I prefer my furbaby companion.

Most embarrassing training moment?

It was my second time cycling on the mountain and there are obstacles all over the tracks, so I decided to try some. The last one was this steep little bridge that goes over a fence. I backed up 3 times, on the 3rd attempt I went up the bridge and over…but didn’t have enough momentum OR confidence, so I slipped off the saddle, but there wasn’t enough space to put my feet down properly, so I kinda awkwardly hopped down the bridge with my bike between my legs (I am also very short) and at the bottom just toppled over. Lying there feeling really glad that I am not a male!

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

I don’t go to the gym. But when cycling: lip balm, sunscreen, and an apple (obviously water).

Your next training goal?

Long-term: I want to get toned arms and legs. I would love to try my hand at a bit of weight lifting as well. But right now, I just want to get back to where I was before the accident (Recovering from a broken elbow and snapped tricep).

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

I have a playlist that I spin to, but when running or cycling, nothing is in my ears. I love to hear everything around me. (Like attacking dogs, speeding cars, you know the sounds of imminent danger looming)

Workout songs at home:

Pitbull: I feel good
Justin Wellington: Iko Iko
Eminem ft Rihana: Love the way you lie
Loufi: Boude
Cosher: Zombie

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

The best example is I had a major cycling accident in early January and was airlifted to a hospital.
On so many different occasions the doctors have told me that due to my fitness and how healthy I am, I am recovering much quicker. My arm is already extending and bending further than an average fractured elbow case. My body is stronger AND my mind is stronger. It’s now six weeks after the accident and giving up is not an option, my journey has prepared me for this, soon I will look back on this accident as just another stepping stone and learning curve in my never-ending journey.

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Lentil base pizza!

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Hahaha, the healthy meals are a part of me now! Lentil base pizza, regular pizza now tastes like cardboard. I love fresh fruits and veggies!

Favourite protein?

Eggs and biltong.

Favourite fat?

Avo, trying to grow my own tree!

Favourite carbohydrate?

All of them??? Love butternut and gem squash.

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

Balance, a little bit of good in the bad and a little bit of bad in the good. If I really want chocolate, I will opt for some dark choc, in a very healthy meal, I won’t mind a dash of mayo or sauce etc. It isn’t an all-or-nothing with me.

How many meals a day do you eat?

Depends on how vigorous the workout was. On a regular rest day about 3 meals on average, with healthy snacks in between. It’s so hard to say, I usually just listen to my body, some days I cope perfectly with 2 generous meals (and snacks), some days I push it to four meals (smaller ones).

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Not really, but I am more inclined to dig into my snack box on a day where I have burnt a lot of calories than on my rest days. And only if it’s a craving that really can’t be scratched, I make sure I have a snack box with healthy snacks like low-calorie jellies, protein bars, Marie biscuits etc.

MINDSET

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

My cycling accident. We were going for a 96km cycle, I fell at the 76km mark, you can understand why it’s memorable, but it was also my furthest route AND I was still feeling pretty good at the 76kms.
Then the week before my fall, I did a 7.54km run! Also, my personal best, after I thought I was a very bad runner, turns out if you weigh 12kgs less, it’s easier on the knees!

Favorite quote?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Favourite book?

Ooooh, any book in the fantasy and supernatural genre.

What inspires and motivates you?

That when I succeed in whatever I am struggling with at that moment, will be inspiring and motivating to someone else, especially to my kids and my husband.
I just want my daughters to grow up as strong women, so I try to teach by example.

For what are you most grateful?

For my supporting family, for the incredible teammates, I have met during this journey.
For starting this journey, even though I was extremely skeptical that I would be able to do it.

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

What do you have to lose? (Except the weight, we want to lose that!)

When you say this:” I want to start the healthy journey, but..”
Stop, whatever the reason for that ‘BUT’ is, stop. Change it.

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

  1. Don’t start with an all or nothing attitude. Progress over perfection.
  2. Do not, I repeat, Do NOT get stuck on the scale. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!
  3. Listen to your body. Your journey is different from the next person’s, find what works for YOU.
  4. Find support, tell them everything, including your weight and ask them to hold you accountable.
  5. Kale really isn’t worth it.

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