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Q & A: 32kgs down for Michelle and she fell in love with fitness

Name: 

Michelle Diamond

Age: 

38

Location: 

Amanzimtoti,  KwaZulu Natal

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

32kg 

What do you do? [Job]  

Group Payroll Controller

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

Running, Cycling, Archery, Gym, Stand up paddling.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Since 2016 or 2017.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

Via Facebook, I came across the page.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

The people and the support!  I have made some amazing friends through this community.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

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

I had been on a weight loss journey before and lost a large amount of weight, I was very active at the time. Life took over and I had a tendency to “eat my feelings” which lead to binge eating and I had gained all the weight back.  I was overweight, unhappy, and struggling with my own body.  I have osteoarthritis in my knees and it was so bad I could hardly bend my knees, never mind exercise!  I was told I would never run again and had given up on even trying again.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

The sudden loss of my brother in 2020 was the wakeup call I needed to sort myself out, when Covid started I was part of my local gym and they began online workouts which I joined and started doing daily, it was a massive struggle to start with and I was grateful no one could watch me while I struggled.  Movements eventually got a bit easier and I started enjoying being active again, at that time I also entered the Sleekgeek Winter challenge to lose the weight and in that challenge, I lost nearly 20kg and so began what I have dubbed my #fattofitjourney.

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

I celebrate my body now, I love the feeling of movement and appreciate how strong and in control I am of my own body.  I give my body the right nutrition and enjoy the exercise I do, I am doing things now that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do ever again so every day I am able to wake up and go for a run or go to the gym to do weight training or HIIT or Metafit etc is a great day!

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

I do still battle with the urge to emotionally binge eat, I think it’s something that I will always struggle with, but I’ve learnt rather overcome those feelings by going to hit the gym and get some happy endorphins flowing through me and work out any frustrations that I’m feeling.

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

Keep going, trust the process!  That “bad” feeling won’t last but the sense of accomplishment will last much longer!

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

Yes, of course.  I think we all do and we become despondent along the way, the most important thing is to stay on course and keep going, no matter what because that slump won’t last forever.

What is better since you got healthy? 

Everything!  I’m stronger, fitter, lighter on my feet, and my knees hardly ever bother me anymore!  I currently feel amazing in my own body!

TRAINING 

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

Weightlifting, I absolutely love challenging myself to lift heavier or push out more reps and bettering my previous personal best.  Running is a close second, especially seeing as I never thought I would run again, funny thing is I’ve just gotten stronger and stronger in such a short space of time.  In just 2 months my speed went from averaging 8/9 min/km down to 6:30 min/km and the movement feels so natural for the first time ever, I now run by feel instead of being obsessed with pace, distance and competing, it is just pure enjoyment now.

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

Probably around 6 years now.  On my first weight loss journey, I joined my local gym where I am still a member now.  The people I met through the gym honestly changed my life and my trainers are just incredible, they put so much time, effort, personal attention and care into everyone they train.

What does your typical workout look like?

Depends on the day really.  I have weight training days where I focus on my 3 main lifts: Bench press with an upper-body workout, Squats and a lower body workout and Deadlifts with a total body workout.  The days in between are fitness days (HIIT, EMOM, AFAP etc).  Some days I will run as well during the week or do hill/speed training.  Weekends are mostly cardio based (run/walk/cycle/SUP etc).

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

Do I have to choose one?  There are so many…. It will have to be the 3 main lifts in powerlifting (Bench, Squat and Deadlift).

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

I used to hate burpees… But since the current Sleekgeek 8-Week challenge, I’ve grown to love them #gotheoyourself

How does exercise make you feel? 

Amazing!  Like I said I love the way my body feels in movement these days, I can feel the strength in my body and how easily movement now flows.

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

I have found I love gyming with others whether it’s weights or fitness, but I enjoy running alone, I do my best thinking while running.

Most embarrassing training moment?

Back in 2018, having to get onto a stability ball I think to do a decline push up and I rolled onto this ball to get my hands to the floor and feet on the ball, there’s no elegant way to get on those balls but I totally misjudged the roll of the ball and landed very wrong fracturing my wrist in the process.  

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

Post-workout supplements, a towel for the sweat (I seem to be the only woman who leaves trails behind wherever I go) and lifting straps for deadlifts.

Your next training goal?

To see these muscles I’ve been building under the last of my “padded” layer!  Oh, and to better my lifting PBs of course.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  • Skunk Anansie – Twisted (Everyday Hurts)
  • The Prodigy – Fire Starter
  • The Offspring – Smash
  • Imagine Dragons – Whatever it takes
  • Eminem – The way I am

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

It has changed everything, I’m no longer in pain every day, I am able to channel any stresses into exercise and come out feeling so much better after, I sleep better, think clearer and I have a far more positive outlook on everything in life.  It has honestly changed me for the best!

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

I love a good pasta

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Salmon with a salad

Favourite protein?

Fillet steak

Favourite fat?

Peanut butter

Favourite carbohydrate?

Sweet potato

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

There should be a good balance of everything.  Don’t deprive yourself but everything in moderation.  I don’t cut out any food groups I just opt for the healthier options in each group. 

How many meals a day do you eat?

4-5 meals (3 main meals and 1 – 2 snacks).

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

When I’m focused on my weight loss journey having a cheat doesn’t really bother me but when I do it will be one meal only, get the craving out my system and then straight back to the meal plan.

MINDSET

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

Running my first marathon, I never thought I would be able to do it but I did it!

Favorite quote?

If you can dream it, you can achieve it!  Just believe in yourself and anything is possible!

What inspires and motivates you?

Seeing other people smash their goals or achieve something they never thought they could, I’m a huge underdog supporter because I was often that underdog that people doubted what I could achieve.

For what are you most grateful? 

Being alive and healthy!  Having lost my parents and my brother far too soon in their lives makes me grateful to still be here.

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

Just start!  It’s all scary and daunting to us all in the beginning but just make a start and tackle it in small bite sizes (healthy bites of course).

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

  • Have a plan and stick to it, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. 
  • Don’t go cold turkey and change everything all at once, change one small habit at a time, master it and then tackle the next one
  • Don’t compare your journey to others, we are all different, focus only on your journey and what you are achieving
  • Find what works for you and stick to it.  It’s often trial and error and what works for one may not work for another.  Often it takes time to figure out what your body really responds to but once you do figure it out it’s a complete game changer!
  • Trust the process!  We all have those moments of doubt, don’t chop and change your plan when you’re having those moments, stick to it and trust that you will eventually start seeing those results if you just stick to it and trust the process!

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