Transform your life

Minessa Martin had her health 'ah-ha' moment at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Feeling exhausted from a short walk, she looked up at Table Mountain and realised she was too out of shape to enjoy the hikes in the natural beauty that so many Capetonians take for granted. This was the start of her journey towards a healthier and better life. 
Since then Minessa has lost 30kg through programme run by SleekGeek. She's run three races, something she thought she'd never be able to do. More importantly she's happier, healthier, and fitter, and she's learnt some important lessons about living life well along the way.  Have you always had a rocky relationship with food?    As a youngster I never struggled with my weight. I'm a naturally energetic person and was active as a child. I ate whatever I wanted to, and as much as I wanted to. When I grew up, things changed. I gained some weight when I left school. My diet changed with my lifestyle and I started living like a student ' I ate unhealthily and partied. The real change in my weight came on my journey to becoming a mom, though.  I suppose I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat unhealthy food. I'd have chocolate for breakfast ' more like three chocolates, actually ' on my way to work. By the time I'd had my second child I was 32kg heavier than I was in high school.  The loss of my father also affected me deeply. I ate emotionally, and the more I ate the worse I felt' the worse I felt, the more I ate. It was a vicious circle. Ironically, at the same time, my mother's weight was fluctuating too. She became morbidly obese. In the small Afrikaans community I lived in, though, my shape wasn't unusual. I weighed 80kg for my 1,6m body. I didn't feel great. Tell us about the ups and downs in your weight...   I've had quite a few ups and downs. There was a time I was far too thin and weighed only 46kg. Hungry, skinny and bony, I saw myself as the perfect size. There were times I wouldn't eat at all and remember feeling fit then, even though I was actually exhausted. In reality when I tried to go running at one point I had to turn back after only 200m. When did things change for you?   In October last year I visited Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town with friends for lunch. Looking up at the mountain, seeing the trails people hiked, I realised I was in trouble. Just walking from the car to our picnic spot left me exhausted, trying to catch my breath. This was a light bulb moment for me. I realised I had to make a change. How did you come across SleekGeek?   I found SleekGeek on Facebook. I like to think SleekGeek found me, though. They say when the student is ready, the teacher will come, and I was ready. I did a bit of research and found out about Reboot (a free 30-day programme where you make certain changes in your diet and lifestyle to 'reboot' your life), which I started almost immediately. How did you set realistic goals for yourself?   SleekGeek is all about setting realistic goals that help you make positive changes in your life. I desperately needed to start exercising, so my goal was to run. I didn't like running, which made my goal that much more of a challenge. I started by walking, though, which was more realistic for me.  With the help of SleekGeek I started a few 'SmartGoals' (goals that push you but are achievable) and before I knew it I was running 5km and then 10km. By December 2013 I boldly said I was going to do a half-marathon by the end of April 2014. I did it. I also reached my target weight in March this year, which I couldn't have done without the Reboot support group. What are the biggest lessons you've learnt on your SleekGeek journey?   Setting realistic goals is very important when you're looking to lose weight, get fitter, and change your life for the better. Without understanding that SleekGeek is a process and working at my own pace I wouldn't have reached my goals. I'm now happier and healthier than I've ever been. I would recommend participating in a SleekGeek 8 Week Challenge to anyone as a powerful way to kick-start new, healthy, habits. Find out more or start your own SleekGeek Challenge: www.sleekgeek.co.za did you know? Exercise or diet? Although cutting calories seems to be a more effective way of losing weight than exercising harder, exercise builds muscle which gives you a higher metabolic rate. So, if you have to choose one, choose both! Eat smaller portions, eat healthier food, and move more. Exercise will help you burn energy faster, increase feel-good brain chemicals, and improve your outlook on life ' making it easier to meet your other healthy living goals.

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