Having always been a “fit girl”, Dené wasn’t accustomed to being overweight. But her love of fast food eventually left her with unwanted weight that she desperately wanted to shed. Tried of being unhealthy and uncomfortable in her body, she finally ditched her unhealthy habits and dropped some serious kilos. Here’s how she did it…
Dené De Souza
Occupation: Admin Manager
City: Cape Town
Total Weight Lost: 14kg
Time required reaching current weight: 6 months
Secret weight-loss weapon: Commitment
For Dené, her weight gain “kind of just happened”. She’d always been a fairly active person, playing hockey in high school and enjoying the odd hike and surf session, but in her late twenties, she started caring less about what she was eating and slowly became less active.
Being overweight made her feel less energetic, and the more weight she gained, the less she exercised. She admits that she didn’t always eat the healthiest food and would enjoy bread, pasta, and fast food over weekends. But it wasn’t just her food choices causing the weight gain – it was also her portion sizes and lack of willpower to say no to tempting eats.
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In 2017 Dené saw a photo of herself at her sister’s wedding and realised just how much she’d let her eating get out of control. “I felt so taken back by what I saw, it nearly drove me to tears,” she admits. Added to that, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure. This was the final push she needed to fully commit to her health.
She started off by cutting out carbs and sugar and ate more veggies and lean protein. She began to train with a personal trainer three times a week, and did solo sessions five to six times a week, focusing mainly on cardio and core exercises. It took some time for her to see results but… “all of a sudden, the kilos started disappearing, which motivated me to keep going,” she says.
READ MORE: “I lost 10 kilos in 5 months just by ditching all the junk food”
Having switched carbs and sugar for healthier options, a typical daily eating plan now consists of two boiled eggs for breakfast, a tuna salad for lunch and a lean chicken breast with steamed green beans for dinner. She also drinks lots of water between meals.
As the weight started falling off, Dené eased up on cardio and started incorporating strength training into her fitness regime. Backed by a personal trainer and cheered on by her husband, those fit #goals were so much easier to achieve.
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Dené has almost reached her goal weight and says she feels “more confident and less self-conscious”. Minus two whole dress sizes (high-five!), she rewarded herself with a whole new wardrobe. Her overall health has also improved dramatically – cheerio high blood pressure! Plus: Her energy levels have sky-rocketed and she actually enjoys exercising now. The best part: This journey has had such a positive impact on her life, she’s currently training to become a certified personal trainer.
Don’t be your own worse enemy: “Learn to love yourself and the rest will follow.”
Have daily goals: “It’s easier to get through one day at a time – go for daily goals.”
Don’t be too hard on yourself: “Allow yourself to fail now and then. Don’t let it drag you down – let it make you stronger.”
In need of more inspiration? Take a look at this woman who lost 32 kilos by doing yoga. And check out this woman who made simple changes to her diet and lost 45 kilos!
This article was originally published on Women's Health South Africa.