After a major health scare, Natasha knew that it was time she start making her needs a priority. Deciding it was time she confront a lifetime of bad eating habits, this mom of two took charge of her health, lost a whole lot of weight and gained a new lease on life. Here’s how she did it…
Occupation: Airworthiness Inspector
Weight before: 108.5kg
Weight after: 95.9kg
Time required to reach current weight: 10 months
Secret weapon to your weight loss: Consistency, dedication and perseverance
Having a hard childhood, Natasha used food to help soothe her emotional pain, “growing up chaotic and having to face all forms of abuse, had turned me into an emotional eater from a very early age” she explains. This comfort eating led to her being an overweight child who then would become an overweight adult. When she was older when found herself a single mother of a newborn and a 4 year old, who was trying to jungle single motherhood and a new business. “I was so busy prioritising everyone and everything else that I ignored my health and my needs” she says.
Not so great eating habit coupled with minimal sleep meant that she was slowly piling on the kilos. Added to that, Natasha was traveling the world and experiencing many cultures- and their food, “jetlag, lack of time and the opportunity for a foodie to experience new cultures through their amazing cuisine, basically sealed the deal and I woke up one day to find that my dress size was a 46”.
In December of 2016, Natasha was at work when all of a sudden she found her vision blurred, her head pounding and her feet so swollen they couldn’t fit into her shoes. “I was later rushed to my GP who immediately ran a few tests. My blood pressure was 158/115” ,she says. It was then that her doctor confirmed that she not only suffering from high blood pressure but her glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels were dangerously high. “My doctor left me with the parting words that my children were on the brink of losing their mother. Extremely harsh, but something I needed to hear”, she explains.
This revelation prompted Natasha to take a few days off work and think of her next crucial steps. “I immediately made the decision to change my life. I needed to change the way I was doing things as I owed it to myself and my kids”, she says. Knowing that she couldn’t leave her kids without a mom, Natasha made some major changes. “I immediately stopped drinking alcohol and stopped smoking. I stopped eating my daily chocolate and gave up all forms of junk food”. Added to that she bought herself a fitbit to and started tracking her activity and sleep. Along with her sons, she joined the local gym and began working out 6 days a week. Within the first two weeks of her lifestyle changes, she lost 5kgs! And after just one month she was down by 10 kilos.
In the beginning stages of her journey, Natasha cut out all carbs and sugar. She also divided her meals into 6 small meals a day. This worked for her for a while but she soon realised that this way of eating would not be sustainable for her. “I now eat mindfully and don’t completely exclude anything from my diet. My approach is focussed on balance and moderation”, she explains. Her new eating plan now consists of protein, complex carbs and vegetables.
“In addition to that my current diet is supplemented with NPL supplements as I needed the edge to get past this horrible plateau. I’ve also become extremely mindful about what I put into body and Im all about knowing exactly what I consume”, she says.Along with clean eating and working out, Natasha says that the weigh loss was initially easy but after losing 15 kgs her weight has plateaued but she continues to persevere.
“Wow, it’s been an incredible journey thus far with me having achieved so much”, exclaims Natasha. Along with dropping a huge amount of weight, she has gone from a size 46 to a 38, and the best part- she’s no longer on chronic medication! Other than being able to complete a 5km in under 40 minutes, Natasha’s weight loss and fitness journey has enabled her family and friends to live a healthier life too. “So many people had decided to join me in my journey. They were also losing the weight and improving their fitness” she says. Natasha continues to inspire others through her Instagram page and her blog, where she shares the ups and downs of her journey.
Natasha’s sons, her two biggest supporters and her reason for starting this journey, are exceptionally proud of their mother, “I have learnt to ride a bicycle at the age of 40, and I got to do it with my boys watching. They are so exceptionally proud of what I have achieved but watching me learn to ride a bike is probably our biggest highlight”, she explains.
She no longer worries about fitting into seats on a plane or weight limits when it comes to certain activities, “I get to hang out with my family and join them on various activities without having to worry about weight restrictions. This new lease on life has taken our adventuring to the next level”, she says. Natasha’s not done with her fitness journey just yet, she’s on a 4 month body transformation which involves a reveal at the FIBO Africa fitness and lifestyle expo in October. “I’m blessed to be coached by Jason Dunning who’s helping me take my body from fat to fleshed out. Its indeed the next chapter of my journey”.
Take stock of your life and figure out why you want to lose weight: “Your WHY should be your motivating factor. Once you have figured out your WHY, make a solid commitment to yourself and establish a plan that takes your lifestyle into account”.
Ask the professionals: “Seek advice from professionals especially when it comes to diets and exercise. There are way too many unqualified people providing meal plans and exercise routines, that can end up doing more harm than good”.
Be kind and patience with yourself: “There will be both good and bad days ahead but remember that you are in this for the long haul. Make certain that you surround yourself with a support team that understands you and will support you every step of the way. This may not necessarily be family members. It could be like-minded people on a similar journey as you.”
In need of more inspo? Check out this woman who went from never exercising to being a spinning instructor! Or this woman found the diet that worked for her.
This article was originally published on Women's Health.