When you’ve been overweight your entire life, choosing to change your eating habits can feel impossible. But as Aseza Felicia May proves, anything is possible when you put your mind to it. With consistency, determination and a whole lot of dedication, this mom lost 60 kilos and is the healthiest she’s ever been. Here’s how she did it…

READ MORE: “I finally discovered the key to weight loss — and lost 30 kilos” 

Aseza Felicia May 

Occupation: Medical technologist

Age: 40

City: Pretoria, Centurion

Weight before: 138.5kg

Weight after: 78kg

Height: 1.6m

Time required reaching current weight: 18 months

Secret weight-loss weapons: Consistency, determination, dedication, discipline and commitment

READ MORE: Here’s how to use ginger to cut your body fat  

The gain 

Aseza was always the biggest person wherever she went: “In the classroom, among family, friends, everywhere. [I] believed that’s how I was meant to be,” she says. Like many overweight kids, Aseza was bullied. This led to her feeling shy and insecure. “I was called ‘big mama’ by people who were 10 years older than me – I tried ignoring it, playing along with name calling and laughing, even though it hurt me a lot. I would cry when no one was looking, then console myself with bad food,” she explains.

And the 'bad food' she was eating? "C.R.A.P: carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial foods and processed food.” Added to that, she wasn’t exercising at all. Eventually, these bad health choices led to her tipping the scales at almost 140kg. 

READ MORE: “I lost 76 kilos, and now I’m finally living life to the fullest” 

The change 

Pretty soon Aseza’s bad food choices started taking a toll on her health. “I went to my doctor because of frequent headaches, swollen feet and back pains. He checked my BP and it was 196/140!” This health scare was enough to make her want to change her life. “I have a six-year-old, and when I looked at him, I got scared thinking that I might die and leave him at an early age just because of unhealthy food. I just had to change my lifestyle for me and my family,” she explains.

But if she wanted to succeed, she needed to make a mental shift first. “I prepared myself mentally for my journey because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.” She also educated herself on how to read food labels.

After adjusting her mindset, Aseza eliminated rice, pasta, bread, grains, legumes, wheat, sugar, dairy, carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed food and alcohol.

She also joined a gym, focusing on cycling, the treadmill, lifts and step classes – and alternated them depending on her mood that day. For added motivation, Aseza joined Sleekgeek, a weight-loss community committed to motivating and helping people live their healthiest lives.

READ MORE: The alcoholic drink that’s weight-loss friendly and boosts your mood 

The lifestyle 

Pretty soon, Aseza’s hard work started paying off. “I’ve tried all the diet plans, shakes and pills, and eventually realised that there are no quick fixes. I just need to eat healthily and exercise to lose the weight.” Within eight weeks, she lost over 21 kilos and showed no sign of stopping. “Giving up has never been an option for me,” she says.

Aseza now listens to her body – and she’s getting creative in the kitchen! “I became a chef in my own kitchen. I play with my food so I don’t get bored with my meals,” she says. As for working out, she’s addicted to exercising. “I love it!” she exclaims.

READ MORE: 10 things you should always do when you eat to stop gaining weight 

The rewards 

Since losing 60 kilos, Aseza’s life has changed dramatically. She no longer has high blood pressure, or experiences back pain, swollen feet and tiredness. She’s dropped from a size 46 to 34 and ran her first 10k race in August. Her self-confidence has also skyrocketed. “I take endless selfies. I can wear heels, I can wear any clothing item and look good, my skin is glowing, I’m light, happy, healthier and beautiful – I love myself!”

But it doesn’t end there… “Last year I entered the eight-week challenge on Sleekgeek and was the first runner-up, having lost 21kg. I took the money and bought a new wardrobe.” Belonging to a community like Sleekgeek enables Aseza to inspire others and, in turn, be inspired herself: “We share recipes, jokes and workouts – we are a family. Our code of conduct is to respect, uplift and inspire – all the time!”

READ MORE: Okay, what is your metabolism — and can you actually make it faster? 

Aseza’s tips 

Never give up: “You only live once – strive and work hard to be a better and healthier version of yourself.”

Push yourself: “You will be amazed at what your body can do. Never doubt yourself, do your best and stay focused.”

Choose you: “Love yourself enough to know you are worthy of change.”

Inspired? 

Women’s Health has launched a whole weekend of wellness and inspiration just for you: Women’s Health LIVE Festival of Wellness. We have three stages – covering Trends, Inspiration and Fitness respectively, with an amazing line-up of celebs, cover stars, social influencers and our WH experts. You’ll also have the chance to take part in beauty pop-ups, like getting your hair done at the Dry Styling Bar, stock up on festive season gifts from talented local designers and try new movement classes, like rebounding with Lisa Raleigh or Rockingnheels with Takkies. Plus, there’ll be food trucks and the Fry’s Plant-Based Food Court serving up delicious, healthy meals, bubbly will be flowing – after all, what’s summer without a bit of sparkle? – live DJs and more fabulous entertainment. 

What you get 

Your ticket gets you free access to all the talks, workshops and movement classes, free beauty makeovers and ghd hair styling, as well as plenty of freebies and surprises from our partners. It also includes a limited-edition Women’s Health shopper, which you can fill up as you make your way around the Festival – you can expect lots of things to sample and buy. Book your tickets at Quicket.

This article was originally published in Women's Health SA. 

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