When mother of two, Marlaine Witbooi realised that her eating was out of control, she did a total 360 and changed her life around for the better — without going to the gym. Armed with various exercise plans and the determination to get healthier, Marlaine lost 27 kilos and counting.
Occupation: Sales Administrator for an I.T Company
Age: 35 years
City: Cape Town
Weight before: 95kg
Weight after: 68kg
Time required to reach current weight: Oct 2016 — now
Secret weapon to your weight loss: Dedication and Commitment
“If I must be honest, I have had two weight loss journeys,” admits Marlaine. She says that she gained weight when she became comfortable in her relationship and then piled on more kilos after the birth of her first child. In 2013 she lost 13 kilos but when she stopped smoking, she gained back 7 of those kilos. Her weight stabilised for the next few years until she had her second child. “I had a plan to eat healthily and to exercise throughout my pregnancy, but my first trimester hit me really hard. I felt sick ALL the time and had no energy so I rested a lot and did no exercise. I then started craving all the things like potato chips and rolls and so on. I gained 15 kilos in my pregnancy and became so lazy,” she explains.
After the birth of her second daughter, Marlaine picked up another 5-6 kilos which put her at her heaviest of 95kg. “I binged on a lot of takeaways and I was crazy-obsessed with hot chips (with salt and vinegar). I would sometimes snack late at night [on hot chips] or other things even after dinner, just because I was ‘lis’ for something”. Adding to her love of carbs, Marlaine loved biscuits, chocolate and fizzy drinks. “I must admit that I developed this snacking problem after I stopped smoking in 2013. I kind of battled with it for some time because I felt the need to have something sweet in my mouth. I guess I replaced one crutch with another,” she adds.
“I noticed it [her weight] the first time when I looked at my honeymoon photos and it was a picture of me from behind. I left me wanting to crawl into a hole and die. It was seeing this side of me that made me realise how much weight I had gained. I was shocked!” says Marlaine.
Marlaine says that she couldn’t accept that she let herself ‘go’. “I needed to love me and I knew that I couldn’t love this person I was. I felt pathetic in these moments and it pained me that my girls saw this too, so I needed to make that change, not only for me but for them and for my husband because this affected them too,” says Marlaine. She also found inspiration in her friend, Natasha, who was doing well in her own weight loss journey.
“She spoke to me and told me that I was pushing myself too hard and she was right. I was working so hard by doing crazy cardio training, my nutrition was definitely off-key and I wasn’t getting any rest which can be hard when you have a little one (plus I was still breastfeeding). So, I took a break over December 2017 and started on January 1st, 2018. For me, this was my real turning point in my journey. I found an eating plan that I decided to follow which helped a lot. I started incorporating much more weight training into my workouts and slowly but surely got into a proper routine”.
Marlaine’s proper routine included following a 21-day meal plan that had her cutting out sugar and fizzy drinks. “I started to drink more water and upped my intake to 3 litres a day. Some days I get in between 2-3 litres, but never less. Meal prep became — and still is — a priority in my life and helped me stay on track. I have tried different diets or meal plans as I believe we need to find what works for us,” she explains. The different diets and meals plans included a colour portion container system, macro counting, timed nutrition and working with a coach. Marlaine says that all of these methods contributed to her weight loss and getting a better handle on her eating, with some doing better than others. She’s now in the process of trying intermittent fasting and keto to help with her gut issues and drop the last few kilos.
With her first weight loss journey, Marlaine focused on cardio but this time around she made 80% of her workouts resistance training. She started training three days a week then slowly worked her way to six 30-60 minute sessions a week. “I usually have 1-2 days a week that are cardio-based and 4 days where weights, bands, loops and sliders are involved. I LOVE home workouts. It works for me because I haven’t got time to run around to gym. Getting up at 3:55 am each morning, getting dressed and starting my workout at 4:30 am is what works for me,” she says. Marlaine follows along with Beachbody on Demand, a network that hosts various workout programmes. Added to her daily workouts, Marlaine goes a host of physical activities with her family and is a regular at Women’s Health events.
The first few months of her journey were frustrating as she wasn’t seeing results but she kept pushing and a few months later, the kilos started dropping. Within 2 and half years, she’s dropped 27 kilos, went from a size 18 to a size 10, and gained some serious muscle and confidence in the process.
“I am more confident and so much happier, which is great because I feel that I can be a great example for my girls. I now feel like ‘me’ and that is what counts the most. I do things and eat things that feel good to me,” she explains.
- Figure out your ‘why’: “There will be times where you fall off track and it’s this ‘why’ that would get you back into it. I know because it’s what helped me”.
- Go at your own pace: “It doesn’t help to try to be like the person next to you because we are all different. If you are trying to be like that person, you are only setting yourself up for failure because you will constantly be hard on yourself and you won’t notice what you have accomplished”.
- Take photos of your journey: “I stress on this because if it weren’t for my photos or videos, I would completely forget where I started. We get so caught up in the now that we forget and when we stop seeing results for a few weeks because maybe we have plateaued, these pictures and videos will remind you and keep you wanting to go for Gold”.
- Keep a journal: I believe in journaling, tracking my weights, how many calories I burnt, what I ate (even if its roughly documented) but also how I felt each day. Get yourself a really cute journal and maybe some gel pens to make it fun and colourful. It helps and its fun to read back on things. I wish I started my journal from day one.