Years of unhealthy eating habits had Mayibongwe Khumalo feeling breathless and uncomfortable in her own skin. Knowing that she couldn’t continue damaging her health, the 28-year-old tackled her bad eating habits head on — and won. Here’s how she started to eat the rainbow… and lost 17 kilos in the process.
City: Kathu, Northern Cape
Weight before: 75
Weight after: 58
The time required to reach current weight: 8 months
The secret weapon to your weight loss: A healthy diet
Mayibongwe gradually started picking up weight in high school. “I use to eat so much ‘bad’ food. Takeaways were my favourite and I loved vetkoek bunny chows. A lot of my foods were brown instead of green,” she explains. Added to the bad eating habits, Mayibongwe didn’t exercise. All of this led to her piling on the kilos – to the point where she couldn’t recognise herself.
“One of my colleagues commented on my weight. They asked me if I saw what I was doing to my body, how I was gaining weight. I knew my weight wasn’t healthy because I was breathing heavily when I walked and I just felt uncomfortable. Looking at pictures of myself was worse – I didn’t like the way my cheeks were so full,” says Mayibongwe.
The lifestyle: eat the rainbow
Mayibongwe gave up her beloved takeaways, vetkoek and fizzy drinks. And instead of eating only brown foods, she started eating the rainbow. “I started enjoying salads and sparkling water with lemon. It felt good to eat something and not feel guilty about it,” she says.
Mayibongwe also started following exercise videos on YouTube. As her fitness levels increased, she added running to her schedule.
While it took a while for her hard work to pay off, eventually the excess weight began to disappear. “I felt great when I started losing weight. People started complimenting me and saying I looked good. But others weren’t so nice and thought I was sick,” she says. But she paid no mind to the doubters and kept focusing on her health – with great results. “I’ve changed a lot [since starting] my journey. I now think about the food I eat and how it will benefit my body. I ran my first 5km race and I hope to do many more.”
- Focus: Don’t lose focus of what you want to achieve — even if people have negative things to say.
- Exercise is a must: Do something that challenges you. If there’s no pain, there’s no gain.
- A healthy diet is important: Stick to eating healthy foods, even in the hard moments when you want to give up. You have to learn how to say ‘no’ to the foods that don’t benefit your body.