Cape Town woman’s inspiring weight loss transformation: ‘I can do things I wasn’t able to do before’

Dominique Fredericks (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
Dominique Fredericks (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)

It’s a weight loss transformation that’s been 10 years in the making.

Dominique Fredericks, a medical doctor from Cape Town, had attempted unsuccessfully to bid farewell to the bulging belly and thunder thighs once too often.

So when she decided to cut the carbs and up the cardio in late 2017, she was determined to see it through to the end.

Within 15 months, Dominique (now 30) had shed a whopping 26kg and was healthier than ever.

She’s turned her life around, she says, and can’t imagine going back to her unhealthy ways.

“I’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for three years now,” Dominique tells YOU.

“I can do things I wasn’t able to do before, like hike up a mountain or run for more than a kilometre without feeling like my chest is on fire.”

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The confidence she’s gained is unmatched and she now enjoys things she didn’t before like taking photos and talking to others without feeling self-conscious.

“It feels amazing,” she says.

“I feel more comfortable in my clothing. At times I couldn’t believe I was losing the weight so easily, especially after struggling for so many years.”

Dominique got a bad medical report in her second year of medical school. She was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, which is an auto-immune disease.

The disease affected her kidneys and she was put on high doses of immunosuppressants and cortisone.

A side-effect of the cortisone was an increase in appetite and weight gain.

Dominique used her condition to cover up the unhealthy relationship she’d developed with food.

“I ate whatever I felt like,” she recalls.

“I’d snack on foods containing lots of sugar and fat such as chocolate and biscuits.”

She was piling on the weight and within two years had gained 20kg.

(Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
Dominique used her condition to cover up the unhealthy relationship she’d developed with food. (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)

A fad diet here and there and inconsistent exercise would see her losing weight, only to pick it up again.

“I had an all or nothing mentality,” Dominique explains.

“I’d either be on a very restrictive diet and exercise a lot or not be active at all and eat whatever I wanted. I didn’t think of it as a sustainable lifestyle change.”

It didn’t help that she was a medical intern at the time, constantly on the go and with little time to prepare home-cooked meals.

Dominique tipped the scale at nearly 90kg and with a BMI of 30, was categorised as obese.

“I remember stepping onto the scale for the first time in months and seeing my weight. I was shocked,” she recalls.

She knew she had to make drastic changes to her lifestyle.

“The changes were simple,” she says.

“I stuck to the basics. I stopped eating refined sugars and processed foods and started eating whole foods.

“My diet consisted mainly of lean proteins such as chicken and fish, which would be grilled, and I would have that with steamed or roasted vegetables and a side salad.”

(Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
Dominique used her condition to cover up the unhealthy relationship she’d developed with food. (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)

It was tough in the beginning but got easier as she got into the swing of things.

As she got closer to her goal weight, she became more lenient and incorporated some of her favourite meals back into her diet.

“But in moderation,” she cautions.

Dominique traded the comfort of her couch for 30-minute cardio sessions four to six times a week.

She worked closely with a personal trainer to strengthen the weaker areas in her body and build muscle.

In 2018 she joined Totalsports Runcrew, training with the group twice a week.

“I fell in love with running, something I was never able to do because my weight caused me knee pain.”

Dominique’s weight loss journey was anything but smooth sailing. During the first two months she struggled to lose weight despite exercising regularly and following a strict diet.

Giving up, however, never crossed her mind.

“I could have easily got discouraged and given up, but this time I was determined to stick to the changes I’d made, and I knew I had to be patient. Healthy weight loss takes a lot longer than most people think. So I persisted and slowly but surely I started seeing small changes. Eventually I steadily began losing weight.”

(Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
As Dominique’s weight dropped, she gained the confidence she’d been lacking for so long. (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
(Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)
As Dominique’s weight dropped, she gained the confidence she’d been lacking for so long. (Photos: Supplied/Dominique Fredericks)

As Dominique’s weight dropped, she gained the confidence she’d been lacking for so long.

“I feel healthier, happier and have so much more energy since starting my journey,” she says.

The pressures of her job have by no means lessened since her intern days. On the contrary, being on the frontline in the fight against a global pandemic, Dominique has been busier than ever.

But she still manages to work out at least four times a week and maintains her healthy diet.

“It takes a high level of commitment and you need to do it for the right reasons and for yourself,” Dominique says.

After all, she has goals beyond weight loss waiting to be smashed: “I’ve completed three half marathons since I started running and have many more running goals for the future!”

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