Name: Phangisa Matsebula
Occupation: Trainee – Land Bank Recoveries unit
Age: 24
From: Johannesburg
Height: 1.93
Weight before: 141
Weight after: 104
Time to goal: 9 months

The gain
I have always been a food lover and growing up with a professional chef as a mom didn’t help – I probably started gaining weight from puberty. I ate often and I never really watched my portion sizes, finally my weight peaked at 141kg. My blood pressure was off the charts and I hated exercise.

The change
I had been seeing doctors because of my weight since junior school, and I was tired of the poking and prodding. On one of my last visits my physician told me my heart muscles were degrading. It wasn’t the first time I heard this, but at around that time my dad called me to say a friend of his’ son had died of a heart attack. He was around my age and also overweight. It finally sunk in that my health and wellbeing isn’t just about me. I moved to a new place, and the change in environment also helped me to make better decisions.

The strategy
I am strategist by, so I analysed my problem and set out a plan. I started by making an appointment with a dietician to get a framework to complement my exercise routine. Then, I started doing some easy exercise: swimming laps at home for 30-minutes a day and then I added 30-minute brisk walks. When winter hit I added three kilometres to the treadmill and gradually increased the kilometres weekly. By the end of winter I was running 11km, four days a week. I was also losing about five kilos a month.

The reward
I’m a totally different person mentally and physically. I am as confident in business as I am in myself. I rewarded myself with a trip to Monaco and the south of France where, for the first time, I went to the beach without a shirt. It’s also an added perk having the ladies hit on me for a change.

The result
My BP is now 125/80 on average, body fat down from 37% to 18%, and I lost 44kg in nine months. My waist is down from a size 44 to a size 36.