Transformation of the Day: Sef lost 44 pounds and developed lean muscle. She reached out to us from Belgium to share her story (originally from Botswana). Becoming a pescatarian, and doing lots of cardio and strength training was key to her success, but it didn’t happen overnight. Over the course of several years, she figured out what works for her.
I am 35 years old, and I’m from Botswana! My starting weight was about 70kg/154 pounds, and now I weigh about 50kgs/110 pounds at 153 cm/5 feet tall. I’ve also reached 18.33% body fat.
I successfully reduced my body fat level and achieved an athletic physique through regular exercise (cardio and strength training) and healthy eating habits. It’s my lifestyle now. I have also become a Certified Personal Trainer. I hope to inspire and help others to achieve their own fitness goals!
What was your motivation?
I have struggled with my weight and body image for several years, since around 16 years old. It got to the point where I didn’t like who I was anymore and couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror.
What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
I have a good support network (my family, mostly). Also, I didn’t want to see myself returning to the mental and physical space that made me so miserable. The vision of my ideal body and a much healthier lifestyle kept me moving forward.
How did you change your eating habits?
I gave up sugary foods and fried foods. At one point, I was not eating carbs at all. I struggled with eating more than once a day in fear of gaining weight. Since then, I have ‘re-learned’ how to eat carbs again. I have also adopted a better, cleaner, and more balanced nutritional lifestyle. I really had to counsel myself to do this. It was extremely difficult.
In 2009 I decided, just out of interest, to adopt a pescatarian lifestyle [Vegetarian diet the includes seafood]. I love it, and I’ve never looked back! The majority of my protein comes from fish, beans, and légumes. I also eat plenty of healthy fats such as nuts, avocados, fatty fish such as salmon. I eat sweet potato, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur sometimes for carbs. I also treat myself once in a while to the foods that I love, giving my mind and body a break with a treat here and there. My fave cheat meal is a salmon burger and sweet potato fries!
What did your workout routine consist of? How many days a week do you workout?
My cardio routine was mostly jogging every single day. I work out 5-6 days a week, mostly doing strength training. I have a three days on, three days off cycle.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I have been struggling with weight loss for many years. I was at my heaviest in 2004. My weight went up and down for several years after that, and I struggled to find the right exercise/diet balance.
From where I began to achieving this ideal athletic physique, it’s been 16 years. When I weighed 57kgs in 2016, I started strength training in earnest and followed a more sustainable healthy, balanced diet to lose body weight and body fat.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I learned to never give up on myself and to trust that with consistency and dedication, I am capable of much more than I can even imagine!
What advice would you like to share with women who want to lose weight?
My advice to fellow FitQueens:
1) Trust the process!
2) Consistency is key! Even when it felt like my efforts weren’t working, I kept thinking of the pain of returning to that body, that misery… and I kept going. TRUST THE PROCESS!