My Physical Makeover Journey

I have been on a physical makeover journey for the last 7 weeks. I decided to make a health and fitness lifestyle change (basically to get more conscious about my health and fitness and actively work on it) and gave myself a challenge to kick start the process. My goal was to lose 5kilos in 5 weeks. I did it in 7 weeks (I hit a plateau in the Christmas and New year weeks J) and I feel great!

The Motivation Behind The Decision
Well… I was slowly starting to put on weight. I could feel it (smug clothes and all) and I was less energetic in the 3 – 4 months leading to the decision. I of course made excuses for the tiredness like ‘I am working too hard!’ etc.

The thing is, my eating habits have more or less been ‘fairly okay’ but my weak point was exercising (stress the past tense). This meant that my ‘gyming’ pattern could be on and off but my weight would only fluctuate by 2kilos (up or down). However in the 3 – 4 months leading to the decision I barely went to gym (if at all I did it was simply to get my card ticked so I didn’t lose the membership!J)

My wonderful husband Sandras had warned me (more than once) that I was putting on more weight than usual and I would argue that I wasn’t because I believed my ‘good’ eating habits always kept my weight in check… and yes because I am stubborn! LOL!

The Point of Realization

The great thing about life is that whenever you are going off ‘the right path’ you usually get 3 warnings. Firstly your subconscious mind gives you warnings (it sometimes solicits the help of your conscious mind and body to do this:)). For example I was feeling heavy, bloated and tired but I ignored it. Secondly other people tell you (e.g. Sandras’ telling me) and lastly nature tells you (this may come in the form of an illness or other apparently sudden changes in your life). I usually don’t like to wait for stage 3 warnings as those are the hardest lessons where other people will even say ‘we told her so and she wouldn’t listen!’

So anyway, Sandras likes to take pictures of me (all times of day, in all sorts of attire, awake or asleep etc) and on the morning of my kitchen tea  (pictured above) whilst I was making our bed and dressed only in underwear, he took pictures of me from several angles. Now sometimes I look at the pictures, sometimes I don’t but this particular time I decided to look and was pretty spooked! I hadn’t seen my naked backside in a long time and what I saw – I didn’t like! You know I love my ‘African heritage behind’ but this was too much for my small frame! But still I comforted myself thinking ‘it only looks this exaggerated because I am naked’ and went along with the kitchen tea celebrations.

But lo and behold when it was now time for me to look through the party pictures and see which ones to put on facebook, I was even more stunned at how bad my belly looked! I looked pregnant! I put up some of the pictures anyway (else the ladies would’ve killed me!) but decided there and then that I was going to make a health and fitness lifestyle change lest nature decides to bang me on the head next!

Preparing for the Change
Over the years I have learnt that if I have to make any kind of long term and sustainable lifestyle changes (be it financial, spiritual or whatever) then I have to ensure that I lay a strong foundation for it. I do this with my clients in the first week of the SLi Money Makeover Online Program and decided to do it with myself for my physical makeover. I’ll share what some of the key steps in this process are:

1. Identifying what your values are
These are the things that are really important to you. They may not necessarily be the things you think are important or would like to be important to you. These are the things that actually ARE important as demonstrated by your life.

For example you may think religion is important to you but your life may demonstrate otherwise. So I re-evaluated my values.

2. Seeing how the lifestyle change you intend to make will support your values
I’ll give you an example of my life at that point. My top 5 values were money, family, business, personal development and socialising (read as partying and hanging out with friendsJ). In order for me to be able achieve my physical makeover mission and sustain it, I had to think about (and write down) how getting healthier and fitter would support each of those values.

Take for example my family. How would it support my 3 guys? Well amongst other things it meant being able to do cartwheels, running, Swimming and having loads of fun with them without getting tired quickly! It meant feeling vital, sexy, confident and playful which would translate into ‘a bigger smile’ on Sandras’ face ***nudge-nudge, wink-wink*** and so on.

3. Identifying any limiting beliefs and replacing them with empowering ones
That is more or less self explanatory and yes I did have limiting beliefs about my body and its ability.

These are just some of the key steps in laying a strong foundation for a lifestyle change that I had to take. Each step is critical if the changes you make are to be sustainable (and yes you would have to join the SLi Money Makeover Online Program to find out the rest ;)).

Doing the work 
Yes it was hard! I discovered that a physical makeover is very similar to a financial makeover! But just because it was hard didn’t mean it couldn’t be done. I did it in phases to ease the pain. In similar fashion to how I take my clients through the SLi Money Makeover Online Program.

1. The first 2 weeks I spent reading up on health and fitness (Education, education, education!). I reduced my food portion sizes and I told my family, workmates and friends about it. They were all supportive and one of my workmates Tracy Lee gave me tips on how to make drinking 2litres of water per day easier and went as far as policing me for the first few days (she herself has lost about 24kilos over the last year or so). Another workmate Tremayne made it his duty to tease me about it every day (yes we need those too) and changed my name to Miss 5Kilos. Two other workmates took me for lunch time walks to get me into the habit of being more active.

2. The next phase I brought in the experts –Dr Manina Beukes a nutritional expert, Zipiwe Banda an aspiring personal trainer and Lomthunzi a gym buddy (she was already on the journey herself). I also announced it on my facebook page because there is nothing quite like ‘the public’ to keep you accountable! 🙂

I needed to up the gears, get back to gym and do it properly. Mind you these experts did this work with me online (apart from the nutritional lady who had to come in to take measurements once a month) so the excuse for not having support locally is thrown out of the window for you!

3. Finally am at the maintenance phase where am working on toning, reducing my body fat and replacing it lean mass whilst maintaining my weight.

Here I am now, all flustered from a heavy work out (well…the gym attire was spruced up by the fabulous shoes that were sent to me by my wonderful personal trainer) and I feel great!

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Unyce

    wow! Congratulations girl! You look wonderful. And if you could do it, so can anyone else…..the best part is we know you and can relate to you and its not someone tens of thousands of miles away who probably doesnt understand our lifestyle, food, stress etc. I am encouraged! Thanx.

  2. Maureen

    *whoop whoop*!!!!!!!!!!go DIVA!! am so jealous of those shoes!!

  3. tamara

    Great going Lele.. I need to do the same thing..

  4. Rebecca

    Well done!!!! Keep it up!!!

  5. Zipiwe Banda

    My dear Lelemba. I have actual tears in eyes looking at this transformation.You look absolutely stunning!! Thank for being my guinea pig…Your determination and hard work just inspires.Congratulations on the achievement…Very Well done…So emotional here.

  6. Lelemba

    Thank you ladies. Its very encouraging and spot on Unyce! I understand what you mean @ being able to relate. Its such an impoortant thing for me too.

  7. Sandras

    Well done Lele. I think the worst for me was when I met the shop keeper from Metrosexual and he asked me if we had a baby now! I was touched:( Yaba! The tummy is gone. You’ve proved it’s possible when you decided to do it and ask for help. I’m proud of you! I loved you with the tummy and I love you even more now. I can’t believe there was still some more beauty hidden under those protective layers of fat. lol! You look even more gorgeous! You haven’t lost your assets – I remember it was your concern – you still got your hips, boobs and booty – which I love! See the flippin smile on my face! LOL! Keep going. Set a new goal otherwise you’ll relax.

  8. Lelemba

    [email protected] Metrosexual shop keeper! You didn’t tell me about that honey! LOL! I am sure you were concerned about the FIRE that may erupt huh? LOL! But even my friend Laureen asked me after the kicthen tea if I was pregnant! LOL! You gotta be grateful for honest friends! I said “I am not and I know I have work to do!

  9. Zenith

    I have been slacking for the last three months..i have packed on about 10 lbs and have very little energy……after seeing these pictures..i am hitting the gym again. You look great!!!!

  10. Thandi

    Wow, Lele am so encouraged. i had lost some weight last year which i slowly started gaining after not hitting the gym for 2 months. Did’t mind as i thot i was eating right….while the result was a 5kg increase and with my frame, every1 started noticing(and commenting).Given myself 5 week, am gona lose it.Am 1 of those who hates pipo commenting on my weight, i honestly feel some overdo it to make u feel bad.

  11. Angelica Mwambazi

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh ba DIVA!yo kwena u have toned!welldone mama u r an inspiration! ur hard work has paid off!!

  12. Lom

    You look beautiful my friend, well done, loving those toned arms. Lets work towards those cyborg!

  13. Thandi

    you look GREAT!!! and bigup for staying strong during the makeover, it really does take determination. You are such an inspiration!

  14. sandra mbolela


  15. coco nyumbu

    shucks Lele…proud of you…now tell me something you are not good at!!
    Also going to give this a bash…after reading your story…i will start with Face book!!

  16. Lelemba

    Thank you very much ladies. I am glad to see the sharing of the story has inspired some of you into action. I think we need to take exercise and eating healthy as part of life. Then its not so hard to do. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing your progress!

  17. bwalya

    u looking fabulous-ifwe bamo we wey passed redemption -but im still soo inspired-might jus make use of my sports card n go gyming or sumfin-awe elo those shoes r hoooooooot!i think thats my motivation-u looking great

  18. Benita Cyster

    Wow Lelemba. What a fantastic achievement. yes we do see the signs but doesnt always act. youve inspired me to start as well. God bless much love LUMLEYS PLACE

  19. ndolanga

    sisy is so incouraging am in the same boots and havent i didnt know where to start i had planned to start in january am three months in the year and nothing i know i have to do something about my weight especially with my BP the tips you have given are valuable . email me on other steps i might need to take especially food i love to cook and eat !!! its hard but i know i can do it also . thanks

  20. Jimena

    Oh dear dear!!! That is one the most incredible changes I’ve seen in my live!!! Congratulations!!!
    Knowing Zipi and now you ican certainty say that everything can de achieve , you just need encourage, determination and the right people around you. I witness Zipi weight loss and how her determination changed her appearence and her whole life!!
    I also know now that we women are strong and can do anything we want in and with our lives, you are just two great examples of how things can be done and how we turn around negative aspects into wonderful achievements and examples! Well done!!
    And Zipi you are my favourite manager and amaizing friend!!

  21. Gita Madhu

    Amazing! I’ve yet to reach how you look now but am getting there!

  22. Chabs

    You look great lady!!! So all the work with the sweat and tears? does pay off. I feel so encouraged and motivated after reading about your journey because just like you, I have those assets that tend to get heavy, and they do need some work. I’m enjoying the gym, but other times I don’t. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Keep it up

  23. Musama K

    Hey hey heyyyy!!!
    I am so so sooo inspired Lele! I have way more than 5kg to lose! But I believe its doable! You my dear have added fuel to this blazing fire!
    I started running a month ago and have not made any adjustments to my diet. That’s a lifestyle change I need to make for sho!!
    Kudos to you Lele!

  24. Khothatso

    Wow Lele, I’m been lazing around blaming it on cold weather, you are such an inspiration. I’m stepping out of the comfort Zone. Thank you Diva.

  25. Lelemba

    Thank you very much ladies… and believe me, if I can do it so can you! xoxo

  26. Anastazia

    wow, am so encouraged. thanx for sharing.

  27. Silvia


    This is truly inspiring! I have started on this path from the be fab page but you know I really didnt think it in the way you put it. especially the re valuing your values bit. thats really important. I know that by the last weigh in I will only be 6kilos down from the start of the program but for me its a slow learning process to undo tired old habits and consolations that got me where I am today.

    Its a long, difficult journey for me and sometimes I just feel helpless and hopeless but when I read this (accidentally at that!) am encouraged all over again to get back on and keep trying coz I really need to do this for me firstly and then for my kids and hubby too.

    Thanks Lele you’re truly a blessing you have no idea.


  28. Memory

    Hi Lelemba,

    I recently wore my hair natural again after many months of wearing wigs and braids. The excitement of having my hair natural inspired me to take some pictures. From the new pictures i had an ”Aha moment” i realised that i have gained a lot of weight. This realisation came with a lot of stress and more eating. Thankfully, i came across your blog and for some reason, i feel very hopeful about losing this extra weight. Thank you so much for your post.


  29. Mutale

    Aww…. You look gorgeous Lelemba. I’m so inspired to keep on working out in the gym. My biggest problem is lack of consistence. How do you overcome that? I need help with being consistent….

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