Zintle’s body never held her back. She knew she was overweight, but she still rocked her voluptuous curves. “I grew up chubby and I even got nicknamed ‘Oros Woman’. So I didn’t watch what I ate, justifying that I’m big anyway,” she explains. She loved taking photos, but two years ago when she saw herself through the eyes of the lens she was shocked. “I lived on luxury food and takeaways. My biggest weakness was peanut butter and jam on white bread, washed down with a two-litre Coke,” says Zintle. And when she wasn’t hitting the drive-throughs, she’d enjoy big portions at the tshisa nyama, with malva pudding for dessert. Her handbag almost always had a chocolate or Turkish delight in it.
Time taken to lose weight: Two years
Lesson learnt: “I never regret what I eat”
Secret weapon: Healthy eating and exercise
In January 2012, Zintle attended the J&B Met thinking she looked fabulous. Two days later she saw the pics… and didn’t feel so fab. “I cried for three full days, not believing what I was seeing. Yes, I knew I was big. But I didn’t really see what a size 46 looked like or how huge a 44G bra was,” recalls Zintle. It was the reality check she needed. She wanted a body she could be proud of.
Instead of eating out, Zintle started cooking healthier versions of her favourite restaurant food, boosted her veggie intake and measured her portions. “Plus I cut out bread and meat completely for an entire year and replaced that two-litre Coke with three litres of water. On the exercise front, my supportive husband and I started walking. We made those walks romantic, so I enjoyed them,” says Zintle. The walks became slow jogs and, after a while, became runs. Zintle then started spinning twice a day, six times a week. Today she follows a cocktail of training methods, including resistance training and cardio.
Zintle’s now-lean bod allows her to run ultra-marathons and, today, she is anything but camera shy. She is also currently launching her own weight-loss coaching business on Instagram, where she has more than 3 000 followers. “Dropping eight dress sizes has boosted my self-esteem,” says Zintle.
Start where you are. “Cut out all the foods you know you’re not supposed to eat. Be aware of everything that passes your lips.”
Use what you have. “You might not have a gym membership yet, but you can start with a skipping rope at home.”
Do what you can. “It doesn’t require two hours of working out; bits and pieces will soon add up.”