Featured Fitale – Leonie Louw

 

Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).

My name is Lee, I’m a South African woman who moved here a few years ago.

What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?

I worked in the hospitality industry for the initial years of being here and sadly I think this is where my unhealthy relationship with food started. I was always exposed to it and constantly snacking with no understanding of calories and their massive impact on weight gain.

After a bad breakup in 2014 decided to to something about the massive amount of weight that I had gained. I immediately reached out to women on Instagram in the fitness community and women on their weight loss journeys.

I did an entire food overhaul, nutrition has been 80% of the weight loss battle for me. I discovered that you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

What was your beginning and current weight or measurements and how long did it take you?

I lost 50 lbs from 2014-2015 and was in such a great place. Eating a low carb diet and found moderate exercise around 5 times a week.

Recently in 2016 I gained some weight (around 20 lbs at the end of the year around the holidays). December of 2016 I quickly took action, knowing that if I didn’t curb the weight gain and do something about it that I would find myself right back where I started in 2014.

How did your eating habits change?

I had to eliminate a lot of junk and unnecessary calories. Eating when I wasn’t hungry and eating too much and eating things like pizza and pasta for breakfast. I had to start giving my body nutrient dense, low calorie foods and avoid processed foods.

I started following a ketogenic diet, I counted my calories (based on my height and current weight and my goal weight), I took measurements and only used the scale as a guideline because I was more interested in fat loss rather than weight loss, I wanted to maintain curves, lose fat and change my body composition while preserving muscle.

What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner?

I try to maintain a low carb diet most of the time (under 100g of carbs per day) except on specific carb loading days when I need to replenish glycogen stores. Some days I hardly eat 30g of carbs depending on how I’m feeling so it is important to do a carb refeed around every 10 days to restore leptin and energy levels.

I eat a lot of eggs, coconut oil, avocado, fish, meat, greens, whole grains, nuts and lots of water. I also take fish oil supplements , a multivitamin and whey protein

Which physical activities did you participate in during your journey?

I did cardio and weight training 5-6 times a week and also started doing intermittent fasting, a system which allowed me to eat my calories for the day in an 8-10 hour window while I fasted for the rest of the time (most of which was during my sleep cycle).

What exercises do you do?

I do a lot of strength training and weights and I try to do a few hours of cardio a week on the elliptical and treadmill (some steady state cardio and some interval training).

What do you do now to maintain your physique?

I am now in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I continue to watch calories for weight maintenance. I workout around 5 times a week and I eat my carbs post workout. I’m learning to develop a healthy relationship with nutrition and exercise and when I have “cheat meals” I try to stick to real food like sushi or whole grain pasta meals rather than fast food.

What’s the biggest misconception about this journey?

That there are quick fixes and that you can solely use exercise to lose weight. You have to clean up your diet and it’s a long road which requires dedication and consistency if you want lasting results. It’s a change of lifestyle too, it’s not simply a “diet”, it’s a nutrition overhaul and a change in mindset.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get started with their fitness journey but not sure where to begin?

Do not give up! When I first lost weight in 2014 it took about 8-12 weeks for me to see drastic results, I felt like giving up, if I had not stuck to it and gave up 7 weeks in I would never know the joy I know now. Also, educate yourself on nutrition, it’s a wonderful gift to give yourself and the people you love.

Who are your fitness inspirations?

I like Jillian Michaels, she has a no nonsense approach which I do well with.

Do you have a social media account people can connect to you on? 

Yes, I use Instagram: @happy_curves and snap chat: happy_curves / missmambalouw

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