Here's my personal story, for all of us who might've been faced with this challenging hurdle at some stage or another. Article on Health24 x

Bonita shares her journey of donating 15kgs back to life:

Banting, Paleo, Atkins, Suzelle DIY, Juice or no Juice – how do we choose the best way to get healthier, slimmer and fit into our sexy jeans again.

With a plethora of options, contradictions and false promises, it can be a tricky game of trendy


In 2010 I climbed Kili (Kilimanjaro) and was in peak physical condition. I was fit, slim and healthy, and I felt great. Somehow over the next four years it all slipped away as I gained a hefty 15kg onto my petite frame.

I refused to buy ‘fat’ jeans and all the jeans I had, had split after repeated breakdancing moves. Big baggy tops, tights or black dresses became the order of the day. Hide it. No one will see.

Unless of course I’m on camera for a Carte Blanche story, in HD.

This is Bonita before she started her weight loss journey earlier this year

The more weight I picked up, the more I ate, the unhappier I became, the more I ate, the more I wanted to hide from the world. It’s a slippery slope.

But weight gain, although physically activated by food, is a far more complex manifestation of one’s inner world.

And apparently my inner and outer world was in need of a serious make over.

I’ve discovered that life’s voice is multi-faceted – there’s the still, small voice that whispers gently to us, which if left unheeded, is usurped by Malcolm Gooding’s ‘God Voice’ which elicits a ‘I feel the earth, move, under my feet’ remix by a symphony orchestra on Tik.

In March this year, Malcolm spoke.

My entire life changed; career, home, relationship, country – I packed my bags and headed for New Zealand to join my family and regroup.

When we’re feeling stuck internally, a physical shift can be key to initiating personal transformation.

I couldn’t afford a nutritionist, personal trainer or magician so I needed to use what I had and map out my own way.

A way, I have come to call ‘www’ - the 3 W’s to donating weight back to life.

W1 – My Big Fat Why

How can you say no to chocolate? (Deafening silence...) You’re having cauli-rice instead of pasta? And you won’t have the ice-cream made with real fruit – but it’s got fruit in it – that’s healthy?!

Why? Why are you doing this???

Awkward silence.

Freedom. I’m doing it for the freedom of having more choices.

Choices in how I’m able to live life as a healthier, stron ger, more vital version of me so that I can do more, experience more, accomplish more and be the best me I can be.

I choose this freedom, because it’s my big fat WHY. Pass the cauli-rice please.’

According to Neuro Semantics, meaning drives performance. If we’re not motivated towards or away from something, there’s no movement. So I needed a really meaningful WHY to propel me there.

How do we get it? By asking some big questions.

  1. What do I want in relation to my health & weight?

  2. WHY is that important to me?

  3. What will that enable me to do?

  4. What is valuable to me about looking and living healthier?

  5. WHY is that important to me?

Beliefs, identities, values, understandings – they’re all spices in a delicious brew that reveal the potent WHY.

W2 – What You Got?

Letting go of ‘what was’, the ‘if onlys’ and using what we’ve got, not only obliterates excuses, but can catapult us beyond obstacles & challenges that stand in the way of us achieving our goals.

With my 30kg bag of possessions, close friends in NZ I could count on my 1 hand, precious family and now a big fat WHY, I took the next step.

I dug out an old eating plan from a sports nutritionist that worked for me previously, shotgunned my Dad’s old iPod, my ancient Kili exercise tights and hit the road, almost literally at first…

After my first 30 mins of short interval running/walking, I was a fried tomato with a side order of endorphins that left me happily exhausted.

Though it’s hardly ever easy getting the heart rate up and pushing through those moments where not even expletives could express how hard it felt, there was an amazing sense of achievement after doing even the shortest spout of exercise, which fuelled my next attempt.

Through my family’s business, I eventually met a fabulous SA couple that run Epic Training Studios and joined them for 2 weekly 30 min kick-ass classes, threw in some more interval running, which eventually led to running 5km races and then running for an hour at a time, twice a week some weeks.

These images show Bonita hard at work training

I still enjoyed a glass of red wine with supper sometimes and on weekends would excitedly enjoy a couple treats - my Achilles’ Heel – cheeeeese!!! Super yummy treats to keep my body stoked and head happy too.

Regardless of how much I thought I needed to do it ‘properly’, somehow I always had what I needed to support me in my journey. I just needed to look and see what I did have, to transform what I thought I didn’t.

W3 – Wax On, Wax Off!

Once have plan. Wax on, wax off. Cross finish line.

The Karate Kid made a good point; consistent behaviour achieves the result.

Surrounding ourselves with supportive friends and family, meeting up with running, hiking and exercise groups, keeping meals exciting with delicious recipes online, celebrating progress with a simple body measurement journal are just some ways we can support ourselves in staying the course - especially on days it can all feel quite tedious.

What I ate, and what I didn't

While many may not agree, this ‘way’ of eating got me to where I wanted to be again:

2 golden rules - always under 3g fat per 100g and under 10g carbs per 100g.

  • 3 meals a day

  • 2 fruits as snacks in between meals - mostly apples, kiwi and mandarins. Stayed away from grapes, bananas, mangos because they are high in sugar

  • Fresh veggies and protein with breakfast, lunch and supper. I’ve found that once taste buds are accustomed to eating healthily that's what the body enjoys and wants. It can take a little while to shake the sugar and carb cravings in the beginning but it soon becomes the norm.

  • Breakfast - cold meat (the least processed) wraps - salad wrapped in the cold meats with mustard - very yum! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it:);

  • scrambled egg whites and some salad on the side

  • Another way to get the goodness of veg in, is to create this Green Mamba: tomato, spinach, broccoli, celery, carrot, mushrooms, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, pink salt, pepper - add boiling water and blend until smooth! As my Dad says (without fail) it switches all the lights on!!

  • Lunches - chicken salad, previous night’s curry & cauli-rice (always rocks the next day), chicken and veg, steak and veg or salad and tuna.

  • Dinner - steak and veg or cauli-rice with typical SA mushroom, tomato and onion gravy. Lots of braais with braaied long strips of egg plant and whole mushrooms. Stir fries, chicken, salad, delicious curries and stews.

  • No starch - there are enough carbs in fruit and veg apparently

  • Lots of water, 2 litres min a day

  • Low fat / 2% milk in my coffee - at least 3 cups a day - oops!

  • No fat on meat, butter, margerine or cream

  • And of course, ditched the sweets, sugar, crisps and fast foods

  • Variety, spices, herbs - essential to keeping it fresh, exciting and enticing! Over weekends, I’d eat much the same, but on Sundays in particular I’d get out that cheese and chips and enjoy every morsel!

The reality is, there is no QUICK FIX. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t take 6 weeks to let go of 4 years worth of heaviness.

A new way of ‘being’ is a process. It’s not ‘weight’ proof and it isn’t a tick on the old bucket list to be forgotten.

It’s a journey that requires regular reviewing of our ‘Big Fat Why’, a constant counting of ‘What you Got’ and an impermeable commitment to ‘Wax on, Wax off.’

Bonita back in her jeans, feeling good and loving life

7 months in, I finally reached my goal and donated all 15kg's back to life, 77cm all round.

What’s next? Maybe a 10km race or two, perhaps another great mountain in the future. But for now, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing until it’s time to do something else.


There's no need to go it alone... If you're in a similar position to where Bonita was and would support in actualising a goal that's important for you, please contact Bonita for Personal Coaching.

For more information on Health and wellness, visit Health24.

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Bonita is a lover of adventurous, authentic living and the power of the human spirit. 


She believes we are all masterful creators of our lives, that we all have the answers within us and that it is possible to live our best lives!


Bonita's blog is a collection of poetry, stories, experiences and personal insights that are born out of her own life journey.


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