Most women struggle with the ever present issue of weight and the subsequent relationship with food. Three women share their journey, one a part time health and fitness blogger, the other two finalists in Women’s Health Magazine SA the Next Fitness Star Competition 2017. Real beauty is having good health, not necessary (only by) healthy living. Most important of all, it is essential to have a healthy self-image.
One of the Finalists is Maleburu Mali Ramara. Mali is a Sociologist, Personal Trainer and a Group Fitness, Aqua and Yoga Instructor. She has brain Lupus (in remission) and Alopecia. Her self-discovery ranged from self-hate to learning to love herself.
Childhood memories include Jane Fonda and countless hours of exercising. She used exercise to control “things outside of myself, that were beyond my control.” When Lupus attacked for the third time, she was down and out, ate everything that she could and shouldn’t. She gained 15kg and depression struck. Her first client calling was her lifeline. After giving countless reasons as to why she cannot exercise and eat healthy, she knew it was time to help herself before she could help others. A year later Lupus is in remission and no depression. Today she listens to her body and meditates.
Tracey-Lee Lusty, a full-time attorney, and part-time health and fitness blogger from Cape Town, also decided it was time to make a change and regain her health. Her journey began in August last year after reaching 115kgs, the heaviest she has ever been. She started an Instagram account to document her transformation journey and to remain accountable to herself. She quickly gained a following, thus the brand FITNESSGIRL was borne. She realized that people were desperate for a genuine account of a weight loss struggle. She uses her platform to inspire and empower others to make a positive change in their lives. Nine months later and she is almost 35kgs down – incredible. As she says, “I have been so blessed meeting amazing people along the way. It’s an honor to walk this journey and inspire women around the world to start their own journeys too.”
Biokineticist and Personal Trainer Jade Upton is also a Top 10 Finalist. At first she was uncertain of what to study, when her favourite subjects Biology, Chemistry and PE led the way. She studied Biokinetics at Eastern University in Philadelphia. Upon returning to South Africa, she completed her Honors Degree at the UKZN, Westville. She realized her passion for helping women with weight-loss and challenging them to become fitter, happier and healthier versions of themselves. Thus her company Unjaded Fitness was borne. It portrays her passion for helping women to love themselves through empowerment, upliftment, a change in mindset, self-belief and to combine this with exercising and healthy living.
Now some Q&A’s
BE: What would be an off day for you, active or lie on the couch off?
Mali: An off day is either relaxing while watching television or reading. Sometimes opts for lunch and a movie.
Tracey- Lee: An “off day” is rare, but when I do get the chance , I would start my day with some ‘me time’ exercise (maybe a weight training session) followed by catching up on my favorite TV series – so half active off, half couch off. Otherwise I will be blogging about the latest fitness trend or Adidas apparel.
Jade: I’m still active – don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the odd day on the couch watching movies, but it has to be rainy or overcast outside. I love the outdoors, so more than likely you will find me on the beach or trying out some new sport.
BE: What would be a cheat day – food wise?
Mali: Cheat days are a no-no, but a cheat meal would be fat cakes and coffee.
Tracey-Lee: OOOOH it has to be pizza and donuts. Hey, go big or go home right?
Jade: I looooove food, especially sweet foods! It would either be a jam donut, sour strip sweets, or sweet and salty kettle corn popcorn. Lots of cappuccinos too!
BE: What is your favorite travel destination and do you exercise while you’re away?
Mali: No favorite, recently visited the UK. Body weight exercises and the resistance band are great for when you are travelling; you can do it in the comfort of your room.
Tracey-Lee: Locally, it would have to be the Garden Route and Plettenberg Bay. I have spent some time in Mauritius recently. I could totally do the island living thang! Exercise is a must, to indulge in all the yummies...guilt free.
Jade: Phuket, Thailand. It’s cheap; people are friendly, outstanding cuisine and exploring easy. A run every now and then – but holiday is holiday. There’s too much to see with so little time. I’d rather enjoy every second experiencing the culture or admiring an incredible view.
BE: What is your favorite can’t do without beauty product
Mali: Day & Night Moisturizers, toner, eye cream, sun screen. I adore Body Treatments such as a scrub, body oil and body butter. A beautiful wig and water is a must.
Tracey-Lee: My Mac Makeup Brow Kit. Brows are so important to me. I honestly would leave home with zero makeup bar for my brows and lashes.
Jade: Lip-ice/lip-balm. Dry chapped lips are a no-no for me.
BE: What jeans would you go for: skinny, boyfriend or dungarees?
Mali: I’m a bit clueless about the latest trends, but my boyfriend jeans look good on me, so boyfriend jeans for me.
Tracey-Lee: Ooooh, I am now FINALLY able to fit into skinny jeans again. It’s flattering and actually makes my legs look...skinny haha! It complements any shoe - block heel, converse or a knee high boot.
Jade: Skinny Jeans. My legs are my best asset so no hiding behind baggy pants! They literally go with any top or pair of shoes/boots.
BE: You’ve won a competition- a Blind date with your favorite world famous movie star. What shoes would you wear to bolster your confidence?
Mali: Shoes have names these days, so definitely a pair from the Jimmy Choos Red Bottom Collection.
Tracey-Lee: Hmmmm, well block heels are all the rage right now. Finally the Shoe Gods got it right when it comes to style AND comfort. They are super comfy, edgy and go with a cute LBD. I want to see my date’s face...not my ass when I fall ;)
Jade: Wedges. They show off sexy legs and my chilled personality - comfy too.
BE: Which Social Medium do you use the most?
Mali: FB for interacting with different people, business and fitness. Instagram is like knocking on your door to say hello or a bit more, then you leave. I am new on Twitter, so watch this space/ Tweet.
Tracey-Lee: Instagram. I’m able to empower a lovely community of women through my weight loss journey. I love sharing “behind the scenes” giving insight into my daily life. This makes it real and not simply a pretty photo. It’s great for marketing and business.
Jade: Instagram – Totally addictive! I love the stories, you can be so creative, plus it’s lovely seeing everyone’s photos from their daily activities.