In a world that objectifies and polices the female body, in almost equal measure, we champion the right for women to wear their bodies anyway they most feel comfortable. One lady who wasn’t quite happy with how she looked is 38-year old Clinical Service Manager, Desrine Gordon, who recently transformed her body by losing 30kg. We sat down with her to ask what motivated her to lose weight and how she did it.
What motivated you to start your fitness journey?
I got tired of writing “I need to lose weight as a new year’s resolution” and before I did that, I was always saying, “I am going to focus on being healthy”. I just got really big and comfortable, I needed to do something.
How big were you at your biggest?
I was about 103kg.
Briefly take us through how you lost the weight? What was your exercise and diet regime?
I joined a programme called “Challenge 28” – it involved group personal training sessions and you had to go at least four days a week. So, it’s working out four days a week on a one-month programme and I decided to kind of keep it up once I was done.
Was it easy to keep up?
The first six weeks were extremely hard, it was really difficult.
How supportive were your family and friends?
That’s a difficult one actually, I would say yes, they supported me, but I don’t think people realized how big I was until I showed them pictures now and it was like “oh I can’t believe you were ever that big”. They were very supportive.
What advice would you give to anyone out there who wants to lose weight?
I would say that the weight is a symptom of your health. Until you get healthy your weight wouldn’t change. So, you have to think about what causes someone to healthy, and, for me, the answer is working out. You can’t lose weight until you are healthy.
Did your age make it harder for you to lose weight?
Oh, I think so, definitely, I yoyo-dieted for years and it definitely got a lot harder to get the weight off once I got past 35.
Have you tried previous ways of dieting before you found the right diet?
Oh yes, I tried all different diets, all sorts of desperate things to try and get the weight off and it’s something that works for a while but it’s not a sustainable way of living. There are things you go back to eating normally, and the weight comes back on. What I have found through this process is that I learnt to listen to my body. So, I feed my body good things and actually as a result of this I have now become a vegan because I realized that my body feels at its best on a plant-based diet. So yes, I eat in reaction to how I feel, so when I eat heavy meats I know my body will feel sluggish and I will feel drained, tired but when I eat plant-based foods, I am a lot more energetic, I feel light. So yeah, I listen to my body.
So less of a diet and more of a lifestyle change?
Yes, definitely, it’s a lifestyle change. It’s not something that you can do for a little while and stop because you could still go back to where you were before. A lot of these hard diets wouldn’t give the body the nourishment and nutrients it needs to function. And some people start suffering with headaches and hair loss and all sorts of things because they are on such restricted diets that don’t provide the variety of nutrients that’s needed to keep the body healthy, so yes it can be damaging for your health and the best way to go about is slow and steady, find something that works. You don’t gain huge amounts of weight in six months so to think that you would take it all off in six months is unrealistic.
What’s next for you?
I entered a transformation show in May called the WBFF (World Beauty, Fashion & Fitness) and I’ve been having a great experience. I got invited to come back and compete on the international stage in Las Vegas so there’s been a lot of preparation for that. I am also now studying to be a personal trainer because I just enjoy fitness so much and would love to help other people find their way on their fitness journey.
An example of Desrine’s daily meal plan
Oats with almond milk or water topped with fresh banana, blueberries and strawberries
Veggie burger with a large salad
Baked Sweet potato with Quorn, spinach and avocado
Seeds, nuts and a piece of fruit
She would typically drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day.