What changed the day I started exercising; MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!!

I’m learning to reflect on the journey and the processes that we go through to becoming who we have become and reaching our goals. My love for exercise and its benefits go far beyond what I post on the day-to-day.

You know what my favorite request is by now.
Will you journey with me as I take you through how I came to value exercise and how it ended up being one of my favorite things? 

LET’S START HERE… 

It’s ok to laugh… 😀

I’ve been a pretty BIG GIRL from the word go: ) 

Genetically, I’ve been divinely modified to be rather wider than tall, and heavier than light. And genetically, I’m prone to diabetes- in fact – I was a juvenile diabetic. Oh AND, I’m an asthmatic. Yup , those are all the things that run in my family. 

As a child I was quite obese, to put it bluntly. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with massive confidence which I carried from a very young age as well, so even through all the teasing and the different words used to describe and call me, I still walked tall( well, short). 


So one day my friend Zimasa and I were sitting, probably over a packet of chips and muffins – because that used to be our favorite comfort food. I don’t know what sparked it in us to want to go and weigh ourselves. This is a picture of us a few months after we had already embarked on the weight-loss journey. ( Please don’t judge the quality of my photos, just get the message 🙂 We had actually lost some weight by now- grade 7 2008.

Anyway, after stepping onto that scale, I need not mention the numbers but what I do need to mention is that after that weigh-in, We were shaken! We immediately, and no I’m not exaggerating, with IMMEDIATE EFFECT we went for a walk around the block and we started jogging at some point. 

I can clearly remember how we were the joke of the day in the neighbourhood and how we literally could not even jog a distance of about 800m without dying of being out of breath. 

Nonetheless we continued on. I think mainly because that evening both our parents were super excited that we had been out onto the road to initiate something like this. It was so motivating to see how from the very first initiative we took, they believed in us, and were our  biggest cheerleaders. THE BEAUTY OF HAVING SOMEONE BELIEVE IN YOU. That’s really what most of us need in life, just someone to believe in us! That very same day Zimasa’s mother gave us a diet plan to follow. We started, right then and there. 

” That’s really what most of us need in life, just someone to believe in us!”

Dineo Sefoloko

I can remember that it was 3 days later that my mother said to me “Hey…you are losing weight!” I mean I don’t know if she was just trying to apply the placebo effect of motivation but man did it work! I can say that even if the weight loss part was not true, I started feeling the effect of exercise myself and I felt absolutely on top of the world! 

What a life-changing decision! It almost became obsessive .. and we loved it! And most certainly pressed in. Guys, IT.WAS.LIFE-CHANGING. Not just mind-altering, mood-altering, lifestyle-altering, it was a whole paradigm shift- life altering! 

” IT.WAS.LIFE-CHANGING. Not just mind-altering, mood-altering, lifestyle-altering, it was a whole paradigm shift. Life-altering!”

Dineo Sefoloko

Here’s what changed, and I’m sure some of these pointers go for Zimasa as well.

  • I LOST WEIGHT!!! 

Before I started exercising, I mainly had an external awareness of my body- from negative comments and just names I was called, but what exercise did, is it gave me something so beautiful- an internal awareness of and the capabilities of my body. I realized that I needed to shed some kilos and when I realized that my body could- I was unstoppable! Instead of a destructive awareness brought on from external awareness, it was a constructive awareness that moved me to want to make a change to my body for the better. It sometimes became an unhealthy, obsessive awareness, but overall it was a positive effect that had me knowing just by how I felt, more than anything, when I hadn’t been exercising.

  • I HAD MOTIVATION TO GET UP EVERY.SINGLE.DAY

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, EVEN AS DIFFICULT AS IT WAS, BECAUSE OF THE EFFECTS EXERCISE WAS HAVING ON ME, I ACTUALLY WANTED TO GO, MORE AND MORE EVERYDAY. And this is exactly the effect exercise has. Why do you think people end running more and more races, to marathons over and over again? Those feel-good hormones called endorphins combined with knowing the extent to which you can push your body is enough to keep you going, even when you thought you would not want to. Even when there is nothing else to look forward to, there’s a workout to get up for, too give you that shot of euphoria again and give you the feeling of conquering something for the day! 

  • MY MOOD AND ATTITUDE WAS SUDDENLY ELEVATED. 

Contrary to the common thought that exercise will make you tired, I FELT MORE ENERGETIC, not only that. I was HAPPIER, MORE CONFIDENT… I had always been confident to a certain extent even in my overweight state, but now, my smile became wider!!! Little did I know that my daily good mood was just a walk/a run/a jog/ a cycle away!  I also became more productive in my schoolwork and could focus better, motivating me more in my work. The psychological effects actually far outweighed even the weight loss. 

I bumped into this video recently and it explained all of my sentiment in just a short video clip.

P.S A MUST WATCH! –  THE BRAIN CHANGING EFFECTS OF EXERCISE, by Wendy Suzuki. In this TED TALK, she talks about how exercise not only scientifically alters the cells of the brain but also talks of the benefits of memory improvement and protection against diseases of old age. Please do check it out. https://www.ted.com/talks/wendy_suzuki_the_brain_changing_benefits_of_exercise?language=en

  • I BECAME MORE AWARE AND COGNISANT OF WHAT I ATE, 

NATURALLY, this happens when you begin to exercise. I was just driven to make healthier choices, initially because I wanted to optimise the weight loss. But also the more I consistently exercised, I naturally made healthier food choices. And I had actually not known that it was something that had gone to be studied and proven. 
AND SO I BECAME OBSESSED ABOUT GOOD FOODS, WHAT WAS GOOD TO CONSUME AND WHY. I still had my cheat-treats now and again, as I do even now. Hence my passion for nutrition stems from here.  

  • MY ASTHMA IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY!!

Running is known to be a trigger for asthma and some exercises are proven better than others for asthmatics. For me, running in particular, worked in my favour.  I went from carrying my pump on every run and with every season change, to not even knowing when last I used my reliever pump! My chest was less heavier with each run, and with every drop in kilograms. Now I probably only use my pump when I have an attack due to the flu or fever.

I guess it was more the being out of shape than it was the lung disease that was the main contributor. And daily when I run, I run away from diabetes that genetically burdens my family, I run away the many lifestyle diseases that affect our society today.

Exercise is more than just what you’re doing in the now and the results now, but you’re also protecting it from so many diseases and improving your body’s health both for now and for later in your life! Go and fetch your health! 

“Exercise is more than just what you’re doing in the now and the results now, but you’re also protecting it from so many diseases and improving your body’s health both for now and for later in your life! Go and fetch your health! “

Dineo Sefoloko

But the journey still continueseveryday. I’m finding my way back to being consistent in exercise again even with the working-world changing the game in so many ways. It’s a mental and physical fight with myself; to do what I know is good to do, not just for my body now, but for my body to carry me in my later years too. 

My weight has fluctuated so much ever since the beginning. I’ve put up lots of weight in between hectic times of life, I’ve lost it again, sometimes unintentionally. I’ve fallen off the exercising wagon plenty of times. The lesson learned here is to be patient and easy on yourself and your body with the changing seasons of life, but NOT TO NEVER STOP GOING, NEVER GIVE UP! 

“Be patient and easy on yourself and your body with the changing seasons of life, but never stop going, never give up on what is good,  even with the changes.”

Dineo Sefoloko

It NEVER stops getting challenging, it never becomes easier. And LIFE? It just gets busier, your plans increase in number,  in priority and it just gets more and more challenging to fit in even that 30 minutes of exercise right? 

But this I do… I GET BACK ON THE TRACK AGAIN, no matter how many times I fall. Because I now know its irreplaceable value!  And THAT is my WHY. Through this post, all I really wanted to do was show you through my own life how exercise has improved the quality of my life, to move you get moving as well and to show you that weight-loss is a journey!

Molly Bray says this about exercise ; “This is a gift you’re giving yourself, and other really significant health changes can occur along the way.” I really couldn’t agree more. Go ahead and gift yourself with one of the best things you can gift yourself with; EXERCISE. Are you coming with??

Do you exercise at all? What is your WHY when you feel tired or are not getting desired results? Or when you just don’t feel like that workout? What keeps you going?

Please drop your views and your own personal journey of how exercise has changed your life.

2 comments
  1. Yoh D!!, this reminds me of my good old days when I used to excercise constantly 😅… I was always energetic, got sick less, I mean life was popping hey!!

    Thank you for this post, I am actually challenged to go back up and get consistent again.
    I love your story sisi. It’s really encouraging.. keep going at it! 💪🏽

    1. Hi Fanele!!

      Welcome to my blog! I am so honored to have you here. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and for responding with so much enthusiasm.

      Thank you so much for the words of encouragement sisi I really appreciate it and it in return encourages me. I’m grateful that it has challenged you and is moving you to get back at it, that is what I aimed for it to do.

      Hope to see more of you and your comments here!
      Much Love Fanele

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