CHANTEL ERFORT MANUEL
39 | NEWSPAPER EDITOR
Like so many people, I steadily put on weight over the years. As a journalist, I am always on deadline, under pressure and rushing, so I made bad food choices. And, as I moved up the ladder at work, my position became more desk-bound and my life increasingly sedentary.
Also, as I was doing my master’s and working late at night snacking and drinking wine, I became caught in a spiral. At the end of 2016, I handed in my thesis and finally felt I had a chance to take back my life.
In January 2017, I stepped on the scale – 107,4kg! I decided then and there that I had to make drastic changes.
A couple of friends had experienced dramatic weight loss through the Sleekgeek community ( www.sleekgeek.co.za), so I signed up for its 30-day Reboot. I cut out refined sugars, legumes, dairy and grains, and after two weeks I could start seeing and feeling the changes. My husband did it with me and it felt like a sustainable way to eat.
I had some good weight loss, but I realised I needed to focus on exercise as well, so I started going to gym. One day, one of the trainers approached me and asked what my goals were. I had done some boxing in the past, but I started working with him on boxing techniques. That’s when I started seeing real change in my fitness and physique.
Also, boxing became a metaphor for overcoming many of the insecurities I had developed over the years. From there, we started making Box Anywhere videos, which I post on my blog Edited Eating ( editedeating.co.za). Its aim is to not only promote boxing as a sport that anyone can do but also to use it as a metaphor for stepping outside your boundaries and claiming back contested spaces. We started the series at a place near my home that had become crime-ridden and then we boxed on Rondebosch Common and Camps Bay Beach, in areas that were declared for ‘whites only’ under apartheid law.
I want to help others reclaim their bodies, so I started writing a column in the Saturday edition of the Weekend Argus called Edited Eating. I also try to encourage workplace wellness.
In 2017 I lost 33kg and have now lost a total of 40kg. As my journey continues, I am gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight. I can honestly tell you that it has changed everything in my life.