Shazia's Story

Although you would never believe it, Shazia has struggled with excess weight all her life which impacted her self-confidence.

In her early twenties, Shazia like most women had lost weight in an unhealthy manner by being conscious of what was "allowed", living off fruit thinking it was healthy but then bingeing on tea and biscuits by late afternoon.

This damaging pattern saw her growing to a size 16 and although she managed to lose this excess weight whilst living in London, she still remained "skinny fat" and her fear of gaining weight consumed her.

Life saw her moving to South Africa and one random morning, going for a run at the local park and stumbling across the Jozi X Training runners. This led her to joining the club and ignited a passion Shazia didn't know she had in her for running and soon started running her first 10km, 21km and marathons with the goal of running Comrades 2016.

Her training for Comrades 2016 was flawless. Shazia trained with personal trainer , Claude Ndeko from Virgin Active to gain muscle mass and strength for her core and legs to assist her performance and recovery in races. She had logged in excess of 1000km mileage over 4 months and ran 3 marathons yet failed to reach the sub-5 hour qualification needed for Comrades.

At this point, Shazia realised that something was amiss. Her training was on point, she was consistent and the mileage spoke for itself, yet she was struggling. As the Comrades dream slipped away, Shazia found out she suffered from low iron levels which had to be carefully managed.

Claude introduced her to Mandy Saks, a nutritional advisor based in Norwood. She found that this new found lifestyle helped her become a stronger runner within 8 weeks. More beneficial than that, was her transformation mentally and emotionally.

Shazia began to understand her relationship with food. She also started fueling her body and broke the barrier of being afraid to eat.

Shazia's running times excelled once she started eating healthily and having smaller meals at regular intervals. She had personal bests across all 3 distances and proudly achieved a 4:45 marathon and completed the Two Oceans UltraMarathon in March 2017. However, the biggest metamorphoses for Shazia has to be the intangible ones. The acceptance that food IS fuel and that skipping meals led to nutritional deficiencies. The understanding of sugar and its role and the importance of gut health. The fact that this was not a diet and not restrictive, she can still have rice and roti. The mastering of her relationship with food and her triggers and how to manage them. The blossoming of a young mother and her confidence and self-acceptance. The tools to live beyond a scale, listen to her body, and make educated, informed choices for her and her family.

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