After losing her father to cancer, Cebi Mabandla jumped on a scale to get a clearer picture of her health and weight, and the results shocked her – she weighed 168 kg. This is how adopting a balanced lifestyle helped her lose 100 kilos.

My dad’s death petrified me as I was young and overweight. Concern overwhelmed me after I realised that being obese meant there was a higher probability that I would also develop a life-threatening disease.”

About Cebi

  • Weight before: 168 kg
  • Weight after: 68 kg
  • Weight lost: 100 kg
  • Occupation: Freelance digital creator, voice-over artist, speaker
  • IG: @Cebi_bhelelihle 

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Mindless eating

Those three digits on that scale were a revelation for Cebi, helping her realise that years of mindless eating with little regard for what goes into her mouth had contributed to her weight gain.

Nutrition and exercise were never a priority for Cebi while growing up. She was comfortable living at home as her parents took care of her every need. But losing her father forced Cebi to reevaluate her life.

My weight traumatised me. I was frustrated that I had reached this point. I was not happy with my body structure as I could not find clothes that would fit me.

Her deteriorating health also served as an eye-opener as walking any distance was torture as she would quickly run out of breath. Cebi realised that she needed to change her lifestyle to guarantee a longer, healthier life.

I was motivated to walk a healthier path before it was too late because we only have one body to live in, and we can never regain wasted time.”

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It also started at gym

The first stop on her journey to better health, fitness and happiness was the local gym, where Cebi signed up as a new member.

Fortunately, I had my twin sister who embarked on this journey with me from the start. We were determined to make it work together, regardless of the challenges we faced, and I drew inspiration from her. Giving up was never an option in our books.”

Since she lacked knowledge about healthy living and exercise, Cebi hired a personal trainer to guide her in the right direction and hold her accountable. Her trainer introduced Cebi to a world of exercises to improve her health and support weight loss.

Her training routine included cardio exercises like walking, jogging and skipping, strength training with weights, kettlebells and her bodyweight, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the form of boxing and kickboxing.

The training was tough at first. I would get sick all of a sudden, and on several occasions, refused to participate in certain exercises as I thought it would strain my body or that I might fall and break a bone.”

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Mindset reset

Cebi worked on her mindset, channelling positivity into her approach as she believed that a positive mindset generates positive outcomes.

My late dad also instilled values and a sense of purpose in me by teaching me that success isn’t entitlement but earned through hard work, perseverance and determination.”

With her new-found resolve, Cebi continued to challenge her body with different exercises while trusting the process.

My aim was to discover activities that match my persona, as this was going to stimulate me to press on while having fun. I now train five times a week because I want to, not because I feel pressure to exercise.”

Cebi’s weekly training split

  • Day 1: Lower body
  • Day 2: Upper body
  • Day 3: Strength and abs
  • Day 4: Workout videos such as (Taibo) or Zumba
  • Day 5: Rest day
  • Day 6: HIIT
  • Day 7: Rest

While Cebi says she still has a long way to go to achieve her physique goals and shed more weight, she continues working hard every day to build a firmer and leaner body.

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Food for thought

Cebi also sought professional help to get her eating right by consulting with a dietitian, who gave her a broader understanding about how to eat right for her goals.

Due to a lack of knowledge and information at the outset, I cut out carbohydrates from my diet and my fibre intake was low, which was a big mistake. I had no clue that I was depriving my body of vital nutrients it needed to function better. This also meant I suffered from dizzy spells, was moody, and my hunger was never satisfied.”

That all changed when Cebi started following a calorie-controlled diet developed to promote weight loss while ensuring she felt energised and had sustained energy throughout the day.

Cebi now embraces this way of eating as part of her lifestyle. She enjoys preparing her meals as the process offers an opportunity to explore and play around with ingredients in the kitchen.

The best part is that I know what goes into my meal, which puts my mind at ease.”

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Balanced living

Since finding the balance between her mental wellbeing, nutrition and daily movement, especially her enjoyment of exercise, Cebi has started to make significant progress.

I have developed a healthy relationship with food and my body. Living a healthy lifestyle has become part of me, which has made me more open-minded and confident. I now challenge myself more and no longer underestimate my capabilities, because I am strong and capable and able to accomplish anything my mind desires to achieve.”

She also journals every day as this forms part of her self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-love and self-care journey.

I have mastered the art of being kind to myself, and always remember to breathe and live in the moment while reconnecting with the inner me.”

Through this process, Cebi has come to realise that patience is a virtue, as weight loss is a process that you cannot rush.

“When you learn to trust the process and have fun, losing weight is the cherry on top,” she shares.

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Inspiring others

Cebi now hopes to share her story with others to inspire them to walk their own journey to better health by leveraging her skills as a digital content creator and speaker.

I want to use digital platforms like podcasting and YouTube and live interactions like seminars to educate and inform people about the danger of obesity, and empower them to improve their lifestyles with a holistic and sustainable approach.”

She also plans to develop her new passion into a career by enrolling for short courses in nutrition and fitness.

Ultimately, I want to tell those who have issues with their physique that weight loss is possible and achievable if you find purpose – your why – commit, persist and work consistently towards your goals.