WATCH: Flab to fab: Leandie Williams shares her story

After being unable to tie her seat belt on an airplane, Leandie Williams embarked on a weight-loss journey that would see her lose 45kg. Leandie’s story as told to Nomazima Nkosi

From 125kg to 80kg, the Newton Park resident made the decision in 2013 that “enough is enough” and started a hardcore mission to lose weight – to this day, she has not touched white sugar.

The former Linkside High School matriculant, who is a branch administrator at Zest WEG Electric, has seen her life change. Today she exercises regularly and has even gone ziplining, something she never thought she would have managed to do.

It was in 2013 when I was sent to Jo’burg for work and I couldn’t get the seatbelt around me on the plane that I realised something had to change. I weighed 125kg and even finding clothes was a mission.

My health was very bad, I had Type 2 diabetes and I was on the verge of having a stroke. The doctors didn’t want me to run but in any case running was out of the question.

You kind of know you’re overweight but you don’t realise how overweight you actually are as all your friends will sugar-coat it. My mom was the only one who said I needed to make a plan because things were out of hand and it hurt because I didn’t want to hear it.

You have to find people who are on the same journey as you because it’s easy to slip off.

I lost 40kg in just nine months after enlisting the help of a personal trainer but eventually my weight began to plateau and my weight would just not shift.

After three years with my trainer I just wanted to see if I could do it myself so last year in October I got a nutritionist and from there on things just started happening. It’s been so much fun!

I don’t believe in the scale, or weighing myself, I just want to be happy and healthy. Friends train with me and do the workout that I plan and it’s a group effort.

In that first nine months, my workout routine was 20 minutes of “heavy” cardio and 40 minutes of weight-lifting. I tried to increase the cardio but my body said no.

I always say to people “do what works for you” and what works for me is that I don’t do cardio at all. I just do heavy weightlifting, barbells, dumbbells, plates and some resistance-training machines.

I use men’s workouts and it benefits my body because I’m a lot more muscular than other women. I do functional body workouts that increase my heart rate, but no cycling or running.

I’ve taken photos from when I started with my nutritionist to now and the definition is just phenomenal – that is what weight lifting can do for women. A lot of people question if it’s going to make you look bulky or like a man, but your body isn’t made to look like that. It will never look like that!

I can’t tell you how good it feels to go to a normal clothing shop and buy something off the rack instead of getting someone’s number who can make clothes for you because the shops don’t sell your size.

I have lost 45kg and I don’t have a goal weight, but I do have a pair of jeans I’m dying to wear. I’d also like to do a boudoir shoot – I think they’re really beautiful!

The best thing that has happened, however, is seeing the pride on my mom’s face.

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