Updated 30 April 2013

How Unathi lost 28kg

“I wanted to go back to being my husband’s sexy girlfriend,” says TV and radio personality Unathi Msengana.

As a South African hockey and first-team squash player, Unathi Msengana had no weight problems when she was growing up. But fast-forward a few years, add a busy work schedule and two babies, and weight management was no longer easy. Today she’s trimmed 28kg off her frame and once again has the athletic body she had at varsity.

The gain

After her sons were born, Unathi realised the extra centimetres weren’t going away. “I tend to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy,” she says. She packed on the kilos during her first pregnancy and it took more than a year to lose the weight. When she fell pregnant again, Unathi hit an all-time high on the scale, having given in to her body’s carb cravings: toasted sandwiches and potatoes washed down with chocolate milk.

The extra weight started affecting how she felt about her body and she desperately wanted to reclaim the figure she once had. “I didn’t want to look like my husband’s aunty – I wanted to go back to being his sexy girlfriend.”

The change

It was a nudge from a pal that gave Unathi the motivation she needed. “Last year a colleague challenged me to do the Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon. I decided to do it. I never back down from a challenge.”

Unathi realised that exercise alone wasn’t going to help her reach her goal weight, but she also knew quick-fix diets had failed her in the past. So she swapped extra helpings of carbs for veggies, included healthy proteins and banished chocolate milk in favour of water.

“I felt much healthier and had more energy. Had I not started this weight-loss regime, I’d never have been able to take on the Unlimited Dusi. I probably wouldn’t even have been able to fit into the canoe!”

Her training was intense: “I paddled for an hour and a half every day – which works out to about 10km per day – and straight after that I’d hit the road for a six-kay jog.”

The rewards

Within nine months Unathi had regained the athletic build she knew and loved. In fact, she’s so proud of her new fit figure, she tries on clothes just for fun.

This is an edited version of this article. The full version can be found in Women’s Health’s  “All Stars Issue” (May issue, now on sale).


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