Christchurch accountant Greg de Villiers went from couch potato to running his first marathon this year.
He is sharing his story to inspire others and show getting fit doesn’t have to include complicated diets and draconian exercise plans.
In 2016, de Villiers weighed 143 kg and rarely exercised.
His “very unhealthy” relationship with food involved emotional eating, fast food binges and too much chocolate, chips and sugary drinks.
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He says his weight affected everything: his self-confidence, his mood, his sleep and interactions with others.
Now 46 kg lighter, he feels “amazing”.
“Sleep is 100 per cent, energy levels and concentration levels are incredible. Every aspect of life is so much easier and better.”
De Villiers’s transformation started in November 2016 when his partner asked him to come along to a boxing fitness gym to try it out.
“I fell in love with it,” he says.
Discovering exercise could be fun was the first step. A few months after that, he met fitness personal trainer Reece McCaffrey and joined his programme Four Weeks to Strong.
He says this helped with changing his diet.
“I didn’t restrict myself to a crazy diet. I just decided to not eat processed food – junk food.”
De Villiers’ diet now revolves around fruits, vegetables, meat and carbs such as oats and rice.
“I eat carbs and fat and everything – just in moderation. That was the trick. I still eat chocolate a couple of times a week and have a pizza or a burger once in a while.
“There is no secret recipe, it’s all about balance.”
He also worked on his emotional eating “triggers” and has replaced junk food binges with exercise.
De Villiers does not spend his life at the gym – he says he exercises an hour a day, which includes a mix of weight-lifting, high-intensity and running.
He ran the Christchurch Marathon on his birthday in June.
De Villiers now wants to help others get fit. He and McCaffrey offer free Zuu workouts in the community once a month – an emerging form of exercise based on animal movements and using body weight.
“I want people to see they can do it.”
De Villiers documented his weight-loss journey on Instagram.
DE VILLIERS’ TIPS:
– Have big dreams, but set small, achievable goals.
– Change your diet gradually over time.
– Do not eliminate specific foods from your diet to avoid cravings.
– Find a type of exercise you enjoy, be it running or swimming or dancing.
– Weight-loss won’t happen overnight and that’s OK. It’s better to lose weight gradually.