Unathi takes us through her health journey and what she wants the world to know.
I’ve always been an athletic person. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancies. With my last baby, I gained 28kgs. I wanted to lose all that weight again. I didn’t want to let go as we are often told that it is okay when we have kids.
Do you think African women have it harder when it comes to being fit, why?
I think we have it harder for so many reasons. We generally have never had the ‘healthy lifestyle’ conversations with our parents, so it’s not something that is passed on through generations. We are the generation that is going to start having those conversations and leading those lifestyles when it comes to our families.
We also have been socialised to believe that if a woman is slim she is unhealthy. I remember on my wedding day, a lady who was helping to dress me couldn’t even wait till I was dressed to tell me that I was “Too thin to be a Msengana wife”.
What’s your take on diets that say cut out carbs while we have samp, pap, dumplings?
One of the major challenging factors to African women achieving their weight goals is that our staple diet is dominated by starch. We have been socialised into incorporating starch into every meal we consume. Some Sunday meals may involve rice, roast potatoes and potato salad in one meal. That is harmful to us and prohibits weight loss.
With #ABetterYou seminars coming up, I’ve had to be totally honest with myself. I’ve been maintaining my weight but I am far from my body goals. I’ve had to remind myself of the definition I still want and that means a refocus on what I consume and the exercises I do. It’s tough to always stay focused, but my happiness in summer is worth the commitment.
What is #AbetterYou about?
#ABetterYou is a concept I came up with due to the conversations I have with women on social networks. Because South Africa has literally seen me gain and lose the weight right in front of them, a lot of people ask me for advice. I feel that if people receive more knowledge about their bodies and living healthily holistically, we will all achieve our goals.
I strongly believe we all want to be the best version of ourselves. But, I also believe we tend to give up too easily. As someone who was publicly ridiculed during my journey of childbearing, I know and understand the humiliation, embarrassment and strain of living in a body you are not happy with.
I was also inspired by the fact that previously, African women wouldn’t talk about their relationships with their body image and for some reason, women are comfortable with me. So, we can break the cycle of following unhealthy habits and living unhappily in that reality.
What is your goal for #AbetterYou?
To share advice and guidance I was given by the professionals who helped me. I realise that we don’t all have the same budgets where we can seek a very focused attentive plan from professionals. #ABetterYou will give attendees all the knowledge and answers I was given to help attendees achieve their weight goals.
Who is #ABetterYou for?
It’s for the South African who has a goal and wants help in achieving it. Many people want to lose weight, but this will also cater to those who wish to gain weight or maintain. It is a seminar for anyone who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle.