We’ve all experienced the tell-tale signs that suggest our weight is creeping up, like tighter fitting pants and feeling a little softer around the edges.
But alarms bells start ringing when your grandmother asks when you’re due, despite not being pregnant. That’s what happened to Loretta Ntsuka. It was the wake-up call she needed to acknowledge that her weight gain had become a problem.
A confidence killer
“My clothes didn’t fit comfortably and I was constantly tired. I wasn’t happy with my weight and how I looked. I was mad at myself and felt like a failure,” recalls Loretta.
These feelings began to erode her self-confidence and affect other areas of her life. “I was never confident and started to second-guess everything. I also wore clothes a size bigger to hide my body.”
Loretta tried various fad diets and extreme exercise regimens in an effort to lose weight, but would always gain back far more than she lost.
“Constantly switching between periods or under-eating and overeating and excessive exercise meant I constantly lost weight in an unhealthy way,” she adds.
Loretta also made many excuses about why she couldn’t train or do the physical activities she used to. “If it wasn’t about work, it would be chores or the kids. The excuses kept piling up and so did the weight.”
And her unhealthy approach soon led to other complications. “I was having trouble with my digestive system and it felt like my body was slowly breaking down.” The last straw for Loretta was when the doctor wanted to prescribe chronic medication for her condition.
“I knew there had to be a better alternative and that if I didn’t make any changes to my lifestyle, I would remain miserable.”
A box-drop solution
As someone who closely followed and admired previous USN Body Makeover Challenge participants, Loretta was keen to give this popular approach a try.
“I kept postponing the challenge because my self-confidence was so low that I believed I could never accomplish the same results.”
Thankfully, her husband thought otherwise and convinced Loretta to make the leap. “I knew USN had developed the best way to accomplish my goal, which was to become the best version of myself and to look and feel amazing, so I stopped making excuses, listened to my hubby and just did it.”
After buying the starter pack, Loretta went onto the USN website, filled out the registration form and downloaded the meal and training plan.
“We took my pictures, measurements and weight, then I made two shopping lists – one for food and one for supplements. The day before I was due to start, I prepared all my food for the week.”
Loretta also went through the training plans to see what lay ahead. “I made sure I knew what I needed to do at the gym and how to do it properly. I felt that being prepared would make the processes a little smoother.”
Loretta diligently followed the training and eating plans provided and soon started to see results. “I simply took it one day at a time, but I fully committed and held myself accountable for my actions.”
Loretta’s supplement stack:
- USN Diet Fuel
- USN Blue Lab Whey
- USN Phedra Cut Lipo XT
- USN CLA
- USN All9 Amino
- USN BCAA Amino+
- USN XTS Hyperdrive Pre-workout
Trusting the process
At first, Loretta thought the plan included too much food, but she trusted the process and followed it the letter. “It turned out to be the perfect amount of food, which made me feel lighter with more energy than before.”
The variety in the training plan, which included weights, bodyweight training and HITT cardio, also kept Loretta engaged.
Being patient was the toughest part of her transformation, though. “I felt a difference within the first few weeks of the challenge, but I was eager to see major changes. This discourages me at times, but I reminded myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
She also had support from her husband and family, which made a huge difference. “My husband was supportive throughout the entire challenge and motivated me with pep talks when I was down. He also helped me with meal prep when I was tired. I’m so grateful that he pushed me and believed that I can accomplish far more than I think I’m capable of.”
Loretta also found support from her sister and daughter, who trained with her on the days when she didn’t feel like going to the gym.
“I also chose to surround myself with positive people, who help me through the low days as I feed off their good vibes.”
Making & seeing changes
Two months into the program, Loretta tweaked the food plan and began to experiment a bit with her training. “I aim to constantly challenge myself, but in a safe way, trying to do better than the previous week.”
She also keeps her training fun by trying new things like different classes, running or CrossFit. And once she completed the challenge, she decided to hire a personal trainer.
“I wanted to become an IFBB athlete competing in the Bikini Fitness division, so I joined Mubeen Bassa who assisted with my new goal of getting into stage-ready shape.”
Loretta says the Challenge gave her the ideal foundation on which to build her new lifestyle as she worked towards her new ambitious goal, which she realised when she competed in her first bodybuilding competition.
“I placed third in the Beach Bikini division at the Summer Super Bodies show. I am currently in the process of building more muscle to compete in the IFBB Bikini Fitness division.”
She also won an entry into the Arnold Classic Africa Model Search competition held in May, which she says was a dream come true. “Winning the entry was validation that I was on the right path.”
A foundation for success
Loretta believes that completing the challenge gave her the self-confidence, discipline and physique needed to fulfil that dream.
“Without the USN Body Makeover Challenge, I would still be dreaming about competing.”
It has also instilled in her a willingness to explore and she’s not as shy as she used to be. Loretta now believes that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to because she has realised that hard work, commitment and dedication are the keys to success.
Having gone from strength to strength during the process, Loretta has also learnt that patiently waiting for the fruits of your labour pays off.
“Investing in yourself is the best thing you can ever do, not only for you but those around you.”
For anyone looking to make a similar lifestyle change, Loretta recommends starting with the USN Body Makeover Challenge.
“Anyone can do it. I have a full-time job and I’m a wife and mother. I simply stopped making excuses and started making time for my health by following the guidelines.”
She adds that it’s important to realise that a quality transformation takes time. “Be patient, learn as much as possible, and keep a logbook like I did to reflect and be better prepared for the following week. We all make mistakes. What’s important is that we bounce back. Ultimately, this is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. If you learn from and incorporate everything from the Challenge into your life, it will help you to maintain your new self. Those 12 weeks are the beginning to endless possibilities.”