She’s graced the pages of magazines as a fitness model, effortlessly breezing through workouts. She’s placed in the top 6 of the USN Fitness Magazine Face of Fitness. She’s also anchored shows on eNCA, SuperSport and eTV and currently hosts The Real Health Show on DSTV.
There’s little in Stacey Holland’s life from childhood to studies (she has degrees in sport management and nutrition and weight loss) to her current career that don’t align with an active and healthy life. But had you seen Stacey in 2011, prior to embarking on a weight loss transformation, you would never guess that the Stacey Holland then would turn into the fitness and health ambassador she is today.
Born in Zimbabwe, sport and healthy eating were always part of Stacey Holland’s life. As a child she played netball, karate, swimming and athletics. Much of that healthy living was because of her younger sister
My younger sister was diagnosed with generalized epilepsy from a young age and so my parents made us all aware of cleaner eating to benefit her life and by extension, our lives.
But it was being diagnosed with Gluten Intolerance in high-school that flipped a switch in Stacey’s mind as to what good food really is. An athletic teen, she always knew the better you eat, the better you perform, and the more your move the more calories you burn. A gluten intolerance diagnosis now meant watching what she was eating and not viewing all calories as equal.
Lean all her life, an accident in varsity left Stacey with two fractured vertebrae. With that came reduced mobility and weight gain.
For years I lived in pain, unable to exercise properly and frustrated with the excess weight because it felt so foreign! Eventually enough was enough, I got tired of complaining about my weight ad not actually doing anything about it. I grew increasingly tired of trying to find clothes that would make me look a certain way instead of shaping my body to the point where no matter what I wore I was happy with me.
Within a year Stacey Holland lost over 20kg and 10% body fat. Not only did she lose it, but 5 years later she’s managed to keep it off and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Stacey opened to us about losing the weight, motivation, how she’s kept it off and tips for anyone starting out on their own weight loss journey.
How she lost the weight
I got a personal trainer and trained three times a week for one hour. I gradually changed my eating to include less junk, less processed foods, more real, wholesome, nutritious foods. And a year later I lost over 20kg and 10% body fat. It’s important to note that it took me a year!
The hardest thing about starting her weight loss journey
Being consistent and avoiding trigger and temptation situations with friends and family. When you decide to change your life so drastically, sometimes those closest to you can be your harshest critics.
What she’d tell herself when she was just starting
If I could go back I would have told myself to start sooner and to be careful about who I broadcast my goals to. Sometimes it’s best to tell a few key people to keep you accountable, and then wait until you gather some momentum and the weight falls off and you’re in a stable space where discipline is easier, and you’ve formed new habits. Then let the result speak for itself.
How she’s kept the weight off
Find a powerful enough reason for losing it in the first place! to fit into a dress or bikini isn’t powerful enough because the experience is short lived ad leaves you feeling like “ok what now?” and often results in a return to old habits. Powerful reasons produce a lifestyle change: spending more quality time with your loved ones through activities, entering fitness events and desiring to improve your times/distances etc go a long way in helping you develop a healthy lifestyle and take the focus off what you will look like (thinner/leaner etc) and move it to what you will be able to do and achieve.
How she stays motivated to work out
My little sister was diagnosed with generalized epilepsy at a very young age. It affected her physically and mentally; and she would easily have [taken] my worst days. The days when I feel lazy, tired, not in the mood I think to myself: “you are incredibly blessed to have all your faculties ad limbs and have the ability to go out and move your body! Millions of people across the globe don’t have the choice you do right now even though it’s all they dream about: So go!”
Stacey on Healthy Eating that works long term
Find what works for YOU! Not your friends, colleagues or even your family. For you! The concept of bio-individuality is gaining popularity precisely because if our fingerprints, hair strands, voice and eyes make all of us unique. Why would our diet and eating be standardized? There are foods that I respond well to and there are some of the healthiest foods that at this stage in my life, my body just cannot tolerate them well. To get to the point where you can discern the difference takes time, patience and clearing your system of ‘noise’ – process sugars, toxins, preservatives and other nasties.
What her daily diet is really like
I have tea when I wake up (herbal blends or rooibos or green). I then meditate and read outside in the sun with as little clothing on 🙂 (sort out my tan and vitamin D at the same time!). I have a fresh juice or smoothie just shortly after (lots of veg, minimal fruit and superfoods). I snack on fruit, try to incorporate salads and veg soups as often as I can and avoid meat unless I know that it’s good quality, sustainability reared and free of hormones. I don’t always stick to this 100% but I’d say 85% of the time this is how I eat.
Her “guilty pleasure”
It keeps changing as I listen to my body but good wine, bread (I even avoid the so-called good types like sourdough) and pizza!
Stacey’s advice to someone thinking about or starting a weight loss journey
Get and expert to guide you. Unless you’re a partially studious, diligent person there is a lot to learn; and sometimes its best just having an expert to filter what information is needed when until you have formed the right habits and learnt enough to walk on your own. And Even then, you should always be willing to learn and consult with others in the know.
You can catch Stacey Holland weekly on DSTV’s Home Channel (176) on Real Health where she chats to a variety of health and wellness practitioners, to get the ins and outs on medical matters, personal development, nutrition, sport & fitness, children’s health, women’s health and much more. You can also follow Stacey on Instagram and Twitter @staceholland or on her blog
This article has been taken from a Nutreats interview with Stacey Holland, some answers were condensed for clarity.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.