Vitality Weight Loss Rewards just helps you keep going with its encouraging feedback messages and enabling you to track your weight loss. That's very motivating. Once I got into the habit of eating properly and doing all the right things, it changed my way of life. - Dawn Zaal, 53
Cycle weight goal: 69.5kg
Cycle starting weight: 76.4kg
Cycle ending weight: 69.9kg
Having lost 6.5kg on her first Vitality Weight Loss Rewards 12-week cycle, Dawn Zaal, 53, a business intelligence IT analyst, is resisting heading for the shops to buy new clothes. Sure, she'll be treating herself to a few items, but an entire wardrobe? Not just yet. She has bigger fish to fry - like getting below the 60kg mark, something she's confident she can do, if she just persists. It hasn't been an easy journey, but it's definitely been a worthwhile one.
Dawn started her weight loss journey in April 2017 at 76.4kg - the heaviest she'd ever been. Her largest pair of pants were starting to get tight and her cholesterol level had climbed. Around that time, she experienced the reality check of seeing herself in a photograph looking larger than someone she regarded as 'a fatter friend.'
To sustain weight loss, healthier habits need to become a way of life
One morning after trying on different work clothes in frustration, she thought, "No - either I have to do something or go out and buy something bigger that fits."
Then, despite her early weight loss success, she found her weight loss graph flat-lining during her second Vitality Weight Loss Rewards cycle, which she began early in September 2017. "It hasn't gone very well this time, so I'm looking to start afresh on my third cycle," Dawn says. She realises that, to sustain the weight loss, her healthier eating and exercise habits need to become a way of life.
She freely admits that she enjoys food. There's little she more enjoys than going out with her husband, Rob (a financial advisor who works from home) and two sons, Nic and Greg, to a restaurant to celebrate some event or another.
My lack of discipline that was causing me to put on weight
"I think I was just eating too much. I knew what the right kinds of food were, but it was my lack of discipline that was causing me to put on weight. The moment I, or anyone else, says you can't have any of this, I set myself up to fail," she reflects.
"I try not to tell myself that I'm not allowed something. I love chocolates, but I allow myself just a little bit, instead of sitting down and munching an entire bar at once. I don't think there's a sweet I don't like. Now when somebody brings a smorgasbord of birthday stuff to the office, I take a small slice of something and eat a smaller lunch.
Discipline is a hard thing. At restaurants, instead of a steak I'll order a healthier option and have, say, a salad instead of chips. If I do eat the odd steak, I'll rather cut it in half beforehand and put a portion aside to take home."
Physical activity left me with a far greater sense of wellbeing
Dawn is aware of how persistent and powerful childhood eating habits are. She can distinctly remember her mother telling her to finish everything on her plate. Today she dishes out much smaller portions.
Then there's her sedentary office job. If she leaves work or home late, she can add at least an hour of sitting in heavy Johannesburg traffic. "Again, being disciplined and leaving early can cut that car, thumb-twiddling, seated time dramatically," she adds.
Dawn says her weight gain crept up on her at an average rate of about 3kg a year for the past several years. She adds that what didn't help was her attitude of, 'Ag, I can lose it' and then simply not bothering.
When that picture of her with her friend opened her eyes to how she looked, she started doing weekend parkrun events and cycling around seven kilometres each week.
Besides boosting her Vitality fitness points, these physical activities also left her with a far greater sense of wellbeing. Her husband goes to gym regularly, but Dawn prefers the outdoors, often walking and cycling with her younger son Greg.
Dawn Zaal before starting her
12-week Vitality Weight Loss Rewards cycle.
Dawn after losing 6.5kg during
her first weight loss cycle.
Weight Loss Rewards ties my Vitality lifestyle bouquet together
"Just tracking my weight loss earns me 20 points each time and reaching my goal weight on a 12-week cycle gives me up to 50% cash back on my HealthyFood spend for three months, plus up to 2 500 Vitality points. For me, that's pretty motivating," she says.
Another Vitality benefit that enhances her life is Vitality Flight Booster, which allows her to fund the cost of a local flight by achieving her weekly Vitality Active Rewards physical activity goals.
Being so engaged with the programme has shot the family's Vitality status up to Diamond Vitality status. This assured her a solid 35% discount on her recent flight booking down to Cape Town, where she got to witness the Namaqualand spring flowers in full bloom during a drive up the West Coast.
For Dawn, Vitality Weight Loss Rewards is a handy string to tie her bouquet of Vitality lifestyle benefits together. "What I so like about it is that you don't get unreachable goals, and it helps you to track everything."
Once you get into the habit, it changes your way of life
"The weighing-in every week is great because you earn points - but more than that, it just helps you keep going. Once you get into the habit of eating properly and doing all the right things, it changes your way of life - and that's a good thing. Even if you put on a bit of weight, it's not that you're a bad person. Vitality is very encouraging."
What did Dawn think of her WLR experience?
"Vitality Weight Loss Rewards just helps you keep going with its encouraging feedback messages and enabling you to track your weight loss. That's very motivating. Once I got into the habit of eating properly and doing all the right things, it changed my way of life.
You know, even if you put on a bit, that doesn't mean you're a bad person. The app is very encouraging. I lost about half a kilogram per week. It was manageable. Just tracking my weight loss earns me 20 points each time, and reaching my goal weight on a 12-week cycle gives me up to 50% cash back on my HealthyFood spend for three months, plus up to 2 500 Vitality points. For me, that's pretty motivating."
What is Vitality Weight Loss Rewards?
Vitality Weight Loss Rewards (WLR) is a weight-loss journey that aims to help you lose weight in short, manageable cycles until you reach a healthier weight. You will earn rewards for participating and for reaching your goals.
Find out more about activating WLR and changing your life.
Vitality Weight Loss Rewards (WLR) is a weight-loss journey that aims to help you lose weight in short, manageable cycles until you reach a healthier weight. You will earn rewards for participating and for reaching your goals. This is Johan van den Berg?s story.
Spring brings a scurry of activity as the earth bursts into life. Use this season to fall in love with a fitness activity that keeps you coming back for more. Dumisile Mthalane did just that. By finding a sport where she can soak up the sunshine, she's transformed the way she looks, thinks and feels.