The conventions that society imposes on us can have seriously detrimental effects on those who are considered outliers. Dineo Pearl Masenya was one of those who suffered under societal pressure because her body didn’t conform to the typical standard.
“I had to deal with significant body shaming due to the fact that I underweight, which tore down my self confidence. I already didn’t like the way I looked and felt I was too skinny, but the public body shaming simply amplified my insecurities.”
Body shaming causes real damage
It was during this time in her life when Dineo had to endure so much, that she decided to start exercising. “I looked for exercises to do at home and downloaded an app. I found that I really enjoyed working out and, after a while, my growing sense of confidence prompted me to join the gym.”
While Dineo was driven with the best intentions, her desperation to realise quick results made her impatient. “When I didn’t see results, I quickly lost motivation and wanted to give up. But I would always remind myself why I started, which helped me get back on track.”
Feeding off the success of others
Over time, her body continued to transform and her confidence grew. “While I really wanted to look good for myself, what really motivated me to keep going was seeing the transformations of other people who were in the same situation as me and used body building to transform their lives.”
Dineo focused 90% of her workouts on weight lifting to build more muscle and kept cardio to a minimum.
“I didn’t follow a specific diet plan at that stage, but as my knowledge and experience grew I started to do meal planning for myself.”
A fit life is a happy life
By adopting a fitness-focused lifestyle that included consistent training and a healthful approach to nutrition, Dineo managed to increase her weight from an unhealthy 42kg to a healthy 64kg with lots of shapely muscle.
“Through this process I’ve learnt that gaining muscle can be just as challenging as losing weight. It’s not something you can do part time or when you’re bored. You need to set goals and strive to reach them every day through consistency and commitment.”
Since achieving her objectives, Dineo has regained her confidence and lives with a renewed sense of self worth. “Living a healthy lifestyle has become an obsession for me. I go for regular check-ups and I’m very conscious about what I eat. But after doing it for so long, it is basically second nature to me.”
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Tips for those looking for similar success
For anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation, Dineo suggests that whatever you do with your body, do it for you and know why you doing it.
“A transformation is not easy and it takes time, so be patient. Trust the process and always remember that consistency is key, but it is ultimately the reason why you want to change that will see you through to the finish line. It must be strong to create strong convictions.”
Favourite healthy dish: Grilled vegetables and chicken breast
Favourite exercises: Squats, hip thrusts and donkey kicks
Supplement recommendations: 100% weigh protein
Top diet tip: Starving yourself is not part of a fitness lifestyle
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.