Losing weight can be daunting and sometimes a very sensitive subject. But for Salt Rock dentist Roman Alexander, his recent body transformation is something he is incredibly proud of. We asked him to share his story of weight loss and his journey to health with us.
It was a general feeling of ill health, both emotionally and physically, that ended up being the catalyst for 26-year-old dentist Roman to turn his life around.
Through his absolute determination to succeed and the help of his doctor, Roman managed to lose more than 30kg in just over four months – and he’s kept the weight off for over a year. And it doesn’t end there. Roman has been so enthused by his life change that he has now qualified as a personal trainer, and is completing a fitness diploma!
Tell us about yourself and your background. I was born in Durban in 1992. My family relocated to Johannesburg for a short period before moving back here in 1994. My parents bought a home in Phoenix, which is where I grew up. I still live there – Phoenix will always be my home. Growing up I always thought I would be a chef when I was older. I loved working with different ingredients and experimenting with food. But when I finished school my parents convinced me to go into a profession that would offer me more stability. I finished my Bachelor of Dental Therapy degree at the UKZN School of Dentistry in 2014. In my second year of study at UKZN I enrolled for my Diploma in Theology. I graduated with my degree and diploma in 2015 and joined Dr Lino Cericola Dental in Salt Rock in 2016.
What prompted your decision to lose weight? I think the turning point for me was when I realized I had been having too many ‘bad days’. I felt unwell physically and mentally and I knew exactly what I had to do to change that . . . I had to allow my body to recover from all the unnecessary and unnatural foods and chemicals that I had been eating over the years. I went to see my doctor, Dr Patel.
How did you do it? I started with a making a decision to change – then I just put my head down and went for it. Dr Patel suggested I try the Slender Wonder diet, which I started in February last year. I was sceptical at first, but I decided to give it a go. Dr Patel was amazing with administering the programme and gave me so much support. The next step was to sign myself up at a gym. It was a typical ‘new year, new me’ resolution, but I was so determined to achieve what I set out to do that I distanced myself from anything negative. I even avoided going to places and attending family outings to make sure I stuck to the programme. Dr Patel gave me a goal weight, which I reached in 17 weeks – a loss of 29kg. Since then I’ve managed to lose a further 9kg and have maintained my weight for a year.
Tell us about the experience? I really have enjoyed everything about it – the good and the bad. What started out as a way to lose weight ended up being a life lesson on how to be consistent and mentally strong. I learned that nourishing my body in the right way yields results that I can see and feel. The most challenging part at first was the initial fatigue – especially working six days a week at a dental practice. But it didn’t take long for my energy to kick in and soon I was waking up before my alarm clock went off. I became so excited about my gym routine that I’ve actually recently qualified as a personal trainer and am currently in my second year studying towards my Diploma in Fitness.
What are you doing to maintain your weight? I still love food and enjoy the occasional piece of chocolate cake (!), but my views on food are very different now. I’ve realised that the food we eat affects our moods, emotions and energy levels. I went from a size 40 pants to a comfortable size 32 and I know I will never go back. I don’t have back pain anymore and find exercising much easier. I go to gym three to four times a week.
What are your top weight loss tips?
1. Take control of your thoughts and actions and make a decision to change. Your desire for change must be stronger than your desire to stay where you are.
2. Set small goals, write them down and work hard to achieve them one at a time. This makes the journey easier and you will be encouraged and motivated to reach those goals.
3. Weight loss is a mental challenge first – and preparation is key. Preparing your meals in advance will eliminate the likelihood of cheating.