In the small suburb of Hoedspruit, Limpopo, Jenique Bornman, a 36-year-old loving wife and mom, decided it was time for a change.
For Jenique, the turning point came after the birth of her child 11 years ago. It was the beginning of a slow but steady weight gain that would become a long-standing challenge. But it wasn’t until 2020 that she decided to take the weight loss journey more seriously.
Weight gain often has complex roots, and for Jenique, it started at the age of 18. However, the factors that contributed were marked by two significant events – the removal of her thyroid 12 years ago and the birth of her child 11 years ago.
On the 3rd of April, 2023, she decided to try the Slender Wonder with Dr Jaco Blignaut in Hoedspruit, a structured weight loss program. Like many others, she had tried various alternative diets and programs over the years, but the key difference with Slender Wonder was the rapid results and the absence of persistent hunger. The program provided her with a clear framework for success.
Having a friend in the office to embark on the program together provided immense motivation. The supportive environment made it easier to navigate social occasions and stay accountable. For someone who enjoys cooking and creating recipes, adapting to the program’s requirements was a fun challenge.
Jenique recalls, “Name the weight loss program, and I’ve tried it, but this is the first time I’ve received quick results and NOT been hungry. I did my detox over the Easter weekend, and it was a friend’s wedding. All I had to do to succeed was plan ahead. It really helped me that I had a friend in the office who was doing the program with me, a great motivator.”
The Slender Wonder Facebook group became a significant source of support for Jenique. Sharing recipes, experiences, and receiving feedback added a sense of community to her journey.
“I really enjoy cooking and coming up with new recipes, so it was a fun challenge to come up with new recipes with limited ingredient options. It also helped me post my recipes in the Facebook group and get great feedback. Once I started losing weight and people started noticing and complimenting me, I felt even more motivated.”
The journey was marked by remarkable milestones. The first significant achievement was on May 15, 2023, when she reached a 10kg weight loss. Then, on July 10, 2023, weighing in at 98.8kg, she was finally below 100kg for the first time in over a decade.
One of the most emotionally significant milestones came on August 7, 2023, on her 13th wedding anniversary. On that day, she could wear her wedding ring again for the first time in 11 years, weighing in at 95.8kg. Her last recorded weight on October 2, 2023, was 87.3kg, a number she hadn’t seen since she was 18. Jenique has lost a remarkable 30.2kg in 6 months.
Jenique reflects, “Another unexpected thing was that I also feel more confident in my marriage not just because I get to wear my wedding ring again but I feel more confident in the bedroom. I used to always weigh more than my husband, but now for the first time since we started dating when I was 16 I weigh less than him. He’s never said outright that he doesn’t like my body but I can definitely feel a change. I also love that every time I come back from the doctor and tell him how much weight I’ve lost he says that he’s proud of me”
While sticking to the program, the real challenge lay in going out with friends and enjoying gatherings like braais. However, meticulous planning and having designated weekends for red meat allocations made these social occasions not only enjoyable but also compliant with the program.
“Going out with friends and having a braai with friends. I overcame that challenge by planning ahead. I always keep my red meat (steak) allocations for weekends. I also have the citrus ginger dressing (for a marinade) or the Cajun Dry Rub Seasoning on hand. In the winter I would eat cracker breads with tomato and onion sauce (my version of pap and Sheba) In the summer I make a green salad or a broccoli and cauliflower salad with the Slender Wonder Salad dressing. It’s always a big joke about my 100g piece of steak taking up all the space on the braai. Everyone is very supportive because now they have a designated driver in the friendship group.”
The remarkable part of this journey is the self-discovery that unfolded. Coping mechanisms that masked a lack of self-confidence became apparent. Losing weight not only changed her physical appearance but also boosted her self-confidence.
“Self-confidence!!! I used to think that I had a lot of self-confidence and that I was happy with my body. I would use comedy to hide my discomfort about being the “fat friend” of the group and I thought that it made me confident in my body. But now that I’ve lost all this weight I can look back and realize that it was actually a coping mechanism and that in fact, I was not happy in my own skin.”
Unexpectedly, better sleep became a part of the journey. Insomnia had plagued her for years, but since beginning Slender Wonder, she has enjoyed quality sleep, improving her overall well-being.
“One of the most unexpected benefits of this program: I used to have insomnia. I would sleep maybe 3-4 hours a night but since being on Slender Wonder I’ve been getting 7-8 hours’ sleep a night. I don’t feel drained during the day but by 22:00pm I’m asleep without trouble or medication.”
Although she was only 3.3kg away from her original goal weight, her journey continues. Her immediate plan is to reach 80kg and then reevaluate her next steps. Climbing a mountain next year is one of my aspirations, aligning with a newfound zest for an active lifestyle.
“17 November 2021 I weighed 126.6kg. I started another program and lost almost 10kg, but the progress was too slow and I got discouraged very quickly. 3 April 2023 I started the Slender Wonder program with my friend and lost 4.3kg within the first 2 weeks. I’ve now lost a total of 30.2kg in 6 Months.”
This transformation isn’t just physical; it’s emotional and psychological. Jenique feels as if she is just a better version of herself, inspiring others to take that first step towards a healthier future.
“I’ve been struggling with my weight for the last 13 years of my life. I have tried everything under the sun to lose weight. I would lose 5kg here and there and then pick it up again. It was always a long process with minimal results. With Slender Wonder it’s truly been life-changing. I’m healthier than I’ve probably ever been in my life. I have the energy to do more things and also the drive to do more. This transformation isn’t just physical, but emotional and psychological. I’m a better version of me!”
Her message is simple if you are considering a healthy lifestyle, you should start today and not wait for tomorrow. The journey might be challenging, but it’s undoubtedly worth it.
“DON’T wait until Monday to start, any day of the week works. If you slip up with one meal make sure that you continue the program IMMEDIATELY. Drink water!!! Alcohol is not worth it!! Buy the recipe book!! It helps to switch up your meals. You don’t have to just eat chicken salad for every meal.”
A truly inspiring story of a journey that started with a desire for change and led to an empowered, healthier, and more confident self. It’s a testament to the effectiveness of structured weight loss programs and the importance of a strong support system. For those still on their journey, take inspiration from this account – success is possible, and every gram lost is a step closer to wellness.