Tekira’s winning transformation
The pandemic took its toll on Tekira Hypolite’s waistline.
Stuck at home during shelter-in-place she tipped the scales at 208lbs, her heaviest weight ever.
Determined to do something about it she turned to her old friend, Kamel Dickinson. The personal trainer was offering a three-month programme that he promised would teach people challenging but fun exercises, and how to follow a healthier diet.
As incentive he dangled weekly prizes and awards but what drew Dr Hypolite’s attention was the $1,000 earmarked for the person with the biggest transformation.
Three months later, with her weight down to 179lbs, the cash was hers.
“The main thing was the diet. Everybody says it’s 80 per cent [of what drives weight loss], which is very true,” said Dr Hypolite.
It was something the Smiles Inc dentist had to learn the hard way. She’d started training with Mr Dickinson before the pandemic hit Bermuda last year and was pleased with her results however her diet went south in April 2020 when residents were ordered to shelter in place.
“I was still working out, I was putting in all this work and effort but my diet was terrible. My diet wasn’t what it was supposed to be so I didn’t see results at that time.
“But once I knew $1,000 was involved – obviously it’s going to matter – I became strict with my diet. At work we have chocolates and junk food; we have birthday cakes – I just passed on it or I had a little piece. I didn’t deprive myself all the way. Sometimes you’ve got to give in and enjoy life. You can’t just restrict yourself. And so it worked.”
Dr Hypolite got her weight down to 201lbs before Mr Dickinson’s Summer Shredding 2021 challenge started on March 1. With help from the programme she was able to lose 20lbs, which was all the encouragement she needed to get “more strict with [her] diet” during the most recent lockdown in May.
The Zoom classes the trainer offered when everyone was stuck at home were also convenient – all she had to do was “roll out of bed and get to work”.
“[This lockdown] was a blessing in disguise. Usually I’m going out and socialising – drinking, eating a lot of food – but I wasn’t able to do that,” she said.
Instead, she tried to follow the dietary plan Mr Dickinson set for her. She also weighed her food and used MyFitnessPal, an app that tracks diet and exercise.
“Based on my weight I was supposed to be eating 169 grams of protein, which is a lot,” she said. “I managed to get to that point every so often but I was always eating more than 110. So it was high-protein and low-calorie dense food.”
Fish was her favourite source of protein. She used edamame both as a vegetable and a carbohydrate.
“It’s a lot of food. You’re not starving yourself. And sometimes it comes to the point where it feels like you’re eating too much and you can’t get it all in.”
Because she has a sweet tooth her weight has been an issue since childhood, Dr Hypolite said.
“I was always bigger than I should have been. Cake batter and stuff like that was my favourite. I ate cookie dough – I still do that. Should I? No.”
She decided to make a change because her knees were starting to hurt.
“When I gain weight, I feel it in my knees. That’s when I know it’s time to start losing weight. Health conditions run in my family. I don’t want to get to that point where I’m on medication. You don’t want to be dependent on that stuff when you can do something easier like lose weight and eat healthier.”
Her goal now is to find a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy life.
“Now that Bermuda’s open I’m going out with friends and eating and drinking but when I go to a restaurant I try to choose healthier options. When I’m consuming alcohol I’d choose vodka and soda water. You can flavour it with fresh lime juice or you can even buy flavoured sparkling water and add it.
“It’s stuff like that that helps to cut down on the carbs and the calories because you’ve still got to enjoy life.”
Her advice to anyone who is overweight but unsure whether or not the effort is worth it: “Why not? You’re going to be healthier. You’ll look better. It’s not all about looks but who doesn’t like to look better? That makes you feel better, you get more energy and you’re healthier overall but you still get to enjoy life.
“I’m not talking down on fat people or bigger people, if they want to live that lifestyle that’s up to them, but why not?”
Contact Kamel Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow cut2fitbda on Instagram and YouTube or Kamel Dickinson on Facebook