Man in the Mirror
Posted on 18 July 2017
Losing 20kg not only changed ProVerb’s body, but also his outlook on life. Here he shares his transformational journey and recipe for success.
Words Roxanne Francis
Photographs Jurie Potgieter
It’s impossible to be in the same room as Tebogo Thekisho, better known as ProVerb, and not have some of his vitality rub off on you. The South African rapper, businessman, producer and presenter of Idols South Africa exudes joy, positivity and an infectious energy that lifts the spirits of all who find themselves in his orbit.
But five years ago, soon after turning 31, ProVerb was in a less positive state of mind. Weighing in at more than 100kg and struggling to keep pace with his demanding work schedule, he saw career opportunities and special moments with his two young children pass him by due to his excess weight and poor health. And so, in 2012, he resolved to trade his baggy jeans for a slimmer, healthier look, and embarked on a journey to shed weight and rediscover the man he wanted to be.
‘I watched myself on television and was unhappy with what I saw and how it made me feel,’ ProVerb recalls. ‘I had a poor self-image and decided to do something about it.’
For him, it was about more than simply losing weight. What he ultimately wanted to achieve was a holistic and mindful lifestyle.
The first step was to start getting serious about being active – but ProVerb admits he has never been fond of hitting the gym. Instead he setup his own training area at home, complete with a treadmill and weights.
By focusing on his strengths and the physical activities that made him happy, ProVerb was motivated to keep active every day.
‘The thought of spending hours in the gym just never excited me – and that’s OK! There are many other ways to get moving and get your heart rate going. I enjoy travelling and wherever in the world I might find myself, I always aim to fit in as many fun activities as possible and make the time to go for a hike or a walk. I’ve also had the honour of climbing Kilimanjaro twice to raise money for good causes.’
ProVerb’s grounded approach to exercise also helped him improve his relationship with food, replacing some of his familiar favourites with more nutritious options.
‘I’m so much more aware of what I eat. I still enjoy fine dining, only now I know there are healthier alternatives. I choose a salad instead of rice or pasta, rye bread over white bread, and sweetener over sugar. Portion control has also played a vital role.’
Personalise your journey
When ProVerb, now 36, started out on his weight-loss journey, he was determined to see results. He consulted a dietitian and two trainers, and formed a partnership
with a corporate wellness company.
His goal was to scale down to 80kg, but along his way to achieving his weight goal he realised that his achievement was not about the numbers alone. He found a healthy balance between the hard work he put in and his self-confessed sweet tooth.
‘I developed my own reward system,’ he says with a smile. ‘I’d say to myself that if I had a good week, I could enjoy a treat over the weekend. I’d rather enjoy each moment and celebrate the small victories. I know that if I eat well and stay active I like myself more, which is much more important to me than how I look.’
Jack of all trades
ProVerb believes there’s a definite link between his lifestyle transformation and the remarkable rise his career has seen since. Leading a more active life has influenced the way he perceives his work, and he is able to take on more because he has the energy to do so.
Considering all the roles he is currently juggling, including being dad to two children, there’s no such thing as a typical day in his life. In addition to his music, TV and radio work, he also co-owns television production company SIC Entertainment and has recently ventured into the property market.
ProVerb knows first-hand that the pressures of the entertainment industry can take its toll on anyone, but as someone who was struggling with his weight, it was especially challenging.
‘It’s tough in this business, because you’re constantly travelling between gigs, staying in hotels and eating just about anything on offer,’ he says. ‘Living an unhealthy lifestyle is an occupational hazard, but we should all focus on our health a little more, because it definitely contributes to our overall happiness.’
The biggest lesson ProVerb learned, he says, is a simple truth: Your greatest asset is your health and wellbeing, so invest in yourself every day.
Helping to keep him focused through life’s challenges are his two children – daughter Ditshupo, 11, and son Kgosietsile, 8. His face immediately lights up when he talks about them.
‘They are the constant guiding lights in my life and motivate me not only to keep working hard, but to be a strong, positive role model. It’s so important to me that we spend as much time together as possible, and that we have fun.
‘I’m so grateful that I now have the energy to make the most of my life!
Watch ProVerb share his weight loss journey below:
Dietitian Jeske Hellmann at Mediclinic Sandton shares tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight – and explains why it’s important:
- When you feel good about yourself, it’s easier to stay motivated.
- Being skinny does not always mean you are healthy.
- Work towards lean body mass (muscle) and less fat mass.
- Your Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a useful tool for calculating ideal weight. The formula is: weight in kg ÷ (height in m)2, for example: 66kg ÷ 1.73m ÷ 1.73m = 22.
A satisfactory BMI should be 19-25.
- Waist circumference is also a useful indicator: for men it should ideally be less than 94cm, and for women less than 80cm.
- Less body fat reduces the risk of inflammation, which reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
- Any change in fat mass (weight loss), however small, will improve your health status.
- Small, continuous steps will give big, sustainable results.
Input from a professional is important. A dietitian is trained to treat various health conditions and can adjust your eating plan accordingly, with your routine and preferences in mind. They can monitor the results and amend where necessary to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle for you.