When I entered the Woolworths #startswith challenge, little did I realise that I would find inspiration, motivation and best of all … friendship. The #startswith challenge brought the most amazing and inspirational women into my life and for that I am truly grateful. One of those inspirational and remarkable women is Dil Pillay. She is a woman of love and sheer strength. She has overcome so many obstacles in her life and that’s what makes her a real life superhero. She is humble and probably one of the kindest people I have ever met. We recently met up for a picnic in the park and got to chatting.
Who is Dil Pillay?
I am extremely passionate and diligent about everything that has been laid on my heart. I thoroughly enjoy sharing what positively impacts my life. My world pretty much revolves around the love of my life, my little four-legged boy- Chow. I have developed a passion for creating new and delicious healthy foods. I especially love surrounding myself with people who love to eat, laugh, pray and who unconditionally give of themselves.
You have a rather impressive story to share in terms of your weight loss, would your care to elaborate?
My weight fluctuated on an ongoing basis from 2011. I weighed in at an impressive 110kg at the end of 2015. I couldn’t bear to come face to face with the harsh truth of the scale so I avoided it at all costs and didn’t weigh myself. For some unknown reason I lost the weight and when I finally mustered up the courage to hop onto the scale I discovered that I had lost 20.1kg. At the time I was living with depression, PCOS and type 2 diabetes which put a huge strain on my life and my weight, so in Feb 2017 I made the decision to commit to a lifestyle change. It was time to stop making excuses and commit to myself.
Tell us more about your change in diet as a result of your food allergies.
My body and skin were reacting badly to the types of food I was eating, so I had no choice but to make several huge changes to the way I was eating. The fact that I was diagnosed with PCOS compounded the situation further, so I made the decision to become a Pescatarian. I hear you ask, “Pesca what?” A Pescatarian is someone who does not eat red meat at all but does eat fish. Therefore my diet is just plant-based foods and seafood. In addition to being Pescatarian, I also do not eat gluten, dairy, refined sugar and certain nuts due to allergies. This change in diet has transformed me into an absolute foodie who spends an insane amount of time whipping up healthy dishes for myself.
What is your approach to exercise?
I initially had a gym contract but due to being uncomfortable about my weight, I cancelled it. So the workout aspect of my journey started with me walking my little boy. I gradually increased the distance and began walking him every morning and afternoon. Walking him around the park several times progressed to jogging, which in turn progressed to running. Eventually I felt ready to do more than just walk or run, so I used the internet to research exercises that would best suit my needs. I bought a yoga mat, just one 10kg weight and a skipping rope. These items became part of my work out routine. My current routine involves me running on the spot mixing it with high intensity training 3 times a week for 45 mins. I also mix things up by adding some yoga, squats and lunges to my routine.
Did you try losing weight prior to this?
Oh yes I did! In the past I attempted losing weight by just trying to eat healthy without proper information about my body type and what my body needed. I jumped into diets and failed within a week. I now know that my mindset wasn’t ready for this journey.
What was different this time around?
This time around I realised I needed to make it a lifestyle change, but before that I needed to educate myself about my condition. I spent hours on the net researching exercises and healthy eating alternatives. I was in the right frame of mind and I was ready to commit to myself, my health and my life. I started cooking more from home, creating healthy dishes rather than buying take-out. I learnt to make healthier choices when I ate out and before I knew it, those changes had become a lifestyle for me.
What does faith mean to you?
Faith is what keeps my mind at peace in the midst of many life situations as it reaffirms that there is always hope. Faith gives me reassurance that as long as I keep my faith I will certainly overcome all obstacles. During my journey having being diagnosed with depression at one stage in my life and having gone through a divorce I have been challenged emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Faith has helped me stay at peace and motivated me to move forward. My faith in God is what led me into getting my body right, knowing I was created not to have these health barriers and that healing was for me which is evident in my life right now .
How do people react to your transformation?
It has been an amazing journey and more people are inspired and curious as to what it is to be a Pescatarian. People want to know what my secret is and want to know what diet i’m on. I’m blessed with the support and love of so many people, many of whom are people I have never met in person but who make up my support system.
Has there been a downside to losing weight?
There definitely are downsides. I now suffer with low blood pressure and the main downside is the excess skin. Losing 50 odd kilograms is an unbelievable amount of weight and unfortunately or maybe fortunately, I have all this excess skin around my tummy area. I say fortunately as it is a constant reminder of a place I never want to find myself at ever again.
Any words and advice for people wanting to lose weight?
Make a mindful choice that you want to change to be better, feel stronger and achieve your best health possible . Don’t be hard on yourself but at the same time I urge you not to give up. Get up and get moving. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to embrace yourself for who you are. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You can do this no matter what your struggle is . I am living proof it can be done.
Dil Pillay is indeed proof that we can step outside our comfort zones, tackle the obstacles life throws at us and still come out on top. I’m extremely grateful and honored that Dil has allowed me to share her story with you and I’m extremely blessed to call her my friend.