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    How One Woman Overcame Diet Pill Addiction And Reclaimed Her Life

    Monique Eloff has regained control of her body and eating habits and is now South Africa’s own Supreme Queen Global Earth Africa. But when she was 18, a bad breakup saw her struggling with diet pill addiction. Here, she tells her story to inspire and educate other women about the dangers of weight loss pills and how she regained control of her body – and eating habits.

    The impetus

    For four years, Monique had been battling with her weight and was trying to shed unwanted kilos. In 2005, when Monique was 18, a heartbreaking break-up sent her into depression and she tried to regain control by becoming fixated on losing weight. “My addiction started after going through a major relationship breakup and my inability to deal with the pain, the loss, the rejection and feelings of ‘not being wanted’,” Monique reflects. “I became obsessed with losing weight.” Monique visited a dietician but it didn’t work, mostly, Monique thought, because of a hormone imbalance caused by prolonged chronic stress that threw things out of whack in her body.

    The beginning of a diet pill addiction

    Thereafter, Monique tried an endocrinologist, but her treatment was expensive and she opted out.

    It was around this time that Monique discovered weight loss pills. “I was introduced to a substance called ephedrine. In year one, I mixed ephedrine with cayenne pepper to make my own weight-loss tablets,” she says. “That worked really well. I started to lose weight and I experienced increased energy levels and I also experienced higher performance at varsity and even better grades in my studies.” Unfortunately, Monique started building up a tolerance to the drugs and needed more to keep losing weight. To get there, she turned to ephedrine in its purest form. “At certain points, I even refined it for snorting,” she confesses.

    “One thing led to another. I could not sleep because of the adrenaline rush effect one gets using ephedrine. Then, I started taking sleeping tablets at night. I could not eat, because ephedrine is a potent appetite suppressant and I battled with fatigue and in turn, balancing my studies and my part-time work became extremely difficult. I was already on my way to complete burnout. My ability to cope, concentrate and perform was diminished,” she says.

    READ MORE: 10 Wellness Quotes By Miss SA Natasha Joubert (That We Absolutely Loved!)

    The turning point

    There were signs of the diet pill addiction that others could see – but she couldn’t. For one, she had limited self-control, talked a lot and experienced severe reactions to stress.

    On the inside, Monique was privy to extreme thirst, heart palpitations and shakiness. She felt depressed, anxious and sensitive. “Ephedrine certainly kept the weight off but the weight of the addiction literally crushed the life out of me and it left me feeling a great deal of shame, guilt and regret,” she says.

    Added to that, she was experiencing gastrointestinal disorders, mood swings and shortness of breath. Her central nervous system was beginning to shut down and Monique was forced to get help. “I had no choice; my body made the decision for me,” she says. In 2007, Monique was hospitalised and underwent treatment.

    READ MORE: Author Janine Jellars Shares Her Simple Wellness Routine

    The change

    “I received treatment that was aimed at opening up the receptors in my brain in order for the normal flight or fight response mechanisms to start functioning again,” Monique explains. “My body experienced inefficiencies in secreting adrenalin, serotonin and other key hormones. I had a complete imbalance in my body.”

    With treatment, Monique slowly started to improve, but the road to healing was long. “Diet and sleep played a crucial part in my recovery. I had to teach my body what a normal healthy intake of food consisted of and looked like, at frequent and consistent intervals,” she says. “Over time my mood and concentration levels improved. I could literally feel balance coming back to my body, and it felt amazing. The toughest part was the realization of how far I’ve taken my addiction and the damage it has done. The impact it had on my loved ones. What I’ve lost in the process and the fact that I had to drop out of varsity in my third year. I felt like a complete failure. I think my mental scars outweigh the physical scars, and for me, the biggest battlefield was my mind.”

    READ MORE: Weight Loss Pills: We Delved Deep Into The Science To See If Any Actually Work

    The glow up

    Through all this, Monique feels that she’s grown a lot as a person. “My mess has become my message and today I get to tell my story unapologetically. I still have feelings of shame, guilt and regret; however, it shows that I am human and that it matters to me,” she says.

    Now, 16 years later, Monique is at a happy weight and is taking things further in her life, earning her spot as the reigning Supreme Queen Global Earth Africa for 2023. “My wounds have given me great wisdom,” she notes. “This journey on earth is all about unbecoming to become, letting go of the things that are no longer serving you well.” More

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    It’s Possible To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, According To One Woman Who Did It 

    Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as a lifestyle disease. Even so, it can be a lot to manage, with injections and closely monitoring blood glucose levels throughout the day, as well as closely managing food intake to make sure levels don’t go off-kilter. But is it reversible? Some say yes, with a healthy lifestyle and most especially, with weight loss. One woman managed to remove the disease from her life when she underwent bariatric surgery and lost weight in the process. Here, Jo-Anne Campbell’s story of how she could reverse type 2 diabetes.

    It started with tumours

    My journey started very strangely, with my sister having a dream in 2010 that I would die in January 2011. She has a foresight for these things. I put this dream of hers aside just to be confronted with a hard reality in January 2011. It was a very hot day as I remember and I decided to drink my husband’s last beer in the fridge. After falling asleep for a few hours, I woke up with pain in my abdomen and found that it had swollen significantly. I looked nine months pregnant.

    After seeing specialists and having tests and scans done it was determined that my liver was the issue. The scans showed my liver, which looked like pencil holes punched in it. It contained 43 tumours called adenomas in it. Each tumour has a possible 3 percent of becoming cancerous. One of the tumours had bled inside itself and became hard. It measured 5 by 7 cm in size.

    At this stage, I developed diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. My specialist did not know what the tumours were exactly or how to treat them. Fortunately, I was referred to the best liver specialist in Africa. He could only remove four tumours – the liver and the tumours were fused together. There were just too many and because it was my hormones causing these tumours, I could not receive a liver transplant as my body would only make more tumours. The specialist did the surgery and it was successful. After one to two years, I managed to lose 20kg. I regained all and more weight over a span of five years and just accepted all the weight for another three years until I felt unwell again. I started eating increased portions and dropped all the exercise completely. That combination allowed the weight gain to increase. I weighed close to 110kg.

    Spiralling out of control

    With this increase in weight, my diabetes spiralled out of hand and no medication could help bring the sugar levels down. I was at this point very unhealthy and had to manage my increased blood pressure and diabetic medication. Every time the diabetic nurse saw me, she recommended to my doctor that they increase the insulin. In the end, I was on 120 units of insulin per day.

    I was plagued with exhaustion, not only physically but mentally as well. I became anxious when my sugar levels increased as well as my insulin medication at each visit with the diabetic nurse. That’s when I realized I was in a bad space regarding my health when one Sunday afternoon my left leg went numb and experienced heart palpitations. I thought I was going to have a stroke. That’s when I decided I was dying a slow death.

    The change

    I spoke to my doctor and told him I felt like I was dying and I knew I would not make it to 50 and my youngest child was only three years old at the time. With that, he gave me my last and most invasive option. Bariatric surgery, better known as a gastric bypass. That surgery happened in 2019 and has been very successful thus far. My diabetes disappeared within four days, as well as my high blood pressure and cholesterol.

    My lifestyle changed drastically after the surgery. I lost 35kg in ten months, a rapid change because of the reduction of my food intake and only managing to each certain food. After the operation, I could only manage a few tablespoons of soft foods a day. Then I could manage half a cup or 125ml three times per day. I drank a supplement most of the time. Now, I can manage about a 200ml of food but I must remember to eat slowly. I increased my exercise by two hours per day and started running.

    Jo-Anne Campbell who worked to reverse type 2 diabetes.

    The glow

    Now, I’m in a much healthier space. The bariatric surgery was by no means a quick fix. Life as I knew it changed drastically for me, especially after losing 35 kg in 10 months. I am able to do things like running, weight lifting and many other physical activities I never thought I would attempt.

    Today I feel like my past was a terrible dream that I woke up from. My confidence and energy levels have spiked instead of my glycaemic levels. I have a new love for life and have discovered that I should make the most of the health that I have gained during this time. I have no regrets about starting this journey as I can be alive to see my family grow and not have the fear of leaving them due to my health.

    Jo-Anne has written a book about her experience, called Memoirs of a Diabetic Survivor, available soon. More

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    6 Energy-Boosting Hacks That Are Simple To Integrate

    Tiredness is that feeling that we all seem to know a little too well. Perhaps it’s waking in the morning and desperately wanting to hit the beckoning snooze button. Or maybe it’s the feeling of that ominous 3pm slump, where our brain fog creeps in as our sugars dip post-lunch. Or perhaps it’s a more figurative feeling of tiredness; that you’re struggling to keep family, friends and yourself topped up, and that the demands of life and communication can feel at times exhausting. 

    Well, you’re not alone, with one of the most common complaints brought to clinicians cited as being tiredness. After all, if we aren’t functioning at our best, we often feel like we’re not committing fully to our work, enjoying life to the most and sleeping well. 

    So with that in mind, the happy news is that a few simple tweaks will pay great dividends. Get ready to be electrocuted into life. Here are 6 easy hacks. 


    When you’re tired, exercise is usually one of the first things to be given the boot in favour of a lie-down. But people have caught on to the benefits of exercising to boost your energy – something which at first glance could be seen as an oxymoron. In fact, the folks at Harvard cited a study where sleep-deprived volunteers compared against three different interventions: caffeine, stair-climbing and placebo. Ultimately they found that just 10 minutes of exercise boosted participants’ energy levels far more than caffeine (50mg) did.

    Soak up some sunshine (safely) 

    Feel more energetic on a sunny day than you do on a cloudy one? There’s some science to it. One of the best-known benefits of sunlight is vitamin D, which contributes to immune health, bone health and hormone production. Some studies have also suggested an association between sunshine and serotonin production, which helps regulate mood, hunger, sleep, learning, memory and your libido—so it’s possible to for sunshine to provide a natural energy high. Just be sure to soak it up at times when the UV index is low and wear SPF 50+ on any exposed skin. 

    Refuel with fermentation 

    We’re all aware to the fact that gut health is incredibly important to our overall health, influencing our immune system, heart, brain, mood, skin, sleep and overall digestion. We call it our second brain for a reason – it impacts our body overall in significant ways. So to keep our gut healthy it’s important to eat prebiotics and probiotics, limit processed foods and alcohol, drink plenty of water and minimise stress. A great place to start? Ferments. The likes of kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, natural non-flavoured yoghurt, miso and kombucha are your first ports of call. 2,4,6,8. 

    Prep your snacks 

    Drink, sorted. But what about snacks?! When hunger strikes, reach for ones that will keep you fuller for longer. We’re talking protein, good fats and fibre. If you’re in the mood for an apple, why not slather some peanut butter over it to ensure a slower release of energy? Or if you’re feeling like you need a top-up, protein goes a long way, after all, it’s the most satiating macronutrient. We’re talking yoghurt, tuna, trail mix, hard boiled eggs, a slice of cheese – the list goes on.

    Also, there are studies to suggest that starting the day with a savoury breakfast will help you manage your blood sugars and stay fuller for longer – and more energetic – throughout the day. 

    Image by Freepik

    Stick to a wake-up time 

    If you’re sleeping in one or two days of the week to try to ‘catch up’ on some energy, it may actually be having the opposite effect. A growing body of research shows that waking up at the same time every morning can not only help you sleep better at night but make it easier to get out of bed in the morning. This is because the circadian rhythm is reinforced, and the body knows what to expect, knowing when to release melatonin (the hormone that induces sleepiness). 

    READ MORE: Struggle Sleeping? Here’s How To Create A Bedtime Routine, Per Experts

    Turn up your favourite tunes 

    Listening to music has been linked to a reduction in stress levels, as well as a rise in serotonin and dopamine. Of course, it helps if it’s music that you love, so try creating a playlist for your morning commute rather than relying on the radio. The combination of lower cortisol levels and mood-regulating neurotransmitters can provide an energy boost while promoting focus and motivation. 

    Consider a supplement 

    We know that vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies to function at their best. They influence our metabolic pathways and support fundamental cellular functions. And studies have shown that supplementing with vital vitamins and minerals is highly likely to result in health benefits in the areas of physical and mental fatigue. 

    Carla Oates of The Beauty Chef had some interesting insights into supplements, too, stating that, “Certain herbs, such as astragalus, have been traditionally used in Chinese Medicine for years to promote energy levels and increase vitality.” 

    More Energy-Boosting Articles:

    The post article by Scarlett Keddie appeared first on Women’s Health Australia. More

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    Transformation Journey: Exercise Renewed My Self-Esteem And I’m Stronger Than Ever!

    If you’re on a transformation journey, take heart from the stories of others who’ve been there. Here, Louné Maree details how she went from skinny – and unhealthy – to strong and happier than ever.

    The Starting Point

    On the 28th of March 2023, I underwent my fourth and final surgery with the skilled Dr Nerina Wilkinson, marking a pivotal moment in my transformation journey. The decision to undergo a double mastectomy in 2019, following a positive BRCA2 gene test and the heartbreaking loss of my mother to cancer in 2008, laid the foundation for my path to self-discovery.

    Before the surgery, my passion for fitness and self-care defined my active lifestyle. However, post-surgery, I faced the challenge of re-entering the gym amid a toxic relationship that left me feeling unworthy. Throughout this period, lacking the necessary support at home and facing delayed re-entry into exercise, I made the crucial decision to remove toxic individuals from my life and relocate. By the end of June, I made a bold decision to relocate to Hout Bay in Cape Town, embarking on a journey to rediscover myself.

    By then, my muscles had atrophied, leaving me merely skin and bone. My once-perky butt and solid physique were replaced by a reflection in the mirror that revealed protruding hip bones and a stark change in the texture of my thighs. I weighed just 55kg.

    READ MORE: How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    Trying something new

    Before embarking on this transformation journey, I practised intermittent fasting, restricting my eating window to after 9 at night for a year. However, a pitfall was overindulging during those moments, leading to unhealthy habits of going to bed and feeling bloated. My objective shifted towards a healthier approach, aiming to eat more frequently with smaller portions. It wasn’t until the end of November that I realized being skinny isn’t synonymous with being healthy. With the goal of achieving my best shape before turning 33, this journey is still ongoing. Every week brings progress, and I can feel myself growing stronger.

    By the end of November, I transitioned to heavier weight training, eliminating cardio to focus on muscle building rather than further weight loss. I incorporated whey protein and creatine into my diet, prioritizing protein, vegetables, and fruits.

    READ MORE: How One Personal Trainer Lost 30kg – And Kept It Off


    Embarking on this transformation journey has been a solo endeavour, with the unwavering support of my sister, work colleagues, and friends. While I’ve always had a passion for exercise and fitness, this time around, it became a mental challenge. Some mornings, training before work meant conquering the temptation to hit the snooze button. Initially, even donning my gym clothes posed a challenge, but I recognized that once I started my workout, I was on a mission with unstoppable momentum. Surprisingly, cutting out sugar, alcohol and fast foods turned out to be the easiest part of this journey.

    I now maintain a robust and healthy weight of 60kg. Achieving this transformation spanned a dedicated five-month period.

    I experience increased energy, find daily tasks more manageable, and feel a new-found confidence in my physique. Building muscle has instilled in me a sense of strong willpower and improved mental well-being.

    READ MORE: How To Lose 1kg A Week: Safe & Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Tips

    Louné’s tips

    Get support

    “Begin by surrounding yourself with a supportive circle—I have a group of female friends I fondly call my cheerleaders. They uplift me during lows and celebrate my achievements.”

    Get an eating plan

    “Establish a well-balanced eating plan. As this gains momentum, consider joining a gym where like-minded individuals share your goals and energy. While setting personal fitness goals, always keep in mind that fitness is more than a goal; it’s a lifestyle.”

    Uplift yourself

    “I appreciate the concept of women empowerment. Recognizing our emotions, let’s uplift one another through genuine compliments on success and appearance, fostering self-confidence.” More

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    It’s Time To Stop Believing These Sexual Health Myths

    From periods to contraception to fertility, women’s sexual health is subject to its fair share of myths. In South Africa alone, these myths are not just rampant but serve as a barrier for women to access healthcare. Per one study, “In South Africa, about one in five (19%) women of reproductive age (15–49 years) have an unmet need for contraception, with even higher unmet need among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years at 31%, and 28% for young women aged 20–24 years.” Myths around contraception prevent women from accessing these services, leading to unwanted pregnancy and STIs.

    We’ve dispelled some common myths with input from the experts to lay down some need-to-know facts. Here, the most common sexual health myths you can happily stop believing – and what to know instead.

    Meet the experts: Dr Nico Lin is an Obstetric and Gynaecology registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Dr Siyamak Saleh is a doctor, WHO consultant and sexual health influencer.

    Sexual Health Myth #1: You can’t get pregnant during your period.

    While menstruation does mean that your body is shedding its uterine wall, along with an unfertilised egg, this doesn’t mean pregnancy is impossible. “Although the likelihood is lower, it is possible to fall pregnant during your period,” says Dr Lin. “Sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 7 days. Some women have shorter menstrual cycles and can ovulate shortly after the period ends.”

    What this means: when your period comes to an end, sperm might still be around, allowing you to fall pregnant once ovulation takes place. Always wear protection if you don’t want to become pregnant.

    READ MORE: Here’s Exactly How Your Vagina Changes In Your 20s, 30s And 40s

    Myth #2: The pull-out method works

    Talk about risky business. Per Dr Lin, pre-ejaculation can occur during sex, which could lead to unwanted pregnancy. “The pull-out method or withdrawal method is an unreliable form of birth control because pre-ejaculate can contain sperm, leading to the risk of unintended pregnancy,” he says. Again, use contraception like condoms, the IUD or birth control pills if you want to remain child-free.

    Myth #3: Certain sex positions will increase your chance of falling pregnant

    Just like how you can’t intuit the sex of your unborn child, a special sex position won’t make it easier to fall pregnant. “There is no scientific evidence to support this idea,” says Dr Lin. “Timing of intercourse is more important than sexual position as the key factor in achieving pregnancy is the sperm’s ability to reach the egg during ovulation. Regular unprotected sexual intercourse around the time of ovulation is recommended if you are trying to conceive.”

    Myth #4: Having a regular menstrual cycle means you are always fertile

    “While having regular menstrual cycles is associated with regular ovulation, it does not guarantee fertility,” Dr Lin explains. “Other factors can affect fertility, such as structural abnormalities of the female reproductive tract and endometriosis.” If you are trying to conceive, see your doctor for a check-up to gauge your fertility.

    READ MORE: 5 Simple Ways To Tell Exactly When You’re Ovulating

    Myth #5: Using birth control for a long time makes you infertile

    Simply not true, experts agree. “Long-term use of birth control methods such as pills, injections and intra-uterine devices typically do not impact fertility negatively,” says Dr Lin. “Fertility usually resumes once you stop using the contraceptive. However, responses may vary among individuals with a return to fertility ranging between 2-18 months. Duration of contraceptive use has also been proven to not affect long-term fertility.”

    Also, it’s important to remember that age plays a factor in fertility. The more you age, the more fertility declines. “This means if someone uses birth control for many years, they might find it more challenging to conceive not because of the birth control itself, but because of age-related changes in fertility,” Dr Saleh explains.

    Myth #6: Using contraception will make your partner infertile

    First, let’s make it clear that this is completely untrue. Here’s how hormonal contraceptives work: “They prevent ovulation and thicken the mucus at the mouth of the womb, preventing sperm from entering the reproductive tract,” explains Dr Lin. “It can also work by thinning the lining of the womb, making it less likely for a fertilised egg to implant and grow.” The bottom line: since these methods work within the female reproductive system, they do not affect the partner’s fertility.

    READ MORE: Here’s How To Have A Discussion With Your Doctor About Sex

    Myth #7: The Morning After Pill Is Always Effective

    Well… it’s a bit more complicated than this. “Many factors influence the effectiveness of the morning-after pill, a crucial form of emergency contraception,” says Dr Saleh. “It’s most effective when taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex. There are two primary types of emergency contraception pills: one that contains levonorgestrel (e.g., Plan B One-Step), which is most effective within 72 hours, and another, Ella (ulipristal acetate), which can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The key mechanism of the morning-after pill is to delay ovulation; therefore, if ovulation has already occurred, the pill will NOT be effective. Additionally, the efficacy of morning-after pills is affected by BMI; higher BMI levels may reduce their effectiveness.”

    Myth #8: Steaming and douching are great for vaginal health

    Leave these practices behind, experts say. “Steaming and douching can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina, leading to several potential risks,” explains Dr Saleh. “These practices can affect the vaginal pH, making the environment more susceptible to infections and irritation. Steaming, in particular, might introduce excessive heat to sensitive areas, potentially leading to burns or discomfort.

    Both steaming and douching can upset the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina, increasing the risk of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.” Plus, your vagina is a self-cleaning machine and is designed to maintain its balance without the need for internal cleansing like douching, Dr Saleh warns. Just use a mild soap and water and you’ll be fine.

    READ MORE: Pop Quiz: Do You Actually Know What’s Going On With Your Vagina?

    Myth #9: Vaginal discharge means infection

    This sexual health myth couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more the quality of the discharge that determines inflammation and infection. “Vaginal discharge is a natural and healthy part of the vagina’s self-cleansing mechanism. Not all discharge indicates an infection,” says Dr Saleh. If your discharge is white, that’s normal.

    “Signs that discharge may be due to an infection include a change in colour, consistency, smell, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like itching, irritation or even lower abdominal pain. Discharge that is green, grey, or has a strong odour might signal an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or an STI, and requires a consultation with a healthcare provider,” explains Dr Saleh.

    Michelle is the features editor at WH. She’s immensely curious about the world, passionate about health and wellness and enjoys a good surf when the waves are good. More

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    We Tried Morphée: A Screen-Free Sleep Device To Help You Actually Doze Off

    Startling news: South Africans get less sleep than other nations in the world. That’s intel from Sleep Cycle app, which released the data in 2023. There are myriad reasons for this but getting quality shut-eye is important for our health. And our screens, in the form of TVs and phones, contribute to lower sleep quality. Enter Morphée, a completely screen-free, Wi-Fi-free approach to getting quality z’s. We tried it out to see how it got us dozing.

    Morphée Sleep Device

    What happens when we don’t get enough sleep

    Over 50% of adults report poor-quality sleep with screen exposure being a large contributor, per Morphée. According to Morphée’s South African Brand Manager, Daniella Degens, “In recent years, the prevalence of sleep deficiency has escalated, bearing substantial repercussions tied to numerous chronic health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.”

    A lack of quality time dozing also leads to health complications. Getting less lowers your body’s immunity, memory, attention and problem-solving skills. Added to that, chronic sleep deprivation can elevate stress hormones, making it harder to handle the pressures associated with personal and professional responsibilities.

    It’s clear that sleep is paramount and while sleep tonics and products assist, a quality sleep routine really helps move the needle towards restful, restorative sleep.

    READ MORE: Normal Sleep — Turns Out, There Might Be No Such Thing

    What is Morphee?

    In short, Morphée is a screen-free meditation device, works sans Wi-Fi and can lull you to La La Land, stat. It’s also small, making it portable, so you can bring it with you anywhere.

    How it works

    Morphée looks like a clock with various dials. On the right, choose the mode you’d like to use. There are many: body scan, breathing, movement, cardiac coherence, relaxing music and nature sounds (there are more but we won’t name them all). Next, pick your session on the right. Each mode has eight sessions, so you can mix and match and not get bored. You can also choose your duration: eight or 20 minutes. Choose from a male or female voice, et voila – you’ve got yourself a sleepy time sesh.

    Good to know: Morphée was created by a team of sleep experts, so every session is expertly curated.

    READ MORE: Struggling To Sleep During Your Period? This Might Be Why 

    We tried Morphée

    WH Features Ed Michelle October tried Morphée for two weeks to see if it could help her notch more quality z’s.

    “The device looks intimidating at first: so many dials and buttons and no idea what they mean. But once you open the accompanying Blue Book (an instruction manual), it all becomes incredibly simple. What I really loved about it? There’s no accompanying app or Wi-Fi needed. You just pick your session, put Morphée down and get some sleep.

    I know from experience that repetition of sound can create a cue in your body that prompts it for sleep. In that vein, I tried to listen to similar sounds every night but got too excited by everything on offer. I particularly loved the nature sounds and the body scan sessions, which encouraged me to tune into my body and consciously focus on relaxing my muscles as I got ready for bed.

    I was out like a light within minutes. The soothing tones and speaker quality really allowed me to drift off super fast. When I couldn’t fall asleep, I could just pick a new mode and settle in again.

    I also really appreciated that there are no lights on the device except for a brief orange light letting you know the device is on. Other than that, there’s really nothing to deter you from getting to bed.”

    Morphée retails for just R2 490 and is available on their website and on Yuppiechef.

    READ MORE: The Greatest Sleepytime Products That’ll Take You To La-La Land, STAT More

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    10 Wellness Quotes By Miss SA Natasha Joubert (That We Absolutely Loved!)

    Ever met those people who are a freakin’ big deal but don’t treat themselves as such? This was the case when current Miss SA Natasha Joubert invited me to her home for the Jan/Feb 2024 cover interview. After insisting on brewing me the perfect cup of coffee, the 26-year-old opened up about everything in her new, busy world. From the gruelling Miss SA preps, dealing with negative opinions and managing a tight schedule to not being too anal about diets and swopping intense workouts for low-impact exercises, she left no stone unturned.

    After almost three hours of Natasha laying her soul bare, one important lesson that I took away was that: Our breakthrough or fresh start is always one last push, and sound decision, away. Ahead, some wisdom that we gleaned from one of the most relatable Miss SA’s in the history of the pageant:

    READ MORE: Do This Cardio Workout At Home To Burn Cals And Boost Your Mood

    1. Embracing New Beginnings And Forging Ahead

    “I’ve learnt not to become too complacent. I usually know that it’s time for change when I get to a point where a lot of things no longer excite me or when it feels like I’m settling. Then I know that it’s time to take a risk or introduce changes to my daily routine. Secondly, don’t only try one or twice — if you have to do something four times, then go for it! These days, failure is more common than success. If you study the lives of most successful people, they definitely didn’t get it right the first time around. For instance, my mother studied law when she was 18 and quit. She just recently got her law degree now at 50. The lesson? If there’s something that you genuinely want for yourself, go for it. Even if it means taking a break.”

    2. Fight For Your Dreams

    “In life you’re going to have to fight for the things you need and want. There are very few young people who have parents who can finance their future goals. And I was one of those kids. Saving my pageant winnings and working odd jobs as teenager and post-matric made me financially independent from a young age. At times, I’d have to borrow my mother money because she just couldn’t do it as a single mother. Granted, I grew up quicker than I would’ve liked to. Now that I’m running my own household, I fully understand how my mom struggled on her own after my dad’s passing. My wish is for young people to understand that having parents who fund their education and goals is a privilege that they should never take for granted – not a must!”

    READ MORE: 6 Times You’re Totally Sabotaging Yourself At Work — Without Realising It

    3. Humble Beginnings

    “When I entered Miss SA in 2020, the judges always advised us to bring our real selves to the competition if we really wanted to win. And I remember thinking: “What does that even mean?” But working with a therapist to heal my childhood traumas has been revolutionary. I wasn’t self-assured the first time around. The thought alone of admitting to being independent at a young age so that I could relieve my mother of any financial pressure, or the debilitating fact that we lost our home after my dad’s passing, would’ve embarrassed me or brought me to tears! But I now tell that story with pride in hopes that it will inspire many other young people to fight for their dreams like I did!” 

    4. What I Know For Sure

    “Now I know that life is about balance. It’s all about knowing when to work hard and when to take time off or when to take things seriously and when not to overthink. I don’t take my Miss SA title too seriously. I dance when I’m at events, I’m definitely not stiff and stuck up. At the end of the day, everyone is literally just like you – they’re human. I want to be known as a Miss SA who gets the job done, but who’s also relatable and showcases the downfalls and the struggles. I don’t mind being an open book because it allows me to go through life freely and without feeling the need to filter certain things out.”

    5. Navigating Negativity

    “I’ve never worked as hard as I did for Miss SA – little knowing that the hard work gets worse after being crowned [chuckles]. There will always be those people who feel that you didn’t deserve an opportunity, but no one can ever tell you that you’re not fit for anything if you give it your all.”

    6. Living With ADHD And Anxiety

    “I was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety in my adulthood. It could’ve been earlier but I refused to go to therapy when my dad passed away in my teens. I didn’t want to be on medication chronically so we started on a really low dosage for a few months then eased it out. Eventually, I had to find coping mechanisms that would help me control the symptoms from the inside and exit that space of constantly wanting to be busy – and that’s where life coaching came in. I will always go to therapy for as long as circumstances allow me to.”

    READ MORE: 18 New Running Shoes To Help You Run Faster And Farther In 2024

    7. Stop To Smell The Roses

    “I’m in my 20s now and understand that I haven’t reached the pinnacle of who I want to be. I don’t want to be so consumed by life’s responsibilities, or rush through it, without ever stopping to reflect on the next step and carefully mapping out who I want to be. I want to constantly challenge myself to grow after ticking off a goal and to do everything with intention.”

    8. After A Long Day…

    “My favourite form of unwinding is lying on the couch and enjoying a good series, or being with family and friends, walking my dogs, lying in the sun, swimming at my grandparents’ house or sitting in front of the fire with my boyfriend in winter. It’s really the small things that bring me the greatest joy.”

    9. Don’t Demand Too Much Of Your Body

    “Gym for me was always about releasing endorphins. I really can’t promise myself that I’ll commit to exercising as regularly and as intensely as I did before and during the Miss SA preps – and that’s also okay. My work schedule simply doesn’t allow me to. The smaller things like walking my dogs and hiking with my family will have to do for now.”

    10. Local Is Definitely Lekker

    “I love travelling locally — the Western Cape Winelands and the Kruger National Park being firm favourites. I get PTSD from travelling internationally. My bag is always overweight, I always worry about the possibility of missing the flight and then I’m constipated for four days after returning. When I land back in SA, I always think to myself, ‘I don’t know why I paid that much just to want to be back home [chuckles].’

    Catch our detailed interview with Miss South Africa Natasha Joubert in the January/February 2024 issue of Women’s Health on shelves now, or grab yourself a digital copy. More

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    DJ And Fitness Trainer Miss Bee On Crafting A New Life After Surviving Cancer

    Botle Kayamba, popularly known as Miss Bee, is proof that the Covid-19 lockdown bore fruit for some. Growing up, Miss Bee was surrounded by music – mom always led the praise and worship team at church and her brother was a DJ – she enrolled for an online DJing course in 2021. Yep, only three years ago. Upon graduating, she continued sharpening her mixing skills at home, then slowly started putting her hand up for playing at gigs and radio stations. This past December, Miss Bee headlined her first international gig, the Lovers of House Festival in Groningen, northern Netherlands. Spotting a lesson here? Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.

    Going For Gold

    “During lockdown when fitness training wasn’t as big a priority for most, I started thinking of ways to expand my career. And I couldn’t shake off my love for music and decided to jump into DJing.”

    And given her current struggle with local promoters always wanting to negotiate her fee down and her past health struggles, she certainly doesn’t take her milestones for granted – and these include winning the Queen of the Beat competition that was hosted by the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Arts and Culture and a resident Dj on 5Fm’s The Roger Goode Show.

    READ MORE: How Dyslexia Led Me To A Thriving Career In Art

    Fighting The Odds

    Miss Bee was diagnosed with type 3 Ameloblastoma in her early twenties, a rare cancer that had affected her right lower jaw.

    “Mine was a severe case – my right ear was always painful, I lost eyesight on the left, my hearing on the left ear also suffered and my jaw was abnormally swollen,” she shares, adding that she practically lived in hospitals between 2004 and 2006. Over time, her face became so deformed that she had to undergo three surgeries. The last and major op was a mandibulectomy, a surgical procedure where a small or huge chunk of one’s lower jaw bone is removed. “In my case, my left lower jaw was removed and replaced with a plate which helped give my face its shape again,” she explains. 

    During one of Botle’s hospital stays, her bed happened to be next to a window that overlooked a quiet road with a set of traffic lights nearby. “I’d keep busy by watching the traffic lights change from green to orange and red, while quietly interrogating God about when the pain and hospital stays would end,” she reflects. Her mental health had taken quite a knock too. “My tertiary studies had been interrupted, I felt stuck and wondered if I’d ever catch up to my peers,” she recalls.

    READ MORE: Author Janine Jellars Shares Her Simple Wellness Routine

    And Then There Was Light

    Coincidentally, around the time when these negative thoughts plagued Miss Bee’s thoughts, her mother and a group of church ladies came to pray for her. Before doing so, they read a Bible scripture from Isaiah 60: 22 which reads: ‘When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.’ 

    Since 2006 Miss Bee’s recovery journey has been peppered with many magical moments. Chief among them was the birth of her son Thabiso in 2009. “I really feel like God more than made up for all the years I was in hospital. In a lot of ways, I feel like Isaiah 60: 22 brought me back to life by restoring my hope,” she concludes, adding she is proof that whatever’s meant for you will always make its way to you – no matter how long it takes. 

    While recovering, Botle had to learn how to do a lot of basic things such as chewing, after a long period of eating through a straw. Graduating with a sports management qualification became one of her saving grace, she says. “Working out became my therapy. Whether running or dancing, I felt so alive. When I started working at Virgin Active as a trainer, the positive feedback I’d get after my classes also lifted my spirit. I’d almost lost my life, yet here I was inspiring others to take care of themselves.” Looking back at the things she’s achieved since her recovery, Botle is convinced that she wasn’t as ready as she is now.

    READ MORE: Radio Personality Gugu Mfuphi On The Lessons Learnt During Her Kilimanjaro Summit — And More

    Biggest Career Highlight

    “As a fitness trainer, it had always been my wish to be on the Women’s Health Fit Night Out stage. I came so close to this wish in 2017 when I made the top five in the WH Fit Star competition –  a great feat even though I didn’t win. My wish finally came true in 2023 when I played to a crowd of more than 2,000 women at Fit Night Out.”

    Best Lesson To Date

    “There’s more to life than sulking and self-pity. Having fought so hard for this second chance, I can safely say that challenges are purely there to shape us.”

    Four Things I Can’t Live Without

    God, family, my son and my phone. 

    Favourite Get-Up-And-Dance Track

    “Premier Gaou by Magic System. It takes me back to my happy childhood days and reminds me of how far I have come.”

    Lesser Known Fact About Me

    “I have a twin sister.” More