By Sharon Jane Akinyemi
At twenty-six years old, I began a long and frustrating journey that would lead me down many difficult roads, most of them dead-ends. In the process, I gained more weight as I hopped from diet to diet, believing each to be the perfect solution to correcting my imperfect size and shape.
I embraced many lies and discovered a few key truths along the way. The lies included the damaging notion that if I could get my eating under control and my body the right weight, I would be a totally fulfilled and happy person. I thought that no matter how I got the fat off, being thin would be sufficient motivation to keep it off.
After few successes and many failures over the next three years, I fell into the most devastating rotation diet of all time-diet pills and bulimia. After devouring enormous amounts of junk food, I would draw a line in the sand and vow never to binge and purge again. I became consumed with learning every tip to losing weight quickly. And the only way to make that happen was to get rid of my urge to eat. Those amazing little white pills really did the trick.
The next thing I knew, my boyfriend declared he would marry me since I was a lean 60kg. In my mind, I had finally achieved the perfect body. I determined to stay thin and was married four months later. Believe it or not, I actually took my bathroom scale on the honeymoon. But even before we returned home, the diet pills seemed to turn me on. I became increasingly nervous and noticed frequent heart palpitations. I knew the danger of amphetamines. I knew I had to stop taking the pills, so once again I tried to use willpower and self-control to manage my weight.
My husband also did his part to help me. He pointed out every attractive, thin woman he noticed and reminded me at every opportunity, of the things I didn’t want to eat. He even turned down some foods on my behalf when we were invited to friends’ homes for dinner. How wonderful to have such a supportive advocate.
Of course he had no idea that the hidden problem I had was becoming an oppressive stronghold in my life. Since I felt so uncomfortable eating in front of him, I fell into my secret world of bulimia in other to “take control” of my conflicting urge to eat yet stay thin. When the numbers on the scale started to creep up and my clothes started to get tight, I reluctantly went back to the diet pills for help. I continue to lie to myself, saying, “I’ll just get this exec weight off, and I’ll never take these pills again.”
By the time I was thirty-two and doing a Master Degree I had been through the cycle several times, yo-yoing between 60kg and 75kg. But the last time I went back “once and for all” to diet pills to overcome a long bulimic phase and skyrocketing weight gain. It was one time too many. I began to experience panic attacks. At first they were occasional, but soon they increased in both frequency and intensity. Within a year,I was living in overwhelming fear.
By the time I was thirty-three, the panic attacks forced me to realise that I could never take stimulants again. Gripping anxiety consumed my life. I thought I was dying. I thought I was going crazy. My fear of getting fat and losing my husband’s acceptance paled in comparison to dealing with my fear of dying and losing my mind. It’s a miracle I even made it through Masters Degree.
That was a touching story of a woman I met few months ago. Does that look like what you are going through or some part of it. Whatever your issue, am sure all hope is not lost yet. You must call out for help and learn the truth that will help you find victory over your habits and even discover a way to stay at reasonable body weight without becoming unreasonably obsessed with your looks.
Common Weight-Loss Lies
•Lie: “You Can Lose Weight Fast.”
You didn’t gain it fast, and you won’t lose it fast either. In fact, you can eat 2000 calories or more in an hour. Yet as I said before, the average woman only burns 1700 in a day. You absolutely cannot lose 2kg of fat per day. Yes you can lose 2kg on the scale who cares? That’s water. If you starve yourself and ate nothing, it would take you about two days to burn off 2kg of fat. (1,700 calories x 2 days=3400 calories, 100 calories shy of 2kg of fat.) Throw away your scale . Get realistic and make reasonable shifts in your caloric energy equation.
•Lie: “A Supplement Or Drug Will Solve Your Weight Problems.”
I wish it were so! We thought drug was a wonderful thing. Now we know the truth. The risks were not worth the reward. Just ask the women who are concerned about their long- term health because they now have “waxy buildup” on their heart valves.
Have you ever listened to the list of side effects at the end of every pharmaceutical product advertised on television or the one you read from the precautionary measure slip that usual come with the drug? Scary. So perhaps you will just stick with the ” natural” products found in so many popular weight – loss formulas. Read the small print on those also. Just because they are natural doesn’t mean they are safe or good for your body. Opium is natural. Cocaine is natural. Remember the lady I shared her story got hooked on pills to lose weight. Natural “speed” is not the answer. We simply do not need more stimulants in our bodies.
•Lie: “You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise.”
You may hate the “E” word. Exercise from my perspective is simply stimulated activity designed to make up for our our outrageously sedentary lifestyles.. If you are naturally active in your daily life, you may not need to exercise. But the point is that we all need to move purposely and with some intensity most days for the rest of our lives. If you don’t get some form of aerobic activity and muscle work, your body will not burn fat efficiently. More importantly, you will not have the energy and endurance to enjoy life to it’s fullest.
The Simple Truth About Weight-Loss
Permanent Weight Loss Requires A Lifestyle Change.Ask yourself this question whenever you’re trying to get the fat off permanently: “Can I maintain this kind of behaviour, activity, or type of eating most days for the rest of my life?” if you don’t believe you can, then it probably wont work. Lose your fat the same way you are going to keep it off- through a permanent lifestyle change.
These are examples of lifestyle activities that can make a big difference in your overall health and calorie burn.
•Eat several small meals or substantial snacks throughout the day. Start early with breakfast and then eat and burn all day long.
•Write it down
Writing down everything that you eat- including drinks and “bites” or “tastes” of food — can help increase self-awareness. Pay attention to serving sizes and use measuring cups and spoons as serving utensils to keep portions reasonable. Food eaten outside of the home tends to be much larger portion sizes and much higher in calories. Try to look up nutrition information of your favorite take-out meal or restaurant and select a healthy meal before going out to eat.
• Increase your activity
Typically you need to cut 500 calories per day to lose 0.5kg per week. This is very difficult to achieve through exercise alone and would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day. A more attainable goal would be to try to increase activity throughout the day and get a total of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. But be careful — exercise is not an excuse to eat more!”
•Proper Timing of Meals
You need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain optimal energy and to prevent metabolism from slowing down. Eat breakfast every day within one hour of waking up, then eat a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. Try not to go longer than 5 hours without eating a healthy snack or meal to keep your metabolism steady.
Studies have shown that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, particularly for high- carbohydrate/high- calorie foods. In addition, less sleep raises levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can lead to weight gain.”
I hope the simple truths I shared on this page about fitness lifestyle is making sense. I can guarantee that the small changes you make will add up if you practice them consistently. And as you continue to read, you will discover more practical approaches to change in all dimensions of your life.