It’s one of the things that connects us as humans all over the world, and makes an excellent small talk topic during dinner parties: We’ve all experienced and/or are likely to experience weight issues at some point of our lives.
Having been there myself, I managed to form my own understanding of the subject, and learned a whole lot through trial and error. Although I wasn’t trying to shed a huge amount of weight, there’s has been a period of my life where I was always on some sort of a diet: Crash diet, healthy diet, heart surgery diet, you name it. I’ve tried everything from vinegar and water to the notorious cabbage soup, which I wouldn’t recommend. I spent a significant amount of time googling calories in foods and understanding how our bodies work, what makes us puff up or shrink in size, what a healthy BMI is and how much calories we need on daily basis. I walked, jogged, swam and even tried weight loss yoga. I monitored my weight with gym trainers, until I arrived at the conviction that it’s your size on clothes that tells you what you need to know, not the scales.
So, you see, I’m a little bit obsessed when it comes to this, or let’s say cautious. Hence, it’s something that’s on my mind constantly and I can’t help but make observations relating to it wherever I go. So, here are some of my thoughts which I hope that nobody would find insensitive or not quite politically correct.
– It’s a universally acknowledged facts that a fat kid is a cute kid, it’s a given, you just want to eat them. However, when I see a child who’s over 5 years old and overweight, I feel like I want to grab his parents and shout at them. I want to ask them: Do you realize that your child’s eating habits now could set him in his ways for life? More gravely, do you realize that you could be partly responsible for your teenage child’s weight and possible self-esteem issues? Even worse, you could be partly responsible for your adult child’s heart attack. What’s scary is that children’s life today is different than how it used to be for us. Yes, we used to gobble down chips and candy like the end of the world is upon us, but we were active, roaming the streets until dusk, not chained down to our iPads and PlayStations.
– It really bothers me when I see a couple where the woman is slim and the man is overweight. Not because I don’t think they look right, not at all, it’s just that it makes me think that it represents our crooked social standards: The woman must always stay in shape and watch her figure, while the man can do whatever he wants because it doesn’t matter how his wife sees him. But aside from that, it makes me wonder that, if she loves him, how could she take care of herself and her body and let him get carried away like that? Because anyone who’s overweight must have gained it gradually over time, so the question that poses itself is: how did you let yourself get there? Why didn’t you stop it in time? So, why didn’t you bring his attention to it? It even makes it easier to hug if I’m not mistaken. Of course it could be the other way around, but that doesn’t bother me much because I know that men usually can’t keep quiet about it, so if you see a slender man with an overweight woman, chances are he’s already made a few comments about how much rice she put on her plate or suggested nicely that she could take some time for herself to hit the gym.
– Newsflash: Confidence has nothing to do with your weight. Of course everyone should be confident and love themselves no matter how overweight and underweight they are, this is how it should be, because you’re essentially the same person inside underneath that skin and flesh. However, being confident and feeling beautiful doesn’t make it okay to be overweight. You might say “I’m happy like this”, well, of course you are, but you know who’s not so happy? Your spinal column. So, yes, you’re beautiful and confident and happy, why not be healthy too?
– After all these years of yo-yo dieting and calorie-counting, I discovered one thing that could be the key to staying in shape: Awareness. Make a conscious effort to be aware of everything you put into your body, don’t just sit at the dinner pilot and switch to auto-pilot mode. Make healthy, smart choices every day. Order the grilled chicken breast instead of the breaded fried scallop, no matter how tempting it might be. I remember at some point I became so conscious of this that when I was in the supermarket I would grab things from the shelves and put them back, because when I look at chocolate cake I no longer saw delicious, mouthwatering spongy goodness, I saw glucose syrup and saturated fat – That’s not to say that I don’t have chocolate cake anymore, but moderation is key, and the key to moderation is awareness.
– Another thing I learned it to keep as far away as you can from crash diets. Really, they suck. They just make you crave food even more. Opt for a healthy diet even if it means you will lose weight slowly, because from my personal experience I can say that they weight you put off slowly is what really makes the difference and gives dramatic results.
– Don’t give in for excuses, there’s usually a way around any excuse you come up with. Don’t have time? Go for interval workouts, do it at home if you don’t want to go to the gym, , 30 seconds of high intensity workout, 30 seconds slow workouts, alternately for 24 minutes, 6 minutes of stretching, and boom, you’re done in half an hour. Personally, I found that this is the best way to go and it really makes a difference. But it’s not only how many times a week you exercise, it’s your whole lifestyle that should be more active. Try to do more errands on foot and make it a habit to do more things while walking or moving, like reading, surfing the web on your phone, etc.
– Know yourself and your needs. How much calories you need? (which you can easily find out by using a calorie calculator, which you can easily find online). Don’t give into emotional eating, think of the consequences, find other ways to relieve the stress like walking or jogging, you can call it emotional workout, and the good news it actually relives the stress by increasing the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain called Dopamine, unlike emotional eating which only gives the illusion of relieving stress.
– Finally, make peace with the fact that there is no magic wand to lose weight. Don’t believe all these sensational ads about magic pills slimming gels. I made it a rule that anything promising fast results must have something essentially wrong with it, and that’s not just when it comes to diet, but life in general, because life just doesn’t work that way. It takes work, constant work and the bottom line is: you can’t have your cake and eat it. You just cannot eat whatever you want and be inactive while losing weight and being healthy. As hard it might be to swallow one should accept the fact that it all comes down to inputs and outputs: How much energy you put into your body, and how much of it you expend. Perhaps applying that into practice could make losing those last 5 kilos not so hard as it might seem, and it could dawn on you that going down from 90 Kilos to 70 kilos might be just one a matter of one less daily meal, or one healthy choice away.