I love sugary packaged snacks, drinks and pastries. This was the reason why my friends call me the ‘Dessert Girl’. I must say that my love for sugar and poor diet took a toll in my body that I gained as much as 198 lbs. at 5’ feet and 2” inches tall. I could vividly remember how every day was a constant battle to look at the mirror because all I could see is the width of my hips, bloated face and chunky arms.
It was in November 2007 that I decided to make a 360 degree turn to become healthy and lose weight for good. There are two events in my life that motivated me: One, the realization that I was forced to buy my clothes in the “Plus” size and “maternity” section of department stores, and two, the death of my father, of which become my ultimate wake-up call.
Standing 5’ feet and 2” inches tall and probably a size 12, I am often mistaken as pregnant, I can recall how I was asked if I was pregnant when I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong being pregnant is beautiful but false pregnancy identification is the lowest form of female torture. Every time I would be mistaken as pregnant, I would laugh it off and try very hard not to be offended because I want to get the message across that I am comfortable with my body. To make matters worse, there would always be weird set of reactions like “I’m sorry Ma’am, I thought you were” and a suggestion that is equally offending “Ma’am you could try in the plus-size section”. Though I am used to it, the fat girl inside of me wasn’t. My self-esteem was so low that I wanted to lose weight immediately so I starved myself and tried every fad diet. Well, it actually paid off. I was able to shed few pounds but also gained it exponentially.
Perhaps, the turning point of my life was the death of my father. It became my wake-up call to take a look on my overall well-being and start switching to healthy lifestyle. He was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 2. It was an acquired disease due to obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet that include too much consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, sugary packed snacks, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. My father’s death was my ‘ultimate’ wake-up call. I was thinking that my father could have lived longer if his diabetes was prevented.
Because I have large amount of weight to lose, my journey to being healthy was not easy. I have this love and hate relationship with fitness and to being healthy. Every now and then the fat girl inside me whispers in my ear to just give up; that it is easier to slacked off, be lazy and eat. It takes large amount of patience, determination and discipline to be able to loose and keep the weight off. Really!
There are numerous advices and tips about fitness and losing weight. I have to admit that it is quite confusing to have many guidelines. It is like hearing a lot of voices in your head and at the end of the day it wears you out. So I decided to trim down into six points that are easy, sensible and manageable. Here are my six golden rules that help me to lose weight and maintained that loss for years.
- CHANGE OF MIND AND OF HEART– This is not something I can easily put into words but the most important factors that influence weight loss are your mind and heart. You should put your mind and heart into it. There would be lots of changes and challenges in losing weight and to be able to do and survive those you need the right attitude and motivation in order to make it effective and lasting. Bottom-line; to change your weight there should also be a change of mindset and of heart.
- TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME– I took it slow and steady. I realize that the slower I lose weight the better I am in keeping it off. I tried to get used to the changes and major lifestyle adjustment such as cutting sugar consumption because I wanted to switch to healthy lifestyle. The key here is it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep on going. The major changes will soon be your lifestyle and chances are you will be able to keep the weight off in a long-term. So don’t rush. Take one day at a time.
- KEEP A JOURNAL- this is very helpful to me because I was able to figure out what food I am taking on a daily basis and the calories that each item I ate is worth. The act of writing it down helps to raise awareness about the food I am eating and my lifestyle. For instance, when I am skipping breakfast, I tend to eat a lot and crave for sugar packed snacks. But when I have good breakfast, I keep the hunger pangs at bay. Also, when I am stress, I tend to eat a lot of junk food. Writing down helps me to figure out solutions to these problems and how to cope up with stress eating. Keeping a journal also help me to understand portion sizes that encourage me to eat mindfully and to stay on track.
- EAT HEALTHY- When I decided to lose weight, I knew changing my eating habits was the most important at the start of my journey. I cut the sugar packed cookies, pastries and sodas. I started eating a healthy and balanced diet. I put color in my plate by adding greens, oranges and reds. I learn to love eating fruits and vegetables.
- TRAIN DIRTY- My mantra is to train dirty! Sometimes I envision myself like I’ve been picked for the hunger games! Seriously, find the exercise that you love and you will never have to drag yourself to commit on it. Every Thursday and Friday night, I slipped on my running shoes and run few kilometers and on weekends I do swimming and hip-hop dancing. I do these things because I love ‘desserts’- I’m kind of sweating it out. And also, if you still look cute and pretty after exercising then you are not getting the benefits of exercise. As an old saying goes, ‘You should look like a pig to be able to look like a fox’.
- REWARD YOURSELF- A piece of cake will do after all we are perishable item and we should enjoy life’s simple pleasure.