I remember those years before I had my first baby! I see some of those pictures and I gaze in awe. Those must have been the days when my mum would jokingly say I made skirts out of half a yard of fabric! I had my first baby and once she was six weeks old, I was back on the beat doing my exercises to get back to my BC (before child) status. My Yoruba aunt-in-law could not understand this and my utter lack of disregard for the plates of amala et al she attempted to serve up for my eating pleasure. I was determined to get back to my BC status and the earlier that happened the better. This worked pretty well in this instance and before long, I was exactly how I wanted to be.
Then came along baby number 2…and suddenly, it wasn’t so easy to get back to my pre-pregnancy state. I managed it at the end of the day though…but it was with tightly gritted teeth, loads of sweat and oodles of perseverance. I realized at this time that my days of eating like a horse and burning it all off were gone. Oh, I used to be able to wolf down calories that even the fast food joints would shudder at, and not show a bit of spare flesh. What happened to that fantastic metabolic rate? It up and died on me because, it now appeared that even when I smelt food, I added weight ! 😀 Honestly…I could almost swear!
Then came baby number 3 and my metabolism finally gave up. Every food I ate was duly converted to calories and stored in embarrassing areas of my body like my lower belly and my hips. I’m one of those lucky ones that their arms and wrists don’t really ‘swell’ up whenever they add weight…but consider that I was unlucky in every other way as I added weight in every other place 😀 Again, I worked at it, even harder this time and I was motivated by the fact that I’d been bought a couple of clothes to wear post pregnancy, and so they provided sufficient motivation to get with the crunches and sit-ups. And finally, the clothes fit!
In between, I tried some magic berry pills that were supposed to speed up your metabolism so fast it made your head spin! Mark you, I’m a doctor so I wasn’t looking for anything that had any side effects that could affect my health. Nope, I wanted to do it naturally, but hey, if a pill helps, why not?! Yes? Well, I can tell you for a fact that my head spun, not from how fast my metabolism was converting fat to muscle but by how I could have ever considered there was an easier way…than sweating and grunting through it!
Did it get better afterwards? Nope, it became a constant battle to get the weight off and make it stay that way. I have this friend who wolves down everything in sight and yet, nothing happens. But not me! I finally made my peace with this new me…Ketch AC (After Children :D) a couple of years ago and realized that this is my new reality…I add weight when I smell food 😀 So I can either stay down and whine about it or get up and do something about it.
And do something about it, I did. I committed to exercising at least five days every week or walking at least 5000 steps every day. I committed to reducing my portions and eating right. I made friends with beans, vegetables and fruits. Now, for some reason I never liked fruits. I could go for months (I think it would be absolutely embarrassing to say I could go for perhaps a year) without tasting (yes tasting…not even eating) a single fruit and then on some other occasions, I would get the craving for oranges and sit down with a knife in front of a basket of oranges and finish it off! I had to find a way of incorporating fruits into my diet. And that’s when I really discovered smoothies. Now my life is not complete without my brew on a daily basis. I have even gone days on smoothies only…the weight just peeled off and I assure you that even the most recalcitrant tummy would go flatter (depending on how much work has to be done, of course) on a diet of smoothies!
I’m not and never have been a huge fan of fad diets. I think they place a lot of restrictions on you which make them impracticable and thus easily abandoned. So, for all of you who have written in asking for how to lose all that belly fat and perhaps if there’s a magic pill, here’s my answer. It is hard work…plain and simple.
First focus on portion control. Start by reducing the size of your plate. If you eat with a bowl, go for a plate. If you eat with a flat plate with a circumference that could hold the globe 🙂 go for a smaller one etc. Then make sure that you focus on eating healthier foods. Half the plate should be filled with veggies, a quarter with protein and a quarter with carbs. Focus on complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes, yams, oats etc. Your palm is actually a good measure of how much you should eat and before you pelt me with rotten tomatoes for saying this, I’ve actually got very small palms so I’m suffering through this too 🙂
Then, exercise. This could be in the gym or through your regular activities. If you are a stay-at-home mum, dancing while doing your house chores, may not be what you have in mind when you look at a full house of chores, but it could start you on your fitness journey. And if you have a house help, don’t send her to do everything, get up and do some stuff yourself. Taking a walk in the evening when everyone is back, is also helpful. Going to the gym is a great way to start your day. In the office, move around some more…to the printer, to the bank, to the restaurant for lunch. Don’t call for everything.
And then, try and reduce your stress level…I can almost hear your ‘yeah, right! How do I do that?’ Well, stress is a normal part of life and in fact is needed to give you the regular push to get and go every morning. Find out your sources of stress and figure out solutions to them. For those you can’t find solutions for, let them go. No problem has ever been solved by stressing out over them. During stressful times, we are more likely to make wrong food choices. You may feel too lethargic to go anywhere and want to grab a quick food fix on your desk…where you’ve been sitting all day!
So that’s it…in as simple and plain a way as I could put it. These are the ABCs of losing weight…and we all keep working at it. I still have 1kg of my summer holiday weight left to lose before I continue my regimen from where I left off (Did I really misbehave that much during the holidays? SMH)
So, join me and let’s keep each other honest!
Here’s to a healthier you!