A little about you:
I am 39 years old, a wife for about 8 years, I have 2 kids (4 & 7 year old) and I had both of them through caesarean section.
What made you finally decide to lose the bump?
It was my younger son’s 1st birthday and we had taken some family pictures. Looking at those pictures, I was astonished at how much weight I had slowly put on. I have always been a size 8 – 10 (UK) and looking at my size 14 body with a belly that still looked about 6 months pregnant shocked me into doing something about it. Call me vain but I was not about to go through life looking like I didn’t take care of my body.
How long did it take?
When I started actively losing weight I was 89Kg and it took me two years to get down to 68kg.
Was it easy losing weight in your tummy area after 2 C-sections?
It didn’t come easy but with time, the tummy firmed up. The mistake most people make is to try to firm the tummy without losing weight and when it doesn’t work, they say it is impossible for a woman who has had C- section to lose weight. The stomach is surrounded by fat so the first step is to lose weight all over the body. Once that is done, it is easier to concentrate on trimming the tummy with visible result.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is maintaining the weight loss. As difficult as losing weight is, it’s actually more difficult to stay on your goal weight for the long term. Your body gets used to your current diet and exercise routine and can be a bit too efficient in the process so that means you need to switch things up, usually by increasing your exercise or reducing your food portions but this has to be done smartly so that you are not starving yourself. It’s so easy to gain the weight back and has happened a few times so I need to be careful to keep it steady.
Were there times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
Oh, I have had many times I wanted to give up because sometimes, a healthy lifestyle is not fun and you just want to have an easier life but then I rapidly put the weight back on and I hate that.
I stay motivated by this thing that I do: I stand in front of my full length bedroom mirror completely naked and take a good long hard stare at my body. There is no lying to yourself when you are naked. You see yourself without the help of fashion making you look good. This way, I’m able to see my body as it is and visualize a realistic goal. This keeps me focused on my goal and how close or far away from it I am. This is my journey and my body and I make the decision as to how I want it to look.
Was there a time you felt like the weight was not shifting? How did you combat it?
Be forewarned, the scale will not always shift! So many times it almost felt like I was adding weight instead of losing. The number one key is CONSISTENCY. IT WILL TAKE TIME! It took me two years to lose 20kg so this is not a joke but you have to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. And when I felt I was staying too long in one weight, I took a hard look at EVERYTHING that went into my mouth. Sometimes, it’s that snack and other sugary treats that sabotage our efforts. Eating clean is important and sugar is the number one culprit against losing weight.
What’s your current exercise routine?
It depends on the period. On the days I have to work, I usually do vigorous home workouts on my DVD player for about an hour. I try to work out 4-5 days a week. On the days I don’t work, I go to the gym for about an hour.
Do you have a regular job? How do you create time to exercise?
I am currently a Category Innovation Manager in a Multinational FMCG company. On normal working days, I wake up at 5am to do my exercise before the kids wake up at 6am. This way, there are no distractions and it’s how I start my day. At one point a few years ago, I was working out at night after everyone had gone to bed but I found that at the end of the day, I was too tired to do my workouts justice and couldn’t do my best so I went back to morning. One good advice: If it’s important to you, you’ll make time!
What’s your daily diet like?
My diets have always been my problem. I don’t do diets and I don’t eliminate any particular food group (carbs or fats). The only thing I try to limit to a bare minimum is sugar. I eat everything else so I have learnt to control my portions and count my calories throughout the day.
What’s your favorite healthy snack and meal?
Rice. I can eat rice all day, every day! Rice has been given a bad rep as not being healthy but I don’t agree. Most Asian countries eat rice and the citizens hardly put on weight. The trick is to do more vegetables on your plate and watch your portions. All I need is a little rice but lots of stew, sometimes I add broccoli, carrots and cabbage to form the bulk of my plate so I still enjoy the rice but in a small portion.
Do you have any suggestions for avoiding temptation and eating healthy?
It is mainly mental. My tip is: if I eat this, how long will it take me to lose the weight I will put on as a result. This usually keeps me in check as I don’t want to go through the process of trying to lose weight that I could have avoided simply because I was greedy.
What is your advice for other mothers trying to lose weight?
- Most women want to lose the weight as fast as possible and will use quick fixes or go on all sorts of diets. What they don’t realize is if you go on a diet, your body will rapidly lose the weight but as soon as your diet stops and you go back to your normal eating pattern, you will gain the weight back plus more because your body has adjusted to that low calorie diet and anything above that in form of normal food will be an overload which will be stored as fat.
- Same goes for any quick fix like pills etc. You need to set a course for a healthy lifestyle and it can only be achieved with good/healthy eating pattern (70%) and exercise (30%). This requires patience because it will take time and your results will be longer lasting. Don’t rush the process and remember: it is not a fad, it is a lifestyle. It needs to be SUSTAINABLE!
My second tip is that a lot of people will give you opinions on how you should look (“you are losing too much weight o”, “you are adding weight o”, “ah, see your neck”, “Madam, take it easy o oga will not have anything to hold o”). This is YOUR body. What do YOU want it to look like?
- Watch your portion sizes. There is a huge difference between one cup and two cups of rice.
- Sugar! Most people will say everything in moderation without knowing what moderation is. 40 grams of sugar a day is moderation. A can of coke is 49 grams. Plus every other thing that contains sugar (it doesn’t even have to taste sweet for it to contain sugar) eaten in the course of that day increases your insulin levels and your capacity to store fat.
Do your research. A lot of this lifestyle is basic human biology. Read up on weight loss but remember that not everyone is a professional and there are a lot of weight loss myths out there.