“Gabriel, do you think the way you are treating your body, you will live to be over a 100 years as you hope to?”
This was the jolt I needed to live healthy. The punch was delivered by my wife. Guys, if your wife says something is bad, better believe her. She sees your blind spot. With this in mind I decided (more like realised) I had to take off the weight. This was 2013 and I weighed 98kg (216 pounds). I kept away from food, ran long distances and lifted weights.
Caveat emptor: I do not like to exercise for exercise sake. I must derive joy at something else while exercising. Exercise for me has to be infused with something I love. I play soccer for the thrill of it. I walk/jog/cycle because it gives me some thinking space. Most times I have to be listening to something already scheduled. There is no swimming in my itinerary. The simple reason is the absolute and undebatable fact that I am not a fish. "If God wanted me to swim, He should have given me gills." This is a lie one of my good friends told me, and I have chosen to believe. Till date both of us cannot swim. We are actively looking for our gills.
My efforts in 2013 ended in 2014 and in one year, I lost 9kg (about 20 pounds).
I left it at that and went on living my life as usual. My life had other complications. I was drafted into a new team at work with a steep learning curve. We transited from one enterprise software to another and I added to that combo, an educational pursuit.
My working and waking hours was out of this world. Well, I had to deliver on my corporate and personal goals. Both were important. Exercise was deleted from that list of goals. Long working hours also meant I needed to keep the energy level high. I ate at odd hours, snacked at will and you know what happens when all these come together.
Circa 2016, I was back to, not 98kg, but 102kg (225 pounds). What happened? What did I do to myself? Well, if you read the paragraph above this one, you will see that the old lingo, “garbage-in = garbage-out,” is true. QED. In Nigerian lingo “if you do anyhow, you will see anyhow”.
So, in December 2016, I started another journey of weight loss and healthy living. I have lost 7kg (15 pounds) so far. It is a work in progress. From the BMI stats, I am suppose to be 76kg to be of normal weight. I am 95kg presently and I have to lose about 19kg more. Well, I am not going to do that. This is what I have purposed to do: stop at 86kg. That gives me a BMI of 28 (mid-range of overweight). I will be fine with that.
A few things have changed between my first attempt and my current endeavor. I have also learnt a thing or two along this journey. I will enlist them:
1. Seek to live healthy and all other things will follow. Check your portions. Eat right. Ask yourself “what do I need to do to achieve what I want?” That simple mental exercise can lead you to the right answers. The weight will fall off. You will feel better. You will know what works for you. Do it when you discover it.
2. Moderation is Key. Don’t forbid anything except things you know you are allergic to. Eat what you want to eat. Ensure you are not overindulging. Go for a balanced diet. If you know something is bad for you, then by all means leave it out. If it has a lot of calories, then it has to be taken in small doses.
I believe in moderation. I am not on any special diet. My biggest issue with the diet fads is when people tell me not to eat this and that. Sugar, salt, oil, fats, proteins, vegetables etc are not the problem. Excess and disproportionate consumption of any of them is the problem. The moral of the story: anything done in excess will become a problem. Even life in itself is moderated. You don’t sleep 24 hours. Neither do you work for 24 hours.
3. Don’t Deceive Yourself! I see people who eat whatsoever and believe they will burn the calories off. Ehm! Don’t give yourself more work to do. Your work is already cut out for you. Deal with that. Your body is a very intelligent machine. It adapts to you. Overstretching it leads to wear and tear. Wear and tear is also known as diseases, aches, blisters etc.
4. Talk To Your Doctor: Based on your medical history, he/she will have some advise. The person can give you the implication of certain exercise routines. I think it is a good idea since we are talking about health.
5. Don’t’ Wait For A Health Scare. Amongst those I meet on my walking routines and who have lost significant weight, I heard the same story over and over again. Some health scare drove them on this path. "My body is…and so I have to lose weight." If it is within your powers, try not to get there before you start taking your health seriously.
6. Incorporate Exercise Into Your Life. Little steps, here and there helps. We are not getting younger and it is most unlikely that your daily job will involve a lot of walking or climbing. Burning calories starts from the plate and continues in the gym.
7. Make It 'A Life Style'. I think this has been the best thing that has happened to me on this journey. Watching what I eat and regular exercise is now routine. No more excuses. It is easy to lose a fantastic amount of weight in a short period. The real task is keeping the weight off. A lifestyle will help you with that. It is called 'Sustainable Development'.
As you might have discovered, I am not a health expert. I know very little about nutrition. I cannot predict how your metabolism will work, but I see the confusion from the various diets and diet plans. I just eat food, watch the calories and stay active.
My take on health is the same on finances; traditional economics always works at the end of the day. Fanciful economics led to Enron. I was taught the concept of balance diet as a kid. It has not changed. The traditional balanced diet in the right proportions will deliver what it promises — keep you healthy and fuel you with the required energy. After eating, keep moving even if you are not Johnny Walker.
I have pontificated enough; let’s get to living healthy