If you are looking for an intellectual and thought-provoking piece on the relative merits of having talks in aid to keep the peace- please do move on! This is a somewhat shallow piece on a totally different type of battle and the virtue of peace for possibly maintaining your own sanity. This may also be one of those peace talks that will be continuous and ensuing, with bouts of battle and a somewhat uneasy stand off. The oxford dictionary defines Peace Talks as a ‘conference or series of discussions aimed at ending hostilities’. In that yes, this would be Peace Talks with a twist.
The battle of the bulge, not the German last ditch offensive against the Allies in World War 2; here at least the Germans had the element of surprise on their side. This battle has no surprise element to it, and it’s the same old battle, with the same suspect- Me- against weight gain.
Statistics according to WHO says:
- Worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975
- By 2016 1.9 billion over the age of 18 were overweight and 13% obese
- Most of them live in countries, where over weight and obesity kills rather than being underweight.
- 41 million under the age of 5 were obese in 2016
340 million children between the ages of 5 -19 were overweight or obese
- Obesity is preventable
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you that BMI is really ‘rough’ guide to assessing if you are overweight. By rough, I mean it is really rough to see the results. I kept getting ‘overweight’ at my fittest, slimmest and healthiest -as it was not taking into account the fact that I was weight training quite a bit, and had quite a bit of muscle on me. One pound of muscle takes less space than one pound of fat, although both weigh the same. So the Doctor who told me after a yearly health check that I needed to get more exercise, which I took very, very personally, got her head almost bitten off (husband had to literally drag me out of the room in case I wanted to show her how exercised I was). Now a couple of years later, I think she is having the last laugh.
This has been tough journey for me. When you are younger you burn those calories as easily as a fire that rages through bush during periods of drought. I didn’t even have to watch too carefully what I ate (which is not a good habit in hindsight) but I exercised and stayed fit. One of my proudest moments being- when I managed to lose weight at 5 months of pregnancy, when I felt I was too tubby (WARNING- not a good idea!! Just chill, enjoy and relax through pregnancy, I was too uptight) as the years rolled on, it became a bit tougher. I did have to watch what I ate coupled with exercise. So I ate better and exercised like demented person, my Mum at one point asked me quite calmly if I wanted to move into the gym! Trust Mother dearest to cut to the chase and get to the point.
After 40 was when shit literally hit the ceiling (coupled with my husbands ‘as waha’ where he told everyone, she eats like a horse and manages to stay slim) I wanted to bitch slap him to the middle of next week- every fortnight. Then the womb came out, the thyroid issues happened, stress set in and the hormones just went ape shit- not in that order and not quite connected but connected. Mind you I continued to exercise, but was not seeing results. So I decided what any normal, sane person would do- exercise more!!! Was still not seeing results. I was not so much lulled as wooed by the idea that I was burning calories after a serious session of weight lifting, so best time to eat what you liked was when you were burning like a hot oven right? Wrong!!!! So every time I was on a calorie deficit, I was piling it on right after. You have to eat smart as well as right.
I was feeling depressed that I was gaining weight, so I ate to quell sad feelings of not being in control and inadequacy, thereby gained more weight and this became a vicious cycle. This is a cycle I am caught in. working out like a demon, not seeing results eating, cursing my spare tires, and having that tub of ice cream in deep shame and despair (queue in sad melodies). In all of this do you know what took the cake? Apart from me that is? The ones, who would claim that they ate, didn’t exercise but remained trim. Let me state here categorically, this is utter tosh! It took naïve me a while to realize that some people took joy at your misery, why else would they brandish their bloody skinny arms, flat tum and apparent lack of exercise or diet and shove it in your throat?? Literally! It made me want to throw up, partly due to envy.
I later realized that this was indeed rubbish, when I caught said suspects at their respective gyms (others were club hopping, I was gym hopping) where they at least had the decency to look ashamed; mumbling something about accompanying a friend for a class which was first time, until people there treated her like family, the sneaky twit was trying to blind me to her deceit. Others I heard, through the grapevine had all sorts of treatment done, a veritable smorgasbord of nips and tucks. My eye brows literally disappeared into my head when I heard of the list- liposuction, tummy tuck, cool sculpting to even the drastic gastric bypass, gastric band. My mind boggled so hard it took a week to un-boggle it. Some had these done for purely aesthetic reasons (not judging as I would have dome the same if I had the cash), and others for health. But why do they lie??? Help another girl out! Let us know what you did; maybe it would make it easier for others who are fighting the good fight. While these ladies flaunted their somewhat lithe bodies in skimpy shorts and flirtatious peek-a-boo tops, I battled on.
No avenue was untried, Atkins diet- hated all that protein, where is the all carb version??? Tried the cabbage soup diet, all I can say is –Yuck! The starvation diet (apparently when one has so much fat, it takes a while to get into starvation mode- I wasn’t hanging around here) Low fat diet (tasteless anyone?), Juice detox (raving maniac by mid-morning) The zone diet (measuring everything zoned me out), Vegetarian diet (managed this for a whole week, until I salivated over my sons steak like some crazed cannibal), Keto stopped before it even started as I had PTSD from trying the Atkins diet, Mediterranean Diet (which I sort of liked) all the while crying myself to sleep….Why oh why couldn’t I just lose weight on some beautiful beach, sipping a virgin mojito (don’t drink alcohol and so repertoire of alcoholic type drink is very limited) and ‘feasting’ my eyes on gorgeous hunks? That should build up enough sweat to lose weight right??? Apparently not!
So I slogged away at aerobics, and when that become tame, I tried Kick boxing, HIIT, cycling, back to weight training, whilst poo pooing yoga. Yoga came to bite me in the butt. Have you ever tried twisting into those poses? And then they expect you to hold the pose? And breathe? They need to make up their minds, I can barely hold said pose, leave alone breath. After my first session of yoga I had the best sleep ever (at 11 am) and woke up not knowing what year or century I was in, and next day moving was next to impossible. I felt as if all my fat had made a fist, and beat the crap out of me. Yoga helped me to calm my mind, to breath and also made me strong in a wholly different way to weight training. These are the two that I am sticking to.
So after this full-blown emotional and physical battle, I have now called truce with my fat. I have acknowledged it, acknowledged my weaknesses (not being consistent and holistic in my approach) and am learning to love my fat, and it is not easy, as there is a whole lot to love. I had kept all my smaller sized clothes, promising myself I would get back into them one day, then I realized it is ok to break some promises, plus it is an absolutely valid excuse to go shopping or say ‘I have nothing to wear’. I ended up donating all my ‘petite’ clothes away so they can be sold at the thrift sale at St Andrews Scotts Church and the proceeds help the patients at Mulleriyawa and Angoda. The lady had to pry, my hands of some of the clothes, but I did it. I had to learn to be less harsh on myself. It is ok to heave some meat on these old bones, as long as said meat and bones are healthy and strong. I realized I was not setting a good example to my daughter and son, by being so weight obsessed, and jumping from diet to diet and exercise to exercise. It just set them up to have a bad relationship with food and their bodies. The word diet itself is more ‘the kind of food that a person habitually eats’ and less of ‘special course of food to restrict themselves to’. Your diet should be something that is maintained day to day and does not leave you feeling denied or exhausted.
I waved the white flag, and have an almost ‘steady” truce with my fat and myself. I have a whole lot to love, so I better get started. This does not mean that I am not mindful of what I eat or exercise. Instead, I am more balanced in my approach (family might not agree) to food. I try not to eat too many unhealthy things, and if I do, I do not beat myself up over it. We dust ourselves off and start again. As for exercise, regular exercise is something I love, as this makes me feel good, and releases good endorphins. I still have moments of weakness, slack off, and resort to some good old cursing on the unfairness of life and move on. So at best it is an uneasy peace, but a step in the right direction.