So, last week, the Mukula smuggling case came up in court and after one of the sessions wrapped up, I decided to pose for some pictures. I was stunned by how snatched my waistline looked. I then thought back to how getting dressed that morning, I had observed that the chitenge dress I wore was fitting much better than it did the last time I put it on. I got thinking about how much my body had changed in a year and of course, I made a side-by-side comparison which I will publish alongside this article. Looking at this comparison, and reflecting on my weight loss journey so far, the biggest lesson I draw is that quick, or popcorn, results, don’t last – it is discipline, coupled with hard work, sacrifice, commitment, unlearning and relearning, which helps you smash your goals and maintain your results.

I often get people asking me questions about what I am doing to lose weight and when I tell them, some say they will try – and they do but quit after the slightest form of discomfort, while others outrightly say that what I am doing is hard or it is crazy, choosing to continue with life as usual and hoping to lose weight by some sort of miracle. I cannot blame them because I have been both these types of people at certain stages of my life. I have joined keto or banting groups on Facebook and sometimes, I’d be that hater who sees some good results and think to myself, I’m sure they’ll quit soon and gain back all the weight in no time, Lol. My husband has also observed several times that I am generally a person who doesn’t like any form of pain so sometimes I tend to quit very easily when something gets too hard. So, I get it. The truth is, weight loss is brutal and without a strong WHY, you’re bound to quit, it is absolutely normal.

But you know what the downside of that kind of attitude is? While you sit and wish others will gain back the weight they have lost to fit into your sadistic views, your own body fat keeps accumulating thereby increasing your risk of getting all sorts of chronic conditions. And if you think you can take the short route out by drinking some so-called sliming tea, I’ve got some news for you, in an unlikely event that you see some actual results, they will be short-lived. Even worse than that is if you begin any diet as a short-term measure – thinking you can do a keto diet for six weeks, see results and then get back to eating anything you want at any time you please, that weight will come back quicker than you lost it, and as I always say, it will bring along its cousins, nieces and nephews. Even with these new weight loss drugs like Ozempic which celebrities are abusing have their side-effects and they don’t come cheap.

If you want to lose weight naturally and keep it off, you must regard whatever changes you make as a lifestyle shift. The biggest issue in weight loss is the diet. We’re living in a world where there’s so much junk food, trying to eat a whole food diet makes you appear like a neat picker. There is also an over-abundance of food, and this of course applies to the middle to high-income earners; someone can be chewing from the time they wake up until they go to bed. Sometimes, I hear people somewhat bragging to say; “I woke up for a midnight snack”. Unfortunately, most of the food out there today contains a lot of sugar and seed oils and it is responsible for the obesity problem. Eliminating such food from your diet shouldn’t be viewed as a short-term measure but a permanent lifestyle change. For the sake of those who are new to this column, I’ll just briefly restate my story with regards to my diet over the years. I tried a keto or low carb diet several times in the past and I used to view it as a short-term measure and just when I lost some weight, I would quit and go back to default settings of eating a lot of carbs, junk and cake. It’s no surprise I’d gain back all the weight and then some, in no time.

What has changed in my journey now which has enabled me to keep off the weight I have lost in the past year? I finally realised that this is an overall health improvement journey; it is not about the numbers on the scale. All the things I have adopted such as fasting, a low carb diet and exercise are now a lifestyle and I have reversed hypertension as well as gotten rid of all sorts of pains in my body. The weight loss is a happy side effect. This mindset has been a game changer. Of course, I am human and I will eat some cake and junk from time to time but it is now with a lot of control and knowledge about what such food does to my hormones and over all wellbeing.

Additionally, if you start working out, make sure that your choice of exercise is one which gives you joy so that you can do it over and over again for the rest of your life. Don’t pick an exercise regimen which makes you hate your trainer or leaves your knees feeling like they’re about to cave in. For instance, at this point in my life, I’ve discovered I hate running and jumping, but what I do love is strength training with a pair of dumbbells in my living room. The burn I get after a strength training session is so addictive, I literally crave it – so I don’t mind doing it over and over again. And the sweetest part I have observed about strength training, it makes body weight High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts so much easier! It makes me feel stronger and tones my muscles. All this to emphasise; find that movement which makes you happy. Some people like Pilates, others love to dance, and when in doubt, take a nice long walk outside. If you can’t afford a gym subscription or you’re just not feeling the gym vibes, don’t despair, you can absolutely do it from home, there’re so many amazing fitness channels on YouTube with follow along exercises – you can literally have a world class gym trainer for free! Once you love the movement, you won’t be looking forward to a time when you don’t have to do it and that means you will be consistent. Our bodies were designed to move and not be sedentary.

Don’t wait until the pain forces you to make some changes, do it today and secure yourself a happier, healthier future.

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