I shared my story a few months ago on my personal Facebook and I’ve had so many friends asking for advice and support. So I thought of just sharing my story publicly and hope it can inspire you too. If you’ve never gone through a weight loss struggle, you will not understand how hard it really is. It makes it even harder for those who have never adapted to a healthy and active lifestyle, I was one of those people!
It was November 2014 when I finally made a change. Not a yoyo diet, an ongoing lifestyle change, Alhamdulillah- Allah praise to Allah.
Let me first state that I’m not a PT or a nutritionist, but this is what I did and it worked for me; it may or may not work for you but hopefully you can take a thing or two.
Today marks the date I turn 30. Today, I am lighter than I have ever been in my 20s. The last time I weighed 50kgs, I was 18!
In November 2014, weighing 80kgs (size 16), I told myself that I wanted to lose 30 before 30! In the first 5 months, I lost 22 kilos quite easily & healthily (no stupid diets) and after that, I plateud for 2 months at 56kgs, then again plateud at 52kg for another 2 months. Now let me share a bit of my history before I get into some weight loss tips.
Since 2010, I wanted to lose weight so I bought a lot of things…from expensive gym memberships, wii fit, treadmill and elliptical machine, to buying all sorts of shakes- herbalife, LBW etc! I knew I had to lose weight but I didn’t want it bad enough that as soon as an excuse arose (fell pregnant and diagnosed with under active thyroid), I gave up instantly. I used pregnancy as a way to let myself go. I can’t entirely blame my weight gain on pregnancies alone because it was more of my poor eating habits that made me stack on the kilos. I would snack on chocolate, chips and all sorts of junk, every-single-day. I was a total couch potato and the thought of exercise even before I started made me ill. The thought of giving up on carb loaded food and yummy desserts, how could I miss out on these things? I am a huge food lover! So I kept saying I’ll start on Monday but when Monday came, I pretended like I had forgotten. This kept repeating for months and years. Soon again, I picked up my so called “wanting to lose weight mojo” and probably managed 2 weeks into it when I couldn’t help myself and started binge eating again. Of course as some of you can relate to this thought –> “what’s the point of exercising now that I’ve eaten so much junk?! Forget weight loss man its so bloody hard!!”.
How bad do you want it? Saying ‘I need to lose weight’ isn’t good enough. Trust me, it took me 5 years to realise how to put it together and stay motivated. Yes it is hard and you need a lot of patience, self motivation & support!
Here are my most important tips to get started.
Weight loss is a mental challenge more than a physical one. Pain is a temporary thing, but what keeps it going is whats IN YOU!. Even if you own a gym, but if you don’t have the willpower/determination, you still wont be able to shed off any weight! So tell yourself you can do it, and you really can! Mind is a very powerful thing subhanallah.
Have a big goal, but also have mini goals first to reach to that big one. And have rewards for those little goals. Mine was buying new workout gear, going to the hairdresser, getting laser hair removal (best thing ever!). Rewards can be as little or as big as you want. But always remember your GOAL when the going gets tough.
3. Find something that you enjoy doing. For me, it took a while to figure out what I enjoy doing and now that I’ve found it, I really look forward to it. Its my “me time” at the gym classes (my hubby calls me a gym freak, never in my life I would dream of being a gym freak lol) So, find something that you like :)
4. Start slow. For a newbie, 15mins a day is all you need. Then you can build up gradually. I couldn’t do so many things at the start and never ever thought I could do, but consistency is the key and you will slowly notice that you are getting fitter and could run for more than a minute without huffing and puffing like someone who is about to die (yes that was me lol!)
Never leave exercise for more than 3 days in a row. Once you stop, it is very hard to pick yourself up again. So that’s why slow and consistent is the winner.
5. When exercising gets hard, go back to #1 and #2.
6. Find support. It can be your husband, sister, friend, PT…anything! My support person is my husband, and also my friends in our private Muslimah weight loss support group on Facebook. I am also in the Lose Baby Weight group, and found that it was such a huge motivation to get me started. Seeing before & after photos really makes you realise that everything is possible!
Note: If you want to lose weight, make sure you take progress photos and measurements every month. Don’t rely solely on scales! I can’t stress how important photos and measurements are. The first 3 months I was a bit dissapointed because I didn’t feel any difference and thought I hadn’t made much progress until I put my photos side by side. I was gobsmacked at what I saw! I’ve lost hundreds of centimetres, Mashallah! Once you see results, you subconsciously want to eat healthy and look after yourself.
From a food perspective
Water is so important. I plateaued for a few weeks and started to increase my water intake and from the next day onwards, my weight was dropping and I was losing about a kilo a week,tabarakallah! So drink at least 2-3L a day. It helps so much with weight loss!
2. Do not DIET!
I dont understand when people say I want to go on a fruit diet, or water diet and all these rubbish diets. Why do you deprive your body? Please just eat healthy and have an active lifestyle. Eat small portions every 2-3 hours. Once your body goes into starvation mode, you are storing fat! Dieting is a temporary thing, because once you’re off the diet and back your normal eating lifestyle, you’re going to pile on the weight again. It is not sustainable and you want to do something healthy and life long inshallah.
3. Cut off processed sugar. It will be sooooooo hard at the start, I used to crave something sweet after every meal, it was an addiction. But now, I don’t even crave it. It takes time. You can make healthy dessert substitutes. A quick google for ‘clean desserts’ will give you tonnes of recipes.
3. Having said that, do enjoy treats once in a while. Don’t deprive yourself. We are all humans and of course we enjoy a yummy fatty treat once in a while. When I see a piece of cake, I’ll eat it. I usually do treats once a week (portion control and I choose what I eat, if I want to waste my calories, I want to make sure that I’m eating a delicious quality dessert that I really enjoy, not just for the sake of social eating), and never ever feel guilty and that you’ve jeopardise your weight loss. Your only guilt should be wanting to burn it off! I always tell myself, one piece of cake will not make me gain weight, the same as 1 day of exercise will not make me lose weight.
4. 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Always prepare in advance. I find that soups are my quick thing to go to. When I’m hungry, I have lentil soup, chickpea or chicken soup. Pack them with lots of proteins. If I’m out, I make sure I carry some nuts or fruits in my bag to snack on. I try to limit my carb intake, I find that I bloat a lot from rice, bread and pasta. It also slows down my weight loss but I don’t cut it off completely. I substitute to brown or gluten free. If I’m out and there are no healthy options, I control my portion and try to mainly eat the proteins-chicken, fish etc
I will not lie and tell you that there will be days when you feel like its so hard and you want to give up, but quickly refocus and think of your goal. Get a pair of old jeans and keep trying it on every month. I had my honeymoon clothes stacked away in the shed. I never thought I would get back into it, but it fits now and it makes me feel so good! In the past, when I shop for clothes, it was only for my kids (I used only buy mine at Kmart). I was in denial that I was a size 16 therefore I refrained from buying, but now I enjoy walking around the mall looking at clothes (for me)! And when your hubby wants to eat healthy and start exercising because he is inspired by you, wowzers! Waking up feeling lighter, and running around chasing your kids because you have the energy to, is the best feeling in the world!
Even at my goal weight now, my body is NOT the same as when I was 20yrs old. I’ve had 3 kids back to back so thats going to change the way my body looks, but what is important to me is that I am fit and healthy. Even when I was a 50 back in the days, I wasn’t even fit.
For busy mums who can’t get access to a gym, don’t stress! 15mins a day in your own living room and all you need is your body weight. Put on some YouTube videos. If your kids are there to annoy you, carry them and use them as weights, they’ll start giggling and thats your bonding time. I do a lot of incidental exercises like squats while mopping and lunges in between stirring my food on the stove, and so much more!
How has weight loss affected me? CONFIDENCE! I feel like a brand new person! My self confidence is back! I do not need to hide behind pajamas all day long. I can happily chase after my 2 year old son who apparently loves running away from me. I feel energetic and happy doing things now because I no longer feel depressed and sluggish. Weight loss is a great boost to your mental and physical health. Of course there are days when I feel like eating cake and not workout, but that feeling will pass and the guilt will start to creep back, especially if you’ve been maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle :)
Start small, build gradually. Be fit for yourself, for your kids, your hubby and most importantly for Allah who has given your body and health as an amanah to you! Fit and healthy Muslimahs, inshallah.