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Weight Loss: A Personal Journey

Updated on January 27, 2017
Annette Hendley profile image

Annette is a language and drama teacher with a master's degree in education.

Dangers Of Being Overweight

Most people who search the Internet for diet tips are looking for a quick way to lose weight. By now everybody should really know there are no magic tricks when it comes to weight loss and the ability to keep it off; but regardless of this the diet industry is still thriving.

The quest to lose weight is also not so much about being healthy as being more attractive. This is unfortunately the wrong reason. Yes, it is nice to fit into fashionable clothes and look good, but it is far more important to be healthy.

Research has proven over and over again that the more overweight you are, the more prone you are to illnesses. The amount of body fat that you carry is usually the best indicator to decide if you are overweight or not. Men should have around 18 percent body fat and woman around 23 percent or less.

Your BMI (body mass index) will also give you an indication if you are overweight or obese. Usually a BMI of over 25 indicates overweight and over 30 obesity. You will easily find a BMI calculator on the internet that will calculate your BMI according to your height and weight.

A dietician, doctor or exercise instructor will be able to give you the best information based on all the facts such as age, BMI and body fat.

Being obese or severely overweight is dangerous and specifically if you carry too much weight around your stomach area. More and more modern people are suffering with too much fat around their stomachs and for you to be healthy, it is important to lose the stomach fat.

This is Too Much Food

Restaurant Portions are Large Enough for Two or Three People
Restaurant Portions are Large Enough for Two or Three People | Source

My Weight Struggles

I've never been Twiggy, but for most of my life I had a reasonable average weight. There were times when I felt too fat. Tiny friends were always the worst. In my first year at university my roommate was such a small person. Immediately I felt fat and went on a diet. At that point in time it was still very easy to lose the weight and luckily after a while I realised that she wore a size 3 shoe opposed to my size 6 or even sometimes a 7. I knew I would never be that small regardless how much weight I lost.

Before I got married it was time for the next big diet. I suppose most brides do the diet thing before the wedding. Again it was not too difficult and after a month or so I was happy with my weight.

Then came the babies and nothing has ever been the same. I decided to join a weight loss program and it really worked well. You could eat anything as long as you kept track of what you eat. Even though you could eat chocolates and biscuits, it quickly added up. I realised a small, and by that I mean very small, treat a day is fine, but nothing more.

Healthy Salad

It doesn't have to taste bad to be healthy
It doesn't have to taste bad to be healthy

My Journey

As mentioned before I tried various diets. The egg and grapefruit diet, slimming shakes, and diet pills. All worked fine to quickly lose a couple of pounds. Being deprived of certain foods for 2 or 3 weeks are OK. For months, not that easy. The diet pills had me jittery most of the time so I would definitely not suggest to anybody to take it.

Somehow I really believed I had to eat for two when I was pregnant with my first child. And somehow I believed I will shed the weight as quickly as I always did. Sadly that didn't happened. I managed to lose some, but with a struggle. Before I could even seriously starting to lose the 23 extra kilos, I was pregnant again. At least the second time I didn't pick up more than the normal amount, but I started off with an extra 20 kilograms.

After the second baby I realised I need some help and signed up for a weight loss plan. It took me 9 months, but I lost most of the extra weight. It stayed off for a very long time, but unfortunately it seems that every time I make a big change in my life the kilos start creeping back.

I changed my job. The new job was challenging and with long hours, quick meals and fried food became dinner in our house. About 5 years later there were 17 kilos that slowly crept back. Time to diet again. This time I did it on my own. I kept record of everything I ate. I had the knowledge and information from the previous time, so it was easy to just start again. I was determined and within 6 months I was back on my target weight.

Two years later I moved countries and the stress and drama had the same effect. This time it was serious. Over 5 years I picked up 30 kilos and now I was obese. Not just very overweight.

Is it unhealthy? For sure. Is that what bothered me the most? No. Did I feel unattractive? I suppose so, but that wasn't my biggest concern. I was uncomfortable. I constantly had heartburn. I couldn't walk without feeling out of breath. My arms touched my hips when I walked. I was tired all the time. From being an active drama teacher I suddenly became a depressed sad inactive blob. That was the worst.

I tried high protein, counting calories and smaller portions. The high protein lasted for a week and then I couldn't face another egg or piece of steak. I don't know what went wrong with the calorie counting, but I couldn't lose weight. Smaller portions? I obviously had no clue what size a normal portion is.

When I realised I was 10 kg heavier than when I was pregnant something clicked and I made a decision to get back to my plan once more. I lost 10 kilos and managed to keep it off for over a year now. I just can't seem to get back to losing the other 20, I so desperately want to lose, but I won't give up. The fact that I could keep 10 kg off for a year gives me hope.

Which Diet?

I don't think my way is necessarily better than any other sensible diet. Maybe for me it is psychological. It has worked twice before and it seems to be working again. The other reason is that I can eat what I want to. The moment I know there is something I can't eat than that is all I want to eat. I now very seldom have bread, but I know I can if I want to and that seems to be good enough for me. I haven't had chocolates in over 4 weeks and it doesn't bother me. I know I can have if I want to.

It is psychological, but if it works that is fine with me. I feel so much better and I don't get heartburn at all. Everybody has to find the right diet that works the best for them. Some people are good at restricting their foods to only eat proteins and no carbs, while others struggle. The best way is to experiment with a couple of safe diets until you find the best one for you.

Tae Bo is Cool

Fun Exercise

Shape Up - Xbox One
Shape Up - Xbox One
Fun exercises. A real challenge. I can only manage 20 minutes at the moment, but it doesn't feel like exercising.

The Importance Of Exercise

I used to exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week. Dancing with the kids in the lounge or some Tae Bo and sometimes console games. The boys grew up and they don't want to dance any more and I don't have enough space to do Tae Bo at the moment. I really enjoyed the console game exercises, but my favourites ended up in the loft. I need to go on a hunt for them.

I only manage once or twice a week now, but my new challenge is to up my exercise to at least half an hour a day.

In an alarming set of research studies published in Lancet, researchers claim that overweight causes as many deaths as smoking. Even more alarming is that up to 8 out of 10 young people between 13 and 15 don't get enough exercise and about one third of all adults. Recent studies published by the University of North West found that a lack of exercise is responsible for more deaths than smoking, heart disease and cancer.


How to Keep the Weight Off?

This part I still need to figure out. I know the answers, but the reality doesn't always work that well. I have learnt now to survive on smaller portions and I weigh everything. I also realised now why my smaller portion diet didn't work. Small portions are really small, especially for fattening foods. Vegetables, salads and fruit are all free from points and I eat lots of fruit. Grapes, bananas, strawberries,and I don't ever feel hungry.

I hope I will be able to change my mindset permanently and stick to healthy eating. Hopefully by August another 10 kilos will be gone. I have stacks of summer clothes that don't fit.



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