December, 2014 was a turning point for me. I stepped on the scale, and the heaviness I felt was greatest in my heart, and not from the scale. I had ballooned to almost 230lbs. I knew I had gained weight, but seeing the gravity of the situation was a tough pill to swallow.
A tired and married mother of three children, I stepped off the scale while the tears rolled down. Managing three small children, balancing full time work, graduate school and marriage had taken its toll. Women tend to take care of others at the expense of themselves. In that moment, I knew I had to reverse the cycle I was headed toward. I knew the right thing to do regarding exercise and nutrition, but excuses and laziness got in the way. I have come to find that we have time for anything. It’s just what we deem to make important. I knew then I had to prioritize when it came to my health.
I started small by increasing my water intake. Next, I knew I had to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet. The Nigerian cult favorite of rich, starchy foods like white rice, puff puff, meat pie and fufu, all had to take a back seat. Rice, particularly is such a proverbial Achilles’ heel for me.
The more I started eating a Garden of Eden type diet, the better my body responded. I noticed a better disposition in my overall outlook of life too. My mom, a nurse practitioner and doctorate holder in public health, says that sugar can be a silent killer. I actively read food labels and found that sugar is prevalent in many foods we eat. According to my mom, cancer feeds off sugar. Did you know there are types of cancers that result because of obesity? The more natural and fresh your food source, the better off you are toward good health.
It’s been said by some that healthy food is expensive, but think of the greater cost that can result because of poor health choices. I choose healthy food over a hospital bill any day. Healthy food may take time to prepare, but if you prepare it in bulk and freeze it, or do a meal prep once a week where you prepare all your foods for the upcoming week, it will become second nature.
I have drastically reduced my red meat and ground beef intake too. Instead, I eat Titus sardines, goat meat (a lean meat, and for the most part, since the goat is generally grass fed, better for you), chicken, turkey, or seafood. At the start of 2015, I hired a trainer for about the first three months of my journey and late March purchased a membership to Planet Fitness. I was never a gym person, but now I hit the gym consistently at least 2-3 days a week AND attend a martial arts cardio kickboxing combo class 2 days a week.
In combination with exercise, eating healthy, in my humble opinion, is 80% of weight loss. You can exercise all day, but if you are putting nothing but processed, junk food in your body, health maintenance will be hard. Also know that your health journey is about consistency. A healthy lifestyle, must be a consistent way of life. Sure, every now and then I will eat that slice of pizza, or have that bowl of mac and cheese (a sign that I’m on my period, lol), but I won’t eat those types of food sources every day. I remain vigilant that my diet consists of mostly fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Forty plus pounds ago I was headed toward self-sabotage of my health. I can never go back there again. I went from a size 14 to a happy size 8 (sometimes a size 10, depending on the outfit) and baby, like the saying goes, “nothing tastes as good as health feels.” I continue to document my health journey on Instagram. My Instagram page is chisomthewriter. Stay healthy, friends!