Gaining weight

How do you keep your

Several months ago on my way home from work, I pondered what it would be like to wear a thin suit. They have fat suits that can turn a 140lb person into a sumo wrestler; imagine if stuffing myself into a super-stretchy suit and zipping it up could make me 140lbs! While it would be great to wear cute clothes, I’m more interested in how my experience of the world would change if I had such a different body. Would I be more confident? Would I do more daring things as a result? I don’t know, but if there was an instant way to find out, I’d sign up for it. I’m fascinated by the mental process of weight loss, especially if one has a lot of weight to lose.

Despite what I may wish, becoming besties with healthy food choices and regular (some say daily) exercise is the only way to transform.

When you gain enough weight, your clothes stop fitting like they used to. Pants that once rested against your stomach now roll down in protest. Shirts that were suitably snug, following your curves, become indecently tight and resemble a sausage casing. Woe!

It’s impossible to be alive in 2014 and not know what you need to do to lose weight. There are popular diets or meal plans (Weight Watchers, Paleo, The Zone, etc., etc., etc.), fitness plans or philosophies (CrossFit, P90X, Insanity, and many more), and there’s the self-directed route too (eat healthy, cut out junk food, and walk, run, or dance daily for a good 30-60 minutes). Or you can grab a gym membership and hire a trainer. Options abound, as does the flab, and whether you choose to focus on food or physical activity, consistency and planning are crucial to weight loss.

Eating healthy food and getting regular exercise isn’t just for weight loss; it’s a healthy lifestyle choice that many make because they want to live as long as possible and feel good in their bodies at every age. However I’m curious to know how you personally lose weight, if you’ve ever needed to (if you haven’t, that’s great, but the final question isn’t for you, unless you can share about someone else’s journey).

What do you do to keep your weight in check?

22 thoughts on “Gaining weight

  1. Hi Jummy! Although I’m not a traditionally ‘big’ person, I did gain a few unwanted extra lbs a couple years ago, I wote about my experience in loosing weight in this post
    To answer you question directly, I obsessively weighed myself everyday (multiple times). Went to the gym 2-3 times per week and was very conscious about what and how much I ate. Thats what worked for me.

    • Hi Highly Favored! I remember reading that blog post—thanks for sharing!

      I definitely need to watch what I eat (as I eye the cupcake a colleague gave me). I admire your discipline!

  2. I checked my weight on Sunday…..hmmm..lets just not in a position to say how to lose weight o..ahahhaha… seriously though, I have had weight issues right from childhood and tried out different ways to lose it…but all in vain, until I decided to just simply being mee, and eat healthy. The only sugary snack I like is cake…which I indulge in once in a while, when the cravings arise…I have come to learn about Thyroids that an under-active thyroids can cause weight gain and our Nigerian food is mostly carb…wish you the best on your weight loss.

    • LOL…you made me laugh!

      You just had a baby o—I have no such excuse! I’m with you on striving to eat healthy, rather than obsess about being a certain size or weight. And yes, Nigerian food is soooo high-carb! I’ve seen recipes for jollof rice made with brown rice or quinoa. I’ve yet to try these healthier alternatives but I need to.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. I don’t need to lose weight. I maintain a healthy lifestyle by watching what I eat (I limit my meat and “bad fats” intake, in addition to refined grains like white rice, breads and pastas. In fact, I’m obsessed with alternatives. My pantry is stocked with quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, etc, etc…it also helps that I have an addiction to healthier salads (I’m an oil and vinegar girl. I have several different types of infused vinegar) and probably have enough points to get several free meals at Freshii)). I work out several times a week, including cardio, weight training and ballet barre (ammmmmaaaaaaaazzzzziinnnnng).

    I’ve also started to stir fry Chinese/East Asian food with broth or water (this is called steam frying) and often replace rice with alternatives. I don’t make Chinese food very often though.

    • I should add that my cardio/elliptical workouts tend to be around 45-50 minutes. Weight training is mostly from ballet barre and a personal trainer (who throws in stretching and a bit of cardio as well). Total workout time for each is around an hour.

  4. I have lost weight and I hope to still lose some more. I am no expert, but what I have learned in my journey is that I have to plan. I planned my meals for the week, ate moderately and also planned what I will do for exercise. Once it is down in my notebook I tried my best to do it. For me, I had a “high” when I lost weight. It was like, yes, I can do anything I put my mind to.

    All the best on your journey

    • Congratulations to you on devising a plan and working to achieve your weight loss goals, Evee.

      I know myself well enough to know that planning will be key for me. However to date, I’ve never stuck to any plan I’ve made, which makes me apprehensive about how this will work out, but consistency is needed if this story will end differently.

      Thank you for the encouragement.

  5. I’m sure you can guess my answer already :) My vegan diet led to weight loss ..quite significantly actually, and continues to help me keep it in check without much effort. It’s self-reinforcing because the more I eat, it seems, the slimmer I get due to the nature and quality of the calories in the food I eat. So, for example, before, a big bowl of pasta and beef bolognese would fill me up alright (in addition to the high calorie saturated fat from the meat). Now the same size bowl (or bigger, sometimes) with veggies as meat substitute will fill me up just as much, but the elimination of animal fats will cut the calorie count in as much as half, provided I don’t overdo it on other sources of fat such as vegetable oil.

    The funny thing is that it took me a long while to become aware of the process. I felt exactly the same as I did before. Even the fact that certain clothes fit bitter didn’t register fully. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the same person.. But the scales read differently and everyone around me would pass a comment each time they saw me after a period of time. Weird! Now I notice slight differences, like how my collar bones peek out a tiny bit more or how my cheeks are not AS chubby :p

    I’ll admit, I used to be a serial dieter as a teen (counting calories, trying atkins, skipping breakfast etc). As soon as I became vegan, my perspective on food changed. I ironically stopped thinking about what I couldn’t eat and focused on what I could eat..I pretty much eat what I want now. If I feel like french fries or vegan cake, I’ll get some. Then the next day I’ll have a massive bowl of vegetable soup and things would naturally balance out.

    Although I LOVE the idea of exercise, I’ve never been able to stick at it for long…an area I know I need to work on, because fitness and strength is just as important!

    • Loved this comment, Tomi, thank you for sharing it. I’m a meat lover but for a while now I’ve been wanting to include one meatless dinner per week into my life; I’ll definitely let you know when I do!

      I hate the feeling of restriction that dieting brings, so I’ve never really dieted. It’s funny how we tend to focus on the negative aspects of a decision (such as what we can’t do) rather than on the positive, as you did when you started looking at what you could eat as a vegan (rather than what was off limits)!

      I know you said you’re not into exercise but I wonder if your lifestyle naturally has you walking or doing other physical activity and you don’t even realize it!

  6. Hello! Ah weight loss. Hmm I have never really had to lose a significant amount of weight but I am very conscious of maintaining my weight. For me, it’s portions, SUBSTITUTIONS and healthier selections. I try to incorporate more veggies that I like ( i only like a few: bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli) into my rice and meat dishes so for me it means I make a lot of curry, or stir fry etc but instead of coconut milk for example as the curry base, it will be low fat yoghurt. Like your friend above, I can’t remember the last time I stir fried with oil, I used broth like it’s oil in the pan. Also when making ground beef for pasta or chicken for stew, they release their own oils and broth while simmering. So I don’t even add oil when making my stews or pasta sauce. The only thing I still use oil for is palm oil nigerian dishes. I only incorporate healthy substitutions that I love or like because that increases the chance of it being a permanent lifestyle change. So for example, I take apple to work as a snack, but i have to have mini sized peanut butter to eat it with. That is more calories than the apple alone, but healthier than a bar of snickers and potato crisps. I love chicken nuggets from Wendys and french fries. Before I would go there and get 6 piece nuggets and medium or large fries, now i get 8-10 nuggetts (more protein which keeps you full longer) and then small fries (still get my french fry fix but with less calories). So that is an example of a better choice without self deprivation. Sugar substitute is your friend. My S.O. (i guess I should say fiancee now ;) ) is a big fitness buff and he did an experiment for 3 months where he ate pizza and cheese cake daily (his fav foods) and he still lost weight. He did not change his exercise routine, but he got an arm band (name escapes me now) that lets him know his metabolic rate, calories burned and ultimately how many calories he could eat based on all that info. So He counted every single calorie and made sure that even with the pizza and all he stayed under his requirements. And he bought fiber (dissoluble kind you drink) and had that with every meal.

    • Sugar substitute is mostly artificial chemicals, so it’s actually better to avoid it. Eat fruit if you want something sweet and really, learn to drink coffee without adding any sugar. It worked for me (and it was an accident). Too many of us have sugar addictions and it’s bad.

      • I disagree that it is better to avoid sugar substitutes especially if you are using pure sucralose, splenda or completely natural like stevia. Even the supposedly bad ones like aspartame; have no good studies to prove that the amount humans take daily is significant enough to cause cancer, metabolic syndrome etc

    • OK, as usual you don’t disappoint with tips but um…fiancé? When did this happen? But more importantly, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’m very happy for you! I want to know more so I’ll have to find a way to bug you!

      Since the thought of depriving myself fills me with sorrow, substitutions will need to be my friend. I cut sugar out of my tea and coffee years ago I haven’t tried other things, like using broth as the base for stir-fries (I always use olive oil). I’m on and off with being good about incorporating veggies into my food as much as possible.

      I’ve never really examined how my metabolism works but it would be great to know when I can eat junk food and minimize its effects on my body…though I know I probably shouldn’t think of it that way!

  7. Hey, Jummy! I’m not the healthiest girl on the block (more like not healthy at all lol…not funny but somehow I’m still laughing about it) but I will say that last year I wanted to lose some extra pounds I had gained so I decided to cut out sodas – it works; no joke! I used to drink, on average, 2 bottles of Sprite a day and I did not realize just how much of an impact it made. I also stopped drinking sweet tea and juices. I started drinking water only and added those sugarless Wyler’s flavored powders to it for some taste. Within 3 months, I dropped like 10 pounds. I still say no to sodas today.

    Also, since I love salty, savory foods so much, I decided to eat a significantly lower amount of cakes, candy, dessert, and any sugary treat. I knew I wouldn’t be giving up my pasta and rice dishes so I decided giving up more sugary treats was an acceptable compromise (not to mention that I wasn’t going to give up bread – which has natural sugars in it lol)

    • I find that those small changes that you don’t miss too much really do help, like cutting sugar out of my tea, and definitely cutting out sodas. I’m not a big soda drinker so instead I cut down on juice and iced tea.

      In my case, since I do have a lot of lose, I know I have to give candy the evil eye and be aggressive about cutting out it—I wish I could be more controlled about eating it—I just go haywire! Buying smaller packets don’t help either because then I end up eating a couple of them.

  8. I am naturally of a small build, but I still try to watch what I eat and am physically active for health reasons as well. My mother was not impressed when I visited home last year. She kept on saying that I should put on some weight. To her (as to many other older Zambians), fat = good life.

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