In my last post, I discussed how I started moving to lose weight. My job as a lawyer does not exactly involve much motion at least not physically! So I had to find a way to incorporate exercise into my already crammed life and routine. As a mom and a lawyer in a high paced law firm, sometimes you honestly come to the conclusion that 24 hours is not sufficient. Adding more activities just feels like an exercise in futility. That is the first hurdle I had to jump over and it was all in my mind. I had to understand that there is time if only I planned well and got a bit more disciplined. So I would ensure I woke up slightly earlier, sorted out the Hubs’ and cub’s meals and go to a nearby hospital with massive grounds and just walk. I would see many jogging, running non-stop as I walked and just “hailed” them in my mind.
I was persistent and soon after I saw results. However, allow me take you a couple of weeks back, before I started exercising.
Prior to making a resolve to exercise, I worked on my diet. I was not eating much but I definitely was eating wrong. I would have a meat pie and latte for breakfast. For lunch, I would have moi moi, efo riro and chicken (skin and all) feeling fit with myself and down my home made smoothie (apple, watermelon, pineapple and banana) and for dinner, I would have beans (the type mixed with palm oil) and my daily bottle of coke. The average reader would think my day’s meal was benign and relatively healthy. I thought so too until I began actively researching for calorie content in meals and also downloaded an app called MyFitnessPal. I was horrified to make the following discovery:
Based on my portions, the calories I was consuming was:
Nigerian Meat pie: 300
Moi moi: 239
Efo riro: 200
Chicken with skin: 110
2 Apples: 95 calories a piece: 190
2 Bananas: 105 calories a piece= 210
Watermelon: 85 calories in an average serving= 180
Pineapple: 452 calories in a whole fruit = 150
Beans with palm oil: 210
Coca cola: 140
Total: 2129 calories per day.
2129 calories per day is not the most outrageous thing in the world. No. But I thought I was #TeamFitfam, I thought I was healthy by staying away from rice and drinking smoothies, but I got it all wrong. I won’t bore you with the math. But from my calorie deficit calculation at the time, I had no business eating so many calories and I certainly needed to move more.
Quick Info: A calorie deficit is the number of calories one needs to eat in a day and still lose weight in comparison with the calories one requires to maintain weight. We create a calorie deficit by (a) eating less calories, (b) burning more calories (through exercise) or (c) a combination of the two. I had to expend more calories than I was consuming and this was my action plan.
Step 1: Detox
I had to go on a detox to prepare myself for the journey ahead mentally and to take away my sugar cravings. It was a tough one but in a nutshell, all I had for 5 days was my detox package, water, half cucumber, a carrot and a boiled egg. I drank so much water, I had crystal clear urine, my bowels were moving and giving all sorts of shades (Sorry TMI). The trick was to consider it a fast, so I prayed and took a lot to God during the period, I would then break with the cucumber, have the carrot a few hours after and the boiled egg was such a treat later in the night all the while guzzling loads and loads of water.
- Boiled egg keeps you feeling full for long and helps curb sugar cravings.
- Everything you add to your water by way of infusion etc adds to your calorie count, it may not be much but it adds up
Step 2: My New Lifestyle
For the next 4 weeks after the detox, I was on a very strict 600-800 calorie diet (yes, this is not advocated, don’t do it!!!). I would research foods low in calories and my faves were: Boiled egg: 78 calories; Cucumber: 47 calories for the entire thing!; Carrot: 25 calories; Cabbage: 25 calories for 100 grams; Lettuce: 15 calories in 100 grams; Chicken, fish were also some of my go-to options. For me, it was a science: Temi, you have only 600 calories to consume today, if you please, spend it all on a banana, ice cream and pizza. If you like, have low in calorie foods that create an illusion of non-deprivation, it is really up to you.
A whole coconut (medium sized) contains a whopping 1405 calories (that was my allowance for two whole days!!!). I remember when I would eat a whole coconut! Weeps and wails!!!
I was very disciplined with myself and used to drag a trolley of healthy options to work. I was never without my carrots, green tea, nuts (counted to ensure I don’t go overboard), apples, etc. I prepared for each day because when I didn’t, it was so easy to fall off track. So each morning, I would pack breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. I was NOT going to step foot into the office cafe because I was sure to overspend given my low calorie budget. Yes, for me it was a budget and I had to spend wisely if not I would go broke.
Step 3: I got wiser and started moving!
I realized very quickly that 600- 800 calories was not sustainable. So I had to come up with a method of upping my calorie intake whilst still meeting my calorie deficit and my answer was: EXERCISE! I hate exercise, I hate it. I would rather fast than work out but because I know what is good for me, I dusted my work out gear, bought some cuter ones and got sweating. That way, I was able to eat as much as 1000 calories and still keep losing the weight. It was like a miraculous discovery! I exercised like crazy counting steps, tracking calories burned as that will guide how much calories I could eat but never more than 1200, never, ever.
Step 4: On a break
I hit a plateau. I stopped losing weight after some time and just maintained. So I researched some more and discovered the need to eat more to lose weight. I have been on about a month long break in that I have been doing about 1500 calories a day and guess what, I have not gained a feather of weight. So, I am ready to restart the whole cycle again by detoxing (I attempted some weeks back but failed woefully). I intend to begin in October in order to achieve my goal by December. Even though I am on a break, I am still exercising, I am still subconsciously conscious of what I am eating. I am still paranoid about sugar (though I take it) and I usually would skip the small chops at parties or have the small chops and skip the main meal, never both.
- Weight loss is a hike not a sprint
- I sprinted because I needed to see results on time to stay motivated. Now I know how I can lose weight, there’s no way I will do the 6 week crazy diet I did again
- Food is good but you need to make healthy and wise choices
- Avoid coconut and all its derivative products if you are trying to lose weight on time (its healthy fat but all the same, I’d steer clear)
- I used to grate my cabbage, boil for 3 minutes and strain in order to deceive my mind I was eating rice. I would then pair it with fish-rich but almost oil less efo riro (AMAZING)!
- Have loads of carrots, apples, oranges, nuts etc around you. Better those than one meatpie
- Remember bananas should be consumed in moderation or avoided by those who want to see rapid improvement
- Pineapples are full of sugar and should be consumed in moderation
- Follow weightloss stories on Instagram, search #weightloss #weightlosstransformations #weightlossinspirations to keep you motivated
- I refrained from telling people that I was on a mission. I let my results speak for me before I said a word. People, though not meaning to, can easily discourage you
- Drink water, loads of it
- Get yourself some apple cider vinegar, green tea, ginger, garlic (Google the Recipe or ask me in the comments for mine) and drink daily
- Read up, Google stuff, it’s all there!!!
- Speak to those who have been there and overcome
This is my goal, I am not there yet, but soon enough my friend, soon enough…
Have a great weekend,