As I write this, I am not really bothered about my weight. What I know is that a billion people in the world make a resolution to lose weight every year and while majority don’t see it through, I did.
I don’t know my average weight because it’s always fluctuating. One month I am crying about a weight gain and another celebrating a weight loss. Save for when I fell sick and lost 15kgs, I usually lose between 3kgs to 5kgs, but this time, I lost all of 10kgs in five months. Here is how:
What didn’t work
I started with mental preparation - that’s telling myself I needed to lose weight. It’s what we all begin with, right? I even included it in my 2013 resolutions. But one week after another, all I did was tell myself I need to lose weight but did nothing about it.
Walking: In May, I tried to walk a lot more than I usually did. This was frequent but it didn’t work because it was done at a leisurely pace. For one to lose weight, the heart rate needs to increase, if it doesn’t, then you are doing nothing.
Missing meals: At first, it was easier for me to starve myself than do exercise. So I missed as many meals as I could. I shrunk and thought I had actually lost weight only to gain it all back when I started eating regularly a month later. It turned out that I was only dehydrated.
Jogging without a timer: Jogging is good and helps one lose weight. But for that to happen, you need to jog in a way that you burn more calories than you consume. That is by jogging for a longer distance which is hard to do if you are not a measurements freak and have no timer.
Once, I went out of the house and jogged at a very fast pace. I felt like a ninja. It tired me fast and I found the fastest way home. My heart continued to pump fast minutes after getting home. I felt so proud that I had gotten my heart to pump that fast only to check the clock and found that I had run for only 10 minutes yet from the way it tired me, it felt like 30.
Others: I also tried zumba and bought an aerobics DVD but none worked for me. The hot cup of water sometimes with lemon taken every morning didn’t help either. I also tried doing aerobics in a gym but failed - I found it hard to be there every day at 7pm.
Jogging with a timer: A friend told me to download Runkeeper, an Android app that allows users to track fitness activities (such as walking, running and cycling) using GPS (Global Positioning System) tracker. All you have to do is activate your GPS, turn it on and it will measure your pace, distance covered and calories burnt. It was perfect.
I decided to start jogging on Monday. I like starting resolutions on Monday. It makes me feel like I have a lot of purpose as I start the new week. It sets the pace and I find it easier to stick to my targets. Using Runkeeper means you have to run with your device (phone). Because my phone is huge, I bought a waist bag before I could hit the road. I chose a route with two elevated areas. It’s good to have a hilly area on your route because you need a lot more strength to take it. That means you work harder and burn more calories.
Normally, I am on the road at the ungodly hour of 5.45am for 20 to 25 minutes so that I am able to make it to work on time. It’s so early and yet just like the person who will read this after you, I love my sleep and don’t function well if I get less than eight hours of sleep. For me to be able to wake up at that time with minimal struggle, I have to go to bed very early. Since it’s so early, the biggest part of my route is on a main road where there’s activity at that time, making it safe.
Determination: I started jogging on July 8. It was so hard. That day, shortly after I had started, my throat was hot and it felt like my heart was literally going to burst. After one hill, every bone in my body was begging me to stop, but I kept on going. I really pushed myself. When I got too tired, I rested for a minute or two and then continued till I couldn’t go any farther. On getting back home, I found that I had done 1.5km. I was proud of myself until I saw people’s posts and tweets of 5km, 10km and even 21km covered. I decided to make a timetable for myself.
Timetable: The title was Burn calories. Its results were;
Week one: I covered 1.5km and rested after every 0.5km. I ran six days a week. On the sixth day, I run longer. The distance covered then determined the distance to cover the following week. On the sixth day of week one, I covered 2.1km and didn’t rest at all. I never rested again during my run. That week, I got muscle pains that stayed for about 10 days.
Week two: I covered 2.1km for five days and 2.5km on the sixth day. To keep this up, I kept on doing lots of reading especially about how to regulate breathing. I learnt it was best and easier to breathe normally and not to open your mouth while running.
Week three: I did 2.5km for five days and 3km on the sixth day. If I didn’t run on a day I was supposed to, I skipped the rope 500 times (but this rarely happened).
Week four: I still did 2.5km for five days because jogging for 3km meant I would have to get to the road earlier which is dangerous. On the sixth day, I ran for 3.5km. Then set in the ankle pain. My ankles hurt so bad and once made me tear.
Virtual running mate: I found someone to report to about my daily activity and asked them to nag me if I didn’t give feedback. It’s the only way I stayed on the road despite the unbearable pain. Later, he advised me to change my shoes and get proper running shoes. I got a pink and grey pair and my ankles stopped hurting shortly after jogging in them.
One month down the road, and I was already getting “you have lost weight” comments to my joy. But I needed to burn a couple more calories so I kept on. In the second and third month, I reduced the days to four to five days of running 2.5km each day. As I jog, no matter how tired I am, I never rest, instead, I slow down and increase my pace when I have rested.
In the fourth month, I reduced it to three times a week and increased the distance to 3km. I also learnt that sweating doesn’t mean you are being productive. In fact, some people don’t sweat at all despite how hard they work out. To tell if you are working out, monitor your heart beat -if it’s faster than normal, then you are being productive.
In the fifth, I got a running mate who was a beginner. I couldn’t make him jog for 3km right away so instead we covered 1.5km six days a week. When he rested, I jogged in one position.
Motivation: One weekend, I did 5km and another 6km, that is the day I bought a new pair of running shoes, it must have been out of excitement–that’s the longest I have jogged without resting or walking.
Eating habits: On the same day, I started running, I decided to have less meaty meals. I ate and stopped at that point when my tummy was starting to stretch. If there were no vegetables on the menu, I took only meat soup. I always bought an apple at the end of the day to carry and eat when hungry the next day. Sunday was my meat day. Whenever I gave in to the craving for pizza, ice cream and the like - I ran for 200 to 500 metres more as a punishment – it was easier to just keep off them.
Healthy treats: To treat myself, I go to an exotic place for fruits platter or for a pedicure or manicure at a place I wouldn’t ordinarily go to as opposed to going for ice cream.
It’s good to have a partner but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. If you must, you can have one who you only report to. A calendar or chart can also work. When you attain your goal, do not stop working out, you can reduce the frequency but don’t stop completely. I am the kind that easily gains weight so I don’t plan on ever stopping completely. And I still have a couple of problem areas whose calories must be burnt.
The hardest part about this is waking up. But once you are out of bed, the rest is easy. After running, I always feel like I can conquer the world. That feeling makes all the sweat worthwhile. The RunKeeper slogan is that half a mile, is better than no mile at all. It’s because of trying to do this every other day, that I found myself at 60kgs from around 70kgs!
what exercise is appropriate?
Getting pregnant means doing more than the usual things a woman does before she conceives. These range from diet to the kind of work and exercise she does because she has to keep fit.
Dr Paul Kiondo, a gynaecologist at Mulago hospital, says pregnant women need to engage in light to moderate intensity exercises like running, jogging, swimming, cycling and walking.
He says these are physical exercises of low intensity that use oxygen to adequately meet the energy demands during the exercise.
“Running a long distance at moderate pace is an aerobic exercise whereas sprinting is not,” he notes.
He advises pregnant women to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day throughout the pregnancy.
“Exercise makes you fit and active throughout your pregnancy and it keeps you strong during and after child birth,” he says.
Other benefits of exercise
• It prepares the woman for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance.
• It boosts mood
• It improves sleep
• It reduces pregnancy aches and pains.
• It helps to prevent and treat gestational diabetes.
• It helps her to get back in shape after child’s birth.