I went from 107 to 79kgs with little exercise

Monday June 29 2020

Onen says not eating carbohydrates has helped

Onen says not eating carbohydrates has helped him lose weight. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By Andrew Kaggwa

James Onen has been on radio for more than 20 years.

Of course, at the time he joined radio back in the 1990s, besides a few people such as Robert Ogwal alias Rasta Rob or Roger Mugisha alias Shadow, many presenters used their real names on air. Then he was always known as James.

However, in 2005, the moniker Fat Boy was born. He says he had gained some weight and Sanyu FM’s news editor at the time started referring to him as a fat boy.

“Then Seanice, my co-host at the time picked it up and started calling me Fat Boy,” he says.
When she used the name on air, I embraced it and just like that, my size had become part of mydescription.”

Weight loss
It all started when a friend invited him to check out a restaurant she was opening. “I was starting to feel as though my skin was getting too dry. When I met a friend at her new business, she was carrying a big bottle of water,” he says.

Curious, he asked if she was going to drink all that water. “She looked at me baffled saying, “yes, I drink two of these every day at a minimum” then she asks, “how much do you drink?”

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He did not really have an answer, but this got him thinking. He imagined that if he took a lot of water, it would help with his dry skin and lips that had started to get chapped.

“So, I started drinking 1.5 litres of water a day,” he says. To my surprise, within the first week of taking more water, I started losing weight.

“I learnt that water helps with your metabolism and burns calories faster. So, this was an immediate effect,” he says adding that the results excited him and he started looking for ways he could speed up the process.

His target then became what he ate. He reevaluated his eating habits, removing some meals and certain foods from his diet.

“I started to eat less frequently yet healthier and the weight kept going,” he says. Even without embarking on gym or exercise, the weight kept reducing, just by the eating decisions he was making.

Keto Diet
But like many people trying to lose weight, they get to a place where they plateau, when no more weight can be shed. As people lose weight, their metabolism declines and they get to that point, when the body is cutting fewer calories than it did when they were heavier.

The slower metabolism slows weight loss, even if one eats the same number of calories that helped them lose weight. When the calories burned equals the calories one eats, they reach a plateau.

“I did not want to stop. I was happy with the progress, so I decided to try the keto diet.”

With the keto diet, you stop taking carbohydrates and instead eat protein-rich foods and healthy kinds of fat that can easily be turned into energy.

“Now as you may know the African cuisine, it is basically carbohydrates,” he says adding that he had to cut many of these off, including sugar.

When the body is deprived of carbohydrates, it is forced into looking for other sources of energy and thus attacking the fats in your body as the source of energy. “It is shocking how the fats keep going with this diet. I was able to lose about 30 kilogrammes in just a few months,” he concludes.

Expert say
The key to weight loss is controlling your portions.

Water has been credited in many people’s process of losing weight.

Julius Lwanga, a dietician at Kampala Hospital, says water keeps one hydrated and suppresses their appetite.

Drinking water boosts metabolism and cleanses the body of waste. Taking water before meals makes you feel full for longer and thus reducing on the amount of food you eat which also decreases calorie intake.

Lwanga advises that water only cannot be enough in the weight loss process. He says taking a lot of water without eating works but deprives and starves the body which may in turn result into health issues.

“You may find people becoming dizzy or developing headaches and nausea,” he says.

Many researchers have noted that using water to lose weight works well but have always noted that people may end up losing the wrong weight such as carbs and even muscle mass.

About Keto Diet
Lwanga says the keto diet is supposed to help people choose energy-giving foods and reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed and not cutting them out completely.

“You cannot remove carbohydrates from your meals because the body needs them,” he says.

Over the years, the processes of losing weight usually leaves people out of choice for foods they can consume, considering the fact that in Africa, a big part of the menu is made up of carbohydrates such as chapati, posho, maize, rice or even sugar, among other foods.

This most of the times means that those that can afford fish, chicken or honey can diet properly.

Lwanga says most Ugandans have taken on the Western way of losing weight but argues that there are affordable foods a Ugandan can take in their quest to cut the calories.

“Even if you are to consider matooke, irish potatoes, greens or high fibre containing foods, you can have a healthy meal,” he says adding that the trick to a healthy meal is controlling portions.

He also notes that many people seeking to lose weight have cut sugar out of their meals because sugar is turned into glucose and is absorbed into the bloodstream. And much as many people have substuted sugar with honey, he says the end result of this too is glucose, the only difference is that honey is low on glucose compared to sugar.

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