It’s a story as old as time. Boy meets girl. Girl looks like a vision on the wedding day as she floats through clouds of lace and taffeta. They have beautiful children with rosy cheeks and musical smiles. Suddenly though, the girl in the wedding pictures looks like a stranger; a celebrity or very distant relative who obviously took care of the finest details, from her perfectly-conditioned locks to her manicured nails [the same can be said of grooms].
In her place is a sleep-deprived, frumpy, and overweight woman [or man] who elegantly juggles the needs of everyone in the family. Well. I am such a woman. Unlike most discussions about weight, this is not about getting ‘killer abs’ or getting ‘your pre-baby body back!’ or ‘turning back time’ like magazine covers scream everyday. I did have babies. I am not a model nor want to be. And I certainly don’t want to turn back time, but I do want to be as healthy as I can be, so that I can continue to experience life at its best surrounded by loved ones, fit and physically strong.
Contrary to what advertisements or peer pressure will have you believe, a little excess weight is not a problem in itself nor is the number on your dress/shirt tags, but the truth is that no one gains weight eating broccoli and no one can claim to feel rejuvenated after a bucket of fried chicken.
We each have an ideal weight at a particular age that is reflective of a fully-functioning body – our ideal BMI; a body that can walk up a flight of stairs without losing breath and one that can juggle careers and families without feeling like it’s fighting a losing battle.
And you know what? After all that hard work, why not be able to wear something that reflects your colourful character rather than cover it up behind blacks, blues, and grays whose only merit is an elastic waist? Like anyone who has struggled with their weight, there hasn’t been a diet, pill, herb, or magic potion that I haven’t tried, starved and sworn by for two days before I rewarded my ‘will power’ with a visit to an old friend: chocolate pudding. By. The. Bucketful.
With that begins the next cycle of finding the next quick fix, starvation, and finally failure. And so after putting myself through this losing battle for the umpteenth time, I decided something fundamental had to change. I am a young mother with extremely precious and limited time and money. Surgery, fancy gym subscriptions, or Hollywood weight loss retreats are out of the question as are expensive shakes and faux puddings!
For me it’s not about fashion or a size zero, it’s about health. A disturbing survey in 2014 showed that over “66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in the UAE are overweight or obese.” If you live the U.A.E, these stats should jump out at you, asking you to jump up. A study by WHO shows that “half of all women and a third of all men in the region do not exercise enough“, which plays a major role in increasing rates of illness [including diabetes, heart disease and breast and colon cancer]. We all know these things: Exercise is good, laziness bad, but what do we do about it? How to get fit?
How can I, and millions like me, find their way back to their better physical selves? Answering this question and motivating others to seek the same by participating, we decided to address the health issue through the launch of this series.
Follow this space weekly as I chronicle the trials and tribulations of my journey to health and fitness the good old-fashioned way [it really is the old-fashioned way now]. Keep posted as I share now little-known nutritional guides, smart grocery shopping, making time for exercise regimes and other health tips – for fitness fanatics, beginners, as well as health conscious mums and dads.
Join me next week as I learn to tell my greens apart and enter the fascinating world of whole grains.