Lessons I Learned from Achieving My 63 kg Weight Goal is a 2-part series. If you missed the first part, read it here.
In September 2020, I checked my Body Mass Index (BMI) at a pharmacy, and my BMI was shown to be 35.2 – a class 2 (moderate-risk) obesity range. An ideal BMI for most healthy adults is in the 18 to 24.9 range. Before that day, my mum had sent me an article that said overweight women tend to have difficulty birthing children and my friend who’s a doctor confirmed it was true. When I got home, I used an online BMI calculator to know what my ideal healthy weight ought to be according to the ideal BMI range for healthy adults. The result showed that I needed to weigh between 48 kg — 64.8 kg. As I have no intention to weigh as little as 48 kg, I aimed to weigh 63 kg.
On September 5, I recorded my heaviest weight in the year 2020 as 87.9 kg. I began a weight loss journey at the beginning of November, which I tagged #journeyto63kg. I achieved my goal on March 13, 2021, and I have been in maintenance mode since then. I have achieved this by adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle and I am sharing the lessons I have learned on my weight loss journey. I am of the opinion that everyone’s fitness and weight loss journey is different so I do not expect you to do the exact things I did. You can, instead, tailor the lessons to suit you.
Tools are very necessary for adopting a healthy lifestyle
You need tools to succeed in almost every endeavor and fitness is not left out. Google sheets is one of the tools that has helped me on this journey. I use Google sheets to track my weight, the food I eat, and the exercises I do daily. The purpose of this is to track my progress and also to figure out what was working and what wasn’t working so I could make necessary adjustments that would help ensure I achieve tangible results. Also, tracking my meals and fitness activities in 2019 made it easier to show people what I did to lose weight and also helped me lose weight again in 2020 as I merely repeated most of the things I previously did. It was from tracking I knew the foods that caused my weight to spike, that exercising beyond a certain kilometre wasn’t very productive, and that my weight was reducing.
My Fitbit watch was also very useful for tracking my weight, runs, and heart rate. The Nike Run Club app helped to track my walks/runs. Listening to worship music on the Amazon music app and listening to sermons as I walked or ran made exercising not only physically rewarding but also mentally rewarding. Listening to worship music energises me during my walk/run and turns exercising – which I find rather boring (except cycling) – into a very enjoyable activity. Workout clothes are equally important. I couldn’t run for a long time until I had a firm sports bra. A little thing like an un-firm sports bra can ruin your exercise routine. Running shoes are equally important as I have had shoes that caused blisters on my feet in the past. Well-fitting and attractive workout clothes that I looked good in also incentivised me to work out. I sweat a lot so I need to always have a face towel on me whenever I am exercising. On days when I realise that I forgot my face towel after leaving the house, I go back home to get it before continuing my exercise. Water bottles and food warmers to carry cold water have also been beneficial in my fitness journey. So, yea, tools, which I define as anything that makes your fitness journey easier and better, are very important.
Having accountability partners helps in adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle
My accountability group on WhatsApp and the Nike Run Club app have been very beneficial on this journey. I most likely would not have progressed as far and as fast as I did if I did not belong to groups of like-minded individuals who served as accountability partners. I joined a WhatsApp accountability group where we post screenshots of the exercises we do. Knowing I had to take a screenshot of my exercise was a huge motivation to get up to exercise even on days I didn’t feel like it. Also, when I decided to start exercising in the morning instead of in the evening, two people from the group would call my phone in the morning until I picked up. Participating in challenges on the Nike Run Club app was also a strong source of motivation to exercise. Seeing how much distance others in the challenge had covered would sometimes motivate me to get up and cover my distance for the day.
Results are very motivating
It may take a while for you to start seeing results once you change your diet to healthier food options and start exercising but don’t be discouraged because I promise you that once you start to see results in form of more energy and less tiredness, lower numbers on the scale, old clothes fitting, inches lost around your body, and so on, you’d be so much more motivated to continue. So it’s kinda like inertia – it can be difficult to get the body in motion but once it’s in motion, it is a lot easier for it to remain in motion. There’s an African proverb that says “if you pee on the same spot continuously, it would eventually foam.” It means that if you keep at anything long enough, you would eventually see results. Those results would in turn motivate you to continue your fitness journey and not give up.
You only discover what works for you by Tweaking, Tweaking, and Tweaking some more
You can’t figure out everything at the beginning of your fitness journey ; you start and make adjustments on the way and keep tweaking things until you find what works for you. I tried different foods until I arrived at the ones that are favourable to my weight loss. I also ate several portions until I arrived at the specific portion and quantity of food that’s just enough for my body daily. At some point, I was walking/running 10 km daily but reduced it to 7 km when I realised that the additional 3 km didn’t burn as many calories as the first 7 km. I tried HIIT workouts and going to the gym until I realised those do not work for me so I had to find exercises that work for me which are walking, running, and cycling.
6 – 8 hours of deep sleep does wonders for your body and helps in weight loss.
These are the major lessons I have learned on my fitness journey. The things I did and I am still doing on this journey might seem like a lot to do just to become fit and healthy but remember that man is a spirit being who has a soul and lives in a body. All three components are very important. If you are growing spiritually and mentally but unfit you won’t be optimally productive. You need your body to carry out your assignment on earth and as you invest in your spiritual and mental growth and development, you must also invest in your body’s growth and development. Fitness requires time, effort, resources, and knowledge just like the other 2 aspects of your life. So don’t neglect your body and health at the expense of your spirit and soul. I read a quote once that said “it’s easier to maintain your health than it is to regain it.” Being healthy and fit is a huge part of your life, let’s all stay healthy and fit together so our bodies can serve us well into our old age.
P.S. This is my second weight-loss cycle, I went from 92 kg in mid-august 2019 to 75 kg by December 2019 – 17 kg lost in total. The initial motivation for losing weight then was to look good for my 33rd birthday, however, the pandemic and lockdown happened and I became complacent. I went back to my old eating habits and sedentary lifestyle since I no longer had to wear my clothes out and I had gained 12.9 kg by September 5, 2020.
I learned two lessons from this experience as the good student that I am: first, weight loss and fitness is a lifelong journey for which you never arrive and you can pile on the weight you lost and even more when you become complacent; secondly, you can lose weight over and over again. Don’t ever get to that point where you accept that being obese is your destiny and you can’t slim down. You can always slim down at any time so far as you desire it and you’re ready to put in the work required to achieve it (aspire-to-perspire things, innit?) You can read more about my daily diet and exercise routines here and you can read more health and fitness tips here.
If you also have questions for me, please ask them in the comments below or send me and email: [email protected] and I’ll answer them as best as I can.