I think it’s normal to say that after I got married, I put on a little weight.. By a little a mean A LOT! I can’t even put my finger on why I put so much weight on as I didn’t really think I was eating too much of something or not being as active as I was before I got married.
The time it hit me like a tonne of bricks though, was when I bought a pair of trousers in size 12 (it’s good to remember that I used to be a size 10 pre-wedding) and after trying them on, they were so tight which meant, it was time to go back and get them in a size 14! I was mortified and my initial thought was “I can’t believe I’ve done this to myself” and I think that’s the thought that changed my perspective on my appearance.
I had visibly put on weight too and this had left me really uncomfortable and wearing clothes that were super sized on me, making me feel even bigger. The worst thing was that I was piling on the pounds around my stomach area mainly and I was constantly being hounded as to whether I was pregnant or not (that is not what you want to hear when you’re already feeling self-conscious about yourself). I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore and I didn’t want to buy any more because the thought of having to buy dress sizes bigger than what I was used to, was terrifying!
I knew that I needed to make some changes and I decided in December 2016 that I would make some of the biggest changes in my life. I left my job which was really fast paced and quite demanding and decided that I would set up a business from home and move onward with building an empire of my own.. Which I’m still doing (and quite well). As well as this change, I knew the temptations of being in such close vicinity to the kitchen would mean that I would be tempted to snack constantly and I began to get almost depressed about how I would control myself because I didn’t think I had the motivation to stay away from the snacking!
What did I do?
I went on a few holidays after I left work, something that has encouraged me to leave work more so because my paid holidays at work had run out which meant my passion for travelling was being held back. I went to Dubai, Florida and LA in the space of a month and it was after Dubai before I went to Florida that I decided to make drastic changes. I had to have a good think about what was causing me to put on weight and after deliberating I finally concluded that I wasn’t ever going to lose weight if I carried on eating as bad as I did and living a lazy lifestyle, like I was.
I decided that I would have a MASSIVE overhaul and go in so hard that it would change my perspective on food forever! I cut out ALL sugar and became almost obsessive with the amount of sugar that was contained in almost everything I was eating. Don’t get me wrong, if I went out to a restaurant, I wasn’t scrutinising the waiter to tell me how much sugar was in my salad dressing but anything that I was eating out of a packet, I was analysing. I have become so keen on cutting sugar because I was holding so much fat around my stomach and have been told by so many blogs, fitness magazines and individuals that the cause of this is excessive sugar intake.. So true because since I’ve cut it out, my stomach has shrunk massively!
I also almost completely cut out carbs and that meant having little/none every week. I allow myself to have something revolving carbs once and a week and I tend to time this around the same day every week because it gives me something to look forward to as well as allowing me to burn it off in roughly the same amount of time. When I do have carbs, I ensure that they’re good so I don’t eat white flour at all! I have changed my pasta to wholewheat, my roti to brown and my rice is also brown now (I have carbs once every 2 weeks). It doesn’t taste the same and I definitely no longer enjoy meals as much as I used to but in the evening when I’m getting changed into my pyjamas and I look at my tight stomach and feel so good, It’s worth it.
I never worked out after I got married and I think that played a huge part into me putting on weight. I was not as active as I was before (because I wasn’t doing the supermarket runs, looking after kids, running around at work as much, running around at home as much and generally not socialising as much (because even my shopping trips were still a form of exercise)). I decided just this month after so much deliberation that I would invest in a pair of running trainers, workout gear and I would start running. I can’t tell you how much this has changed my life.. Not only because I get out and go to a beautiful park during sunset hours and get some fresh air, but because I love the way that people look at me wearing my hijab and getting on with my life. It’s a new found joy of mine when I see people double take and look surprised when they see me because I know that it’s not common to see someone like me running, but I’m a normal person (as I said in my first sentence) and of course I’ll live my life like a normal person.
I wasn’t the fastest person at first and I walked a lot more than I ran when I first started but I’m now at a stage where I push myself constantly and the pain now feels good. I push myself to go faster, run up more hills and go for longer runs every time I run! I’m not disproportionate and won’t add miles, or 90 degree inclines or 6 minute mile runs BUT I’ll add 0.1 miles to my run every time and I’ll include an extra incline every other run. The most recent run I went on was all about speed and I wanted to be as fast as I could.. And I did it!
As well as running, I’ve invested in the 7 minute workout app which I love doing! Even on my rest days, I still do this because I find it so easy now and can spare the 10 minutes I need (instead of 7 because I have to change my clothes etc). I have started to find it so easy now that I have elaborated from it and now include my own workouts and extra moves in the areas that I choose to work on that particular day.
Extras – Important!
One of the things that urged me to start looking after myself was myself. I just didn’t feel like wearing nice clothes, doing my makeup and buying new clothes because i didn’t feel attractive anymore. Remember that when you are trying to lose weight, do it for no one but yourself. even when you’re working out and you think you can’t go any further.. Remember your end goal and how badly you want to achieve it. If you were doing all this to please someone else, it wouldn’t last and the likelihood of you giving up, would be high.
Remember to reward yourself and don’t punish yourself. If you have a weigh in day to look forward to, a dress you’d like to fit into or a mile time you’d like to reach, you have to be able to give yourself gratitude. So when you succeed in your task you have to give yourself a big congratulations and reward yourself in a sustainable way. I do this by giving myself a square of chocolate when I have a really good workout.. On the days I don’t have a good workout, I won’t allow myself to eat it! In the same way, you mustn’t punish yourself and especially in the way of food as when dieting, it’s easy to have a slip up and then not eat a meal or for a whole day! You must learn from your mistakes and by punishing your body, you won’t get anything back from it (just like a relationship). So suck it up, apologise to yourself and work harder to get a reward next time!
Don’t force yourself to have cheat meals! When I first started dieting, I thought it was important to reward myself by having a cheat meal every week BUT I didn’t always feel like having a burger or a slice of pizza and would much rather have had a salad. So I learnt to only have a cheat meal when I felt like it and so far, that’s been monthly. Some people are committed to cheat days as well and again, I would advise having them if you actually feel like it. I recently had my cheat meal (5 weeks after the last) and I enjoyed it much more because I was genuinely craving it.
Experimenting is the key to working out and dieting. In my eyes, I love experimenting with new recipes and ingredients and in the same manner, my husband enjoys the variety of food I make also! I love cooking now and I enjoy it more so because I know that it’s going to be healthy and I’m rewarding my body by eating wholesome, tasty and healthy food. I look online for healthy recipes and tweak them a bit depending on my craving but Women’s Health Magazine have some great ones as well as BBC Good Food. I love changing up my workout too. I know what body parts I need to work on and I’ll watch a few YouTube workout videos and adapt them into a routine I know really well. I don’t change up the whole routine because I won’t know how hard to work and how far I can push myself (as every move would be new to me). I like to incorporate an extra move in every few days and continue doing it until I know how effective I found it.
And lastly, enjoy yourself and encourage your friends who are going through the same thing as you. Finding a partner who is into the same things as you is really nice but even if you go it alone, remember to tell important people in your life how well you’re doing as it’s so gratifying to have someone to share this with. I do my weigh in with my husband and my best friend who I always share the score with. It’s nice to have someone to experience the ups and downs with. If you have a bad week, talk to yourself and go through where you went wrong and then discuss this with those important people to gain a second opinion…
Don’t forget that you’re amazing regardless of the number on the scale and just the first step of admitting you need to make a change is such a huge step! Once you’ve decided you want to live healthier, the res will come to you naturally and even small changes will make a huge difference!
*** DISCLAIMER: I am in not insinuating in any way that a size 14 is not attractive. I am merely explaining the 2 dresses sizes that I gained weight to which I was not expecting.