Dec 31, 2012 News
By Leon Suseran
The year 2012 is almost over. Many of us would have made resolutions when the year just began. I made mine a few months earlier; coming on to the end of 2011— to lose the weight. I weighed about 275 pounds. Now that’s a lot of weight, but it did not really show since I am about six feet one inch tall.
But I was badly overweight, a condition which I chose to ignore for years, ever since I gained the pounds, just after I finished high school over a decade ago. I had exhibited a level of comfort about my body weight and totally adapted to the situation. And I got bigger and bigger.
Eating the wrong kinds of foods the wrong time of the day—and night—fatty, sugar, starchy, carb foods only sped up the process to being morbidly overweight. My addiction to food—yes it was an addiction—drove my cravings wild, especially for fast foods and the junk that goes along with that category of food.
On a regular basis I would even eat meals with soda beverages. And I was getting bigger. And I ignored the fact. There was that level of satisfaction and comfort in what I looked like.
But back pain and other ailments associated with overweight started to kick in. I ignored all of this too. The food was good, so why should I change my lifestyle, I asked myself.
And so, this food- binging lifestyle of eating what I wanted, when I wanted, consciously and unconsciously continued, until I decided to make the proverbial lifestyle change. I was propelled and determined to get the weight off. It’s not every day someone gets this push of determination and courage. I got it, used it and began my transformation.
I started it all with daily 30 minute exercise on a treadmill at the end of October last year. My body was not used to this kind of physical ‘push’. It complained to me in various ways. I started to eat healthier, too.
Morning meals were essential. I have always ignored breakfast, always. I had no appetite whatsoever to consume food in the mornings. This changed and my morning meals were the heaviest and largest.
During the day, I would consume some fruit; watermelon is good, even papaya, pineapple and so on. I can even munch on some finger food during the day. I started running 30 minutes, instead of the brisk walking on the equipment in February. I was drenched in sweat after the activity and I felt so good. I still do. My heart pounds, the brain, medical specialists say, release ‘feel- good’ chemicals—the body rejoices during and after any form of exercise!
And bit by bit, with a combination of diet and exercise. I started to shed the pounds. Diet and exercise are a very powerful combination. I had tried walking over the Canje Bridge many times, Years ago, but I did not practice the diet aspect, and hence I did not lose weight.
I started to weigh myself on the first day of every month. The progress I was making only pushed me to go further. The comments I was getting and my clothes that were ‘swallowing’ me, only pushed me to even greater heights on this journey.
I started to look ridiculous in my clothes since I was getting smaller. I touched 200 pounds sometime in May of this year. Persons started to see a change in my appearance and then the questions started to come like bullets.
People began to wonder if I was getting sick. And I became fed up of answering the same questions over and over. At some point, I was getting very angry, too. But I continued my transformation. I loved the person I was becoming, physically. During this journey, I have stopped the use of soft drinks. I depend heavily on water on a daily basis.
My weight loss has cost me too. I had to get new clothes, smaller clothes. From wearing 2XL shirts, I now wear medium. From a waist size of 44, I am now 33—or 32.
Exercise does so much for us if we only allow it to become a regular and crucial part of our lives. We feel better, our bodies last longer, diseases have no control over us (chronic diseases), and we look younger and have less stress. I can truly attest to all of this.
My daily workouts today last only 20 minutes since I can afford to tone it down a bit. I run and feel no kind of strain on my heart, quite the opposite of how I felt when I started this regime a year ago. I still diet and watch what I eat.
At this point I am 175 pounds, very much within my limit of my Body Mass Index (BMI). I do not eat meals after 5:00pm. I will eat some fruit or salad after my workouts. Perhaps some nuts, too, or some milk should I become hungry at nights—and I do—but that is my body’s way of tricking me into eating and binging very late! We must NEVER go to bed on a full stomach!
Obesity can take over our livers only if we allow it to. I have lost over 100 pounds since my lifestyle change—100 pounds!
Try lifting 100 pounds and experience how heavy that weight is! Just imagine, 100 pounds being lifted off your body, 100 pounds of fat! It is not easy to lose weight these days. Just look at all the restaurants and fast- food joints opening all over the place.
Nobody eats home- cooked food that much anymore. Nobody drinks water anymore. The beverage companies are profiting from selling tons and tons of ‘sweet drinks’ every day.
We delude ourselves, too, by thinking we are doing something good to ourselves when we use ‘Diet’ this and ‘Diet’ that and ‘low- fat’ this and ‘low- fat’ that. Wrong. These are highly misleading phrases, if only we can become aware of this and be more cognizant of what our foods contain.
Why don’t we eat more fruits and vegetables? I never thought I would be giving people advice to losing weight—ever! I was a food addict. I loved food. I ate not because I was hungry, but for other reasons. And so, many people, like it or not, are psychologically dependent on food, not really to survive but for other reasons. And they get more overweight with time. I turned around my life before it was too late. My mother always used to worry for me, that I would not live a full life. Today, I can safely say that she is one relieved mother.
I love who I have become. And I know that I am a big inspiration to many others with weight issues. Due to our biological and physiological make- up, it is easier for men than women to lose weight and we must each set our weight loss plan to suit our individual needs.
Being consistent was a major factor, too. My exercise regimen was done every single day, despite what my schedule looked like or despite what time I came home from work or classes. My commitment was essential to the entire plan, and I watched what I put in my mouth.
If you are extremely overweight and struggling with food cravings and addictions to food, you have to recognize this right away and deal with it.
Food was put on this earth for a purpose, for our survival, not for over- enjoyment and binging. We have become too much of a world that idolizes fast food and unhealthy food products out there. We have become a people, too, that have embraced a sugar revolution. We have become less hungry during the day and hungrier as the night closes in! This is a perfect disaster for weight gain!
And eating healthy does not mean that you cannot enjoy a little junk food every now and again. I do ’treat’ myself to my favourite soda, ‘I-cee Cream soda’ and Chinese food, both of which I love, every month or two. As it currently is, I am on the right track. Anyone can lose weight. Commitment, dedication and common sense are the keys; oh, and the right motivation/inspiration can make all the difference in the world.
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