Spring is at the doorstep, and many people want to shake off the winter jibes and step out in style, ready to usher in the new season. Summer is characterized by parties, sunset downers, events, meeting new people and holidaying.
However, this fun time can be dampened by a widening girth and protruding belly. Gaining weight is as easy as munching on doughnuts or being lethargic, but shedding it is often a mission.
How many times have you heard some people share their weight loss goals? Apart from making more money, losing weight is a common goal among many individuals.
Recently, when my size 36 clothes didn’t fit well anymore and I found myself raking the 38 aisles in clothing stores, I knew I was in trouble.
In an effort to shed extra flab and tone into a fit body without losing my natural “assets” (think curves), an acquaintance introduced me to personal trainer and fitness fanatic Thabo Olefile.
The first thing he pointed out is that the best way to shed extra weight is to create an energy deficit.
“As a person, you must take in what you will use. The moment you start consuming more calories than your body needs, you are obviously going to gain weight because those calories are stored in the body as fat. If you eat more, you should equally work hard physically, or exercise, in order to utilize that extra energy,” he advises.
He also believes that healthy beautiful bodies are made in the kitchen.
“What you eat has a direct impact on your body size. If you put in junk, you will look like junk. If you eat a lot, you will balloon,” he says candidly.
Ouch! He then conducts a health assessment. Olefile points out that it’s done to better assist an individual.
He explains that sometimes weight gain is temporary, or it’s due to certain medication or illness. He however asserts that for the majority of people, weigh gain is caused by a poor diet, overeating and a lethargic lifestyle.
After writing off any health conditions, Olefile draws up a plan for me, which is increasing vegetable intake, reducing starch, sugar and alcohol, taking regular walks and swimming.
“You are naturally fit. Your thighs are strong and well-toned. You also have a strong arched back. However, I suspect you eat a lot of the wrong foods with empty calories. Unfortunately, all the extra fat is stored in the midriff and arms, which is possibly genetic,” he says, prodding my belly podge.
“If you changed your diet and ate clean for a month you would notice a huge difference in your energy levels and body size. Focus on mindful eating. Ask yourself, what good will this do to my body? It’s OK to enjoy a treat but it should be occasional. Added to that, it’s important to exercise regularly,” he explains.
Olefile shares that many people try to get fit and toned but fail because they do it for the wrong reasons, to look attractive to the opposite sex, to please other people or because they feel pressurized to lose weight.
“I have seen many people going on crash diets, only to regain the weight. You don’t need to consume any magic products to lose weight. Weight loss should not be a fad but a holistic lifestyle change; change your diet and incorporate exercise into your daily routine, for good,” he adds.
Olefile suggests the ‘Three grand approaches’ ÔÇô eat less, eat healthy, exercise.
“We would all do better to stay away from sugar and other empty calories. If you must snack, let it be on something like peanuts and raisins, fruit or plain yoghurt,” he advices.
Olefile also encourages anyone committed to getting into shape to start small and be patient.
“I must emphasise that no one gains weight overnight, and no one can shed it off within a few days. It might take weeks or even months to lose extra weight and stubborn flab. It requires discipline. Do it for yourself; your own health and good, don’t follow trends. Also, don’t think you will get a dream body unless you are willing to commit an extra year or two of constant gym and watching your diet to the tee. We want to shed weight but being skinny is overrated. The trick is to have more muscle than fat,” he notes.
It’s clear that there are no quick fixes, or easy plans, but rather, tests of willpower and discipline. Woza, operation hlaselamafutha!