My weight has always been in a steady range of 150-158lbs for most of my adult life. I remember a time of only gaining one pound throughout the entire year, imagine that, one whole single pound! High metabolism they say. Then in 2013, when I did a complete health check to include Body Mass Index (BMI) I gained a greater understanding of what it was and also learnt that I was one pound over my BMI and now needed to lose that to get within my range. Sounds easy right? Well, little did I know that the older you get the harder it will be for you to lose weight. Blame it on a slower metabolism they say.
Fast forward to my first pregnancy where I gained a whooping 187lbs (as pictured) from 158lbs. I decided then to give myself three months to get back to my pre-pregnancy body. So basically 29lbs had to go. Google became my best friend, my lone companion, where I conducted extensive research on how to do so and I am now sharing what worked for me:
First and foremost – Calorie deficit – Eating less than you burn
To do so effectively I would recommend a meal plan to begin with prepared by a nutritionist. In hindsight, if I had gone this route I would definitely have lost the weight faster. However, if you wish to do this on your own, apps like MyFitness Pal can help you keep track of what you eat and simultaneously calculate the number of calories. Typically you’ll be looking at eating 500 less than average
No late night snacking
Generally, I practice not eating after six pm solely drinking tea, preferably Moringa. The science behind this is that in the night your body burns less and the food tends to stay in your stomach and store as fat.
Reducing sugar and carbs
Added sugar on any label translates to extra calories with no extra nutrition which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. At one point I tried a three-week no sugar, no flour, no carbs diet and the results were almost immediate as my diet for that period consisted of mainly fruits and vegetables which were low in fat and calories.
My Horror! I have hated exercise all my life. My MSS PE Teacher is yet to see me. Actually we don’t know what each other look like! So imagine when I had to include this as part of my weight loss project. To my dismay I started with four days a week for 90 minutes, which felt more like eight hours. Fast-forward to 2020, I am still committed to the gym and still yet to fully like it, but it has become something I must do as part of living a healthy lifestyle and with a combination of the right diet, you would definitely lose weight. I find it best to exercise in the morning to keep burning calories throughout the day. Mentally, the after feeling is great and keeps you on a high which helps to keep unhealthy foods at bay.
The very thought of drinking eight glasses of water per day terrified me. All I was thinking was how, when, where. I mostly feared the expected frequent bathroom trips. My problem has always been figuring out the correct size glass to use, I even wrote that into my drama as a joke when I entered Miss Montserrat many moons ago. However, I was determined and upped my water game using bottles with the ounces label instead. In 2020 I’m now up to 2 litres. When spaced out properly and not gulping through glasses the bathroom trips are not that frequent.
Avoid processed drinks
Another change I made was reducing the consumption of processed drinks. Normally, I would drink juice after lunch and dinner but as these include high calories and high sugar content which contributes to weight gain I have since replaced them with coconut water which has fewer calories and enzymes which ease digestion and boost metabolism. I drink this daily, thank you Baptist, thank you Cashamba.
Snacking in between meals
Besides my three square meals each day, I snack in between, so this means eating every two and a half to three hours, which aids in boosting your body fat burning potential. Burn baby burn. Yes here comes metabolism again, by eating this way ie every few hours, it has no choice but to speed up.
Getting a good night’s rest
I ensure I get my eight hours sleep religiously every night as poor sleep can also contribute to weight gain. This may be because people who are sleep deprived may tend to have a bigger appetite. To get a good night’s sleep avoid drinking close to bedtime to avoid frequent bathroom trips which interrupts sleep and using electronics which emits blue light which interferes with the production of melatonin.
So if you are someone looking to lose weight I hope these tips help. In addition, please conduct your own research to gain a deeper understanding. That can be overwhelming I know, as there is much and conflicting information out there. Most importantly know your body and listen to it! Good luck!
Lyandra Hobson is a mom and entrepreneur. Follow her @misshobson on Instagram.