It all starts with a simple remark made by family, friends, or strangers you meet at a holiday party. “Wow! You look healthier!” which at times, can be interpreted as, “You’re as lively as a jolly, fat man!” “You’ve grown!” is a more blunt way of saying it. “Aren’t you pigging out a little?” and “You’ve really piled your plate!” are other irritating statements. Those who are able to restrain themselves from overeating are, however, urged to take more from the table, making them feel guilty afterward.
The Problem with Fat
Let’s face it: Today’s society regards stout persons as losers. I guess that explains the title of the reality TV show, The Biggest Loser. I remember my high school days. Back then, I weighed over 100 kilograms (220 lbs) and my body was brimful with fat. My high school career was unpleasant. I was teased and likened to a pig, a huge piece of meat, a giant troll or ogre, and Santa Clause (which I really hated!). Most of the hot girls digged the lean, athletic guys, so my self-esteem was blown to pieces. Consequently, I didn’t participate in most school activities that I wanted to take part in.
That’s the real reason why we want to lose weight: To belong. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs, Love and Belonging is rated as third, just behind Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization. We all want to be accepted and be loved in society.
The second reason would be “for health reasons.” People are convinced of the need for a weight-loss plan once they realize that they have a family history of diseases related to obesity, like Diabetes and Hypertension. My family, from my parents down to my grandparents, are mostly diabetic. If I’m not careful, I might contract the disease later in life, maybe even earlier. We all want to live long enough to enjoy life, right?
The third would be to preserve our self-esteem. Over the years, society was lead to believe that being fat was unattractive. Since we all want to look good, we shape ourselves according to celebrities and supermodels. Though upholding our self-esteem is right, doing it in this way destroys our individuality or uniqueness.
There are a lot of other reasons why we want to lose weight. No matter what they are, they stem from a root, that of which, is being fat.
I woke up one morning in April 2007 and looked straight into the mirror. All I saw was a huge blob of fat that grew a face with pimples. I tried sucking in my cheeks to decrease the “fatty look.” Nothing moved! I posed and smiled my most handsome smile. I was disgusted!
I looked at the eyes in the mirror and said, “That does it! I’m going to pick up my guns and fight the ‘Battle of the Bulge!’”
Hence began a long and tiring journey of weight-loss. Allow me to relate my experience and disclose recommendations:
Length of Your Weight-Loss Plan. You have to understand that the fight against the bulge needs a long period of time. Medical research recommends that a person wanting to lose weight should only lose two pounds per week. That’s a little less than a kilogram. Any more than that is unhealthy. It’s been almost three years since I started losing weight. Within that period, I lost 30 kilograms (66 pounds). For my height, my ideal weight should be 65 kilograms (143 pounds). At my current weight of 70 kilograms (154 pounds), I feel that I have accomplished something significant and although it took quite some time, it’s very much worth it. Keep in mind that any achievement that has taken a lot of time and effort is very much rewarding than anything easily obtained.
Slimming Medication and Other Products. I tried them—fat eliminators, fat burners, diet modifiers, teas, juice drinks, etc—and I absolutely discourage you from using them! I am dead serious! They will only give you unreliable and unhealthy results while simultaneously burning your pocket! While using these products, I experienced bouts of diarrhea, flatulence, stomach cramps, and abdominal pain. I learned my lesson and weaned myself off of artificial weight-loss. If you can’t help it, use medications only as a means to jump-start your weight-loss plans. That’s what I did—after about three months of using a fat burner and diet modifier, I stopped and started working out in a gym.
Diet, Defined. Before we proceed, you have to understand that a diet, or dieting, refers to the food choices that we make, usually influenced by our overall lifestyle. For example, a yuppie living in a metropolis employs a diet of fast-food, as dictated by his fast-paced corporate life. A farmer has a a diet of meats and vegetables since his main means of livelihood involve agriculture and animal husbandry. Kids have a diet of junk and street food. Well-to-do individuals have diets composed of expensive, and sometimes exotic, food. You can eat hamburgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and still call it a diet. There is no bad nor good diet, only balanced ones.
Slimming Diets. There are a lot of fad diets out there today, and I won’t bother to discuss which are effective and not. This is because certain diets work only for certain individuals—we need to determine which among the fad diets would help us lose weight. To do this, you will need to consult a dietitian or nutritionist. They will walk you through a diet that is custom-fit for your lifestyle. Examples of fad diets include Atkins, Southbeach, high-protein with less carbs, and no-carbs, among others. Just remember that dieting does not involve starving yourself. Going about with an empty stomach will only increase your hunger pangs, thus letting you eat more than you expected to.
Working Out. Exercising in a gym, in my opinion, is the best way to lose weight. You burn fat at a healthy pace and at the same time, you tone your muscles. Having good muscle tone is an inherent characteristic of a healthy human body. But because of our modern lifestyle, our bodies don’t develop the muscles, thereby having a sluggish physical appearance. Have you seen pictures of Greek statues? Have you noticed their musculature? That is how our bodies were meant to look like, big- or small-framed we may be. Anybody, big or small, fat or just plump, can work out in a gym. People of earlier times (both males and females) were actually muscular and were very much healthy. Aside from that, they had far longer lifespans compared to us. We just lost the trait of physical health due to progress.
What to Expect From A Gym. First off, you will start with the basic workout. Generally, you will go through almost every workout routine, machine, and exercise—but at minute portions—to get your body conditioned. This will be for about two weeks to a month, depending on your progress. (It’s okay if you’re slow, no one is rushing you. Your gym instructor will be happy to help you out.) After that, you will start the regular workout routine devised for your specific physical development goals. If you plan to burn fat, you will mostly go through aerobics and some weight-training. If you aim for muscle toning, you will mostly go through a balanced weight-training routine. If you plan to build muscles, you will need to have a high-protein diet coupled with strenuous weight-training. Your gym instructor will be the one to formulate your exercise routine. Once you have obtained your goals, you can choose to continue working out to turn your body into one that can compete in body-building competitions.
Body Changes. In my experience, the first parts of the body to decrease in fat content would be the extremities. The face follows next. The last would be your torso. I have to say that burning fat in the abdominal area takes a lot of patience and determination. I asked my gym instructors and they said that yes, losing all the fat in the stomach and waist takes a whole lot of time. You can, though, employ modern medical technology in the form of body-sculpting—that’s your decision to make, just make sure that it’s safe and that you’re willing to pay the price.
- If you are obese type I to III, you will notice that after shedding off significant amounts of fat, you have mounds of loose skin, usually around the armpits and the waist (like me!). This is unavoidable (most specially if you radically burned off fat) since previously, your skin was stretched to extreme dimensions. A solution to this would be to grow your muscles to replace the spaces in your skin that was once filled up with fat. Another would be to undergo skin-tightening procedures at dermatology clinics.
- People who are plump or just have small amounts of baby fat have zero to minimal problems with loose skin.
- A diet that I employed during the start of my weight-loss program is “taking in no carbohydrates (like rice, pasta, noodles, bread, cereal, and wheat) starting at the time that is eight hours before the time of sleep. For example, if you sleep at 9:00PM, don’t take in any carbohydrates starting at 1:00PM. If you sleep at 10:00PM, don’t take carbs at 2:00PM. This is so all of the carbs that you ate during the day would be metabolized, and nothing wouldn’t be stored in the form of fat during bedtime.
- Join health clubs, tell your family and friends of your weight-loss plans, and look for people who are in the same predicament as you are. You will need all the support that you can get in order to maintain your weight-loss plans. You can also look to online weight-loss support social networking services like Feelfit.com for support and information.
Final Notes. If you are fat but have healthy biometrics and are confident in yourself, you can choose not to lose the bulge. I know of people who don’t bother being fat and don’t let it get in the way of their way of living. Just make sure that you get regular check-ups to monitor your health status. You don’t need to please the eyes of everyone around you to feel strong, confident, and accepted.