For a long time I was very skinny. People poked and prodded at me for being stick thin and joked that they could “wrap both arms around me”. For the most part this didn’t bother me too much but as social media boomed and instagram became the new in thing, I began to loathe my petite body more and more. Because I felt like a small Afican boy stranded in a rural village in Keta, Ghana and not the womanly, curvaceous and sexy women coveted by many all over the thirst-traps of the internets.
Now I hope anyone doesn’t take this the wrong way, as this is not a complaint about being skinny. I think everyone throughout their teenage years struggles with self-image. However, a lot of the time it is seen as a taboo to speak about feeling too skinny or undesirable because of a small size. The beauty industry and fashion has long been built off the backs of slim women. Unfortunately my teen ages were spent in an age where Nicki minaj and bernice burgos were the standard for what it meant to be desirable. For both slim women and bigger women, this prompts a lot of self doubt about attractiveness, weight and appearance.
My mother warned me that when I hit 25, I would put on weight like there was not tomorrow but I didn’t listen. I hit the gym determined to build a bigger booty, get rid of my hip dips and get a slimmer waist. No one tells you that when you stop doing all those things, the muscle you once had slowly fades and is replaced by fat that leads to weight gains so rapidly. I gained 10kg in a year and a lot of it set in my face. I took my metabolism for granted.
So now begins a new journey of learning how to embrace my new found weight gain and to embark on living a healthier lifestyle overall. Here are my tips on how maintain your desired weight and get enviable tone. Not to say I’m a fitness guru or anything but simply a millennial, minimalist woman with a need to disclosure her thoughts even though no one is asking :). Hope it helps!
1. Plan out your goals
It’s important to know what you want to achieve and give yourself a time frame. Be able to run 1 mile in the next two months, do the splits by the end of the year, go to a karate club every week. It’s not even so much about a particular exercise or sport, but making sure you have something to steadily work towards and create a plan for success. The same applies to many things in life and fitness should be no exception.
2. Incorporate a balanced and healthy eating plan.
I love to snack. Who doesn’t? I also love fast food (I once strategically ate mcDonalds twice in the one day in two different cities just for the sheer gluttony of it all). However, discipline in your eating habits can help to change all parts of your life. Eating a balanced diet whilst making sure to cover all your needed vitamins is very important to keeping yourself motivated, fuelled and hydrated.
Sometimes the hardest struggle is finding what to eat, the internet is your best friend here. Research, research, research! Find out what should go into a balanced diet and stick to it. I personally search the internet to find recipes that fit into whatever is currently in my fridge. There’s a temptation to go out a try to revamp your whole fridge with organic, vegan, fresh food but fight it! Often this is what can be overwhelming and leads to shortcomings. It’s all about slowly incorporating healthy eating practices until it becomes a habit. Meal prep is also helpful in ensuring you don’t run out of energy during the week, and fall back into a routine of putting oven pizza in for a quick fix when work has exhausted you. Youtube has a wealth of videos helpful for this.
3. Get exercising
This… is easier said than done. Especially as it is the new year, and there will be floods of people entering the gym with a new years resolution to shed all that stubborn Christmas turkey weight, but exercise is about learning to be in sync with your body and preserving it for the many years you have to come. Your body is your home, your temple and your sanctuary
Starting small is the best way to start this. It might be simply walking from your house to the train station instead of taking the bus, or trying your hand at morning jog or even trying a new class at your local gym. Not only is exercise great for staying in shape but it also increases focus, and helps with anxiety and depression. At least 30 minutes a day will maintain overall health, reduce risk of heart disease and make sure your fight or flight instincts are still in check.
Yoga is a great practice that helps to improve balance, flexibility and core strength. It has both meditative and reflective flows, which helps with mindfulness and mental health as well as high intensity, vigorous routines to target all stubborn areas you want. Most of all it looks cool as heck! Equinox is a luxury fitness company based in London branding themselves as fitness experiences, I would love to check it out based on my favourite flow I have ever witnessed.
4. Find workout routines that work for you.
I absolutely hate going to the gym, and watching youtube videos of workouts, but It’s necessary until I figure out which routines work for me. There is a plethora of information for different sets and reps (who know’s what all that technical terminology is) that can help you shape up and make your routine feel dynamic and different. One of my favourite fitness channels to follow is is by Chloe Ting as she is great at talking through all the fitness routines, with demonstrations to follow and a set timer to monitor how you’re doing along with her videos.
5. Be consistent
This is the case for everything in life. It is through consistency that you will be able to get the results you want. Change doesn’t happen over night and Rome wasn’t built in a day, as my father would often say. Even more important that getting up and doing all the points listed above is developing a routine that will eventually become a lifestyle change.