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Weight management goals to set this year

Saturday January 23 2021
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By Lilian Ndilwa

Losing weight and keeping off those extras kilograms is definitely hard, especially after a festive season. The festive season is widely known for its influence in extra calories intake during the celebrations; this includes leftovers, huge platters of food, and litres of sugary drinks.

It is after this kind of season, people start to notice gains on their weighing scales, clothes getting too tight, increase of body fatigue and junk food appetite.

Martha Mabeyo, a resident of Kunduchi is one among the strugglers. She has been struggling with weight loss for the past 15 years.

Despite having her gym membership that usually kept her active, she fell off the wagon with her regular exercise sessions during the festive season past weeks.

“I recently started becoming more serious with home work-outs and strict diets because I want to see my way out of this, specifically in 2021,” Ms Mabeyo shares.

She revealed that weight maintenance is the upgrade she targets at reaching, with the belief that it will enhance better health for her.

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“I am not saying I have had major weight gain consequences like diabetes and heart problems, but I am not waiting for them to come by for me to realise that it’s important to control my weight,” says Ms Mabeyo.

Adding, “I did routinely exercise in the past few years, sometimes I used to seek motivation from people who have had overweight experiences similar to mine,” she says.

Ms Mabeyo mentions that she used to run on the beach with friends, got recruited in a gym, made appointments with dieticians, but it never came to her that she had to first commit to really lose weight before taking all those steps.

Just like Ms Mabeyo, Gladness Mtoba who resides in Gongo la Mboto is also finding it hard to manage her weight despite efforts.

She says that she is crosschecking her weight loss habits for the year 2021, as the old habits led her to gain even more weight.

“It is comforting to target a certain weight and be able to reach that. I used to weigh less before I decided to work on my body weight since it became alerting,” says Ms Mtoba.

“I have planned to not get on a weigh scale until I notice physical changes from the diet I have set for my 2021 weight goal, because of the fear that I will get disappointed and not proceed with the current diet,” notes Ms Mtoba.


Why people fall off the wagon in their weight loss journey?

According to Dr Fredirick Mashili, a lecturer at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and a Fitness Physiologist at Azura Health and Fitness Centre, the festive season is one of the most difficult periods for people who are on a weight loss journey, because during those trying times, people abandon their daily weight loss schedules for ‘a shorter period of happiness’, as he phrases it.

Dr Mashili details that there is always a number of people who abandon their exercises and diets during the festive seasons, few of them can barely get back to normal exercising schedules, and many of them usually choose not to continue with physical exercises.

“People who were exercising in 2020, prior to the festive season, often give themselves breaks, and more than 50 per cent never return to exercises because their bodies have already adopted the resting ways,” says Dr Mashili.

He explains the comeback from resting sessions especially during festive seasons is often tough because any person who is used to diet, and is active in physical exercises, becomes dull whilst restarting from the first step in both dieting and exercises.

He hints that gym owners usually profit huge sums on the first months of every new year as the number of people recruiting for gym membership increase because people consider the New Years as the start.

Another popular new year weight loss trends Dr Mashili comes across are weight-loss influencers.

“Waists belts, diets and protein powders are among the most bought products by the people who want to restart their weight loss journeys after the festive seasons,” he says.

Dr Mashili explained that the sellers of these products often do not tell the buyers the truth behind these products as the people who buy expect the products to single-handedly work on their bodies without self-additions such as minor workouts and weight lifting.

“Every person working-out must first know how much weight they want to shed off, and the right ways to maintain their desired weight goals, because without getting accurate information on these, it leads to people making themselves skinny instead of healthy,” he says

Dr Mashili also hints about intermittent fasting, and how it can benefit a person who is restarting weight loss journey with hopes of getting a whole new body as well as desire numbers on the weighing scale.

“People are afraid of intermittent fasting because of the word ‘fasting’ in it, as the term means a person has to not eat anything for not less than 10 hours, and that whatsoever is consumed is of low calories as well as eaten timely,” bunks Dr Mashili.

“It’s quite healthy as the amount of food consumed is very small compared to normal food amounts,” the expert adds.

He revealed that ‘the small amount of food’ does not mean a person has to starve so as to stay healthy, but it means people set themselves a timely schedule that permits them to eat and limits them to consume anything out of that timetable.

Dr Mashili explains that festive season for diabetic people, especially the ones with families who gather to celebrate the end of year ceremonies, is often not as good as for non-diabetic people.

“Diabetic people are not as flexible as non-diabetic people in terms of their diets during the festive seasons because this directly affects their medical conditions,” explains Dr Mashili.

He explained that a diabetic person both type 1 and 2, are conditioned to take their medicines daily, and this limits them from consuming a different diet other than the one arranged to them by the doctors and dieticians.


A dietician’s view

Dietician and herbalist, Judith Yombo, who established her own line of diet-supporting products including Protein powder, zero in fats yogurt, castor and lemon oil, detox tea spices and porridge powder with nutrients, says that the festive the season is among the leading influences why many people abandon their healthy ways of living.

Ms Yombo, who also uses social networks to educate people on weight loss journeys, details that many people who struggle to lose weight despise the festive seasons, as they automatically persuade people to quit both diet and exercises, influencing them to consume foods high in carbohydrates (carbs), sugar and oil.

“Weight maintenance is not a one time activity, it is more than body-building and shaping, weight maintenance relates to what you think, eat and drink, as well as your sleeping habits,” she explains.

“People are also unaware that, there is time appropriation in eating without gaining an ounce, there are other times you are advised to not consume anything other than light in calories snacks and water only,” says Ms Yombo.

Ms Yombo also said that people on weight maintenance must also be exercising physically for at least 30 minutes on daily basis as this will help them to become even more active.


What can you do different this year?

Here’s what Rupali Datta, a Clinical Nutritionist, recommends:

1. Start small: Change is the most difficult thing to do. Do not set goals that are difficult to reach, be realistic and start with the easiest step.

So, set small achievable goals like closing your kitchen by 9 pm or walking every half an hour of sitting, or even something like eating two fresh fruits a day.

It takes us 21 days to change a habit and if we follow it for three months it becomes our lifestyle. Take your time, it’s more important to learn what you must change and make a start.

2. Eating at the correct time has a great impact on our health: Try eating at the same time daily; it will help control your hunger/satiety cycle more efficiently.

For this, we need to work together whether it is at work or home, we must have fixed meal times based on our solar clock.

3. A healthy mind is an important part of health: So, make sure to sleep for 6-8 hours daily, it is crucial for a healthy body.

The brain needs rest, in addition to sleep de-stress regularly.

Learn to switch off from regular day for at least an hour or so, for this, you can meditate, pursue a hobby, read a book or listen to music.

The ‘me time’ will help refresh your brain and get it ready for new challenges without affecting the health.