Does Slim = Happy??

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This is a subject that I cover in my book, My Big ‘Fat Loss’ Secret and it’s a topic that I have spent a great amount of time pondering.  Considering the billions of dollars that the weight loss industry rakes in every year worldwide, one would assume that the general consensus out there is ‘yes, slim clearly = happy’.  So I ask you to take a moment to reflect on this question.   Some of you who are currently overweight may have the perception that slim does equal happy and you wouldn’t hesitate to respond in the affirmative immediately.  Why?  Because when you are overweight and your life is not running the way that you would like it to, being overweight would be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  So you would equate being overweight with being unhappy.  We all know that this is not true.  We know that you need to be happy within yourself, within the deepest core of your being is where true happiness is found.  We know that when this is not the case, when unhappiness stems from within yourself, it will infiltrate the rest of your life.  So its like the old adage goes ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg?’  Did unhappiness cause you to be overweight or did being overweight cause you to be unhappy?   I think that perhaps in most of our lives, its a little of both.  One does have the ability to affect the other.  When we’re unhappy, most of us tend to turn to food to comfort us emotionally, resulting in an oversupply of calories, which will lead us to gain weight.  Equally to blame would be the hormone cortisol which is released in abundance when we are overstressed and can cause our bodies to store more body fat.

What images do we conjure up in our minds eye when we contemplate the question ‘Does slim = happy?’  You immediately see a picture of a slim person, perhaps with a slim partner, the picture is bright and colourful, they are outdoors, and they are both beautiful and smiling right?  This is the picture that the media has helped to permeate our inner psyche.  Why?  So that they can make you believe that the only way you can be happy is to be slim, so that they can sell more product to more people and make more money.

Some of my happiest days and moments were spent in all my chubbiness. What springs to mind immediately are the days that my beautiful children were born.  I wasn’t stick thin, I didn’t even resemble a plus size model, I resembled a little baby elephant, and I was as happy as one who had just discovered the joys of rolling in mud in the glorious golden sunshine.  There were many, many similar, equally happy and content days spent in chubbiness over the years. 

The question should be this:  ‘was I happy that because I was chubby I could not fit into my previous slim clothing, or was I happy that because I was overweight I couldn’t be as active as I wanted to be, or was I happy that because I was overweight my partner didn’t look at me the way that he used to?  My answer to all of these questions would be ‘no, I wasn’t happy for all of these reasons’.  Was I happy at the core of my being?  I’m not sure.  There were times that I was ecstatically happy, and times that I wasn’t.   Is this not just being human though?

I am tired of the media dictating how we should feel about ourselves.  The saying goes ‘media does not tell us how to think, but tells us what to think about’.  They make us think about the fact that we don’t look like Kate Moss.  That’s all it is, they direct our thoughts to a particular subject or topic.  What they should be making us think about is our health. 

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This is my motto:  Healthy = Happy = Sexy

This doesn’t mean to say either that if you’re not athletically built that you won’t be happy.  Just the feeling of healthy is sexy.   Being able to wake up in the morning, bright eyed and ready to go, feeling your best physically is sexy and would make you happy.

My opinion is, that being slim gives you a certain kind of, and a certain amount of happiness.

What kind of happiness does it give me? The kind of happiness I derive from being slim is that number one, I feel healthy and I feel fit and I am able to move around as much as I want to – I am not restricted to do absolutely anything I want to in terms of physical fitness, energy and stamina. This does give me a tremendous amount of happiness, as I would not like to be restricted from doing any of the physical challenges I would like to and if I only ever chose one reason why I would want to be slim, it would be this reason.

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When I buy clothes, I am not bound to only a certain section of clothing for larger people, and I am able to buy any of the clothing I see in any store – this does give me a certain kind of happiness – absolutely, especially since I have been on both sides of the fence and I have experienced, first-hand the emotions that go with both scenario’s! Perhaps in America, choices in terms of clothing for a larger person are way more liberal, but where I come from, they’re not.

Fitting into, and looking good in:

· A bikini

· My jeans

· Small tops

· Leggings

· Sexy gym clothes

This makes me happy!

Having my children and family be proud of who I am, of what I’ve achieved, and how I look, makes me happy!

Okay, I admit!! Being slim does give me a huge amount of happiness. You have to decide for yourself what makes you happy, and why. Within this exercise you will find the answers and the deep rooted motivation as to why being slim is important or not so important to you.

One thing I do know for certain is this:  overcoming a weight issue gives you the confidence to tackle most of life’s issues.  Overcoming stuff, against all odds makes you stronger, and the principles used in dealing with these issues are the same principles which can be applied to every area of your life.  Dealing with, and overcoming a weight issue gives you the platform to go on and achieve so much more in your life, knowing that you’ve conquered something that has a lot of people constantly perplexed.  It’s a BIG deal, and one that’ll make you happy and proud!

What are we teaching our Children about food? And isn’t it time we, as parents took responsibility for it?

I decided that there is no ‘nice’ or ‘gentle’ way of approaching this subject.  As a mother, first and foremost, the subject is very close to my heart and one which I am passionate about.  And isn’t it my right as a mother, human being, citizen and ‘blogger’ to have my say and voice my opinion about stuff that I feel passionate about? So I decided that I’m going to say it like it is, and I apologise upfront should anyone be offended!

Fact:  Children are getting fatter and fatter and childhood diseases are on the increase.  Fact:  These conditions are directly linked to their diet.  Genetics do play a part, but can be managed.

Is it ok for children to think it’s ok to eat fast food and goodies that are perfectly packaged and barely resemble anything we traditionally call ‘food’, i.e. stuff that was taken from the ground, picked from a tree or roams around in the fields?  Who is putting all the food in the refrigerator and in the cupboards?  Do our children have jobs and earn money and go out and stock the pantry?   I don’t think so!  Parents are responsible for what is available to eat at home, and for the money that is being given to children to buy what they please from school tuck-shops everyday.  Parents complain that all their children want to eat is junk food, chips, sweets and chocolates and that they turn their noses up at home cooked food.  Mmmm, I don’t buy that, not for a minute!  If children don’t want to eat what is being cooked at home, well then, I can guarantee that after a couple of hours, maximum a day of being hungry, they will eat what is given to them.  Our bodies are designed that way, for survival.  Of course, if they have the option of eating fast food or home cooked food, which option do you think they’ll choose?  Children don’t stop for a moment to think ‘hey, is what I’m eating the right nutrition for my body?’  They are driven by taste, first and foremost.  For goodness sake, it is our responsibility as their parents, their guardians, caregivers, informants and educators to teach them that what they put into their mouths on a daily basis has consequences and these consequences will come in the form of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, to name but a few.  This is not a shock statement, this is a FACT!

Children think that chicken comes in the form of nuggets and would be surprised to learn that the skin of chicken is not coated in breadcrumbs and that French fries are a form of vegetable.  What was most shocking to me was watching a television programme on BBC Food, where Jamie Oliver travelled the schools of the UK to find out what children were eating and what their knowledge of food was.  Children that were interviewed didn’t know the names of basic vegetables, because they had never, ever seen them, let alone eaten them.  Food being served in schools consists of twisted, mangled fried screwy looking things that are made of pork, fat and breadcrumbs, served with fries.  Dinner at home is very much the same.  Freezers are stocked with frozen fries, frozen chicken nuggets, pork sausages and anything that calls for a good old ‘fry-up’ at a moment’s notice.  I understand that people live busy lives and that Moms and Dads have so much on their plate.  Children love to learn, rope them in and cook with them – you could do nothing better for them.

Old time favourite foods can be modified to be much healthier.  Below is a link to an excellent site on how to make healthier choices for our kids.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_eating_kids

Children look up to their parents to show them the way and to set an example.  Let’s do the right thing and show our children that being healthy and slim is a lifestyle choice?

 

Fire up your Metabolism

Rev up your Metabolism

Why does your body seem to hold onto fat and not seem to want to let go, no matter what?  The answer lies in speeding up your metabolism, which signals your body to shed unwanted body fat!

 

Eat regularly: Did you know that to speed up your metabolism, which is the fat burning centre of your body, you should eat every three hours?  Included in your meal should be a lean protein like chicken breast, lean steak or fish, combined with a complex carbohydrate like brown rice, baked potato, yams, etc., and a vegetable like green beans, broccoli, spinach or a salad, for instance.  Protein is required for satiety, as it takes approximately three hours for the digestion process to take place, which will keep you full until the next meal.  The whole process of eating real food, chewing, swallowing and digesting, is what revs up your metabolic rate as well.  You needn’t eat six meals consisting of these types of foods, definitely three though, and the other meals could be snacks in-between, for instance a small yoghurt and a banana or a handful of nuts, as you need to mind the calories.  The important thing is to eat something every three hours.

Eat Breakfast:  After you have been asleep for 8 or more hours, your metabolism slows down.  Therefore, on waking , you should eat breakfast as soon as possible, definitely within the hour of rising, as this will boost your metabolism and signal it to get going again.  Should you not eat in the morning, your metabolism will continue to slow down, so as to conserve energy for when it’s needed during the day – it’s a no-brainer for your body and the way we were designed – energy conservation.  It is also the very reason we store fat, for the ‘lean’ times.  You have to teach your body that it is not in a state of starvation, as there is food available, every three hours, and your body will be happy to let go of the extra fat.  Your body will soon realize that fat storage is no longer required.

If you’d like to know more on how to speed up your metabolism and turn your body into a ‘fat burning machine’, subscribe to my blog and I’ll regularly send you tips and advice.

Till then!

Live the Best Life YOU can!

Bonnie

Amazing stuff happens when you finally ‘Let Go’!

It’s like ‘free-falling’, the amazing feeling when you finally let go of past hurts, regrets, anger and resentment and you realize that this life that you’re living, is YOURS, no-one else’s, and that the decisions, commitments, goals and realizations are your OWN.  I have never done skydiving, and it’s definitely on my ‘bucket list’, but I can imagine, and have heard, the incredible feeling of having nothing holding you back!  You realize that your chute may ‘not open’, or that you may ‘not land’ the way you should, but at that particular moment, there’s nothing you can do about it, and you resign yourself to ‘just enjoying the feeling of freedom’.

Holding on to feelings that create obstacles for you is self-destructive, and once they are there, can be pretty difficult to tear down  It’s a process, and a self-healing one.  Too often we blame others, our past, our parents, etc., etc., and yes, we all bear hurt, anger and resentment, created perhaps by these people in our life, but the decision on how you let it affect you is YOURS!  We cannot and should not give anyone else that kind of power over us.

When you do finally let go, OH MAN, there really is NOTHING that holds you back.  I read somewhere that the ultimate freedom is ‘deciding how someone or something affects you’.  I guess it has to do with taking responsibility, because we all like to ‘pass the buck’ onto someone else, including our feelings and our reactions, and play the ‘blame game’.  Just as we like to make excuses for why we are overweight, and boy oh boy, when you look for excuses, you could come up with a hundred at once.  These might range from:

  • I just have bad genetics!
  • My metabolism has slowed down!
  • I don’t have time to exercise!
  • But I don’t really eat that much, so I’m sure there’s a medical reason for my weight gain!
  • I have had children and my body can never be the same again!

There comes a time when you have to stop ‘lying’ to yourself’ and take responsibility.  We all have our ‘Achilles Heel’, and you have to discover what yours is and how you’re going to deal with it, and most importantly, how you’re going to let it affect you.  We can never live a ‘problem free’ life, because that would be boring, but the sooner you deal with ‘issues’, the sooner you move on, and live the best life YOU can!

Bonnie

If you cannot stop eating, we’ll have to suture your tongue!

Anyone heard of the latest weight loss gadget/fad/technique – suturing a small piece of polyethylene mesh onto a person’s tongue, which apparently makes it unbearable to ingest solid foods, and painfully reminds the person they are only to consume liquids.

The latest craze was developed by a California based Plastic Surgeon, might I add, at the very affordable cost of $3,000 U.S.   Have our stomachs become larger than our brains or our willpower, that we would endure such barbaric a procedure to simply help us curb the desire to consume more calories than we need?  

Would the pain of having your tongue sutured be more bearable than having a rumbling stomach for the period of time it would take to accustom your body to less food?  Do we need pain inflicted upon us by another person as some form of discipline, reminding us that we don’t have the ability to make choices, and that it has to be enforced upon us in the form of punishment, and still have to pay for the privilege?

Would the only way your car would not make it’s customary trip to the latest fast food joint be a numbing, stabbing sensation on your tongue, forcing you to point your vehicle in the opposite direction?  What has happened to willpower, strength of character, loving your body,  and simple good old home cooking (watch the oil and fat), and the ability to say ‘no’.   I guess these issues run far deeper than we have time to discuss here! 

Having watched a family member eat himself into obesity, develop diabetes and near heart failure, and eventually passing away from complications as a result of gastric bypass surgery, I am all too familiar with the desperation that makes a person opt for ‘quick-fix surgery’ as a last resort.

The alternative to this starts with self-love, self-healing and putting yourself first for a change.  You can have the best body that YOU can have, not someone else’s, despite your age, shape or genetic type, if you’re part of the human race, that is!  I know that if I had reached that point in my life where my desperation to stop eating too much far outweighed all logic, I would rather invest my $3000 in pursuing a healthier lifestyle, and put my body in the hands of a professional.  There is no lack of people who are willing to help you reach your goal, and who will offer you the best advice money can buy.  Doesn’t it make more sense?

I understand that for some, pursuing a ‘quick fix’ is far too tempting than a longer term, healthier solution.  But you have to understand that reducing your calorie intake to 750 calories a day in the form of liquids only, is taking it to the limit, and the day you have your sutures taken out of your tongue, your body is going to be in such starvation, that you will want to consume anything and everything you can lay your hands on.  Unless you have taken the time to educate yourself, and understand how you need to eat to maintain your sudden weight loss, you WILL put all the weight back on, and then some, and eventually seek out the next ‘quick fix’.

I can only hope that the suture-in-tongue fad stays exactly that!

Our FIRST obsession to lose, should be our obsession with the word ‘DIET’

“Before’ 2005, 2006

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 RWP_7435‘After’, Body Beautiful, July 2009, 4th Place

You meet your best friend for coffee and a bite to eat, and after a brief ‘catch up session’, you excitedly ask ‘so what are we eating?’ and she very proudly exclaims that ‘she’s on a diet’ and would, unfortunately, have a limited selection of foods to choose from for lunch, or she has already eaten her ‘diet’ food. 

Within a heartbeat, all the fun has been drained out of the little afternoon rendezvous.  After all, meeting friends for lunch, chatting and examining the menu and deciding what looks good and what doesn’t, and then enjoying the chosen delights together, are one of the things in life that are meant to keep us sane, and to cement our bonds of friendship.   You suddenly feel that your friend is part of an exclusive club that you have not yet subscribed to, and an overwhelming sense of urgency wells up inside you, and you need to get home as soon as possible to start researching the net for the latest ‘diet secrets’, ‘what’s hot and what’s not’, so that you too can be part of an elite fellowship that only extends it’s membership to those who are willing to forgo all habits of ‘normal eating’, when only a moment ago you were looking forward to some real ‘good food’, with your best buddy across from you.  Sound familiar?

For heaven’s sake, who wants to be part of a healthy alternate lifestyle that has the word DIE in it?  By association, and by sub-conscious interpretation, this is certainly not a good place to start, and the connotation would certainly NOT be membership to an ‘exclusive’, ‘secret’ society, but would imply access to a ‘limited time only’, agonizing, excruciating, ball busting, climb-the-walls due to hunger pangs,’  inducing club.  Anyway, these are my feelings, experience and  interpretation with the word ‘DIET’, and what my brain conjures up at the mere mention of it.

In fact, when I started out on my fat burning journey, my very first rule ever was to BANISH the word ‘DIET’ from my vocabulary, and that’s where it’s been ever since – in the ‘banished’ section of my brain!  When faced with ‘the’ word, which is what we’ll call it from now onwards, I remind myself exactly where the ‘the’ word’s filing system is ‘Banished Section’, and there it stays.  I’m experiencing cold shivers writing this blog, and the fact that it has the ‘the’ word in it.

I am really into words and their meanings, i.e. semantics.  The power of words, their insinuation, how our sub-conscious interprets them and the lasting effect they have on us is something we have to constantly be aware of.  Advertising and marketing companies use semantics all the time, they play on words and what they conjure up in our minds.  Just like what WE say to OURSELVES and how it affects our results in life, but I’ll leave that for another post!

So let’s not use the  ‘the’ (brrrrr) word anymore!  Instead, let’s replace  it and think ‘lifestyle’, (life)  ‘eating plan’ (eat), ‘nutrition plan’ (nutritious)  ‘menu plan’ (men!!! – ok that one didn’t really work) (ahhhhh), that sound’s so much better, and so much healthier, and something that implies long term sustainability.  After all, I want the best for my body, don’t you?

Bonnie