August 22, 2012 – Your Self Esteem vs Your Weight
Through the centuries, being plump was pleasing. Extra body weight proved that you had the money to eat more than enough.
But at the turn of the twentieth century, thin became the “in thing”. The wealthy ate in an elegant, controlled, leisurely fashion. There is really a connection between self-esteem and our weight. Yes! Being overweight causes social and psychological problems for many people. It affects their lifestyle. An overweight friend shared her struggles with obesity with me:
There is no way I can tell you how my life has changed since I became fat. Until I was 39 years old, I was slim, attractive, self confident and successful in my career. Then I quit drinking and going to bars every night. When I did, I began to crave for sweets. So I started eating ice-cream instead of natural fruit juices. I ate about two large bowls every two to three days.
Before I knew it, I had gained 60 kilogrammes. I quit my job because I couldn’t take the jokes, stares and disgusted looks of my coworkers and customers. I began to stay at home all the time, not wanting to be seen in public.
When I went shopping for necessities, I used to look behind me to see if people were making fun of me. Sometimes they were! This pushed my hatred of being fat even more deeply into my subconscious mind. It was terrible!
Even my own family put me through some humiliating experiences. My children tried to be kind, but they often remarked, ‘Mother, you sure are fat. Can’t you stop eating much?’ My husband is the only one who doesn’t mention my weight. But even if he doesn’t, I know what he is thinking, and I am ashamed for him to see me undressed.
All of these tortures are only part of my problem. I have tried every diet I have heard about. At various times in the past 20 years, I have joined weight-loss programmes, some costing nearly N20,000 a month. I spent thousands of naira on medical bills and the medicines they recommended. Nothing has resulted in successful, sustained weight loss.
Every aspect of my life has changed since I gained weight. I won’t apply for a job even though I could help my husband with our children school expenses. But I can’t face being rejected. I know no one would employ me.
I’ve even stopped going to church. I’ve dropped out of all the activities I used to enjoy, and I just sit home and watch TV. I’m not physically able to use the stairs. With the slightest amount of physical labour, I become short of breath. My doctor told me I have high blood pressure and diabetes. And there seems to be no solution.”
Her interview ended with a question: “Do you have any suggestion for me?” I certainly did.
How To Go On A Diet
The cost of obesity ranges from doctors visit to health centres, with millions being spent on appetite depressants and low-calorie drinks. Yet many people regain the weight they lose.
One of the most effective weight loss programmes is still good old-fashion dieting and exercise. The first step to successful dieting is to realise you must make a change in the way you eat—not a temporary fling but a permanent change. Long-term results should be your motivation.
Next, set your goals. Lose weight slowly, never more than two kilogramme each week. This will give you time to develop a good eating habit that will last the rest of your life.
Here are some guidelines to use in selecting a good weight-loss programme:
•Do not choose a diet that supplies less than 800-1000 calories a day. For example,tea with skim milk and whole-grain bread for breakfast (335 calories), vegetable soup and medium wrap of wheat or unripe plantain meal for lunch(410), calories and medium size apple or two servings of watermelon for dinner(100).
•Do not use a liquid diet as your only source of nutrient. Taking only liquids can cause the muscles of your intestine to get sluggish from under activity. Colon problems can result when you resume normal eating. A high protein liquid diet can cause a nutritional imbalance in the body. This can prevent the heart from being able to receive proper electrical impulses, which can cause sudden death.
•Choose a diet that includes an exercise programme. Physical exercise will help to strengthen your muscles and prevent flabby, sagging skin that makes you look older.
•Choose a diet that includes all of the basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, milk products, poultry, with sparing use of oils and fat. Your diet should be balanced, not high in anything.
• Do not ignore your own special health needs. Check with your doctors before you start the diet to make sure it does not conflict with any medications or health problems you may have.