Woman’s struggle to lose weight

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Bongiwe Nkomazana
I ONLY talk for women because I am one of them so I understand our trials and tribulations and I am almost guaranteed that a good number of women have gone through one of the issues I have written about or am yet to write about or have a friend who has.

Similarly, today I will talk about a very touchy issue that is a nuisance more than anything in our lives as women and that is our weight! It is easier to lose hair, a job and even a man than it is to lose weight. When that weight piles on, shedding it off is a big nightmare.

The subject of weight comes with a lot of issues so it is not just a matter of wanting to look good but it is a matter of being confident, happy and secure in your body image that will make you feel the same way from within. So I am going to lecture you on the things we have to do to lose weight because I am sure we all know them. For example, we need to slim our meal portions, exercise, drink water, snack on fibre and a whole bunch of other things. However, we are just going to talk about the struggles that we face with weight and what we should be aware of in order to go about it better.

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First things first, there isn’t a one weight fits all policy. Women come in different shapes and sizes meaning that if one woman looks fit and is healthy at 65kgs, it does not necessarily follow that the next one has to be the same weight. There is a lot to consider when trying to get to your ideal weight like your age, height, sex, fat, muscle composition and frame size. So it is very important to remember not to try to copy someone’s weight or work towards being someone else’s size but you should be inspired by their regime, if it is effective, so that you reach a weight that is healthy for you.

Yes, I am still young but staying fit has become harder already. I was talking to my best friend about how we had the perfect bodies when we were 16 yet we did not even try to put in effort to maintain them. Oh, the good old days when we would eat anything at any time without a care in the world and just remain at 45kgs! It is years later and 30kgs after that you really start to appreciate the slayage of the body you had when you were younger. Young girls, enjoy this magic while it lasts. With age, physical, especially hormonal, changes make losing weight harder. Let me lay out the science behind this catastrophe. The female body has a delicate balance of progesterone and oestrogen right. Oestrogen contributes towards fat tissue formation so the higher they are the more fat you will produce. Younger women have good levels of progesterone that act as a counter to the oestrogen. As soon as you turn 35, panic towards the gym because both these hormones start to decrease significantly and will continue to do so all the way up to menopause.

They say as women get older, we should do more resistance exercise which is any exercise that causes muscles to work against some form of resistance or force which can either be weights or your own body weight. Examples of these are squats, planks, arm raises and heel step downs.

Also, women may experience diseases that affect appetite and weight like polycystic ovarian syndrome (dysfunction of the ovaries), prolactinoma (benign or non-cancerous tumors) and the most commonly reported being hypothyroidism which is a dysfunction of the thyroid gland that produces hormones that play a role in your metabolism. We never really know we have these until we are diagnosed. So screen those out and get to working to avoid diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Food is my drug. Sign me up for anything sweet, in fact the creamier and richer it is, the better. It is even worse now because I can afford to spoil myself with a yummy treat not once but as many times as I want. You guys know what I am talking about but we absolutely need to do better. I have realised that if I do not pay attention to my cravings or I replace them with something else, I have an easier time regulating how much of the unhealthy stuff I eat. The good thing about hunger is that it does not choose what will satiate it, anything edible will do. So, how about we try adding more fruits and vegetable to our diet? It is a challenge to all of us. Instead of trying not to eat some things, let us look at it as trying to eat more of certain things. I know that my brain works better with the idea of eating more versus eating less. Researchers pointed out that eating more vegetables and fruits is just as important as cutting out sugary drinks and the likes and could potentially lead to significant long-term changes that do not require an ongoing battle with willpower and self-denial.

Please note that throughout life, women are more prone to the effects of stress. We are more likely to have sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression. All this then heightens the enticement of emotional overeating. I have said it a hundred times and I will say it one more time. Women are emotional beings and food talks to us, well some of us. You see how a girl on TV will binge on ice-cream because she is sad? It happens in real life too where we turn to even a sandwich to kind of soothe our pain/distress. I guess the only logical, less delicious way of curbing this is to replace the food with an activity. The activity does not have to be a sweat fest but rather a massage, a walk or therapy.

Thank God for the Internet that has all the information we need, whether it be on nutrition or exercise. The importance of this subject does not lie in being either skinny or fat but in being at a healthy weight. If you are like me and never imagined that weight would be an issue in your life but woke up one day and there it was staring back at you in the mirror, do not be discouraged. Body goals are still achievable with the right mindset and discipline. Be careful not to push yourself into eating disorders or any other unhealthy obsessions. Have fun with it and make it a lifestyle. I know it is easier said than done but we lose nothing by at least trying.

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