Other Articles from Pauline Odhiambo
This year, find out what’s weighing you down
A year ago, I was doing lots of squats. At exactly around this time last year, I was all about lunges, and crunches, and sit ups, and pretty much any other type of ‘body toning’ regimen you can think of.
My goal was to stay in perfect shape because the previous year (2015) had seen me shed nearly 20kilos. I wasn’t trying to gain it all back in the New Year. So of course, I did everything possible to keep the weight off.
On most mornings before breakfast, I’d be jumping around the house doing all these exercises because I just couldn’t imagine myself with the extra weight again. At my heaviest, my butt had felt like a separate entity. Everywhere I went, I’d awkwardly and very labouriously lug it around my person.
I couldn’t even walk to the nearest bus stop without feeling this stinging pins-and-needles sensation all over my thighs. It was terrible.
And so when I finally shed the weight (never underestimate the power of lean proteins and salads!), I was determined to keep it all off. And even lose more pounds if I could help it. My goal was (and still is) to get to that 60kg mark – that very familiar college weight that felt pretty darn sexy and quite comfortable at the same time. I vowed that once I reached my goal, I would allow myself a maximum of about 3 kilos in intermittent weight gain, but nothing more than that. Forwards ever, backward never!
Fast-forward to a couple of months after January 2016 where instead of losing more weight, I’d actually piled on the pounds. Because the new weight gain was nothing compared to my heaviest weight, I didn’t immediately panic. The fact that some of my clothes felt tighter around the waistline was no big deal. I had a new job that paid pretty well, so I just bought new clothes. At this point, my exercise regimen, though vigorous in the beginning, had dwindled into virtual nonexistence.
White carbs consumed my diet and before I knew it, my alcohol intake had risen too.
I thought about starting to exercise again so I went for one of those ‘quick fix’ but difficult to sustain methods. For about two weeks I did the plank challenge, and though the results were visible, I nonetheless fell off the wagon (planking is not for the faint-hearted. Consider yourself warned!)
Anyway, long story short, a journey into spirituality is what finally got in me check. Not just physically, but in my mind and soul too. And just in case you’re wondering: No, I didn’t take up yoga or pilates or any other zen exercise. Instead, through various acts in fate, I started contemplating existentialism, and pushing the imagined ‘boundaries’ of my free will.
This involved cutting out certain things and people I thought I needed in my life, and putting myself first in everything.
It sounds selfish, I know. But think about it this way: you can’t pour from an empty cup. The further I journeyed into existential spirituality, the more loving and considerate I became to others, and even managed to keep losing the pounds.
I haven’t done any exercise in months, and this is NOT to diminish the power of physical exercise. My point is: there are many ways to skin a cat. Non-stereotypical methods in goal achievement need a spot in the limelight too. Now, at 7kg shy off my ideal body weight, I can honestly say that it’s imperative to find out what works for you.