An Egyptian living in Europe but her heart stayed back home. Having some random thoughts about the before and after pictures. Ghawayesh means bracelets. In my context it symbolizes the cuffs of my culture. I don't know if I like them or hate them. Thanks for passing by.
20 August 2008
I Refuse to Catch the EEWW Syndrome
Have you ever noticed how massive the average Egyptian butt is?
I seem to have developed a phobia to growing fat. All my life I never had any weight problems- in fact I had been very skinny- almost underweight most of the time, and I had always been told by Egyptian-minded people that I needed to gain some weight in order to find myself a husband! I looked around and never found those eligible bachelorettes' mega behinds appealing enough to want to have glutes like them.
I never wanted to catch the Egyptian-Elephant-Whale-Woman Syndrome.
I was secretly comfortable with the idea that I was too skinny for the Egyptian males’ taste. Hehe. It meant that none of them would want to marry me. Yaay. Ha ha.
It was all smooth sailing, no matter what I ate, I still remained skinny! Until of course, I got pregnant. Pregnancy changes one’s metabolism and causes (permanent) damage to one’s system. You have to keep a handicap after each pregnancy. Go bald, lose teeth, damage a kidney, catch diabetes, scar tummy, pee in the pants when you laugh or sneeze, go nuts- you name it. You just have to become health-challenged somehow!
Due to premature contractions, I was ordered to bed-rest throughout most of my several pregnancies, which left me with 18 Kg of extra junk in my trunk (after extracting the postpartum weight loss), and breastfeeding didn't help that much at all unfortunately.
I was so down every time I looked in the mirror, especially with my husband looking better and younger by the day, while I was starting to look like his bodyguard!
It was on my birthday last February when we decided to celebrate the occasion in a week vacation at a fancy hotel in Vienna. I walked into the room and I noticed a whale staring at me in the full-length mirror next to the door.
I bet whales have a miserable sex life. Hubby never complained, but I knew for sure that he found fat extremely unattractive. I know that many of you ladies can recognize the feeling of being body-conscious with your (gorgeous?) partners around.
Anyway, what is the plot of this post actually?
This post is to tell you that I managed to lose my baby fat and wish to share my experience with you on how I did that. Why would I do that? Because I’m such a nice lady =)
Save this idea in your cerebral disk: IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET YOUR FIGURE BACK AFTER KIDS IF AND ONLY IF YOU SET YOUR MIND ON IT.
I have proved the whole Egyptian culture wrong on this one.
So before I decided to seriously lose weight, I first went for a blood test, and what do you know: I found out that I was severely anemic, vitamin-D deficient, and my thyroid- the gland responsible for burning the food to give energy, was on the slow side! And that explained all the sh!t I felt! I was feeling down and low on energy and I even thought I was depressed! All those complaints went away in a couple of months after taking my iron pills. Many women are not able to lose weight because of medical reasons, so please get checked regularly- say every 5 years and after each pregnancy.
I started March 1st with the plan to lose 1 Kg per week. I had 16-18 Kg to get rid of!
So I went on the Danish Diet for two weeks (see links below). At our clinic we use the HCG diet, which is as good but I didn’t feel like having the HCG injections, and decided to be brave enough to face the hunger without any external help. After the two weeks of dieting, I moved on to eating less than 2000 calories a day and exercising on the elliptical trainer for 30-50 minutes a day (time flies when you watch a DVD that you like. I recommend 2 episodes of Sex and the City each session. LOL) I was counting my calories not to exceed 1300 calories a day. Always read the food labels and count your calories. Always.
The thing about this Danish Diet is that it seems to make one’s stomach’s capacity somehow smaller! After it, I felt like eating less, but of course you can always pick up the bad habit if you lack the discipline.
Next to that, I took green tea and green coffee (new product) capsules. Works like magic! I also put loads of apple vinegar on my salad- especially if I had eaten a meal with some extra fat, like dressings and sauces.
I ate everything I wanted but the fattening stuff in tiny portions and mega big portions of vegetables and salads.
Here comes a tough one: I never ate after 7:00 pm except when I had a tough training at the gym and was feeling really low on sugar, and then I would have an apple. Don’t forget that drinking lots of water helps. If you’re a late-night cookie monster, then try taking those bran pills that expand with water intake and fill the stomach.
I didn’t deprive myself from eating out (but here we have dinner at 5-6 pm), but I always avoided the appetizers and ordered either a salad meal or fish or chicken. Never more than one glass of fresh orange juice.
It’s important to mention that those famous diets are designed, in my humble opinion, for those who do not sport at all; because if you sport, you do need to have enough carbohydrates- which they don’t offer. But just be careful and avoid all the “white” carbohydrates. Replace them with everything brown: brown bread; brown pasta and brown rice. You’ll get used to the taste after some time. There is no such thing as avoiding carbohydrates. You have got to eat carbohydrates or else you'll go nuts from depression and mood swings, and your breath will stink from miles away because your body will shift to burning fats for energy and produce end products that smell like acetone!
Eat everything but avoid animal fats and white refined sugar. Your body, especially skin and hair, needs fat, so don’t deprive your body of the fat intake, but use oil instead of ghee for cooking. No butter on the toast. Never. If you miss the taste, put one small spoon of diet mayonnaise on a green salad mix and add it to your toast with cheese and one slice of chicken fillet, and voila, you’ve got yourself a club sandwich while on a diet! I had that for breakfast! New research proves that a breakfast high in carbohydrates helps people maintain their weight on the long run.
Drinking water is vital. When I wake up in the morning I drink half a liter of lukewarm water on an empty stomach. I also drank a (commercial) mix of green tea and cranberry juice for detoxifying purposes. If your liver is tired then it will not be able to break fats and you will end up storing them. You have to clean your liver before attempting to lose weight.
Drink 2 liters of water a day and 2-3 liters on a hot day. Make a habit out of it. You can also replace water with herbal teas. New research proves that cinnamon helps reduce the tummy fat. Drink cinnamon tea (but NOT if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive.)
The problem with sweets is that the more you eat them, the more you want to eat more of them. So the solution is to quit them cold-turkey. If there’s no way around them, then count the calories you will have consumed with that bar of chocolate and deduct it from your next meal (probably it will cost you the whole meal. LOL). Be aware that chocolate elevates the mood for a short while and then makes one down more than before. Replace the white sugar in your tea with honey, and don’t use artificial sweeteners because they make your body make insulin, which lowers your blood sugar; and that should make you feel very tired and craving of sugars. Honey is better than pure Fructose (fruit sugar) because honey has glucose and fructose in 1:1 ratio, and Fructose alone is easier for the body to be stored as fat than glucose.
Sport is very important. If you don’t sport while dieting you will lose muscle mass and will end up having loose skin that doesn’t look as nice as it would if you would have kept/increased your muscle mass while burning fat. I have tried almost everything and the best two things that gave results were Pilates and the elliptical home trainer. The only thing that you need is the discipline to get on it and get going. Have a clear goal and help yourself by taking pictures of yourself every 4 weeks. Keep a diary where you write down how much you weigh each Friday for example. Weigh yourself right after you wake up just before your morning shower without clothes and on the same scale on the same ground.
Never go shopping for food on an empty stomach. Read all the food labels. Never have cookies or chips at home, not only for your own sake, but also for that of your children. My children snack on fruits and love them.
Eat at regular times at least 3 meals a day. If hunger is killing you; eat an apple, and if you're still going mad, then go for a banana. Brush your teeth often. It makes you eat less throughout the day.
Have enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases your cortisone levels and this causes weight gain.
I take multi-vitamins as well as some extra specific ones. They do miracles to my system, especially skin and hair.
Make all of the above a lifestyle, especially if you’re above thirty. The vitamins help our metabolism, give us energy and improve our mood.
Have a goal and work towards it. Keep a diary. Put up pictures of big and skinny ladies next to yours on the fridge. When you plateau (weight becomes stable even when you’re cutting down on food intake and sporting hard), don’t lose your faith- it happens to everyone, and it’s only temporarily. Just make sure you don’t fall into a rebound and land in Yo-yo land. You have to lose the weight slowly or else you will gain it back and even some more! Being careful with food should be lifestyle, not a temporary habit.
One thing I did using external help, is that I got Lipolysis injections that helped a bit- but I only got one dose, and more sessions are necessary to see better results. I am waiting for 6 weeks to pass before the next treatment to take place. Will let you know what the results are. They are the new hype replacing liposuction.
Speaking of surgical enhancements, there is so much fraud in this field! Some want to sell you a liposuction while they know you’d better go for a tummy-tuck (which they can’t do!), and most doctors don’t tell you that liposuction is NOT the solution for all your problems if your abdominal muscles have a problem. They also never tell you that if one area gets liposuction, another area will grow fatter. I know of a lady in Cairo who underwent liposuction all over her body, and her face ballooned with fat because it was the only area that didn’t undergo the procedure!
Hope that helps you a bit in your pursuit of beauty. I can’t believe how much my body image meant to me until this experience!
Thank your for your time and interest in my mental crap.
Questions are most welcome.
Some useful links:
Lipolysis Injections (Be very careful with who does that for you. They come with complications if the doctor is not well-trained.)
This article is a must-read:
Carbohydrates for breakfast
Calcium for weight loss
Cinnamon for belly fat loss
Sugar is the sweetest poison
About the Yo-yo Effect
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