Let’s get one thing out of the way. I love food. Any kind of food. Bread food. Pizza food. Roasted chicken food. Nyama choma food. I have never shied away from eating. Since a long time ago.’
When I was in high school, I felt like we were in a detention camp. Starvation detention camp. Where food was only given so that we do not collapse and die during class time. Coz, you know…. teachers needed students to teach. When I left high school, I decided that I will go on a revenge spree and eat what I want when I want.
Genetics were good to me when I was young. I could eat all the food in the world and maintain a certain body type. Well, 40s happen and your body decides to slow down. Perhaps to save you from yourself. Means you cannot go clubbing as you (I) used to. Means I have to walk slowly lest I break something. Means getting used to all the aches and pains and deteriorating eyesight. One thing I refused to get used to was eating less! Surely, that was within my control (sort of)… The eating bit. Where the food landed however, totally without my control! And the chubbies begun creeping in. Very unnoticeably at first. A trouser becomes tight, a blouse button keeping on popping and suddenly I had to get belts 2 sizes bigger! My back started hurting (more than normal) and I was getting out of breath. This is when I realised I either needed to slow down on my eating habits or quickly get into a workout routine.
Remember how I mentioned that I loved food? Still do. And it wasn’t anything I was willing to give up yet. So as painful as it was, and it really was, I got myself into working out. The pain was horrendous but I always had food to run back to. To be honest, the first few months were rough. My appetite was through the roof. I made sure I did not deny myself and I ate for 3 people. Shockingly, I was dropping weight! So much winning. I still continue eating as I want, but the hunger has dropped tremendously.
The cravings have died down with time and I enjoy the gym quite a lot. It is the one place where my mind can switch off from everything. For the one hour or so when I am going all out, the world falls away. I imagine it is what true meditation feels like. Being in the moment, only with grunting, sweating and cussing like a sailor.
As for what I have learnt, nobody preps you for life as a gym rat. You will fail miserably so many times, and that is ok. You will at one time eat like a complete saint. All clean and healthy, you could be a health guru. The next moment you might eat like a pig you can’t even look yourself in the mirror. That’s ok too. Your journey will be your journey. You will find people who are better at the gym thing than you and you will also find strugglers that you feel sorry for. It will never be a competition. If it was, you would find yourself losing more than winning and that will demoralise you. I should have started earlier in life, as the process would have been much easier.
You will also get bruises in the most weird places and you will not want to think of how said bruises got on your body. You will hate the gym and swear you will never return. Then you will find yourself crawling (literally) back amidst muscle soreness.
You will sweat your ass off and there is never one time where you will look as cute as that Instagram model with weights, doing leg raises or hip thrusts or squats. In fact you will look downright weird and/or awkward. Don’t bother looking to take a “cute” photo.
Enjoy the process. It is the only thing you can do. The weight will fall or climb however your body wants it to. Relax. You took eons to pile on the weight. Give yourself a couple more eons to drop it.