How I Lost 30lbs in 6 Months

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REAL BEFORE AND AFTER
Life Changing Moment

Being a young married man, a father of two, and resident physician on the verge of contracting High Blood Pressure, Diabetes or High Cholesterol knew something had to be done immediately. Fortunately, I came across a few medical articles that stated effective weight loss centered on diet and sustained with physical activity. (1-4)In other words, diet is the center of all weight lost plans. More importantly I discovered 3500 calories was the equivalent of 1 lb of body fat. Implying, if I could cut 500 calories a day, in 7 days which is 1 week I could cut 3500 calories.  This implied I could easily drop a pound a week. This was great! I then went on an “operation cut 500 calories a day”

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To start with I had to let go all my candies, cookies, chips, ice cream, fast foods, juices, sodas and the like. I called them ‘insensible sources of empty calories.” By doing just that I was able to cut anywhere from 200-250 calories a day, which was half of my daily target. I then turned my attention to the Ghanaian dishes. To my surprise these food items came in with huge amounts of calories. One ball of Kenkey could go anywhere from 1400 to 1600 calories. My rice serving was measuring about 1000 calories, my typical serving of Ghana bread which was about 4 slices was 600 calories. The surprise list went on and on. The good news however was since the meals were so high in calories cutting down was going to be easy. For instance I cut my rice in half and just by that I saved myself 500 calories. Consuming two thirds of my Kenkey was going to save me another 500 calories. Substituting 4 slices of Ghana bread with two slices of Nature’s Own whole wheat bread was going to save me yet another 500 calories. Well it turned out instead of 500 calories; I could easily cut 1000-1500 calories out of my diet. To make up for the hunger sensation that came with the caloric reduction, I increased my fruits and vegetable intake. A whole bowl of spinach brought in only 30 calories, a cup of strawberries is about 50 calories. The more impressive truth was the fiber content in fruits the fruits and vegetables gave me a sense of fullness which prevented me from pouncing on the rice or kenkey.

 

The rest of the Story

I also did a few other smart things such as avoiding late night eating, especially my Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Again since I knew I was not going to go to the gym I made an effort to increase my physical activity through the simplest things such as increasing the pace of my steps when walking. I found out that this provided me with 15-20 minutes of good physical activity each day which is equivalent to the amount of physical activity recommended by the American Heart Association.  I also took the stairs for 3 floors above or below. I will park my car farther from the super market and walk briskly to the store. Finally I took advantage of being in a Pentecostal church where singing and dancing are integral aspects of the worship. I am the first to get on the dancing floor and I danced joyously throughout the whole praise section. I took my wife’s calorimeter to church one Sunday and by the time I made it back home I had expended a whooping 700 calories!

The final results

These simple steps, albeit small, added up to something great. Today, I can proudly announce my weight is 178-180lb, a good 30lb less from 6 months ago. My body mass index (BMI) has dropped from 32 which is the midpoint of obesity to 27 which for a man with a fair amount of muscles may be considered normal. My waist size has gone back to my Ghana waist of 34 inches. The more impressive thing is I have been able to keep off the weight with no desire of regaining it. Now my portion sizes has decreased significantly, I completely avoid the ice cream refrigerators in Walmart, I go to McDonald’s as an option of last resort, kenkey and fufu are limited almost to nonexistent, and my fruits and vegetables intake have gone up significantly. I always thank God for the knowledge and discipline to change my life in this drastic way.

The Challenge

I am challenging everyone reading this article to give this method a try and they will be amazed at the results. The method is simple, cut 500 calories a day, increase your physical activity, increase your fruits and vegetable intake and you will be on your way to a healthier and longer life.

Thank you and God bless you on this journey.

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References

  1. Diet is the key to losing weight

http://www.nchpad.org/907/5029/Clarifying~the~Role~of~Physical~Activity~on~Weight~Loss

  1. Physical Activity alone does not lead to significant weight loss http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12760445?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
  1. Diet and increased physical activity through lifestyle changes is better than diet with structured vigorous physical activity, ie gym

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9929086?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

 

 

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How I Gained 50lb in 12 years

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REAL BEFORE AND AFTER

How I gain 50 lb in 12 years… The story of an African young man in America.

Like most African men, I came to America as a skinny 160 lb dark-skinned young man, full of life and zeal.  Upon arrival to the States, the most common advice one receives is to eat to gain weight and use good lotion to improve your skin tone. As far as I was concerned no amount of lotion was going to help my skin as a result I gave up on the latter advice. The first one however was very easy to keep.

 

Mickey D’s and Wal-mart Experience

 

mcComing from a place where we ate chicken on special occasions such as Christmas, and had ice cream by the divine provision of God, America was the perfect description of a land flowing with milk and honey. I remember my first visit to Walmart and seeing refrigerators full of ice creams, yogurt, shakes and several other dairy products. I stood in disbelief at the variety and their affordability. Ten containers of yogurt were selling for 3 dollars! And of course, I got all ten. I also could not resist the tantalizing whole chicken being roasted over open flames, especially when it was selling for under $5. Roasted chicken and ice chilled coca cola was my favorite staple. I loved ice cream, cookies, candies (toffee) and of course McDonalds. I remember fumbling through my first order to find out I received a burger, fries, ketchup and a drink. I said to myself, “I think they gave me too much.” Well it turned out that was the typical serving. Even more impressive was the fact that if I went into the restaurant, I could get unlimited refills on my drink. This kind of life seemed completely unreal but that was the reality, and I loved it!

 

The “Rich” Young Man

The Ghanaian dishes were no exception to my American experience. In Ghana having a lot of meat on your plate was a sign of great wealth or social prominence. Well it turned out I could enjoy this cultural designation of wealth without actually being wealthy. I became a carnivore overnight. I loved beef in all of it varieties at the store. Back home in Ghana, I had to kill the chicken myself, take it through a gruesome cleaning process and cut it up for use. Here someone has been kind enough to cut up the chicken and package my favorite part, the drum sticks. All I needed was salt and an oven and my drum sticks came out smoking.

Another one of my favorite delicacies was Kenkey, (Cooked corn dough). The Ghanaian Kenkey in America was so soft and so rich in texture how could I deny indulging in such greatness! Even more amazing was my my kenkey supplier was a fellow church member and so every other Sunday I would stock up two weeks’ worth of this amazement! Oh and life couldn’t  get better with fufu. I was quite convinced the fufu flour was one of the best inventions ever. As a typical Ashanti man who loved his fufu not having to boil and pound was just too convenient! Of course I struggled with the soup initially but as long as I had enough meat I counted it all a blessing.

 

 

Then Came the Weight

God indeed blessed me with “good” food but He did not leave out the weight. Within a year I had gained 20 lbs, my waist size had gone from 34 to 36 inches. With the weight gain, came endless praise. Everyone who saw me related how good I was looking to the extra weight I had gained. When my family saw my new pictures they were full of praise, for God had “blessed” me. Within 3 years I had a pot-belly. Yes in my late 20’s my abdomen was already ahead of me. When people made comments about my belly being too big my initial response was “Nyame ehyira mi,” (God has blessed me) or “eye sike fuo” (It is the belly of wealth).

Unfortunately the excuses did not undo the reality. My suits were getting too tight, my pants will crawl up my thighs into the most awkward places and I completely avoided wearing shirt and pants because it put all my business out there, literally. I resorted to suits and sweaters as they were better at hiding my “wealthy” silhouette.

 

None of the inconveniences however was enough motivation to stop me from eating recklessly or ignorantly. Not even college or medical school where I learned all the health implications of gaining excess weight. In a typical African fashion I completely dismissed the facts, saying my weight has nothing to do with my health. And even if I became ill God was going to heal me.

 

A Good Marriage Didn’t Help Either…

As Africans one of the best ways of saying “I love you” is through food- good food! A good wife is expected to serve her husband the most delicious meal she can cook every day. My wife being a product of the women’s ministry in her local church had adopted this creed. I came home from work every night looking forward to her latest assembly of food. After enjoying her one-in-a million jollof rice, we will always get a nice dessert which was always in our freezer compartment. After supper we will sit around catching up on the days’ events or just watching television. Physical activity had no role in our lives. The weekend was my turn to say “I love you” at the dining table. I went all out from breakfast to supper. My specialty was pancakes, with sausage, bacon and a 4 egg omelet (Kyibom- Fried together). Certainly life was good; I was blessed with good marriage and everything that came with it.

 

The Wake-up Call

The wakeup call came after the birth of my second daughter when I went to the store to get new pair of pants. I had a rude awakening when I could no longer fit into the size 36, I had to get a size 38! The next size after 38 was 40, which implied I would have met one of the criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome, a condition which increases the risk of heart disease. When I made it home I decided to get on the scale and again to my utmost surprise read 207.4lb.  I had gained 47.4 pounds since coming to America some 12 years ago!

 

Well, I had to lose weight. There were no questions or excuses at this time. I was quite skeptical initially at first as I was haunted by the idea of going to the gym every day. To complicate issues, as a medical resident and a father of two, I knew I was not going to be able to accommodate the gym with such a busy schedule. Well, I did it anyway. In six (6) months I lost 30lbs and this is how I did it…

Thank you…

 

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