• Friday, July 12, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

How your beliefs can help or hinder your weight loss journey

How your beliefs can help or hinder your weight loss journey

Eleanor looked at her friend Judith as she bit into a decadent-looking burger and sighed.

“You are so lucky that you can eat whatever you want and get away with it. Some of us just have to look at food and we put on weight”.

Judith smiled back and responded, “I will spill the tea on how exactly you can do that if you have an hour to spare later”.

Eleanor and Judith worked in the same organisation and had shared an office for 2 years. In that time, Eleanor had spent over N3.5 million on different diets and weight loss programmes and her weight had fluctuated from Size 10 to Size 18 and everything in between while Judith had maintained the same dress Size the whole time.

In exactly an hour Eleanor appeared by Judith’s table, announcing that she was ready to hear the gist. “Let’s take a drive to the Mechanic Workshop. They should be midway into their lunch hour by the time we get there”. Now Eleanor was intrigued, wondering what senior-level executives like them had to do with mechanics and how all of that related to her weight loss journey.

Read also: Impact of physical activity and sports on mental health

Within 20 minutes, the driver had pulled into a neat parking area and the ladies changed into their CROCS and started walking around. “I want you to observe the type and quantity of food they are eating, the type of work they are doing and their body types, so that we will discuss when we get back to the office”, Judith said to Eleanor who nodded, even though she still didn’t understand this strange trip.

As soon as they got back to the office, Judith asked for Eleanor’s observation.

“They ate normal ‘swallow’ and soup now, while some ate Jollof rice. The portions are the same as the ones that we eat here and at home, the only difference being the quality of protein that we eat. Their work is also very physical, the fact that most of their processes are not automated mean that they do a lot of the heavy lifting themselves. I also noticed that all of them had lean, muscular bodies except their Oga who just sat in one place and was dishing out instructions. That one was overweight”.

“I’m really happy with your observations, Eleanor. You noticed that their portions are similar to yours, yet they have lean bodies. I’ll break it down for you. Food is like fuel, right? So, they are consuming those large portions and burning off all the fuel on their physical activity, with no left-over to store as fat. You are consuming similar portions with minimal activity since our jobs are sedentary, and so your body is storing the rest as fat. I will give you a few questions to go think about as well, that will help you understand how shifting your thinking about food makes healthy weight maintenance easy”.

1. Why do you eat at all?

2. Why do you eat what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat?

3. What does food mean to you?

4. How much food, and in what proportions do you need to function maximally daily?

5. Whose food habits did you imbibe?

6. What effect did food have in their lives?

7. Did it make them healthy and lively or sick?

8. How is their lifestyle different from yours?

As Eleanor pondered over these questions in the next couple of weeks, she made shocking discoveries about her eating habits that she had been completely unaware of. As she found these answers, she realised that she had made bad choices based on her upbringing and family beliefs about food, her emotional states, and just wrong information about food she had run with without verifying.

She shared all these with Judith and decided to start making the right decisions as she grew in understanding, asking Judith to hold her accountable.

By the end of the year, Eleanor had easily gotten to her dream dress Size 10, learnt how to maintain it and also have the occasional treats like Judith, all because she had acquired a deeper understanding of her mindset and beliefs about food.