In Summary

The craze to be healthy and fit is not about to die out and to inspire you in 2019, Joan Salmon talks to readers who give pointers on what they have done to achieve incredible weight loss.

Weight loss has never been easy, and with the craze getting intense, many people feel the pressure yet the journey seems long. The journey requires more than some TV adverts care to share. Some products that many attest to as miracle remedies never seem to work, leaving many frustrated. However, we cannot run from the fact that a healthy body means longer life hence the need to exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

For one that struggled to get from 75kgs to 65kgs after child birth, this writer truly understands what it means to be overweight. I had difficulty breathing because of the excess weight yet I did not know how to lose it. I talk to people who share their journey to losing the excess kilogrammes.

Lillian Mazimwe
I started my weight loss journey in 2016 when I weighed more than 80kg. Currently, I weigh 64kg. Deciding to lose weight was a total lifestyle change full of sacrifice, hard work and maturity. I started jogging, going to the gym and changed from having several meals a day to only two; breakfast and lunch. I substituted taking coffee for warm water with lemon to do away with caffeine.

So, the whole day, I drink warm water with lemon, cinnamon or ginger. I also removed sugar from my daily diet and replaced it with honey. For breakfast, I had to do away with carbohydrate-loaded snacks such as samosas, chapati, bread, and cakes for roasted groundnuts, apples and pumpkin seeds. For lunch, I had to limit eating a lot of meat and opted for groundnuts, peas, beans, fish and once in a while chicken and meat.

I had to master food portioning and not mixing foods. For example, for lunch, on a Monday, I will have groundnuts, matooke and greens, which take the biggest portion of what I eat. Then on Tuesday, I may have pumpkin, fish and greens. Mastering food portioning has been one of my greatest weapons to losing weight.

I also added fruits to my diet and sometimes I would eat only fruits depending on the plan. I coupled that with raw vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, carrots and avocados. I then joined Kabs Weight Management to add workouts to my journey. It is run by Sylvia Kabatooro who has become my mentor and taught me that weight loss is 70 per cent healthy dieting and 30 per cent workout. So, as much as you exercise, in order to achieve results one has to also eat a balanced diet.

I have had to workout on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes to ensure that I sweat and burn some fat. So for anyone looking to shed off some weight, there is lots of exercising but we all can make it if we are persistent and consistent.
Apart from the changes mentioned above, I also eat fruits on an empty stomach, more vegetables (raw and boiled), no processed snacks and do not mix foods. For example, eating matooke, posho, rice and yams at the same time is wrong. I have also stopped eating food past 7pm since going to bed on a full stomach is one of the ways to add extra weight.

The weight loss has boosted my confidence. I started to believe in myself again and became happier with myself.
I thank my mentor for all the guidance that she has continuously given me and for standing up for women in the struggle of weight loss because the impact she is making is felt by many.

I walked into a clinic in Bugolobi having been inspired by one of my friends who had already enrolled for the weight loss programme. “What on earth is one supposed to have for breakfast without adding extra calories?” I wondered. That is a question I had battled with for a long time.

One day, a friend came to my office with a cup of green tea and two pieces of gonja for breakfast. I was amazed. How is she able to do this? On looking at her, the results from her month-long routine were evident.
It was then that I decided to give the programme a chance. I had in the past unsuccessfully tried to lose weight through exercises such as aerobics, walking and swimming because I was never mindful of what I ate.

At the clinic, I was welcomed and my baseline measurements were taken. No words can explain the determination I got to pursue this programme when I saw these measurements. I weighed 111.8kgs, and my pressure and sugar levels were at borderline, making me very vulnerable to disease.

I decided to pursue my goal, taking it a day at a time. After seven months, I now weigh 88.6Kgs. However, the journey continues.

I must say that discipline and determination are key to achieving one’s goal. I have learnt to eat food such as fruits and vegetables, which I never thought I would eat, or always passed by in the market.

At 78kg, I realised my weight was worsening my depression yet I was also eating out of depression. It had become my drug. However, when I embarked on the journey to deal with my weight through looking for a gym, I found that people, more so fitter people or body builders were rude towards me because I weighed more, which worsened the depression.

Besides that, apart from giving crash diets for competition or 12 week abs, most gyms do not hire nutritionists and personal trainers specialise in the exercise without paying attention to long term eating habits. The other challenge is meal preparation time as it is required that I make snacks and meals beforehand. To lose weight, I have cut out junk food, reduced alcohol intake and lowered my sugar intake.

I had reached 60kgs but decided to gain muscle to have a fuller bodied frame. I have learned that the scale is deceiving; I used to be 64kg yet unhealthy with very little, lean muscle. So I believe that the focus should be on fat loss rather than plainly weight loss.

I then started martial arts style boxing but after an hour and half running and complaining, my punches would weaken. Then my trainer advised me to give my best throughout the fight. I have thus learned that with practice women can be stronger than men, no shortcuts or supplements can replace hard work. I have also learned the need for mental awareness as the journey in fitness is not smooth. Sometimes, you gain or lose weight but our minds can endure more than our bodies.
Well, now I float between 64 and 67kg.

Marvin Ikondere
In October 2017, I was 26 years old and weighed more than 79kgs. I never thought I had a weight issue until I run short of breath as I walked up a two-storey building. It is then that I realised that I needed to do something about my weight inasmuch as I had never thought in my life that I would ever need to do exercises or “eat right”. Most of my clothes could no longer fit and I was slowly losing my self-esteem and sinking into a depression because I was not happy with what I saw in the mirror.

One day while going through my Facebook page, I came upon an article by Dr Paul Kasenene about the weight loss programme. I was intrigued by the programme and decided to send him a message. He responded quickly, to my amazement and I booked an appointment.

On October 19, I made my way to his clinic and my life has forever changed. I was started on the six-week programme and I can say that the transformation has been nothing short of amazing. I now weigh 64kgs, down 15kgs.
I feel better and now walk with a confidence I have I never had in my life. I have changed my lifestyle to better myself and take charge of my life.

Friends, workmates and family members are greatly inspired by my weight loss and want to follow suit. It feels great to now wake up more energetic and more focused thanks to the weight loss programme. I want to encourage young people that it is never too late to take charge of your life and change the way you look.