Up till 2012, I was a very healthy looking and attractive girl [winks]. I had no problems, I looked strong and I even exercised occasionally.
If you saw me, you would begin to wonder why I am talking about weight loss. I am a very slim girl by nature. I mean, very slim. At least, that is everyone’s impression of me, although they say I have a tendency to get fat. A slim girl talking about losing weight. .. hmm. Yea, I lost weight so much that I looked unhealthy. Why, in the world did I lose weight? Now this is my story.
How I Lost Weight (So Much That I Fell Sick)
In 2013, I joined in the annual fasting January fasting and prayer that almost all Christians observe. The kind of fast I embarked on was not the normal dry fast where you break by 6pm. Nope. It was a Daniel Fast. Daniel Fast means you only allowed to eat fruits and raw veggies — no meat, no fish, no soup, no milk, no juice, etc. That’s a loose description, though, and I embarked on this fast ignorantly. I say “ignorantly” because there were a lot of staple foods you could take, lots of them actually, like wheat cake, maize, etc. But I didn’t go for those. I lived solely on common fruits like pineapple and watermelon.
The fast lasted for 3 weeks and I did it religiously. At that time, my fruit vendor noticed I was buying lots of fruits and commended me saying it was a good thing. I was proud of myself. I didn’t know that I was setting myself up for a major health issue.
In 3 weeks, I lost weight drastically, so much weight, I looked sick. This is the point where I tell you that eating only fruits and veggies is a sure way to lose weight. It works like magic but there is a downside to it. You have to BREAK YOUR FAST PROPERLY even if you do it for just a week. I cannot emphasize this enough. I did not break my fast properly and I ended up with a major health issue apart from excessive weight loss.
Having conditioned my body to eating only fruits for 3 weeks, I ended up with a poor eating habit over the next few months. I stopped having regular breakfasts, lunch and dinner. My roommates noticed my weight loss and my poor eating habits, I had to remind them I had a fruit fast. I would, specifically not take breakfast or dinner and I went for “swallows” in the afternoon. My meals were erratic. I ignored my hunger pangs because I was used to ignoring them during my fruit fast.
About 5 months later, in June 2013, I had an episode. I was diagnosed with peptic ulcer and some other issues (part of which was the result of not breaking my fast properly). Apparently, my mucous lining had corroded.
So, what next? Remedy. I was placed on Omeprazole, antacids, and antibiotics; and I was advised on proper eating.
At the time of the diagnosis, I had started my Industrial Training. I had to change my ways. With the nature of the work, I could not eat breakfast daily but the company gave us lunch and I ate dinner every night. At least that was some change. The table has turned — now, I was trying to gain some weight back.
How I Gained Back Some Weight (And, Gosh! I Needed It!)
I was discussing with one of the engineers one day when he said to me “if you don’t take good breakfast… you can’t gain weight’’. FLICK!!! A light came on in my head! This is true! This was where I began to get my idea of eating breakfasts to gain weight.
So I ‘improved’. I started having a breakfast (though poor meals) before going to work, eating lunch at the company, and having dinner at home. My ulcers began to heal but the weight gain was not impressive. The problem was that I was looking for quick fixes. That’s what a lot of Nigerian workers do — we eat impoverished breakfasts or just skip breakfast altogether. That is a very dangerous eating lifestyle. I wanted a change. I started buying akamu and akara just before going to work and I began to record some improvement but my weight was not all that impressive.
After my I.T in November, I revamped my lifestyle: healthy breakfast, healthy lunch, sumptuous dinner. My, oh my! I gained some healthy weight in just 2 months. I was very healthy and robust. Seriously, eating good food regularly works when it comes to healthy weight gain. Now back in school, I have repented of my old ways!
You have heard that a simple breakfast can take you for the whole day, right? I have discovered something more intriguing since I came back to school. At first, I fulfilled my daily obligations of eating breakfasts. I took foods like cornflakes, oats, custard, Golden Morn, then ate “swallows” in the afternoon (I love “swallows”!). etc. After some weeks of taking those, I discovered I was losing some weight but I was still very healthy. So what was the problem? You see, the good that a breakfast does to you is dependent on the type of food it is.
In terms of quality, the foods I was taking were great day-starters but were not even sufficient for the rigor of the morning let alone the whole day. Children will do well on them, trust me. I mean, if you do a lot of mental or, even physical work, you cannot depend on those, especially if your body is sensitive to diet constitutions. After noticing this, I switched over to eating medium-sized foods like rice, potatoes etc. for breakfast, and it’s working.
Whether you take a heavy breakfast or a light one, you should arrange to have a good lunch in time. Don’t deplete your reserves by refusing to eat when you feel hungry again. This is how you gain weight. Maybe I am demystifying the idea that a breakfast can take you through a whole day. If gaining weight is your target, it will not. Now, I cannot say that I have the healthiest eating lifestyle but I can say that I have a healthier eating habit. I still eat fruits but I don’t do fruit fasts. I am still on the journey, observing and adopting what works and dropping what does not.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
OSANYINBI Ibidunni Morayo is an energetic and hardworking youth. Full of ideas, she loves to see people get better at what they do. She loves learning new things and is committed to sharing as she learns. She participates in many programs organized by different organizations she belongs to, ranging from field trips to technical conferences. She was a volunteer for Ogun State’s public sensitization program on Malaria. She is currently a Chemical Engineering undergraduate at the University Of Lagos, Nigeria with specific interests in Polymer and Textile Engineering. She is based in Lagos.