Healthy Living

A Whole in One | by Ife Atoyebi | Sep, 2021

February 2020 vs February 2021

I should have posted this in April because that makes a year since I started this journey AGAIN, but the struggle has been real! I feared that by sharing, my identity would be tied to this, which I didn’t want, but thanks be to God who is helping me break down the strongholds of silence, shame, negative thinking, and the fear of what people will say.

I remember that I promised God Heaven and Earth if He would bring me this far on my health/weight loss journey. Yes, desperate times call for desperate measures! To me, Heaven and Earth meant going ‘public’ with my journey. I probably made this promise at the time because being in the spotlight was, and still is a challenge for me. It doesn’t come easily to me, so this was my act of “sacrifice” to God, letting him know I was grateful for how far he’d brought me.

The journey to where I am now, looking the way I now do, and shedding over 30kg over the past year has been a challenging one, to say the least. It has been INCREDIBLY hard building discipline and eating things that I initially didn’t enjoy eating. There were days that I cried and begged God, asking him why this was my cross to bear. Why couldn’t I be like people who ate without caution and not gain weight?

I’m here to encourage anyone who is on/yet to start this journey, to let you know that it is SO possible. Do not be discouraged by whatever you weigh right now, nor by what you see in the mirror. Take it one day at a time. Doing something as little as drinking more water, eating healthier, replacing your snacks, moving more during the day, sleeping better, mindful eating, or being intentional about your thoughts are all steps in the right direction. Whatever it is that you’re doing towards your goal, stick to it and whatever you do, remember to enjoy the journey. Document every part of this process so you are reminded of how far you have come when you look back.

I’ve learned so much. It’s impossible to write down everything I’ve learned in one post, but you can start here:

Change your perspective. Initially, my aim was to lose weight. I have since learned that when I shift my focus from weight loss to holistic health, losing weight happens naturally. Addressing sleeping patterns and cycles, adjusting work habits, being intentional about how, what, and even when I eat, managing stress levels, thoughts, and emotions — I had to make changes in all these areas to achieve long-term, sustainable results.

I discovered that whenever I was stressed due to work or relational issues, it affected my sleep, which in turn booked me a ticket on the emotional eating train, which could very quickly spiral out of control in a seemingly endless cycle of shame and more emotional eating. I have been (and still am) on a learning and unlearning journey; keeping what works for me and discarding what doesn’t. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the journey so far.

From my perspective, I had always been big. I didn’t look my age until I got into university where I lost weight for the very first time in my life because I did “wuru-wuru” to the answer (Nigerian slang for not using entirely straightforward ways to achieve something). Of course, it was only a matter of time before I put on all that weight again soon after I left university and started working. Stress was at peak levels for several reasons including driving from the mainland to the island every day (if you know, you know).

Fast forward to 2015. By this point I had started jogging and discovered how much I loved it, coupled with the fact that I wasn’t eating much at work because I was stressed most of the time, I lost weight, and was the skinniest I remember ever being. It was in this year I met my now-husband.

In 2016 I stopped work and went back to school for a master’s. This was when I regressed on all the weight I’d lost. I got ‘comfortable’ and lost my discipline because I was happy, in a good place, with a new Bae, and in a different country. In a nutshell, many aspects of my life changed very quickly and messed up my rhythm. When things didn’t go as planned in the master’s program, I went off the deep end again and took out my frustration on my body with more emotional eating. I’ve given all of this context to show that we’ll make the same mistakes over and over again if certain underlying habits and root causes are not addressed.

On this journey, I’ve learned how important it is to be KIND to myself, regardless of what life throws at me. I’ve put my body through the most, letting my emotions dictate what I feed it with and what I don’t feed it with. I’m having to practice self-forgiveness for what I did to myself when I didn’t know any better.

It has been a journey of healing for my mind and thought patterns. A journey of learning more about myself, probing, and asking deep questions about my past has gotten me to where I am now.

“Will I ever regain the weight I’ve lost?” is a legitimate thought that crosses my mind, every now and then, and what will happen if I do? I don’t have all the answers as I’m yet to experience other phases and seasons of life like pregnancy and motherhood, which, from what I hear, are going to be interesting journeys. Instead of worrying and pondering on something that hasn’t happened yet, I’m focusing my energy on learning what works for my body and focusing on what I can control now.

This post has turned out longer than intended but it’s because I’ve got so much to say and don’t write nearly as much as I’d love to. It is my hope that someone out there can relate to my story. If I was going to be my perfectionist self about this, then you would never be reading this but it’s important that you know that you are more than the number on a scale (Easy to say when one has lost weight and can fit into old clothes, right? But I would never have made it this far if I didn’t change my mind)

You, my friend, are wonderfully and marvelously made in God’s image. The journey to my ideal weight started with self-love, seeing and accepting myself as God sees me, and accepting my body whatever my weight, but loving myself enough to do what I promised myself to do.

Find what works for you and stick to it, no matter how seemingly small. Quick fixes don’t work. Long-lasting change comes from the inside.

Sending love and supernatural strength your way!

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