In a country where some two-thirds of residents are overweight, Qatar has been searching for ways to combat its obesity epidemic. Medical experts and athletes are constantly weighing in on the fight, but one voice that’s rarely heard is that of an overweight person trying to get a handle on his/her health. In this weekly series, one Qatar resident gets personal about her struggle to lose weight. Read. N.A. Rashid’s previous entries here.
It is not an understatement to say that losing weight is the most difficult challenge I have undertaken in my life. It is indeed the battle with stubborn inner self. I can’t describe what it feels like to crave delicious food and keep myself from eating it.
In that moment, the only thing I remember is how the food tastes, and I forget the world around me (the world of support, determination, spirituality, organization, diet and exercise). I believe those who are deprived of food because they are poor or those who are losing weight like me are the only ones who can understand this feeling. But I still stay strong.
What keeps me strong?
There are various things that motivate me to diet and exercise. The first and most important thing is the image of balance. This image always remains in the forefront of my mind, reminding me that all this hardship is temporary and the benefits after this hardship are remarkable.
Here are some of the hurdles and helpers I had this week, starting with the hard stuff:
- Aches and pains: I bought new shoes for walking but unfortunately, they didn’t fit my feet well. As a result, while walking, serious chafing ensued.
- Overwhelming cravings: Fast food is my weakness. Throughout this week, I could not stop thinking about how delicious it would be to eat fast food.
- Difficulty exercising: The first 10 minutes of walking was the most difficult time. I felt shortness of breath, increased heart beat and pain in my thighs. I also felt pain and tiredness in my whole body before sleeping.
- Food advertisements: Billboards and signs tempting me to indulge in a hamburger or other meal were everywhere while I was driving on the roads.
- Temptation with family: There are a lot of food items at family get-togethers that are on my like list. It was very hard to stop myself from eating biryani with chicken gravy when someone offered it me.
Fortunately, there were also lots of things that facilitated my weight loss program:
- Nature: Mornings outdoors are the best. The sunrise, mild wind, mild rain, birds, greenery, sea side and calm environment on the Corniche in the morning motivated me to go for that daily walk.
- Exercise after-glow: After walking, I feel so light and happy. Walking has helped alleviate all of my worries and tensions. For the rest of day, the sense of accomplishment from exercising provides me with much-needed inner strength.
- My friends: I was on holiday for a week. When I returned to university, my friends saw a small change in my face. They commented that I have lost weight. In a way, this statement encouraged me to keep going.
- My family: When I had hurt my feet, my husband advised me to put cream (dexpanthenol) on the affected area. My brother-in-law offered me a bandage and his shoes. The cream, my brother in law’s shoes and a bandage helped me keep up my exercise routine for the rest of the week. Thanks to them.
- Fruit: I am thankful to Allah Almighty for all the wonderful blessings He has given us. Fruit is one of those blessings we don’t consume enough. To ease my food cravings, I ate watermelon and sweet melon; it was fulfilling, full of fiber, less caloric and full of taste.
- Inspiration: During the last week, to keep myself strong, I have been watching motivational videos and listening to upbeat songs.
This is hard, but it is not impossible. Prayers needed.
Credit: Top photo by Ram Ramakrishnan; second image by N.A. Rashid