Get up, Dress up and Be Human.

Have you ever had one of those days when your body fuel gauge is on E? Of course you have. You’re human. Most people use the term “I’m only human” to excuse a horrible thing they did or about to do. In my case last week, I had to keep repeating it to myself to avoid feeling like I had let myself down.  I’m this self-love journey you see. And I’m all about accepting your body and all its quirks. But this day, I just wasn’t feeling the love. I was having one of those days when nothing on my body felt like it belonged to me.

I looked in the mirror and my arms felt floppy and my tummy wouldn’t flatten no matter what I did. I found myself wishing I was pregnant because then I would have a justification for my growing midriff. The worst part of all this was that I was scheduled to appear in front of a camera that evening. Great timing!

Two things caused my trepidation. First being my current argument with my body. Second my usual unease whenever my dress choice is put under scrutiny. I feign nonchalance about my dress code of choice but when I’m at a formal event or one that requires me to dress like an adult; I’m like a non-swimmer thrown into the deep end.

I was nervous about what I should wear but Sekayi from Mafashio guided me through it. She was gracious enough to give me a t-shirt and jeans alternative after I confessed that I was not a beholder of dresses. I was so uncomfortable with my body that I walked over to the mall near home and bought myself one of those spanx contraptions hoping it would help but all it did was restrict my breathing.

When I arrived at the Tikambe* set, I was a bit overwhelmed. There was more than one camera in the room and everyone knows cameras are insecurity’s worst enemy. The team was extremely nice and they eventually put me at ease. It was whole different experience. Who knew looking into a camera and expressing your thoughts is harder than it seems. TV people make it look easy.

After that was over, the first thing I did when I got home was strip off all my clothes and stand in front of the mirror. For some reason I was arguing with my body and I didn’t know why. I looked at myself and told myself that I was beautiful over and over again. I didn’t believe it in that moment but the more I said it, the more it sounded like the only option. I wish I could say I felt better immediately but I didn’t. I went to bed that way but the next morning, I was better.

So many times we feel under the weather, overwhelmed or we’re just in the valley of self-doubt. But life must go on and we can’t allow those feelings to consume us. Sometimes it’s best just to step back and have a healing conversation with yourself. There are also times when you will have to get up, dress up and fulfill your obligations like every other adult because no one else will do it for you. I’m learning to forgive myself. Because even though I have good intentions sometimes I will fail. Because even though I’m on this journey to self-love, I will sometimes fall. And that’s alright because I’m only human. The trick is to get up and continue the journey.

*I’m currently not at liberty to detail what the Tikambe project is about until it airs on TV but I will say this; it is great stuff.  It’s awesome being a tiny part of the creation of a program that adds to the Zambian story. I am so excited whenever I see new Zambian content being made because we don’t have enough of it.

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As Sweet as Xylitol

What’s your biggest weakness? What kills your self-control with just a glance? Mine is sugar. I have a serious sweet tooth. I love sweet things so much you have no idea. I love sugar so much that there are certain things I don’t eat just coz they are not sweet. For example, I rarely eat maize cobs and pumpkin because they have a sweetness that is not so sweet after all. Every month when on my periods, I survive on chocolate bars and cake. It’s probably not surprising that I have 3 extracted teeth and 3 cavities to show for my unhealthy addiction.

Xylitol
In my quest for better health, I needed to find something that would give me the same pleasure while not causing as much damage to my teeth and body weight. So when the therapist at my Umoyo health consultation suggested using a sugar replacement called xylitol, I was definitely interested. I have occasionally used honey and I know that it works for some things but not all. So I was interested to see how xylitol would be.
I picked up my sample pack from Umoyo and I was ready to go. First of all, Xylitol is a pure white grainy substance just like sugar so I was already feeling quite comfortable to use it because it looked familiar. It’s almost as sweet as table sugar but it has 33% less calories. I had a few worries about the origins of xylitol so I looked it up and I found out that it is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables and people have found a way of producing it commercially.

Xylitol on spoon
Xylitol is very instrumental to attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Table sugar is everywhere like carbonated drinks, pastry and all the good stuff that bring the extra kilos. It might be possible to abandon those vices but there are just some things that are necessary in our diets. There are just some things that require sweetness like tea and cereal. But the problem is that table sugar is addictive and is an empty food that gives us nothing healthy. So Xylitol comes to the rescue. It does not spike blood sugar and insulin levels like table sugar. This makes it safe for diabetic people to use it. It is also not addictive and is very good for our teeth.
Xylitol can also be used for baking though it can’t be used in a recipe that requires yeast because it won’t rise. I tried to bake a chocolate cake using xylitol and it turned out quite well I must say. Xylitol is very safe for humans and has almost no side effects but if you have a dog I would think twice about feeding it anything containing Xylitol. Apparently a dog’s digestive system doesn’t take kindly to xylitol.
Xylitol is something that I will probably always use. With my love for sugar, I can’t completely stay away from sweet things so it provides a very good compromise. I am just glad I won’t have to extract any more teeth. I was afraid I would have sunken cheeks in my twenties. Though I think I would have looked exotic, what with my high cheekbones and all. If you want to avoid a toothless mouth or you would want to help lose or maintain your weight or you are diabetic and would like an alternative to honey, you can try out Xylitol. You can get it from any Umoyo shop and try it out. You’ll thank me for it. Let me know what you think when you try it.

*Please note that the post is sponsored by Umoyo Natural Health but the opinions expressed are my own.

My Umoyo Health Consultation

When the Umoyo Natural Health media team asked me to try out some of the weight loss services they offer, I was a bit pensive but excited. Everyone knows that weight loss is never an easy journey so I braced myself for work and starvation. But what I found out was the contrary; there wouldn’t be anything like that here. The first step was to go through a health consultation.

How much would you pay for a comprehensive health consultation? A sit-in session with a qualified health therapist to discuss solutions to some of the health issues you’ve been carrying around? What if I told you it could cost nothing? I found out that Umoyo currently have a promotion. They are offering a free health consultation (which is worth K100) to anyone who has one of their fliers.

So I quickly carried a flier and went to their woodlands shop. I met the lady at the counter and told her I wanted a health consultation. I was sort of nervous because free things do that to me. They fill me with such an excitement and thrill but also fear of it not being real. But the lady smiled at me and told me to wait a short moment while the therapist got ready for me. I looked around the shop and saw so many things I wanted to carry home with me.

I finally sat down with the therapist and the health consultation began. She asked me how she could help me and I went blank. I didn’t know where to begin and what exactly to tell her. Was I supposed to tell her that I have dreams of an army of zombies and that I sometimes wink at dogs and I swear they wink back? I’ve never met a therapist before; I don’t know if they all can handle my mental health or lack of. But as I looked at her, I remembered why I was there and told her about my weight loss journey so far and asked her what she could recommend.

She gave me some dietary recommendations which included increasing water intake, reducing carbohydrates, increasing green vegetable intake and avoiding sugar. She also gave me a list of some supplements that would help me in achieving overall health. I will be talking about some of these in the next few weeks. I asked her so many questions but she had an answer for all of them. She highly recommended the 7 day weight loss program that Umoyo offers which contains cleanses and juicing. I asked her if she only handled weight loss issues, it turns out she can handle questions ranging from diabetes to reproductive health. 

The promotion for a free health consultation is still running. Just get yourself one of these fliers from any Umoyo shop and you’ll be able to get personalised consultation and advice. For more information on them, visit their website at umoyo.com and they are highly present on the social media sites. 
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*Over the next few weeks I will try out different products offered by Umoyo that help in weight loss and general health. Please note that the post is sponsored by Umoyo but the opinions expressed are my own.

This Girl Loves her body ….Finally

I was out of breath, trying to keep myself upright. Rihanna’s “Where have you been” had just started playing in my earphones and I kept telling myself just to keep running until the end of the song. The gym instructor walked up to me and told me he was impressed with my determination then he asked which part of my body was bothering me and what I wanted to get rid off. I could see he was ready to dish out some advice about which exercise was the best. I slowed down the treadmill to think about it and I came up with nothing. I couldn’t think of a single part of me that I hated. I told him all I wanted was to be stronger and healthier and for the first time I meant it.

A friend of mine sent me a picture of us in college. When I looked at it I gasped with surprise. I was so small back then. And the worst part is that the size of my head was exactly what it is now. Seriously, I looked malnourished. This was the past I kept looking back to. This was the 60 kilos I kept on aiming at. This was what I had been craving ever since I gained weight. I had been glorifying the past, wanting to go back not knowing that my present was better. The crazy thing is that when I weighed 62 kilos all I wanted was to lose a bit of weight. When I went up to 65 kilos, I stopped eating just so that I could go back to 62. And now on the upside of 70 kilos I found myself just yearning for the 65 I once had. I noticed a trend here, I was living in the past, forever looking back. This nostalgia could easily be triggered by anything, like someone commenting how much weight I had gained or just an old pair of jeans not fitting. I stopped taking pictures of myself because I wanted to lose some weight first.

That picture made me realize that if I didn’t love myself now, I wouldn’t love myself when I lost weight. So I stopped taking the diet pills and I sat myself down (I seem to be doing that a lot). I had to stop mistreating myself. I had to stop punishing myself for who I was. I had to forgive myself for all the neglect I had suffered by my own hands. I had to accept myself. I had to, I had no choice because no one else would do it for me. I knew it would be a long process but at least I had to begin. So I started researching and educating myself on health and fitness. I started learning how to cook so that I could prepare the best food my body deserved. I finally joined a gym. I told myself each time I was changing into my workout clothes that I was doing this because I love myself. In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping I would lose weight. I started lifting weights and discovered just how much I loved it. I started learning things about myself that I never knew, like how I have the endurance of a horse. I was realizing I felt my happiest after a hard, tiring workout session. In the two months that I’ve been religiously working out I have had zero depression episodes. That is such a great improvement considering that I had them on an average of once a week.

I fell in love with myself with each day that passed. And so when the guy asked me what part of my body bothered me, I learnt something about myself. I finally work out not because I despise myself but because I want to be strongest version of me. Let every action you take be driven by love and not hate. Every time I see some new muscles showing, I get excited even though I know I’m the only one who can see them. And it must be life trying to teach me a lesson because I haven’t lost a single kilo since I started working out but I’m definitely feeling healthier and more content. I have a spring in my walk now. I’m not apologizing for the space I occupy anymore. It’s my space and I love it.

Is there something keeping you in the past? Something that keeps you turning back, comparing and living in constant discontentment? Maybe an old relationship that looks better than your current one, or an old job that is better paying than your current gig? There’s a chance you might be looking at things the wrong way. Love where you are now then strive for better things. It’s the only way to be happy, well there’s chocolate too but you know what I mean.

This Girl Can

This Girl Lifts

Here is a video that perfectly describes where I’m at now. It’s called “This Girl Can”

Keep Your opinion to yourself or get punched!

It is widely known that Zambians are friendly people. They will stop what they are doing and gladly give you directions if you ask. They will randomly start a conversation about politics with a total stranger on the bus. It really is a good quality and I appreciate it but I have a complaint; some Zambians have no limits. They dish out their opinion whether you like it or not, whether you look accommodating or not. They will just blurt it out with no regard of who is listening. A supermarket employee will start giving you marriage advice right there at the till just because you said you don’t know how much sugar you should buy. Continue reading

Why you should never go grocery shopping on your period

For the past few years and ever since I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose weight. I have been on so many diets and cleanses, I could write a book. I finally figured out recently that what I need is regular exercise and a healthy eating plan. so I’ve been trying to work out consistently and eat healthy and while I can testify that my energy levels have shot to the roof, my weight loss has been really slow. It’s been a rollercoaster ride with numerous ups and downs. The biggest problem has not been how hard it is to lose the pounds but how easy it is to gain them back. And every month just as I’m starting to think I’m making substantial progress, nature throws me a biological curve ball.

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Today is a good day

Today is a good day. I like myself today. I know I should everyday but the truth is I don’t. There are days when I look at myself and I want to hug myself. But there are days when I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. But today is a very good day. Maybe it’s because I didn’t stuff myself with unnecessary food or because I don’t have a bloated stomach. I just feel like I don’t have to change anything about me right now. I looked at my mid section in the mirror and actually smiled. I feel like I am who I’m supposed to be. I don’t have to give any excuses for the weight I gain or lose. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. Yep, today is a good day. 

Less is not More!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I’m a big girl. At size 12/14 I’m bordering on being plus sized. I look at myself in the mirror and try to figure out how to go down to being a size 8. There are times when I’m confident that my body is okay but most times I look at myself with dismay wondering why the hell I had to get my father’s features. Why do I have to love food that much? Sometimes the self loath gets so intense that I’m tempted to induce throwing up. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was bulimic right? But of course I freak out and I’m much too lazy to stick to sticking my finger down my mouth every time so I don’t go through with it. I think of starving myself sometimes but I always give in by 10 AM. So I try to work out whenever I can and eat healthy whenever I can but the sad truth is I may always struggle with my weight.

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Get Fit Campaign : Update

It’s been 2 weeks since I joined the Get Fit Campaign. 2 week of extreme workout. 2 weeks of trying to eat healthy. It’s been great, it’s been painful, but most of all it’s been challenging. It is teaching me commitment to working out, consistency in my eating patterns, and persistance even when it hurts.

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Heavy on my mind

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I’ve been putting this forward and never getting round to it. Writing should come easy considering the number of things that flash through my mind. But the speed at which they do is probably the cause of the chronic writer’s block. So here I am, Emelie Sande in my headphones, stuck in traffic and the keypad under my thumbs. Just the right conditions for me to zone out and try to focus on my fleeting thoughts.

The biggest issue on my mind recently has been my weight. Once upon a time I was a skinny kid. But that was eons ago. Since puberty struck, the numbers on the scale have been alternating like a teenager’s moods. And now in my 20’s, it continues to spiral out of control. I’ve been a size 10 and 12. The problem is probably that I know exactly what the problem is.

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