The average weight of a giant panda is 118 kilograms. It’s also a weight I never imagined I’d be by the age of 20 — or ever. My wakeup call — and subsequent weight loss journey — came when I went to the hospital for a routine checkup and a nurse informed me that my blood pressure and cholesterol were so high that I was putting my future in jeopardy.
I couldn’t comprehend how I had got to that point. That nurse changed my life that day, altering my perspective on how I wanted my future to be, how I wanted my health to be. After that appointment, I decided to make a change in my health and lifestyle — for good.
I commit to whatever I become passionate about, and after that day, I made fitness and health my passion. Most people would start with a fitness regimen or a diet, but I didn’t. I started by tackling my mindset, because everything begins in your mind. Your thoughts can motivate you or discourage you. I don’t really believe in luck. If you want something badly, you have to go out and get it.
Those mental changes led to lifestyle changes. I began eating healthier and I focused on more nutritious meals with protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, rather than saturated fats, salt and sugar. I limited fast food and processed meals as much as possible — the foods and snacks that I used to binge on during my unhealthy years. Beyond my diet, I also made sure to get a good workout five to six days a week.
Eventually, I lost 40kg. If all this sounds easy, it wasn’t. Like anyone else, I lose motivation sometimes. On those days, I’d look at old photos and reflect on how far I’d come. Seeing my progress pushes me, inspires me and allows me to continue moving forward. We all lose motivation sometimes, not just in fitness but also in life. It’s a part of human nature. At those moments, it’s important to remember the good in our life and practice gratitude.
I would advice those who are struggling with their weight to see weight-loss as a journey instead of a goal. If you think of weight-loss as a journey, then you can take pleasure in participating in sports, joining the gym or eating healthy meals. But when you make weight-loss a goal, being healthy feels like a punishment. From my experience, being healthy only serves to fulfill and enrich my life.
Even when you make weight-loss a journey, it is not easy. You’re changing your lifestyle, all of your habits and your routine. I believe everything we want in life is achievable, but some things take time. It takes time to change your way of thinking. Studies say it takes eight weeks to adopt a new habit, so allow yourself the time to change, which means starting over as many times as you need. And don’t let one mistake hold you back. Just get back to what you were doing.
I keep myself motivated by reminding myself of the long journey that I have been on. It hasn’t always been a walk in the park, but I wouldn’t change anything. The difficulties have made me stronger and more thankful for the good things that I have.
Featured photo Mustafa Adnan
Emirati Mustafa Adnan works in finance and discovered his true passion for health and fitness after dropping more than 40 kilograms. He now aims to build a community for fitness enthusiast, while using social media to help spread awareness about health and well-being.