(This article appeared in the Rotary News Dec 2014 as “Women There Is No magic Pill”)
After my first book, ‘Get Size Wise’, I have been doing a kind of book tour – readings and book discussions in various cities. I have spoken to hundreds of women about fitness and exercise. I am often surprised at the some of the questions I get. Mostly, pleasantly surprised. I see a thirst for honest answers and solutions to real life problems that some women seek. I see a real need for a deeper understanding of the term ‘lifestyle change’.
Many of them have been through diverse experiences with drastic weight loss, trainers, gyms, health drinks and expensive supplements to lose weight, extreme diets and so on. Most are still searching for that magic pill.
I also find that the women most open to influence and guidance are the over-forty-year-olds. By this time they have experimented with all that there is to in weight loss and finally found it notwithstanding. They have discovered that being in a raging hurry to lose weight or gain fitness is what has them in their current situation in the first place, often still overweight and unhealthy, so instead of losing more time on trial and error, they want to get serious about training.
There are many however, who are still trying to play the blame game. I have had several occasions where short of tearing my hair out in frustration, I fenced accusing questions and counter arguments about why a certain woman has not lost weight, or why she finds it so utterly difficult to do so.
Some conversations went like this –
She – I just find it impossible to lose weight doctor. I have done everything including diet, yoga and walking. I even went to an ashram and stayed for fifteen days. I lost weight but gained it all back.
Me – This is exactly what I have been trying to explain – rapid weight loss, especially with drastic diets are not sustainable. You will regain the weight.
She – So I think I am doomed to be fat.
Me – No you have not done the right thing. The right combination of exercise and diet will work, even if only slowly.
She – But I have tried everything doctor!
Me – Have you started weight training to build muscle in addition to Yoga and walking, and eating the right quantities of food to nourish your body?
She – I think all that is not possible. I don’t have time.
Me – You don’t have to spend more time on exercise, just divide the time sensibly and change your eating.
She – I don’t think that is possible doctor. I know I can’t lose weight. I have tried everything.
So, she has made her choice. A choice not to make the time. A choice not to understand the bigger picture. A choice not to lose weight sensibly.
I think the fitness industry, innumerable food options and the media are largely to blame for the current crisis in women’s inability to lose fat and keep it off successfully. Their consistent search for the unattainable.
Of course the women are to blame as well because they often believe what they like to hear. Such promises as ‘lose five kilos in a week’ (or less) are much appreciated and sought out. The industry propagates these myths for monetary gains. The media taps into our insecurities. The constant message of, ‘you are not good enough, we can make you better, buy our lipstick, silicone breasts, body shaper or what-have-you’ is sufficient to convince any young (or old) woman trying to ‘fit in’ or ‘look better’.
It is a choice we make and all choices have consequences.
It may appear that you don’t have a choice. That you don’t have the time to actually fit in an exercise routine (one hour a day) because you are too busy working, keeping home, travelling etc. It you take an honest look at the way you spend the hours in your day however, you may find to your surprise that there are many hours in the day that are really ‘time wasters’. Hours you spend watching mindless TV or surfing the net. These hours can be put to better use such as be invested in regular exercise.
You DO have a choice
– You could continue to convince yourself that you don’t have time, or you could make the time.
– You could wait for diabetes, hypertension and heart disease to afflict you, or you could start preventing their onset now.
– You could wait for obesity to set in, knees to hurt, depression to envelop you, or you could start changing your lifestyle now.
Every choice has a consequence. If you begin making the right choices, you will eventually face the incredible consequences of a better quality life.
Dr Sheela Nambiar MD, Obgyn
Fitness & Lifestyle Consultant NAFC
Author – Get Size Wise.
Email – Sheela.firstname.lastname@example.org