The 30 day flat abs challenge

Since I started my journey with my gym and healthy lifestyle many people have been messaging and asking me for tips on how to get a flat tummy or to at least lose the belly fat they have. I have decided to write this blog so as to share my tips on how I lost my belly fat and got my “flat tummy” that I have been raving to everyone about.

Let me just put it out there that it is not an easy task, it requires discipline as well as dedication. We all know that nothing worth having comes easy and if one wants the results they will have to do the work.

I decided to take the “30 Day Flat Abs Challenge”, not with the intention of really having abs but just to have a flat stomach, and the results have been AMAZING to say the least, and I am currently on “day 25” so I have 5 more days to go.

30 day flat abs challenge Me

Just to reiterate, the glasses of water shown on on the “challenge” is EXTRA water given, I challenged myself by drinking at least 1,5 liter of water a day, drinking more water helps because water has NO CALORIES, plus it also gives you the impression that you are full thus enabling you to eat less throughout the day.

Although gym helps, not many of us have the luxury of gym or the time to go, these simple exercises take less than 20 minutes and they actually really work. I know a lot of people might have overdone it during the holidays and actually gained more belly weight, eating the right type of food also helps, as well as the right amount.

EAT LESS. I achieved this by eating smaller portions of food. Use a smaller plate than your usual big plate, you can fill a small plate with food but not actually eat a huge portion.

Small Food

EAT HEALTHY! EAT HEALTHY! I cannot emphasize that enough. I joined this challenge with my big sister and we both did the exercises, but because she is a fan of junk-food her progress has been rather slow. Try to avoid junk food at all costs, and stay away from situations which will tempt you to eat Junk Food. Do not tempt yourself!

FRUIT! FRUIT! You can never go wrong with fruit and vegetables. They are low in calories and very healthy for you. What I do everyday is I carry a container at work with sliced carrots and cucumber so whenever my colleagues go to buy snacks I also have something to snack on which keeps me occupied and is also good for my diet.

BE ACTIVE!! Walk to places which are near as opposed to using transport, it is both good for your pocket as well as your health.

Try using the stairs instead of the lift, it is good to stay active during the day because you burn more calories the more active you are and that helps with getting a flat tummy.

I have 5 more days to go to finish my challenge. If you want a flat tummy, I dare you to try this!! If you have any questions, drop me a line on the comments section and I will gladly assist, Let’s do this!!!!! Flat tummies for all!!!!!!

 

A step in culture’s scale

I recently embarked on a journey to lose weight, much to the dismay of my family. I had many reasons behind my decision to attempt to shed a few pounds, mostly because I started developing stretch marks and was also unable to fit into the clothing which I really liked. It was the response of my family and the stereotypes it awakened, however, which inspired me to write this blog.

Screenshot of family conversation

The above screenshot was taken from a conversation I had with my family regarding my weight loss. To summarize it all, my sister says she will not be going to places with me because I am too skinny and my mother goes on to say that she does not want me going to Eastern Cape as she is worried what people will say when they see me. Mind you in the above picture my weight was around 67kg, which is nowhere near being considered skinny.

I took it upon myself, before writing this blog, to interview some of my friends from different cultures to get their perspectives on the stereotypes associated with weight in their respective cultures and upbringing.It was really interesting for me to see how much of a role culture plays in our weight.

Growing up my mom went to gym frequently and educated us about the health  dangers  associated with being overweight. From age 9 she often took me and my sister along with her to gym and we both grew up attending gym frequently… being overweight in my family is considered as a sign of being lazy and letting yourself go” Ashley, (Female, White) .

Growing up, my parents were never really into gym or fitness……As for healthy eating, my dad had a stroke when I was about 6/7 and it was caused due to his high level of cholesterol. This got my mom on high alert and started cooking healthier. It’s been that way ever since. ” Matthew, (Male, Colored).

My mother never went to gym because she said it was a waste of money and growing up in her culture it was considered taboo or too modern…. people who are skinny are frowned upon and labelled as either ‘sick’ or ‘poor’, being thick is celebrated and people are often complemented on it and are referred to as being happy because they can afford to feed themselves” Sisanda (Female, Black).

When I was younger we used to hike a lot and do a ton of outdoor activities. My step-dad is a previous athlete and so we were quite active. We were never into dieting, and we were always chocolate lovers. Also, as Indians our relationship with food was always good. Over the years my parents have become less active so I have taken my health and fitness into my own hands….I think all woman are built differently, and so should have an ideal figure respectively. It is less about having a “thigh gap” or a flat stomach, but more about fat percentage and living actively and healthily.” Zaheera (Female, Indian)

A recent study in America found that African American women had the highest number of obesity, one of the reasons for this is the fact that most of these women are not educated and thus not aware of the many health implications caused by obesity , like diabetes, high level of cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes and heart diseases. To read more on these statistics click here.

The media also plays a big role in what people consider the “accepted” body type, although this has changed drastically over the past 100 years people are still being influenced by what they see on television. With celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj considered “sex symbols” of this generation you find that many people are even going through surgery to achieve the “perfect body” despite the many health implications and danger that they could encounter.

In a world where words like “selfie”,”hashtag” and”curvaceous” are part of the dictionary even the sky is unable to limit a persons unique definition of themselves and their body types. We are unable to choose our cultures, our upbringing or the stereotypes instilled in us but we do have the power to choose our own path. Zaheera puts it perfectly by saying, “Being healthy is the best scenario, but the tricky question is, how do I know that I’m healthy? Or even, healthy enough? Personally, I think balance is the key“.

At some point in our lives we are all influenced by our culture and our upbringing but we have the power of choice to determine what we want with our lives as well as our bodies. We all have the choice to conform or rebel, what matters is that we exercise our power of choice, I did. I have now lost more than 5kg since my last “weight loss” conversation with my family and I could not be happier. I feel healthier, stronger and more content. A step in culture’s scale should be merely a step towards figuring out the person you want to be, not a trap. Choose health, choose happiness, choose to be educated, choose life! We only get one body in this life, take care of it!!

References:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2913285/How-shape-perfect-body-changed-100-years.html

http://www.bu.edu/today/2012/exploring-the-causes-of-black-womens-obesity/

http://londoncollegeofstyle.com/blog/?p=752

Interviewees: Matthew Letting, Zaheera Rajab, Sisanda Langa, Ashley Hopping.

 

In aid of Black

Children at the beach

 

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

 

While driving past Khayelitsha this Sunday I came across an image which has awakened so many suppressed emotions and thoughts in me, but above all these, it inspired a question which I have been in constant debate about with myself. The question I frequently ask myself is  “As black people are we doing enough for our own community“?

I recently read an article regarding the recent matric pass rate in South Africa and it discusses how Menzi High School in Umlazi received a 100% pass rate for the fifth year running with one of its pupils receiving seven distinctions. This clearly indicates the potential we have to prosper as a black community despite our background and social constraints. When we do succeed, however, or make it past the township, do we remember to help those who are still struggling to make it out because of resource scarcity or social and economic constraints?

The daunting image of four children wearing Shoprite plastic bags as swimwear in Khayelitsha is one which is continuously haunting me. It is much easier for people to point fingers and ultimately blame the past misfortunes for the inequalities in our locations, (without disputing that), how about we take the hard route and actually invest in one another? Build each other up? Mentor the young to shape their future? Encourage one another? Start charities or join existing foundations in securing the future for the young? As a black community do we even know about volunteering? Do we know about giving back?

Before expecting help from outside communities how about we first attempt to build up our own community ourselves? As black people we make the majority of people in South, imagine what we could achieve if we all stood together, if we all contributed just a little towards helping those who do not have the means to help themselves. How about we start looking at the positive and bringing solutions instead of problems to an already damaged society?

With everything that is going on, let us always remember that as a black community we also possess the resources and capacity to uplift one another. It is said, after all, “charity begins at home” and “a house divided against itself cannot stand”.

Masibambhisane Mz’Onstundu!! #Ubuntu #BlackConsciousness #BlackMovement

 

References:

The Unspoken

Mean-girls-be-warned-Ostracism-cuts-both-ways-

The excitement and thought of infinite possibilities I had when I had an epiphany about starting my very own blog slowly faded when I caught myself staring at a  blank screen for more than two hours. I found myself slowly shrinking at the fear of deciding what I thought my first blog post should be about.

The amount of pressure involved in voicing out your opinions for others to judge and possibly base their ostracism on slowly turned my excitement into thoughts of horror. It is at that very moment that I recalled a quote I once came across by Marianne Williamson which reads “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…..”

When you have been shutting out your inner voice and thoughts for so long it is nearly impossible to open up that door and tap into that voice inside of you which is still screaming so loud of all the unspoken words. All the times you wanted to scream at someone and give them a peace of your mind, all the times you had a story to tell but were never given the platform, all the times you wanted to express yourself but lacked the proper words and actions, all the times you allowed others to look and speak down on you because you believed every word they said, all those times you doubted your own capabilities, all those times you were shamed for being different, all those times you let others take the spotlight because you did not feel worthy…. all the unspoken words and all the endless echoes of your silent cries, all of those and more are the reason I decided to take a leap of faith and voice out my opinions and random thoughts.

We live in a world full of opinionated people, with voices so loud we often lose our way. With so many people telling you which way is what we often lose ourselves in the process of pleasing those around us (Our parents, friends, colleagues, partners, families etc), which is all quite unnecessary. We only get one life and it is imperative that we use it wisely so as to have no regrets.

Okay!! Enough with the heavy stuff!! These are my random ramblings about everything in general. I am quite excited to share my thoughts in this space, as I learn, love and live life in the best way I possibly can.