Fitness|Wellness

World Hypertension Day

In December 2016 I rushed to the doctor as I was experiencing severe headaches and my feet were swollen. For weeks I had been blaming it on the December heat. At my visit to the GP we discovered that my blood pressure was 155/115. After numerous tests, it was confirmed that I was hypertensive. I was immediately treated with medication, but losing 15kg has helped me keep my blood pressure under control.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of hypertension in the world and there are more than 1 billion people affected by this silent killer worldwide. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and even eye diseases.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension occurs when the body’s blood vessels are persistently put under increased pressure.

How can I be affected by hypertension?

People may develop hypertension because it is genetic or due to lifestyle habits, such as the harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, being overweight, high salt intake, or even stress. According to the Hypertension Society of South Africa, approximately four in 10 adults older than 25 have hypertension .

Blood Pressure Readings:

Blood pressure readings comprise two readings:-

  • Systolic – The maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the heart.
  • Diastolic – The bottom number indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

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The Effects & Treatment of Hypertension

Left undetected or untreated, hypertension can damage one’s body as highlighted in the below illustration.

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Treatment for hypertension depends of the severity of the blood pressure reading. The goal of hypertension treatment is to lower high blood pressure and protect important organs, like the brain, heart and kidneys from damage. Treatment for hypertension has been associated with reductions in stroke, heart attack and heart failure according to research. A lifestyle change is ultimately the solution to preventing or reducing hypertension. Treatment with medication is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 130/80 in people older than age 65 and those with risk factors such as diabetes and high cholesterol. The downside of the medication is that the there are several side-effects.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat High Blood Pressure

A critical step in preventing and treating high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. You can lower your blood pressure with the following lifestyle changes:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 1,500 milligrams a day if you have high blood pressure; healthy adults should try to limit their sodium intake to no more 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).
  • Getting regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week)
  • Limiting your consumption of alcohol

Hypertension Awareness Day is celebrated annually on the 17th of May and happens to be a word-wide celebration with a purpose of educating people to be aware of their blood pressure status. This years theme is “KNOW YOUR NUMBERS” with a goal of increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations around the world”.

It is important that you know that hypertension is a preventable and treatable condition. Go have your blood pressure checked today and have it checked on a regular basis. Don’t become a statistic.

Body positive|Fitness

Body positivity does not justify obesity

I was recently attacked and confronted about the supposed claims that I make, which has sparked this blog post.  The gist of the conversation was  ….

“How can you say you are body positive and love your curves if you are trying to lose weight?”

Being body positive is about confidence and even at my heaviest of 108kg I was sexy AF. I believe in dressing for my body shape and I’ve always been a confident person. Don’t get me wrong, of course I had my insecurities. I just found ways to work around them.

At my heaviest, I was also at my unhealthiest. My personal experience has taught me that even though I was confidant and felt amazing about my appearance, being obese had dangerous connotations when it came to my health and well-being. I was hypertensive, pre-diabetic and my cholesterol and insulin resistance counts had spiked. How did this happen overnight? Well it didn’t! Excessive weight gain happens over a period of time. I was too busy living in denial and hiding behind my confidence, that I let my weight skyrocket and my health deteriorate.  As stated by the Times LIVE “Body positive movement is NOT about glorifying obesity.”

Just over a year ago I ate fairly healthily, so I assumed I was doing the right things. I was however overeating, my calorie intake far exceeded my physical activity. I wasn’t getting enough rest and I definitely should have swapped my alcohol intake with my water intake. All in all I wasn’t living a balanced and healthy life.

My weight loss journey isn’t about being skinny, but instead about being healthy and strong. My weight loss journey has taught me to accept my flabby arms, stretch marks and cellulite ridden thighs.

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Now my focus is on improving those areas by eating right and firming up. A year ago I wore a size 44 to 46 and now I wear a size 38. The goal I had set for myself a year ago was to drop to a size 36 but I think a size 34 (which still makes means I am a plus size) would be a reasonable goal when I take into account the visceral fat I still need to lose. Visceral fat is a “deep” fat that’s stored further underneath the skin than belly fat. It’s a form of gel-like fat that’s actually wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Body positivity means different things to different people, irrespective of whether you are fat or thin.  “The Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being”.

Now let me take a moment to chat about fitness. Firstly, here is a little rant. The misconception that thin equals fit drives me completely insane.  To put it very bluntly, it FUCKS me off.  Your size doesn’t determine your damn fitness level. Let me also point out that my big ass just happens to be fitter than many people who aren’t overweight. Fitness does more for me than just help me drop dress sizes. Fitness keeps me sane, helps me process things, makes me feel good and strong and it even helps me sleep better. Fitness is contagious but I’m not like the super athletes out there who train religiously several times a day. I’m all about getting my body moving and having fun while I do it. Fitness is a lifestyle and a journey of self-love and self-acceptance.

Guys I absolutely love my curves, I love my saggy boobs and my big booty. Let’s be honest, I’ve got thighs for days and they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. I’m not looking to lose that look but merely looking to enhance it while maintaining a great level of health and fitness. I don’t care too much about the size I wear as much as I care about having to live with chronic diseases or being sick all the time. I absolutely refuse to compromise my health just to prove that I am body positive.  I have also never been in the business of proving myself to anyone, and I don’t intend succumbing to the pressures of social media anytime soon. I live my life with conviction and I AM UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME!!!

 

Uncategorized

Working out with Botle Kayamba

In my recent guest post on Mel’s Postbox, I spoke about how it takes a village to lose weight and make a significant and sustainable lifestyle changes. Well, Botle Kayamba is very much part of my village.

What started out as a chance meeting has since turned into a real friendship and mentorship. That chance meeting happened when we both attended an event at The Cookery hosted by Women’s Health Magazine but didn’t know each other at that point. We greeted each other and a cordial smile was exchanged every now and then.

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Hanging with other fitsters and influencers at The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef

Botle is a highly skilled personal trainer as well as group trainer. She was diagnosed with an Ameloblastoma type 3 tumor, which later led to swelling in her face and the loss of her left jaw. The tumor eventually ended her booming modelling career. Three operations later and this amazing woman who is beautiful both inside and out, could easily have returned to modelling but instead found her calling in the fitness world.

Coming from a disadvantaged background was all the motivation she needed to make a success of her 11 year fitness career. Botle has gone from teaching kids in her neighbourhood to being a resident trainer at the Virgin Active health club chain. She lives to inspire and is all about inspiring women from all walks of life, both in her community, as well as the fitness industry. I can truly vouch for that, as she inspires me daily by the manner in which she lives her life. Botle once told me that I inspire her, which honestly left me flabbergasted and in disbelief, but she is a woman who’s all about helping other women. She is such a special individual and it’s evident in the way she treats people, especially her clients. Botle revels in her clients progress and she definitely keeps an eagle eye on whether or not you are staying on track. Don’t let her calm and sweet demeanor fool you, as she is a powerhouse of a trainer who pushes you to the limit and takes no prisoners in her super energetic, fun and sweaty classes. Her body is a temple of pure strength and power.

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Botle also happens to be the Women’s Health Next Fit Star, Top 5 finalist for 2017. Her journey has been so exceptionally inspiring that it’s no wonder that she has featured in Fatloss Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine. Botle is sponsored by the likes of Adidas, Cleansui, Fresh Dew, Lovi Juice and Venga.

It doesn’t stop there. Mega brand Adidas has taken it a step further in her brand ambassadorship and is sponsoring Botle with her very own event, Botle’s Fitness Fest. When this happens, you know you are doing something right and Adidas is all about fitness #inspo and amazing journeys. Cleansui, Fitness Magazine, Fresh dew, Lovi Juice and Venga are the other brands sponsoring this event.

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Tickets still available at Quicket

Tickets still available at Quicket

Guest Instructor, Ntsekie Majoro and Botle (both Virgin Active Personal Trainers) will be putting you through your paces on the 24th of March and I promise you that this is a fitness event you don’t want to miss. Its going to be amazing fun and a wonderful opportunity to hang and workout with like-minded individuals. Bootcamp will get you into the swing of things and Botle’s sexy Dance Fitness will most certainly help you get in touch with your sexy selves. Oh and let’s not forget to mention that the your ticket to the event includes an amazing goodie bag (just for added incentive). So I really hope that you will be joining me at what’s set to be a fantastic day of fitness fun.

If for some reason you can’t make the event and you are not a Virgin Active member, but want to workout with Botle, then you still can. Botle holds weekly classes at 6pm on a Thursday at Sagewood School in Midrand. So ladies (and gents) there are no excuses, just get up and get moving.

Fitness|Progress pics|Weight loss

Lemme Keep It Real

As for those that follow me, you will know that the information I share with you is raw, uncut and a 100% true reflection of my life. This being said, its time to keep it real and share the numbers behind my journey.

I went for my first full body assessment for 2018 and the detailed report left me smiling. Granted I’m choosing to focus only on the positives and I still have a long way to go. So here goes …

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In terms of my body composition I’m big boned, have 10.2kg of muscle and a mother load of fat. I will need to reduce my body fat mass by half to be exact. Now lemme tell you, that 10kg of muscle is what I’m truly celebrating. A year ago I literally had almost nothing in terms of muscle. I can feel the leanness in my back and shoulders to be honest.

My overall score of 57/100 is not ideal but is mainly due to my BMI, which requires me to lose another 29.1kg. That’s like losing a child to be honest, but it is what it is. The focus isn’t on my weight as much as it is on my visceral fat. So, this is my focus area and I will need to put a lot more effort into losing around my tummy area

Visceral fat is known as a “deep” fat that’s stored further underneath the skin than “subcutaneous” belly fat. It’s a form of gel-like fat that’s actually wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidney.

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We also did measurements and here are those figures as of end January 2018:-

  • Waist – 40
  • Arm – 16
  • Calf – 19
  • Chest – 43
  • Hip – 48
  • Thigh – 27

Back to those 10kg of muscle. The distribution is basically around my arms, thighs and believe it or not … my abdominal area (and I have the photos to prove it).

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This happens to be the same pink top

I also found out that I’m not eating enough in a day. This came as a shock because I eat all day long and I’m often too full to have my 6th meal for the day. I use my fitbit app to track what I eat and have been aiming for 1500 kcal. According to the report my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 1486 kcal which is pretty damn accurate. I should however be eating approximately 1900 kcal. That’s basically another healthy meal. So I’m planning to include more complex carbs into my diet.

Many of you must be wondering why I said I was smiling after receiving my report. Well it’s about progress for me. I can see the changes and I can definitely feel it. I also know this is a journey and having information like this report empowers me to work on specific areas. I’m done living in denial and I’m happy to tackle improving my health one day at a time, so bring it on!

Fitness

Gym Workouts vs Home Workouts

In January 2017, when I started this journey I decided that the gym was the way to go. As the year quickly progressed, life got more and more hectic. Time became a seriously sought-after commodity and my commitments as a working mom escalated like never before. So I found myself searching for more hours in a day but that never materialised. The next step was to make some changes to my life so the important stuff got priority. Something had to give and in this case it was gym. I found myself going to the gym less frequently each month. I did find a solution and that was attempting home workouts for the first time ever.

Gym Workouts

– Pros

  • Better equipment and a variety to choose from
  • Get to socialise with like-minded individuals
  • Exercising with people with similar interests helps create a motivational environment
  • Different workouts available which gives your more options
  • Option to work with personal a trainer
  • Various specialists at your disposal (eg. biokineticists or massage therapists)
  • Allows you to have some “YOU TIME”
  • Gym mirrors are damn amazing

– Cons

  • Fees are generally high
  • Can be time-consuming
  • Travel time
  • On busy days you need to wait to use equipment
  • Being hit on by people
  • Training restricted to operating times of the gym
  • Child-care facilities not necessarily available.
  • Can be intimidating

Home Workouts

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– Pros

  • Its free
  • Convenient as it saves you time
  • Can train whenever you want to
  • You can wear whatever you want
  • Private environment so no reason to feel self-conscious.

– Cons

  • Initial set-up costs can be expensive
  • Limited space
  • Limited equipment
  • Workout alone
  • Too many distractions
  • No guidance

My Final Verdict

Making decisions that affect ours lives, health and well-being are never easy, but they are damn important. I’m a social butterfly so the gym is the ideal solution for me. I find that working out with others keeps me motivated and pushes me to work harder. To be completely honest, home workouts are cool and you can most certainly achieve the same results as you would at the gym. Your results depend entirely on your personal drive and commitment and it comes down to your preference. So as much as I’m not the biggest fan of home workouts, I will tell you not to underestimate them at all. Those 30 minute HIIT sessions are savage. After much deliberation I have decided that in 2018 I will combine Gym Workouts and Home Workouts into my weekly routine. This way I will meet all my obligations and still be able to stick to my exercise schedule. I’m basically removing all excuses and opportunities to fail. I’ve drawn up a schedule to ensure I have a plan and I will be gyming 4 times a week and 2 times at home. So even though I have a 6 day plan, I’m a mom and life happens. I may not always meet my goal of 6 workouts a week but I have committed to definitely doing 4 per week.

So what I’m really saying is that there is no room for excuses. It’s time to take ownership of your life and your health. Whether you prefer the gym or home workouts, figure out what works for you and what best suits your life. Then make a commitment to yourself and honour it. The time is indeed now.

Go get it!!
Much love
Fit Like Mummy