Sunday, June 4, 2017

Confessions of a Food Addict


Have you ever wondered: am I full? I think I am full but still, I will eat this whole meal. Just because it is there. Or maybe I am not really full. But I have eaten an entire adult portion that others could not even finish. How am I still able to eat after that?

Have you ever found yourself picking up that box of cookies knowing full well you will not let go of it before it is completely empty? 

Or that chocolate bar, the large one of course, thinking, I will have one square, no one row, then another until the bar is completely gone? 

Or dug into that large Nutella jar with a huge spoon, cleaning up the sides, pretending you are only trying to make a perfect surface of chocolate only to keep "cleaning up" more and more until that jar is empty? 

Or at the supermarket, picking up that M&M's pack and then returning it knowing full well you will open two so might as well take the big one? And once home, you decide you will not eat it all but just the brown ones because they are the dullest. But the orange ones look so weird, so let's get them out of the way too. There is only a few yellows so might as well put them out of their misery. And somehow, all the colors are gone and the bag is empty in five minutes.

Have you ever eaten chocolate and literally hidden the wrappings because you knew your partner or your mother or anyone who cares about you would give you grief about that binge? 

Well I have. Every day. 

It is not easy for me to write this. But I have many friends who are suffering in silence like I am. And I think it is important we quit shaming and start helping. If I can make it easier on one person out there just by opening up and telling them it is going to be ok, then I will be fine with this little humiliation:

My name is Rouba and I am a food addict.

Without a doubt. I had never looked at it this way. But today, as I am getting myself on a healthier path, I have noticed I am exactly that: a recovering addict

In a second, I could go back to eating like I used to. In a second, I could wipe out all of the kids treats in the house. I could. I know I have the horrifying potential to do it. I open the fridge. I see those two gigantic bars of Milka that I bought a while ago and I think "my God, I could totally eat you. The both of you. In less than a minute".  

But somehow I am not touching a thing right now. I am being extra cautious and I am not eating unless I am feeling really, really hungry. I am recording my change and progress on social media to hold myself accountable. To myself first. I do not like to fail and failing in public would be a million times worse. So I am hoping this would help keep me in check. And I take each day at a time. 

Because I am scared to death. 

What changed?

Even though I started EMS about three months ago, I did not care enough at the time to follow my trainer's advice and diet. I had somehow convinced myself that it was important and enough that I move. 

And I think I had gotten used to my weight and my shape and (un)consciously, decided, only shallow people care about their appearance.

To a certain extent, there is truth in that. 

But when your shape and your appearance are a direct reflection of your health, maybe it is time to look at yourself in a different light. 

When you are not even in your forties yet and your endocrinologist tells you your body is way older than your age and you have to start taking meds that you could have avoided by being healthy, then maybe it is time to redefine depth and shallowness.

When your meds include but are not restricted to what people who suffer from diabetes take and you have been on that path so often these pills no longer work by themselves and you now need injections then maybe, just maybe, it is not just about the size of your clothes anymore.  

Maybe you do not have to be a horrible human being and judge others for the way they look just because you decide that you need to change the way you live your life and by extension, the way you look.


The dress

My best friend asked me to be her daughter's godmother and I swear, I was so happy I literally cried. I love that child more than words could say and I so want to be there for her. 

On the other hand, I did not want to be the fat godmother standing next to the dashingly handsome doctor who happens to be the godfather.

Ok, that was vain. But it did the trick. 

So I went shopping for a dress and after weeks of looking, I found one that I absolutely loved. Nothing special, very simple but I just loved it. As luck would have it, the label does not do big sizes and when I tried the biggest one in the store I literally had to hold my breath. That zipper was going to explode all over the place like a damn A-bomb!

I bought the dress anyway. And I promised myself I would wear it. And not suffocate to death. 

And for the first time ever, I followed through on my promise.

A few days ago, I tried that dress on again and it fit like a charm. 

I have to say it: I am so proud of myself. It is only a dress, I know. But It represents so much more than that. It means that if I truly want to change my life and myself, I can. And I have.  


How did it all happen?

I am not sure to be honest. What I do know is that EMS had a lot to do with it. I felt like I was already on a path to a healthier me. And our trainer kept on repeating: "You will be stronger and fitter but you will not loose weight unless you complement your training with a diet. EMS alone is not enough". Well he was right. 

First things first: I called my doctor and got myself a new prescription for my meds because I know I cannot jump start my diet with bad insulin. I have thyroid issues for which I have been taking medications for years now and when I gained weight, I was forced to take pills to help with my insulin resistance. 

Secondly and most importantly: I shut my mouth. I started dieting properly and this combined with the meds and EMS helped me drop kilos in only a few weeks! Better yet, the workout helped me stay firm as I lost the weight. 

Now the hardest part is to keep going and reach my target weight. I still have 5 kilos to go which in the grand scheme of things is nothing compared to the 10 I have already lost. But somehow they seem to be more stubborn.

And of course, most importantly, to sustain that weight and not fall back into bad habits. This is not going to be easy. I leave Dubai and EMS in a few days to spend my summer in a remote mountain in Lebanon. But I will try. We will see. 

Wish me luck! ;)



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Monday, May 15, 2017

To fit or not to fit

I have always hated sports, for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I used to come up with excuses to get out of gym class. I never took up any sports activity and the only marathons I will ever engage in are those involving my favorite TV shows while I sit on my couch in my pajamas.

Netflix is my best friend
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I was one of those lucky kids and teens. Super skinny with absolutely zero effort on my part. Basically, I was my daughter. No matter how much junk she ingests, she stays thin. Underweight even, in my Lebanese mother's opinion. Yes, I know, an Arab mother may not be the most objective subject matter expert when it comes to children weight assessment (somehow all kids end up being classified as "underfed" with them), but still:

My beautiful daughter
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And because life is an ironic piece of work, when size and weight started to matter to me, my hormones pulled one on me. I began gaining kilos left and right and I have not been able to keep this madness under control since.

Every year, the "average I will settle for" seems to go up.

Now that I am approaching the big 4.0. I feel like I must do something. Not because I need to plan for my cougar years (although that's an excellent and valid incentive) but because I refuse to be that girl people remember on Facebook as "the sweet, funny but unfortunate friend who died at 40 leaving two kids behind because she was too effing lazy to move her butt".

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So I tried. Many, many programs from the Promised Land of Skinnistan. Personal Training, Zumba, Stretching, various Gym memberships and the free ones around my home... Nothing worked. Mostly because I hated them. And it probably has got to do with the fact that none of them showed actual results.

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Well, that also may be due to the fact that in my innocent, impatient mind, results mean dropping 15 kilos in 15 days. By the way, if you ever come across this diet while browsing the Internet, run away. It does not work!

Dropping the weight is important now. It is the immediate goal of course. But I have come to realize nothing will really work outside of a long-term program. Something sustainable that I will not easily quit the minute I walk past the Nutella Bar at Dubai Mall.

Fitness is what matters. Not size. Not weight. Fitness.

The condition of being healthy and able to move. That is the ultimate goal.

I really do not need to be skinny by anyone's standards. I just need to feel like I can play with my kids and maybe their kids one day not because I got lucky but because I planned for me to live long enough to be there.

And so the search began. Facebook has become my new Google and fortunately it had some guidance for me. About a year ago, I started seeing ads for something called "EMS" in my newsfeed. It looked interesting. Mostly because it seemed like no work at all. A 20 minutes high intensity interval program only once or twice a week. Come on now! I can do 20 minutes!

I partnered with my best friend on this Mission to Sexiness. I mean Fitness. Mission to Fitness.

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We tried out several places around town that offered EMS. We liked it. It seemed like a good plan. We know we cannot commit to a daily workout so this was the most reasonable alternative anyone had ever offered.

It turned out to be one hell of a workout though. When they say high intensity, they actually mean "the Devil himself may or may not have been involved in the design of that program".

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It is hard. It is work. And I, myself am shocked as I say this:

I  ABSOLUTELY  LOVE  IT!

In all fairness, it has to do with the trainers more than the training itself.

I will not be passing judgement on some of the places we visited because I am a firm believer in the rule "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" but feel free to inbox me if you are truly interested and need some feedback on how to filter all those EMS studios.

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Mayssa and I are now in a committed relationship. The new man in our lives is Denis.

We took a couple's package which made the most sense financially but also to keep pushing and motivating each other. No excuses and no flaking. We hold each other accountable and this means we have not missed a training in three months!

Mostly also, because we utterly love Denis.

First of all he was the one trainer we met who did not make us feel uncomfortable (or fat, or ugly). He is not judgmental or mean. He is kind and funny and supportive and he knows how to motivate us in a fun and respectful way.

And we literally cannot wait to see him every week!

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We work hard with Denis. But he works just as hard. He never ever gives us the same training twice. That means that we do not get bored which is super important but it also means our bodies do not get comfortable. Basically, we have been seeing him twice a week for three months now and each and every time, we spend the week aching! Our muscles are surprised with every session and that is important because this resonates as actual results.

It is refreshing and fantastic that his level of commitment to our personalized program is equal to ours and he is never lazy with his approach.

It does not hurt that he is also very attentive and will make sure we do not injure ourselves (so sometimes he tweaks some exercises to accommodate my bad knees) and he will keep his fingers on the machines to make sure he changes the various intensities targeting specific muscle groups based on the exercise he gives us.

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He is a real Training Partner and did I mention we wholeheartedly, completely and entirely love Denis?

- A few words on EMS itself:
It is Electrical Muscle Stimulation. Basically you are hooked to a machine. Each and every muscle group is connected and at various intervals, the machine will electrically stimulate the muscles. It makes the workout harder but it also means each and every muscle is stimulated and working at the same time. In other words, during that 20 minutes, you can do more than a week at the gym targeting each group separately. We work on the floor, with weights, with heavy balls, with TRX, and we even do proper cardio. It is really a well rounded workout. And it is intensive and all-muscle comprising which means you can only do it twice a week maximum to give your muscles recovery time.

If you want to try out, you can buzz him at Fit Express.

They have two branches: one in JLT (on the border, easy access, no traffic) and the other in Mirdiff.

Time to get fit!
Trust me, you will love it!



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