Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Taking Stock

The idea of taking food stock has been brewing a lot on my mind. By this I mean noting and recording what you eat (quantity-wise) daily in a journal. It differs from counting calories, which is accurately measured (where I trip up) before you eat anything (where I completely stumble), instead letting you track your eating habits over time. Please note this is for people with no side issues (bulimia, comfort eating, and anorexia). And so starting today – the 4th of January, 2012 – my food stock taking begins. I think it’s only wise that I skip yesterday – the 3rd of January – which coincidentally is my birthday. 
The first rule to taking stock is honesty. I don’t need to expatiate as you would only be deceiving none other than you. The second rule is to identify foods eaten due to (i) hunger pangs, (ii) cravings and if you want to go the extra mile (which you know I’ll be doing), (iii) greed. I believe that on average over time, there should be a reduction in the ‘cravings’ category with a simultaneous increase in the ‘hunger-pangs’ category. And just like our teenage journals/diaries (assuming you kept one), our hope should be that we look back on previous entries with either a satisfied smile on our faces and/or disgust from having changed drastically. Well, one can only hope.
I’ll take you through my day’s stock:
January 4, 2012
Cereal (hunger pangs)
2 glasses of water
4 cinnamon biscuits (cravings)
1 bar of patchi (more cravings)
1 caramel dairy milk sweet (plain greed)
2 cups of green tea with honey
Jollof rice & 4 plantain slices with fish (hunger pangs)
1 cup of green tea with honey
2 things stand out: First of all, no fruits and vegetables and secondly, not enough water. Let’s not even talk about exercise just yet. So now I am conscious of the areas to work on/ know what to store in my fridge. I don’t plan to share this publicly after today (except if requested) but I hope you can all use this as a guide for your private food journals. Besides being conscious of what and how much we put into our bodies, please let’s start to differentiate the necessities from the ‘extras’. With this, I wish you all a healthy Year!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Chasing 30!

The thought of getting older still terrifies me. With slowing metabolisms, hairy chins (and only God knows where else), declining hair growth, eye bags and all, it’s not hard to see why. However, I find we often identify or focus too much on the negatives (as with most things) whilst blocking out the advantages. And with that, I have been on a mission to discover the benefits in my approaching 30 (by God’s grace).
Let’s take it waaaaaay back. In my teens, I was so conscious of err, lets see everything and everyone. Thoughts of “‘What do they think’, ‘How do I look’, ‘Would I be accepted’” constantly filled my head. Really, what did it matter? Or rather, what did they matter? We often placed so much emphasis on impressing the ‘wrong set’ of people and tried so hard to conform to standards society thought were ideal.
For instance, the criteria of what being good-looking was always baffled me. And I found that my thoughts changed with my geographical location. In my early teens in Nigeria, I associated it with being a lighter complexion (preferably mixed race) coupled with the precise amount of body flesh (in the right places). In England, it got slightly more complicated. Beauty was further analysed. I was shocked to find that one could be classified as beautiful, should she have a full mouth, cute button-y nose, large eyes, graceful long neck, endless legs etc. Shooo! I was weak. What didn’t I try? Ok so I had the full mouth hands down but on numerous occasions, I got friends to pull my neck whilst pressing my shoulders down; tie a paschmina around my waist at night only to wake up practically breathless in the middle of the night. I also tried holding my nose every chance I got and need I explain the then never-ending heels.
Why? I repeat why? Yes I know I can ask this now but that’s what comes with easing into my late 20s. I have become less apologetic for who I am and who & what I represent. And to make things clear, I am a lady who is passionate about many things – a few of which are Jesus Christ, love, female empowerment and organising/decorating events. Don’t get me wrong, I have my share of doubts and sometimes need reassurance but there is a difference. And it’s that – unlike before – now I seek God’s voice and the voices of the lovely people I have surrounded myself with. And so with all their help, I will not be ‘fixed’ into anyone’s ideal female. (Besides the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31).
Another thing I am inclined to do is spend more time studying women older and wiser than me. There’s truly no better way to learn. You would see that the successful and admirable ones are excellent at what they do from constant practice and dedication. And with this comes certain self-assurance. They are wise enough to pick their battles and words with care. They can stand strong on their own. Don’t know about you but this really excites me! I am giddy with what the next decade will bring. Or rather, what path I will create in the next decade. Standing firm on God’s word, I pray and I am expectant that with hard work and constant enthusiasm, my light will shine bright.
And with that, I actively chase 30 whilst screaming ‘Roll on the next decade’!!!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Corper-Sion!!! (Life of an NYSC Foreigner)

Ironically, living in England for almost eight years still did not equip me for the term used to describe me and my friends in NYSC in my homeland – FRN (Foreigner). Not only was this slightly impolite, it also gave a false description as I was anything but that.

Back to the start.
August 13’07 – The sucking up began. If you’ve never unashamedly licked ass, better start practicing. Queuing up to fill forms where these women are filled with disdain for, lets see, EVERYONE. Simple comments such as ‘Madam, are you ok’ or ‘Madam let me help check if my school is listed’ will get you far (at least ahead of the queue). There was this girl with a deep Texan accent (please leave all accents at the airport) who was acting all posh. Before we knew it, one of the women said ‘Americana, this your Texas school is not in our book’. While the girl was still speaking ‘English’, the women shouted ‘Leave the queue, your school does not exist – better call your daddy’. Needless to say the girl burst into tears. Naija!
October ’07 – Went back to Abuja to pick up my call-up letter. Kept praying ‘let it be Lagos’ till I saw the buildings in camp. 21 days in this!
Things to take with you (if you are really stuck there)
1.   Mosquito net – Very essential or the mosquitoes would soon be repelled by your blood (the terms the mosquitoes use is ‘see finish’)
2.   Waist bags or messenger bags – For money, lip gloss, phone, etc. If you take the latter, the ‘rightful owners’ might try claiming it at night, so be careful.  
3.   White t-shirts – To reduce the gawking from the opposite sex at the transparent, non-existent ones provided by NYSC.
4.   White shorts – that fit.
5.   White socks – that don’t naturally stink.
6.   Dettol – Need I explain?
7.   Dettol soap – Shower gel does not equip you against unnamed and un-invented diseases.
8.   Black bin bags – for everything. What were you thinking? Yuk!
9.   Padlocks – I personally don’t see the point of these as suitcases themselves could mysteriously go AWOL with the so-called padlocks positioned safely on your pillowcase.
Terms you would also need to learn
1.   Otondo – This means ‘foolish’, ‘stupid’ or such. The soldiers say ‘Otondo’ at which the Corpers are expected to reply ‘Corper’. Get it?
2.   Double up – means Faster, NOW!
3.   Fall Out – Out of line. One thing it could mean is ‘you are in trouble’. Opposite: Fall in.
4.   Cover Up – No space expected in front of you. Your waist bag should ideally be on the bum of the person in front of you. Nothing like ‘personal space’ here.  
5.   Words like ‘Good to go’, ‘Motivated’ and ‘Dedicated’ – the soldiers ask if you are one of these 3 things and you respond by repeating the words thrice.
6.   The ultimate is ‘You are WRONG’ – One of the camp commandant’s favourite. For instance, he’ll say ‘If you are still your room when you’re meant to be on the parade ground, you are WRONG!’
In spite of all these things, camp was unexpectedly fun (if you are the adventurous type). I was definitely impressed with the number of international students who braved it. Escaping was not even an option for me (again) after a few of us tried walking through bushes with soldiers pretending to be their girlfriends. YeahL. I have never seen an institution where people are out to make money everyway they can – hole punching, stapling, phone charging, plate washing, room sweeping, you name it.
I definitely learnt a lot. Got re-acquainted with some old friends, met some really cool people, some sick people (there was this one guy who used to argue that kidnapping was not a felony) and some weird people (also this guy who used to walk up behind me and start playing with my braids – I didn’t know him if you are asking. Well, I guess that’s just life for a FOREIGNER in her own homeland.

The famous NYSC boots - lol!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Life in the Huge lane (2) – On the hunt for Wii!

Life in the Huge lane (2) – On the hunt for Wii!
The first rule to weight shedding/toning up is patience – wink, wink as to where I am going with this lol. They say that it typically takes 12 weeks for any change in weight to be noticed. I so wasn’t pleased to hear this. Luckily for me though, quite a bit has occurred since my blog a month ago. My arms, legs and thighs are getting slightly toned and I can finally see knuckles on my knees. My tummy isn’t there yet but it’s flatter than it was four weeks ago and my love ‘handles’ can’t quite be handled that easily.
Also due to my being restless and trying to enjoy the whole process, I have taken to mixing different exercise routines. According to ‘’Fitness’’ magazine, completing several different exercises burns 30% more calories. So instead of just walking, I try walking and jogging – more walking and less jogging though. Also skipping (jumping rope) does wonders to us. As opposed to other forms of exercise that are area specific – it works your whole body – arms, legs, tummy and shoulders. Another plus is that you don’t have to leave home to do it. If you are interested in one, they stock them at the fitness store in The Palms for N1,200 or N3,500.
It is often said that achieving the right weight is 60% down to eating right and 40% down to exercise. In the last four weeks, I have taught my body to learn that it’s not the boss of me – I control this ship! No eating just because I want to or because people around me are. For instance, at Chocolate Royal a couple of weeks back with Hady & Nadia, I only had a starter (how boring) because I had had a meal earlier. Previously, I would have ordered an extra extra cheesy pepperoni pizza and taken some slices home. So now, I have stopped meals after 7pm (except on very rare occasions) and start each day with a glass of warm water. Because of this, I find that I tend to eat twice a day and supplement with fruits. I am not saying this is the best option – some people say eating lots of smaller portions works for them – so I’d suggest studying yourself and finding out what’s right for you.
The other day at Soph’s place, she introduced me to the wonders of Wii! It’s perfect for mixing up different exercise techniques (and if you are an avid Disney channel watcher, you’ll love the characters). We jogged and danced for about 10 minutes and lost ~60 calories! Exercising was fun! Now I am on the hunt for my very own Wii to help speed up my toning process and help reduce my life in the HUGE lane.

p.s: The Female Walk Movement (or Walk It Off) is still on – ideas have been very helpful and are currently being looked at.
p.p.s: New words people use in describing weight gain: your husband is taking care of you, you are full, you have filled out, you are ripe, the time is right – what for please?
At the moment, watching Ruby (a first) on style network and I feel really bad for her. In this episode, she has put on even more weight despite restricting herself from all the fun foods – it just shows that it doesn’t happen overnight and we have to keep at it. 
Also check out my sister’s blog on for what really matters.              

Monday, 1 August 2011

Life in the HUGE lane!

I refuse to be a statistic. When I received the fourth bbm (blackberry message) from a friend congratulating me on being pregnant, I knew I had to say and do something about it. I am not pregnant people, just FAT! I always thought newlyweds’ packing on the pounds was just a myth until I gained 7kg in 7 weeks. Not that being big is a problem, well, who am I kidding, for me it is. I am 5"1.5 (another shock as until recently I strongly believed I was 5"3) so being big and short doesn't quite fit in with my plans of being the first Nigerian short model. Also, I am not too keen on been called 'cute' or 'cuddly'.

It all started from the wedding. After endless months of dieting and constant swimming, my ring gave me a false sense of courage. I could be anything with that ring and be FABulous. So I gave in to all the cravings. At the wedding (Yes I let go from that day), I ate food (to my satisfaction), had dessert, the wedding cake, cupcakes and oh, the small chops (finger foods). Basically, everything on the menu. Under the Bajan sun some days after, I did some serious damage to the 'All inclusive' menu, regardless of the non-existing hourly intervals.

So now, I am refusing to be a statistic. I am working my way back to being the right weight for my (right) height. Sadly for now, salsa seems out of the question for me. I'm yet to hear good things about the few salsa dance classes around. And I am not comfortable with different random people hanging unto my curves just yet. Instead I have taken to walking - something I wasn’t fond of initially due to the insufficient pedestrian access and the over-flooding of 'okada' (motor-cycle) drivers distressing you. But surprisingly, I enjoy it - the weather's amazing at this time of the year, people are civil enough and you get to learn new things about your surroundings.

Long walks have got me thinking about a female walk movement - where lots of women walk to shift 'those stubborn areas', whilst monitoring our progress. Let me know what you think and whatever happens, I'll keep you posted on my life in the HUGE lane. xxo