Celebrating reaching BMI 25

By June 15, 2019Weight Loss Diary
Photograph with Alex Ekueme at The Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, 1991

This photograph was taken back in 1990 or 1991 at an evening soiree at the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos and I am wearing a fairly expensive dress that was a handed down to me from my elder sister. It was my sister’s graduation dress and looked amazing on her but I never thought it did much for me.  To add insult to injury I had begun to gain weight so the dress, was particularly unflattering around the stomach area which is a shame because it stopped me enjoying this photograph that I took with Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (21 October 1932 – 19 November 2017), the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria, from 1979 to 1983, on the platform of the National People’s Party (NPN), with President Shehu Shagari (Partially sourced from Wikipedia). However, as I am now getting to that age where I increasingly refuse to let my vanity get in the way of a good story, I thought I would share the photograph with you. My hair in the photograph was clearly not the best idea not but let’s talk about that some other time.

What has this photograph got to do with weight loss you might ask.  Well like everything else in my life, I remember times in my life in line with what was going on with my weight.  I think that I was going through an odd period of contentment combined with uncertainty around this time. I was worried about the future in the usual way that one is when leaving full-time education but I was also strangely confident in my ability to make things happen for myself in my career. Thank goodness I never looked in a crystal ball at the time!  Anyway, I was not happy with my muffin top however and I was shocked to have tipped the scales for the first time in my life weighing 10 stones or 140 lbs which I think coverts into 63.502932 Kilograms

I remember experiencing full-scale low-level panic at the time. I thought I was extremely overweight and did not realise that at 10 stone I was still well under BMI 25 and still within my healthy weight range. In Nigeria at the time, it was considered really desirable for women to have some “meat” on their bones. On my part, however, I was beginning to dislike the way my clothes fitted.  To me, 10 stones seemed massive.  I was used to weighing anything from 7 stones 7 lbs (105 lbs) at my lowest to about 9 stones at most (126 lbs). There was not a lot of information about health and fitness so I saw myself as overweight and I lived with this misconception for many years.

Looking back, I can see that there were many years that I walked around feeling massive when I was not even overweight. The fact that my weight was sometimes the source of family chatter did not help either and sometimes well-meaning family members would buy clothes for me in larger sizes.  The clothes often drowned me and did nothing for my self-esteem because it gave me the impression that they too thought I was huge.

It is ironic to that end that I have been battling in recent times to get my weight back down to 10 stone 6 lbs.  This figure is significant because according to the NHS website this represents BMI 25 for me. In March 2018, I got down to 149 lbs and was 3 lbs away from hitting BMI 25.  Then the worst happened, I plateaued and then began gaining weight.  I ended 2018 back up to 161 lbs. 

Anyway, this time around I have been super cautious as I got close to the magical 146 lbs.  For instance I realised that I had reached this milestone a few weeks ago but I know that my body can go down to a particular weight and then shoot up 2 – 3 lbs so I decided to wait until there was absolutely no doubt that I had achieved the milestone.

In some ways, it was easy to put the milestone to one side because I have been very busy at work and busy training at the gym.  So busy in fact that I forgot to do my usual thing when I anticipate weight loss – ie. to hop on and off the scales constantly in anticipation  And then, there was last weekend when I decided to have a couple of so-called cheat days.  I was determined to enjoy food that I had not eaten for a while and had been craving.  On Friday after a hectic working week, I thought about calling my local Chinese takeaway and then I remembered that something had irritated my stomach the last time I had it.  I tend to lean towards Chinese food but I have come to realise that Chinese food is a substitute for Nigerian home cooking. In other words, given a chance, I would rather have Nigerian food. Nigerian takeaways are still few and far between however, compared to Chinese and Indian takeaways. I have to go out of my way plus it can be difficult to work out calorie values because by and large Nigerians are not fussed about cooking with precise recipes.  The other thing is that I cannot tolerate eating Nigerian stew anymore.  This is notthing short of tragic to me and as I said to a friend of mine recently, I am even Nigerian if I cannot eat stew?  A story for another day for sure.

Back to my feasting. In the end I focussed on certain things I was craving – Greek yoghurt, apples, oranges, Hi-Low bread and peanut butter.  It was an amazing feast but by Sunday, I thought I needed to reign things in a bit. I jumped on the scales to reset my journey and to my surprise I had dropped two more pounds and now weigh 144 lbs. I had reached BMI 25 and exceeded it. Yay!

It reminded me of a pasttime that I have developed over the last 8 – 10 year which involved me going on the NHS website to check my BMI. Once I typed in my actually weight, I would then I keep going taking off 2 lbs each time for each week of anticipated weight loss.  When I kept plateauing, it sucked all the joy out of messing about on the NHS website and I stopped checking altogether – until a day or two ago.  According the site I am BMI 24.5.  However there are reasons for me to remain cautious.  There is now an extra box to tick on the site that asks about ethnicity and apparently as an African woman, I need to aim for BMI 23. This is fine by me because my actual target is 130 lbs.  This means that I have exactly a stone (14lbs) more to lose.  They say the last 5 lbs of weight loss is always the hardest.  I have a feeling that will be the case for the remaining 14 lbs but I plan to keep going.

I am already turning my mind to other issues such as whittling my waist line as much as possible, doing the same for my belly and doing everything in my power to ensure that I am not left with loose hanging skin.  More about my future aspirations in a future post.

Until next time it’s #NoToTheYoYo  #YesToAstableWeight #NoTimeToPauseForMenopause #YesToAstableHealthyWeight


Author Julie

Lawyer (co-founding partner/solicitor of a legal aid practice), blogger, feminist, lover of fashion & beauty. I believe that there are two types of people - the living and the dead. Age has nothing to do with it.

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