Monday, December 30, 2013

How my pot belly ended its wait and I lost the weight

Msiniseme, kma anpenda kula. Don't tell anyone, that I love food. If you think I started writing this blog post because I'm hungry, You lie bad. I have had 3 huge meals today and I had to refuse another meal because I had had my fill.

After I'd arrived in the US in September 2001, I realized I had grown quite tall. I gave credit for that to all the 'gaso' I'd been having at Presec. 'Gaso' or 'gas oil' is the sauce that accompanied rice, waakye and other meals we had at Presec. It was some sort of diluted stew, but not quite as rich as a soup. I had a lot of it. Many Presec prefects didn't patronise the dining hall but I did. Maybe it was the beginning of my love for free food.

I used to eat so much while in college at MIT but I never grew big. I was always lean and slender. People would always ask me how I never grew bigger in spite of the garguantan amount of food I would eat. "Where does all the food go?" So many people questioned me so I made up a story. "I have a tapeworm within me. When I eat, it shares the food with me". People would find it funny but how.

I discovered that I also had a very active metabolism. I remember my cousin chiding me one time for visiting the loo too often and at times that I was just about to eat or had finished eating. "You are clearing space for too much food, stop". Yea. This could have also been a reason for my remaining a lean mean machine. In fact, when I tried really hard, I could showcase my six-pack :-)

While at Stanford, I ate even more. Grad students are known to fish for free food, but for me and some grad school friends, we took it to another level. In fact, we would carry things to carry food home. My tapeworm didn't desert me but I had another thing working in my favour in the fight to remain lean - activities. I biked all the time everywhere I went due to the humongous Stanford campus. I also played a lot of soccer, sometimes every single day of the week.

When I returned to Ghana, I started losing out in this fight. I couldn't bike any more. I was riding in cars all the time and being driven. I wasn't quite driven to exercise because I felt my metabolism would hold up. And then I started eating waakye more seriously. While at Stanford, I would go to bed at 2, 3, 4am, a long while after dinner. In Ghana while working, I would routinely get home at 9pm. I would get off work earlier but I would spend the evening hanging with people and having meetings. I would have dinner at 9pm and go to bed at 10:30 because I was exhausted. This kind of behaviour doesn't bode well for remaining lean. But man must eat, no be so?

Before I realised, I was growing bigger and bigger. But in the wrong place mostly, my belly. One of my best friends called 'eating time' good belly news. This was bad belly news. My stomach, ahem pot belly, was growing. I was enjoying gaining weight but the pot belly was not sexy. The tapeworm? Maybe the Ghanaian sun had burnt it to death. Eventually, because I am so hooked on this particular number, I told myself, I would try get to 233 pounds and then start losing weight.

I made it to 226 pounds and then decided that I would go bigger no more. I knew what had gotten me to this weight so I had a fair idea of how to lose it. I started making sure I didn't eat past 7 or 8pm and if I did, I waited at least 2 hours before sleeping. I started walking more when I could and did a few sit ups here and there. And then I lost weight and came down to about 180 pounds. But I am not as lean as I was before I moved to Ghana. I like that. Now, all I have to do and find a way to get that six pack to show when I mean it.

So yeah, that's how I gained and lost weight. Easy eh? If it doesn't work for you, just understand that the value is not the same.

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