So every day we fill our body with excess sugar and fat and wonder why our waist-lines are expanding… No matter how hard you exercise, you can never out-exercise a bad diet.A recent study published in the New York Times suggests that, sugar might be as toxic as cigarettes, and I thought if that is the case, then one could conclude that sugar may do as much damage as cigarettes.
Many Nigerians can be classified as sugar addicts because of the amount of carbohydrates we eat on a daily basis. That may explain the reason why we are a robust people, but the sad thing is that we see our girth as “evidence of good living.” There are people who are seriously overweight, and don’t see it as something they should worry about, because in their opinion “being fat is in the African gene”. Maybe being overweight is not in our genes, but is in our foods.
Consider for a moment the amount of carbohydrates and fat the average Nigerian consumes at every meal. I’m convinced the average Nigerian meal can have as much as 1,500 calories, and I am not exaggerating. Take Garri as an example; a 100 gram of dry Garri (check your scale and measure to see what 100 grams looks like) contains about 360 calories, and some people can eat as much as 400 grams in one sitting. We have not added soup, and we all know how much we love oil and meat. Do the calculation, and you will agree that some of us are actually eating a day’s worth of calories in a single meal. Let me not start talking about noodles and eggs that many people eat every day. A pack of the ‘hungry man’s size’ noodle has over a thousand calories. Add two eggs and a generous amount of oil, and you can have as much as 1,500 calories in your plate. Let me remind you here that, the daily calorie requirement for an average person is 2,000 calories.
Another thing I have observed is that many of us love to drink, but the funny thing is that we unconsciously think those drinks contain no calories. If you live in a city like Lagos, where you wake up and sleep in traffic, you can even add pre-packaged sausage rolls or plantain chips to your bottle of cold drink, that is another 500-600 calories wasted on junk foods. Don’t even get me started on white bread and some other foods we think we can’t live without.
Have I mentioned the fact that many of us eat out 80 per cent of the time, and when we manage to cook at home, we go for the foods that can be ready in ’2 minutes’?
Beer is another drink some people ‘bath’ in every day and they complain when they see the appearance of their ‘beer belly’. So every day we fill our body with excess sugar and fat and wonder why our waist-lines are expanding.
At the end of the day it is the food we eat that breaks or builds our body. No matter how hard you exercise, you can never out-exercise a bad diet.
I know a few people who have lost significant amounts of weight and improved their health by cutting down on certain foods and drinks. They didn’t do anything drastic; they just cut down or totally cut out the offending foods!
I understand it may be hard for certain individuals to totally remove some foods from their diet, but such people can reduce the amount they eat, and also limit the frequency of consumption. You can cut you full bowl of Garri to half, and reduce the amount of meat you eat. You can eat your beans with two slices of bread instead of six slices. You can substitute whole grain noodles for your ’2 minutes noodles’, and you can eat your eggs boiled instead of fried. I know you can!
Cut out the offending foods today and see what happens to your weight and health!
Esta Morenikeji is a fitness instructor and fitness blogger. Once upon a time she weighed 92kg, now weighing in at 67kg, she teaches people how to lose weight and keep fit in a fun way. She blogs about fitness and weight loss at www.zonefitness.com.ng and tweets from @estamorenikeji