Those who say “I can” and “I can’t” are usually both right ~ Confucius

I was always a thin girl. I don’t recall gaining much weight except for 2 years during college and even then it was only 5 kilos which I managed to lose easily.

But that was not the case when I moved to the UAE. Over a period of a year and a half, somehow I had gained 20 kilos. It reached a point where walking a distance of 5 blocks to work would cause me immense pain in my feet. I went to a doctor and he told me that my feet can no longer carry my body.

I was forced to take it seriously and tried to reduce my weight. I had reached 82 kilos at the age of 25. I started implementing small changes to my unhealthy habits:

  • No soda drinks again no matter what
  • No oil, margarine, butter, ghee…any sort of added fats was banned from my house
  • No artificial sugar of any kind

I still ate out all sorts of food whether junk, fried, unhealthy…etc. I hit the gym for some time then I stopped. I lost few kilos but that was it.

I tried all sorts of diets: Dukan, Atkin, blood type, chemical ones. They would work for a while and then I would gain all the weight back again once I stopped the diet.

One day, on Instagram I followed the most famous female gym trainers in the U.S. I was amazed at how they transformed their bodies. I wondered, how they were able to do it when I failed miserably many times. Watching those women daily on my Instagram feed gave me hope that one day I too can do it.

And I did it. I eventually contacted two of them through email asking for a nutritious plan and a gym weight lifting plan. I followed both plans by heart. I could not believe how my body felt. All my unhealthy cravings went away. I used to wake up in the morning craving Broccoli! Can you believe it?! Yes broccoli! I always hated vegetables but since I was following the plan…my body just looked forward to eating vegetables every day.

When I asked my trainer about that she said: “Eman simply, your body will crave what you give it. Give it junk/fast food it will crave that, give it healthy food it will crave that”. So I read a lot about proper nutrition. Over time, my face cleared up and I looked healthier day after day.

I allowed myself to cheat only one day a week, mostly Fridays so I can have a meal at a restaurant with some friends. After a couple of months, my body could not digest the unhealthy food I ate on the cheat day. I used to get stomachaches and feel nauseous when I had a cheat meal. Accordingly, I would either eat very small quantities of unhealthy food, or I would forego the cheat meal altogether.

I came to the following realization after a few weeks:

It’s not about losing weight. It’s not about that wedding/party dress that you want to fit into just for that night. It’s not about wanting to look hot in a bikini for the summer. It’s not about looking skinny. It’s not about looking like a model doing the catwalk on the streets. And it’s definitely not about being ashamed of your current body shape.

It’s about how much you love yourself and consciously choosing to care for your own health!

It’s about understanding that eating healthy is a lifetime choice not a temporary one!

It’s about caring what’s on the inside of your body rather than just what it looks like on the outside.

And I didn’t stop there. I let go of the Arab gym misconception (pure myth actually) that “women who lift weights have muscles and look like men”.

I refused to accept the easy training programs tailored for women whether it’s light cardio or light weight training. I started lifting light weights and I increased the weights over time when I got stronger.

So let us stop worrying about this myth. If you lift weights from now, your body will thank you for it when you cross the age of 40’s because you won’t have loose, flabby skin. And remember, with weight lifting you can actually shape your body just the way you want to.

So after reading this, you too can have a new beginning. You too can change your lifestyle. You too can do it.

Know that people will laugh at you, mock you, say you will starve with your meager-looking amounts of food intake.

They will get upset because you decline their invites to unhealthy food outings.
But you get to choose: “Your lifetime happiness and their temporary upset” versus “their temporary happiness and your lifetime illness”.

I will tell you that it’s hard, but it’s not impossible. It requires:
Willingness: I will do it now.

Discipline: Meal prepping your food in advance

Strength: Saying no to unhealthy food habits

And Perseverance: Never giving up

Those who say “I can” and “I can’t” are usually both right. So which group do you fall under today?


Eman’s story was first seen on Let’s Care and Share Facebook group.