In a country where some two-thirds of residents are overweight, Qatar has been searching for ways to combat its obesity epidemic. Medical experts and athletes are constantly weighing in on the fight, but one voice that’s rarely heard is that of an overweight person trying to get a handle on his/her health. In this weekly series, one Qatar resident gets personal about her struggle to lose weight. Read N.A. Rashid’s previous entries here.
Another week has passed. It was tougher compare to the previous week. I am confessing that I ate food items that I was not supposed to eat.
I went with my classmates to Caravan Bukhara as we invited our professor for lunch. Initially, I ordered for myself fresh orange juice and spicy grilled chicken. My friends ordered a variety of delicious dishes that were highly caloric. I ate what I ordered but then wrestled with myself about having more: why not try one or two spoonfuls of chicken biryani and chicken karahi (gravy)?
I couldn’t resist and I tried it. After one week of hardship, it was too delicious to resist. After lunch, I came home and blamed myself a lot. To ease my guilt, I went for an evening walk. I felt light and happy after the walk. During the one-hour stroll, I repeatedly told myself that I am not going to lose this battle.
Addicted to food
The next day, we had a family get-together at my in-laws’ home. They cooked kebabs and rice. It looked so tempting and delicious. Again, I couldn’t resist and ate it. Unfortunately, I have struggled last week with weaning myself from food. The reality is that I can exercise for hours and do all other related things with my weight loss except resisting food. I am helpless and my situation made me cry during the last week.
The saddest part of the story is that most of us (obese people) are not self-aware. It took me years to realize that this is my main obstacle to losing weight. Writing in this diary has made me think deeply about being self-aware.
Upon reflection, I have identified in myself three interrelated illnesses: I am obese, addicted to food and a compulsive eater. After researching strategies to fight my addiction, I plan to try these methods this week:
- Listerine: I read somewhere that nothing tastes good after mouthwash.
- Identifying “trigger” foods: I usually cook at home, but that food never attracts me. This week I am going to write things that grab my appetite.
- Distraction: I read that it is good to distract ones self when thoughts of food and eating arise. The distraction can be books, movie, an outing or TV.
- Exercise: The comfort and satisfaction I derive from eating unhealthy food can also be obtained by exercising. I read that the latter is more longlasting, because it is not quickly replaced with guilt.
- Water: I also read that oftentimes, when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty. To ease my hunger, I am going to drink more water this week.
- Situational temptations: There are times when I feel more cravings and hunger, especially when I go out with family and friends. I believe places like the cinema and restaurants trigger my hunger and taste buds. I should be avoiding them.
- Retraining my brain and adjusting my taste buds: Someone told me that my plate size should be smaller and I should only eat when I am hungry. I should adjust my taste buds to healthier food substitutes.
- Think FLAB (frustration, loneliness, anxiety, and boredom): I read that we should seeking out food as a way to cope with our feelings. Before putting something in our mouths, we should think each and every time, why do I want to eat this? Is it because I am frustrated or lonely or anxious or bored? If the answer involves one of these emotions, then we need to find a positive way to deal with these emotions rather than eating food, because eating will not resolve them.
My weight has affected me and millions like me in this world both physically and emotionally. I want to overcome obesity and am trying hard to find ways that will benefit me and others.
I pray that Allah heal us, direct us to the right path, ease our frustration and make our journey easier.