Shiru Macharia : My Weight Loss Journey
Many of us have struggled with weight and self-image. Shiru, a Naturalista (Sisterlocked) wife and mother, is no exception. She recently lost over 60 lbs in less than a year, just by gradually adjusting her diet. In this exclusive interview, she shares with TN how she did it:
TN: How heavy were you prior to your weight loss journey?
I was 108 kilos! (240 lbs)
TN: How were you feeling ?
I was really tired all the time. Bathing my kids was a chore that would make me really sweat! Like I would have to sit after their shower and catch my breath. I also had aches at the sole of my feet and my back. I was really insecure about my body and how I looked.
TN: What led to your weight gain?
My weight gain came over time. It started really slowly after I got married. I relaxed and was not as active as I used to be. After two babies, I added more than 25 kilos! I was not able to lose it after my first baby and piled on the weight after my second. I was hungry all the time especially while nursing. I felt I needed a supersized plate to produce milk. However I made wrong food choices daily- almost 10 digestives a day with my three cups of tea. Bread was my addiction and my portion sizes were huge!
TN: What was your turning point?
My 29th birthday last year was my turning point. I didn’t feel like going out to celebrate. I was feeling so tired physically. I was also depressed for some reason and I didn’t know why. I mean, I had two beautiful babies and a supportive husband so I didn’t understand why I had my mood swings. But that day I decided by the same time next year, when I turn 30 on 30th October, I will have lost 30 kilos. 30:30:30. It seemed really impossible at the time, I even laughed. But I looked at my kids, and I wanted to do more with them. Way more than the bath times, I wanted to be fit enough to go outside and play with them. I wanted to be the healthiest I can be for my family.
TN: What changes did you make?
I started in October last year and made slow deliberate changes at first. I didn’t go cold turkey. I remember when I started I just quit the digestives biscuits and I noticed within a week and a half I had lost a kilo. I then stopped the bread and lost a kilo more. This motivated me to keep going and keep making the changes. The tough part was quitting the white processed carbs because they are so addictive. But I managed and added more vegetables and fiber to my diet and I also reduced my portions. It took me about two months to really quit processed foods and stick to the right portions.
TN: Who encouraged you?
I told my husband and my sister when I was starting my weight loss journey and they walked with me the whole way. My folks also really encouraged me. My really good friends also kept me accountable. At the end of the day though I had to be my biggest motivator and keep myself going.
TN: Describe how you felt when you started seeing progress.
I was eager to get to my ideal weight. But because I had given myself a year, I allowed some space to make mistakes and to learn. Some weeks were great; I would lose a kilo in a week! Some weeks were stagnant because I ate what I shouldn’t. But I kept going. Hearing friends and family congratulate me for losing weight motivated me even more. I am now only 5 kilos away from my 30kg goal and I believe I will lose them before October.
TN: Today how do you feel about yourself?
My relationship with food has changed completely because I now know what’s good for me and what’s not.I not only feel lighter, my mood is better and I have lots of energy.
My journey has led me to a plant-based lifestyle. For me this has been proven to be the healthiest and most sustainable way to keep weight at bay. I lost more weight effortlessly since going vegan. My friends and family around me have become encouraged and inspired to also make those positive changes in their diets. I am truly fascinated by the healing power of foods, Currently I have enrolled for a culinary nutrition program so that I can help other people adjust their eating habits and achieve their health goals.
TN: What advice would you give other women (and men) who want to lose weight?
Start making those steps today. More than losing weight or getting fit, being healthy is the most important thing. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds should comprise the largest portion of your plate. You don’t have to make major changes overnight. Start by cutting out one unhealthy thing per day or per week. Today I don’t miss many of the things I thought I couldn’t go without, yet I am nourished!