Fat women only eat shawarma. They’re only motivated by shawarma. Their whole purpose in life is shawarma.
I spent most of my life seeing working out as a punishment for what I ate. I felt shame every time I hit the gym, I felt as if all the people there were judging me. When the weight wouldn’t go down as fast as I wanted it to, I felt like a disappointment, like a failure. My negative outlook made me quit, again and again, lose all the progress, then start all over after a few months of sulking. Then quit again, because my punishment was not effective. And that’s the thing, when you force yourself to work out because you hate your body.
But nobody told me that back then. It’s something I learned by myself, while I was struggling to find out what went so wrong that I ended up so unhappy and full of self hatred. Today, however, there’s people like Antonia Teaha to help you with that. You have no idea how much someone with her outlook on health and losing weight would’ve helped me during my teenage years. Someone who understands that everything comes from within – that all the stereotypes and misconceptions about gaining weight are so, so damaging and that things are a lot more complicated than that. She doesn’t just recommend a diet and shame you into going to the gym, which is all I got from the professionals I reached out to when I was desperate to lose weight. And, what I think is the most important part – is that she knows what’s it like to be fat. She knows how hard it is to lose weight, but in the same time, how easy it can become with the proper help and the proper mindset.
Besides wanting to share her incredibly healthy (in every sense possible) outlook on losing weight, both me and Antonia decided that what better way to illustrate this article than by poking fun at all the stereotypes and double standards that we’ve come across when it comes to being fat/losing weight?
Some personal favourites:
- The common belief that all fat people are lazy and eat like pigs. All of them are just weak and can’t say no to junk food. No emotional ramifications or dependencies involved. However, when a skinny person posts a photo with a burger, three portions of french fries and 4 beers, claiming to have eaten them all, they’re #Goals.
- Fat women only eat shawarma. They’re only motivated by shawarma. Their whole purpose in life is shawarma.
- Personal trainers need to scream at you, make you live in fear and shame you into losing weight. Negative reinforcement works wonders. Making a person feel like shit about themselves will definitely help them.
- Women and especially fat women don’t really work out. The gym is a place for selfies, showing off your new workout outfits and your new makeup tricks.
Now I work out and do my best to keep healthy BECAUSE I love my body. I don’t do it to change it, I don’t do it to become skinny. I do it because I respect myself. And it’s just what the doctor (or Antonia) ordered.
What is WillDiet?
WillDiet is your go to place for nutritional information, for what to eat, what to cook and how to get moving when you want to lose weight or if you want a healthy lifestyle. It`s also about self-love and personal development, because a healthy mind in a healthy body is the way to go!
I lost 41 kg, but not through diets from Hell, or through surgery. I was 21 years old and weighed 96 kilograms at a whopping height of 1.58 m. I had troubles sitting down or getting up, going up the stairs or walking for a longer period of time. I was 21 and I couldn`t do everything I wanted because I was ashamed of my body and physically, it was very difficult. So I started learning about nutrition, I started trying out all kind of sports ( I`m a cluts so that was a huge step for me) and most importantly I gave myself therapy, to find out why I was eating, what I was trying to compensate, why I was careless with my health and body. Changing my lifestyle, healing my mind and soul came with all the weight loss and a lot of self-love.
So, naturally, when I started wondering how I could help others, I thought of how lonely and confused I was when I wanted to change
my lifestyle… there is so much information and there are so many trends about food, you get confused, you don`t know which one to believe. I wanted to help and this was the perfect way to do it, I had been through it and I came out victorious and self-loving, I had all these experiences and all this information and I just had to use them to help others like me.
My programs are based on a lot of will and commitment. I think diets are short term and irrelevant. I believe in a long term changes and they imply patience and consistency. My programs are based on small, manageable changes in nutrition and sports, but also therapy – the individual why`s. WillDiet is teamwork, I bring the information, the help, the non-stop assistance and all the love I am capable of and in return my team mate has to bring his/her will and efforts to find what makes him or her tick and what they love to eat, what kind of sports they enjoy! You have to love the process as well as the result!
What makes a diet successful?
Any diet is successful through commitment. However, I am not a fan of diets. They do work if you stick to them, but they`re not meant for long term usage. If that diet is not sustainable (99% of them aren`t) and if it doesn`t change any of your habits or perspectives, you`ll eventually gain all the lost weight, right back. The best option is to turn your lifestyle around and make it a healthy one, a nourishing one, for your body and your mind!
3. Did you hit any relapses in your process of losing weight ?
Oh, yes! Plenty of them. At first I tried diets and as soon as I`d finish the diet, the weight came right back. I felt lost and disappointed. I felt like I was doomed. Quite literally. I thought I had some curse on me that forbade me from keeping the weight off. But I`m stubborn and I didn`t give up, I tried to see what went wrong and why I kept gaining the weight back. That`s how I understood why diets are crap and only a healthy, balanced lifestyle would keep me healthy. While stubbornness is viewed as a negative trait, it was my best weapon, it made my will strong AF!
4. How do you react now if you put on a kg or two? Has it happened to you since you lost all that weight? How do you deal with it?
Well, I still love food and when I go on vacation I just focus on enjoying everything, so yes it has happened, but never more than 3 kgs. In the beginning it was panic. I felt like all the weight I had lost would come back. But working out and eating healthy for a week would help me get rid of them. Working out and the foods I eat have improved my metabolism, so I shed the extra weight very quickly. However, I don`t take it lightly because this yo-yo-ing with kilograms is not healthy in the long run, as it haywires your hormones. Balance always is the key and too much of anything is bad.
Is there more to losing/gaining weight than what you eat and how active you are?
From my point of view, the answer is a strong YES! Besides your native metabolism (which you can be boosted indeed), there is also genetics and the psychological side of eating. The genetics differ from one person to the other, while I ate my way up the scale, so did my husband, only he stayed thin.
The psychological side involves your traumas, your triggers and your emotional relationship with food. If your trainer/nutritionist doesn`t help you figure that out, you`ll soon be back to your original weight. We do eat our emotions and we do use food to compensate for what`s missing. I tried all the diets out there, even saw a nutritionist and nothing worked until I figured why I was eating when I wasn`t really hungry, what food I chose and why and what feeling I was trying to push down when I chose junk food, instead of something nourishing.
What are the qualities a good personal trainer should have?
I had personal trainers, whether they were online or offline and I personally believe everybody responds better to positive reinforcement. A good personal trainer knows how to read people knows how to make them give their best and encourages you to push your limits, especially the mental ones. Besides giving you knowledge and instructions, your personal trainer has to raise the bar high and ENCOURAGE you to reach it. Also, a good personal trainer will teach you. You won`t need them after a point, but you`ll want them there!
7. What are the stereotypes or fake presumptions people have when it comes to losing weight and why are they damaging?
Most people want results over night and they`re thrilled when they get them, regardless of how healthy they are. Ironically, losing too much weight in a very short time might have disastrous effects on their health.
Most people still have no real nutritional knowledge, they still think carbs are only pasta, dough and sugar and they still think carbs are bad, or fats are bad and the list continues. You can actually love what you eat and lose weight, it doesn`t have to be like “Here`s a list, you can ooonly eat this”, it doesn`t have to be frustrating.
A fake presumption most women have is that you lose weight solely by doing cardio (cycling/running) and that lifting weights will turn you into Arnold. That is definitely NOT the case! Believe me!
One of the most common misconception is people think they will suddenly love themselves when they`re thin… only that rarely happens. I had this misconception and ended up with body Dysmorphia. I was thin, but I still saw myself overweight. My husband loved me, but I didn`t love myself. It was a tougher process I had to go through after I lost the weight. Self-love and happiness is not weight-related. A number on the scale won`t suddenly give you a boost of happiness.
Another misconception is that skinny is healthy, overweight is unhealthy. You can be skinny and still be unhealthy, while you can have a couple of kilograms extra and still be healthy. A healthy lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle and the numbers on the scale is not a definition of health.
What is your stance, as a nutritionist, on the body positivity trend?
I think it is grossly misunderstood. A lot of people think it encourages a unhealthy lifestyle, but the trend only tells you to love yourself period. It doesn`t matter how tall you are, how long your legs are, how much you weigh. It encourages mental health and fights back on the socially imposed beauty standards!
On the other hand, some people misunderstand it as eating whatever junk food you can get your hands on, because you`re pretty anyhow. And I do think everybody is beautiful, but our bodies need nourishment, they need macronutrients and vitamins and minerals, things we can`t get from a junk food diet. Fortunately, there very few people who take this trend as an excuse. The ambassadors of this trend are generally plus sized models and man, those girls, work their asses off! They work out almost every day and they do lead a healthy lifestyle, with the occasional cheat meal. They are role models I`d go for!
I think body positivity is a good thing, of course it can be misunderstood, but I think it aids our mental health tremendously.
9. Does negative reinforcement work on helping people change their lifestyle? How do you motivate your clients?
It might, for some. But in my experience that only works on short term and does more harm, than good. I never use it and I do not accept it to be used on me.
We are different in what motivates us. Some are motivated by health, others by conformity to social norms. I had one client who was only motivated when she understood what an unhealthy diet does to your brain cells. I find what motivates each of my clients (yes, it does take time, as usually it is deeper than what first comes to mind) and then I use positive reinforcement. Which, ironically, is quite uncommon. When it comes to losing weight it seems we want someone to force it on us, because we think it HAS to be a struggle. Yet, when people get to see that you can lose weight and enjoy yourself while doing it, they tend to shift their perspective and appreciate the positive reinforcement.
10. What is your goal? What would you like people to feel after they leave a session with you?
I want them to feel like they have someone who is there for them, someone they can always turn to for help. WillDiet`s motto is “I can, I will”, because I want them to feel confident, strong, like they can take on the whole world, because they CAN! And, most importantly, I want them to feel cared for, to realize that they`re not alone and while it sounds like a cliché, I want them to feel like unity really is strength.