Halima lost more than 50 pounds. While living in London, our Somali-American sista started her journey by walking and doing Zumba. After she lost some weight, her doctor encouraged her to keep going to so that she could alleviate her knee pain and avoid surgery. This year, she found even more success with a UK-based weight loss plan. Check out her journey.
My name is Halima. I’m a Somali-American currently living and studying in London. At my heaviest, I weighed 299 pounds in college. I fluctuated between 296 and 298 pounds.
My weight loss journey began accidently in 2016. I started walking a lot because I enjoyed it. Occasionally, I would go to a Zumba class because it was fun, and I needed the strength to be able to walk without being exhausted. Then, I went to the doctor’s office one day and was pleasantly surprised to find out I’d lost about 30 pounds. That drove me to take this seriously. Also, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my knee and my doctor said I had to drop the weight so that I wouldn’t need a surgery in the future. After the doctor’s visit, I traveled a bit and wasn’t walking as much so I put on 10 pounds.
On April 20, 2018, in London, I started a diet plan called the Cambridge Weight Plan. My starting weight was 282 pounds. I just got back from my weekly weigh in and now I weigh 248 pounds at 5’5″. I’ve lost 34 pounds with the Cambridge Weight Plan in 10 weeks. My total weight loss is roughly 52 pounds.
My transformation story is in progress, as still have to drop more weight. More than anything, what I have found to be my main motivation is my health, especially considering my knee issues. Finding a driving factor for why you want to lose the weight can make this journey slightly easier.
How did you change your eating habits on the Cambridge plan?
Cambridge Weight Plan is a low-calorie, meal replacement plan. Their products include bars, oatmeal, savoury meals, smoothies and shakes. There are six different steps to the program. I am on Step One, which means I only eat Cambridge products. I drink about 4 liters of water a day, if not more. This plan is not available in the US. I found out about it when I came to London and met so many people who not only lost weight, but also maintained the loss over the years with this plan.
What did your exercise routine look like?
I walk for over an hour each day. A few weeks ago, started swimming. Before that I was just walking, going to Zumba or doing YouTube workouts in my room. When I go to the gym, I do swimming or cardio. I will start weight training in the next few weeks.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
There is a tendency to associate weight loss with happiness and a life that is fulfilled – which then tends to shame people who are overweight. This in turn labels all of us who are overweight as unhappy people with health and self-esteem issues.
I learned to see through all this and realize that my happiness (or self-worth) did not depend on me losing weight. I was happy at my heaviest, I am happy now, and I am almost certain (by the will of God/InshAllah) I am going to be happy when I complete this program and get to my goal weight. The other thing is, people typically use a “before” photo which is not as good as their “after” photo. I am conscious and try to use before/after pics which are similar.
What advice do you have for other people who want to lose weight?
Stay consistent. There will be days where you will want to quit. There will be days where your soul wants nothing more than fries with some hot sauce, BUT resist it as much as you can. Also, remind yourself why you are doing this. Your reason shouldn’t always be for other people or things outside of you, because that will not be enough. Do it for you. It is a gratifying experience, at least it has been for me. Giving up midway will always put you in a place where you have to start all over again. Our bodies are incredibly resilient. Trust your body and it will adapt to YOU. Also, whenever you start your experience, tell few trusted family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without support and reminders from friends and family.