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010. Lose Weight and Keep it off Without Starving your Body

Our conversation today is with Nabat Sherif. Nabat is a Certified Personal Trainer and online Fitness Coach. Nabat got into fitness through her own fitness journey. Nabat says that she tried so many different diets and finally realized that diets weren’t the answer to losing weight and keeping it off, sustainable eating is. Nabat shares her tips with us. 

Episode Highlights with Nabat Sherif:

  • Choose something you enjoy and stick to it
  • What you can do when you reach a weight plateau
  • How to reset if you fall off track

Connect with Nabat Sherif on instagram @nsherif

Show Transcript

Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Wellness Surge podcast with Dr. Adeola Oke. Each week we discuss our wellness journey with real people like you and me. We have conversations about food, fitness, mental health, financial wellness, and much more. So you can get back to the real you. To make sure that you’re up to date with this and other wellness topics, visit wellnesssurge.com. Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of the information presented here without first speaking with your primary care provider. Now let’s head onto the show.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:00:34] Hello everybody! Welcome to the Wellness Surge podcast. Today, in this episode, we have Nabat Sherif. And today you have me, your hostess, Adeola Oke with you.  We’re going to be discussing how to lose weight and keep it off without starving your body. All right. So Nabat Sherif is a certified personnel trainer and an online fitness coach.

She got into fitness through her own fitness journey. She tried so many diets and finally realize that the answer to losing weight in the long run and keeping it off.  Alrighty. So Nabat you want to take it away and tell us how to do that, because most women have a rollercoaster relationship with their body.

Nabat Sherif: [00:01:14] Yeah.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:01:15] So how can you tell us how we can lose weight and keep it off without starving our bodies?

Nabat Sherif: [00:01:20] Absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to have this conversation with you and all of your listeners. Um, but yeah, that’s like the, the million dollar question, right?

It’s like, how do I lose weight? And then how do I keep it off? And it is one of the most challenging things to do. So I appreciate that. And I appreciate everyone else’s experience. Cause it’s tough. You know, everyone likes to do like. There’s always those get thin, quick schemes, like do this and you’ll drop this much weight in this much time and it’s all there.

Yeah. Very glamorous and very exciting. But ultimately that’s not what gives you that long lasting results and outcomes. So my biggest thing about how to lose weight and keeping it off is sustainability. That’s one thing that I use with all of my clients, whether it’s in person or online, it’s teaching them consistent healthy habits that you can follow every single day for the rest of your life  that’s going to help you maintain that  progress. So. What does that actually mean? Like sustainable habits? Like what does that actually mean? Yeah, sustainable habits are things that you can commit to doing every single day where it doesn’t feel like it is a chore or an activity it’s become part of your lifestyle.

It’s hard for people to think about that because it’s like, well, you know, I’ll work on such a big deal. Oh my God. Okay. I have to get dressed up and I got to go to the gym or I gotta do this thing. It becomes a chore and it’s not fun anymore. And it becomes the thing you have to do. Even eating, like we’re used to diets.

Well, I want to lose weight. I’m going to cut out carbs, cut up sugar. I’m going to do all these things, but we all know there’s going to be a time when you can’t go to the gym, whether you have a pandemic or  you can’t get to the gym for whatever. For whatever reason your schedule is busy. You’re crazy.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:03:04] Or you’re sick.

Nabat Sherif: [00:03:05] Or you’re sick!

There’s there’s a lot of things that come in the way. Even eating, like we have holidays, like eid was yesterday. So they have holidays and you know, some people use food as a coping mechanism. So there’s a lot of reasons why you can’t stick with a diet or a workout plan. So it’s all about choosing what you can do everyday.

I always ask my clients is what you’re doing today. Can you do that everyday for the rest of your life? If the answer is yes, and you’re doing the right thing, if the answer is no, we need to evaluate where you’re at. So what does a sustainable, healthy habit look like? Generally speaking, it’s very few things, three things right off the bat, right off the bat that I always talk about drinking.

Lots of water. Water is incredible. Water does so many great things for people and you underestimate the power of water because it helps you manage your appetite. It also helps you rehydrate and water is so good for so many different reasons. I’m not going to dive into that too much, but water is so key, but also choosing movement moving every single day, whatever that means might look like.

Maybe it’s just walking 20, 30 minutes a day. Maybe it’s a workout a couple of times a week. Maybe it’s yoga. Maybe it’s stretching. Whatever physical activity you enjoy. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be a conventional workout where you’re in the gym with all of this equipment. And it’s this. Just a huge thing.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Something small, every single day adds up to huge change, longer term. Um, and then when it comes to food, I like to follow like an 80, 20 rule eat healthy, 80% of the time, enjoy yourself 20% of the time. Right. And that can look very different every single day. Maybe you don’t feel like having a treat today. And you skip it. And you, you carry on, but then. You might go to your family’s house and they have like a dessert and you’re like, Oh, I really want that. It’s worth me having it. You go, you can go ahead and enjoy it as long as you’re doing well, all other times of the year or of the day of the week. Sorry. So it’s always evaluating where you’re at.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. We’re hoping, but we were very like all or nothing society, right? It’s like, I can’t have any carbs. Can’t have any sugar I’m on this diet. You need carbs. Carbs are actually good for you. You know, you need carbs, you need to enjoy it. They are food as well. So it’s something, if it’s sweets and something that you enjoy, you can do it.

And there’s ways that you can do it in a healthy way. And then there’s ways you can treat yourself without feeling all of that guilt and that shame and all that other stuff. So in a nutshell, that’s how to, how you take it off. Granted depending on where you’re at. Sometimes you can be a little bit more aggressive with your approach, and sometimes you need to be more moderate with your approach.

So it all depends on where you’re starting from, but generally speaking, choosing some really good, simple habits that you could practice every single day makes a huge difference. Longer term.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:05:55] Okay, so sustainable habits, right? Yeah. Simple things. So just, okay. That sounds easy, but, oh my gosh, it’s not so easy to do.

Sometimes you just need somebody to hold your hands. But what if like, say you’re then doing all this workout, right? You’re or even say you, you get more, a little more aggressive and you just plataue. What can you do?

Nabat Sherif: [00:06:19] So plataue is something that can happen for a lot of reasons. Right? So a plateau.

Anytime there’s a plateau. I always think about it. What’s changing or what hasn’t changed? What have you been doing, doing where we don’t see the results anymore? Oftentimes when you have a plateau, something needs to change. So I always start off with taking a look at what my nutrition is like and what my fitness level was like, or my activity looks like. What ruined my nutrition that I can adjust. Have I been enjoying too many treats? And has that been not so I don’t see the results on the side scale because I’ve been enjoying too much? But I’ve been putting in the effort? Because a lot of times when people hit a plateau, you’re like, well, I’m still working out six days a week and I still have that number on that scale hasn’t changed. And there’s a lot of reasons for that to happen. So I do an evaluation. I take a look at it. It was for myself and it was for my clients. How have you been eating? How have you been moving? What’s your stress level? Like how’s your sleep? Because those are, those are things that those are factors that have an impact on your progress.

So we take a look at that. And then from there we go into some change, changing some behaviors. So if we look at nutrition, it’s say, okay, well, how have we had a few, one to many indulgences this week or this month or whatever it is? Um, and can we tighten that up? Is it possible? If it is, then we go ahead and do it.

We also look at activity. So a lot of this is very conscious, very, very common with women is hitting a plateau with your fitness, with your exercise and your activity, because we don’t challenge ourselves too much, right? Like hopping on the treadmill for 45 minutes. And you do the same 45 minutes, same level for-

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:08:00] Souds like me.

Nabat Sherif: [00:08:04] Weeks on end. And what the thing, the thing about exercise is your body adapts. That’s the whole point of fitness is adaptation. So 45 minutes now  has become like a normal, your body’s not challenged anymore. Um, so as a trainer and as a coach, I change my clients programs on a regular basis.

So every four to six weeks, there’s something that changes within their program. So their body never hits that plateau, your body’s constantly being challenged. So what’s an easy way to change that for yourself. If you’re a cardio bunny and you’re going to hop on a machine, it’s increasing that level, increasing that intensity, or you increase your time or you increase your  time under tension, which is effective for strength training. If you’re like yeah , I always lift weights but I’m not seeing the results. I’m not seeing the changes. Like, I don’t know what to do. Same thing. When was the last time you increased your weights? Right?

Like, I think a lot of times we stick with the eight, 10, five, 10 pounds dumbbells. We never gravitate away from that. It’s like, we’re terrified. And it’s, it’s a matter of saying, okay, well, when was the last time you increase your weight? If it, if that’s the answer is never. You’re want to be changing that.

And you want to change your weight about 10 to 20% every couple of weeks to continue challenging yourself and a good way to could way to tell if you’re doing the right way is the last three to four reps. Is it still easy? If it’s easy, you need to up your weight. You know, up it by two. up it by three pounds, whatever it is, you want to keep challenging yourself.

So two ways to really change or get over a plateau. Change your nutrition or tweak your nutrition and definitely change how you’re moving or progress, how you’re moving.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:09:51] Okay. Wow. Okay. That sounded like me, like, huh? I hop on the elliptical and I do my 30 minutes and that’s it. Why is it not changing?

Nabat Sherif: [00:10:00] You know what?

I’ll give you a really good example, like a mail carrier. So, you know, you have mail carriers and they walk a lot. Their job is walking a lot, but you do see some mail carriers who, you know, they don’t generall-they don’t actually look that fit. They, you know, they might have some excess weight. What have you it’s because their body has adjusted to that much walking.

So for them walking 30,000 steps a day is normal and their body has adapted and that’s not going to, so walking more is not actually going to help them. They would actually need to go into strength, training, or doing something different. You need to do something different and challenge your body in order for yourself to see change.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:10:42] Okay. Alrighty. Wow. Okay. So that’s good. I wanted to ask you, because I know that you’ve also had your own fitness journey and, you know, people usually benefit from stories. Right. Do you mind sharing yourstory with us? Like where you were, what made you change and how did you achieve it? Like, you know, Like a little nutshell kind of band, like, so we know that you’ve been there. You’ve done that. Walk the walk. You’re not just talking the talk. You’ve actually walked the walk. You know?

Nabat Sherif: [00:11:09] Absolutely. Yeah. Um, I was never active growing up. Not as a kid, not as that, a busted. Never. Um, and you know, when I was, uh, probably about 10 or 11, I started putting on some weight as you know, you’re growing up and your body’s going through changes and, you know, life happens.

And so I just started to put on weight, not moving enough and. I was in university and realized, you know, I’ve been heavy for a long time and it’s been uncomfortable and it was difficult. And I didn’t like it anymore. I just was, I had enough, I had enough of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I had enough, I had enough of it.

I was like, I’m done. I, I deserve better than how I’m feeling right now. But I was terrified. First of all, I didn’t know what to do. I was like-

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:11:56] So do you mind sharing how, how heavy you are or you don’t want to go there?

Nabat Sherif: [00:12:00] No, no, I, I, I can share it. Um, there’s actually an article out that women’s health did that has best the first time actually said it out loud to people outside of my inner circle.

Um, but yeah, I was about 35 pounds overweight and I’m not very tall. I’m five feet. So that’s a lot of weight on, on me. So I think my highest, that was about 155, maybe close to 160.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:12:24] Kilos?

Nabat Sherif: [00:12:25] Pounds. Pounds.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:12:27] Okay.

Nabat Sherif: [00:12:27] Yeah. And then, um, my very lowest, I was around 120. That was probably my lowest weight.

So roughly about 35 pounds, give or take. And it took me a while.  Let me tell you, I was yo-yoing a lot and it took me about four years to really take off the weight and then keep it off. And we keep it off for a long period of time. The way I started, I started working out at home because. I was nervous. I didn’t know what I was doing.

I was shy. I didn’t want to go out to the gym. I didn’t, I had no idea what to do in a gym if I went there. Um, but also I was really just shy about it. So I started working out at home, like what, doing what videos, workout videos at home, in my living room. And then I started running because I really wanted to get into that.

And then once I started getting into that, I started losing some weight. I built some confidence and then I got into the gym doing group workouts and stuff like that. Building up my confidence. Yeah. One, one thing after the other. And eventually I realized that I wanted to do more. I wanted to challenge myself a little bit more and, and just level up.

And that’s why I got into training because I, as a Muslim woman, I didn’t see people who look like me in the gym, like bring hijab and working out. And I just remember myself when I started where I was so lost. So had I had somebody who lived my experience, it would have been great because they would have, I could have related to them and they’d be able to help me.

So that’s why I went into coaching and that actually helped me. Progress my journey. So I learned a lot more about nutrition. I learned a lot more about the best and effective ways to exercise without getting injured and whatnot. So I’ve been doing, so I’ve been a trainer for about five years, but I spent four years before that, just trying to figure it out like everybody else.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:14:26] Okay.

Alrighty. Okay. So then this is another one, right? So like, say. The coronavirus happens and people just fall off the band wagon. A lot of people have gained weight in this lockdown session because I’m like, okay, we’ve got to do something about this. Um, so like say people fall off the bandwagon seat because they’re sick. And you know, when you’re sick, you just have no energy. And even like with this whole Corona virus, people get sick and they can’t. They have trouble getting on the exercise machine again and all of that. How do you reset? Right. If you fall off the bandwagon, like simple.

Nabat Sherif: [00:15:05] Yeah, no, trust me. I know, I know the struggle. I actually just started kind of like a quote unquote reset challenge. And the way people can reset is committing to changing something about your day to day.

And decide making a decision and committing to that for a certain period of time. I’ve done resets where I’ve done 30 days, 60 days, 90 days of whatever it is. Whatever I felt like I needed to, um, correct what I, what I had fallen off from. So sometimes it’s sugar, sugar is like my advice. I have a problem with sugar.

So sometimes I’ll do, I’ll cut out sugar for 90 days or a 100 days or 30 days. I’m more modest about my, my resets now. So when I work with clients, I don’t suggest more than 30 days because that’s enough time to help rehabilitate and then get back into a normal pattern. I just do long periods of time, just cause I want a challenge.

So it’s choosing something that you can commit to and then sticking with it and not being too aggressive because. Going from zero to a hundred is so hard. It is so difficult. So given the pandemic, I decided to do a challenge, not just for myself, I’m sharing it with my Instagram followers and they can follow along.

Cause I think we’re all in relatively the same boat. Um, I’ve committed to three things for a hundred days. So I’m calling it. It’s called the hundred days of movement challenge. And you just have to do three things, two to three liters of water a day moving 10, 20 or 30 minutes every single day. And then having something green with every meal that is it.

Um, and committing that to a hundred days. It’s not- you’re going to eat anyway. So just throw some green on your plate, try to drink as much water as possible again, cause it has a lot of benefits. And then committing to movement, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe it’s walking, maybe it’s stretching for 10 minutes.

Maybe it’s a workout class. Maybe it’s strength, maybe it’s jumping on your treadmill or elliptical or whatever it is, whatever it is. Every single day, a little bit, every single day will add up to longterm change and well, actually get you going. So when they told me to do these kinds of things, I’m like, okay, well I can do it..

I can do 45 minutes. I can do an hour or you know what, I think I can do more than just greens on my plate. I think I’m going to just cut out the carbs for this meal, just for this meal. I’m not saying that I won’t have it again, but just for right now, maybe I’ll reduce how much sugar I’m having. So if you start to make good choices, it’ll help you continue to make good choices. In terms of a reset, choose what you want to commit to. Something reasonable!

Don’t stack the odds up against you, because then if you fall off you’ll feel even worse about it because this was supposed to fix all of your problems. Right. But now it’s not because you fail that again. Be kind to yourself and just choose what you can commit to. Especially given our current times, because we don’t have access to the same resources that we normally would, like, we don’t, we can’t go to the gym, we can’t hire a personal trainer in person. We can’t, you know, go out as a group and do a run or play a sport and stuff like that. So, be kind to yourself, do what you think you could commit to in this period of time and just stick with it. Quitting is not an option because you’re is so- it’s not so low, but it’s achievable. If you, you didn’t do this for a hundred days, you can do anything after that.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:18:33] True. True, true, true, true, true. You’re right. Yeah. Pick something small and then go from there. That’s always my rule with patients. We’ve kind of talked a lot about a lot of things today though. So what is one thing you want to make sure that if people did not learn anything from you, you want to make sure they learn that one thing from you. What is it?

Nabat Sherif: [00:18:52] I would- one big takeaway and I think it’s a truth that a lot of people don’t realize is. Fitness is a journey. It’s a lifestyle and it, it goes on and on until the end. You know, so committing to doing a workout program or signing up for something or whatever it is for 90 days or three months or a year or whatever is- is great.

But what happens afterwards? I always ask people, okay, you’ve reached your goal. But now what? Like, what are you going to do next? The rest of your life still has to happen. Um, And that’s why I emphasize building sustainable, healthy habits. I, I had so many clients that I’ve worked with who had to, they had a goal for a wedding or a graduation or, you know, pre pregnancy or whatever it is.

And I’ve worked with people like that. And we reached their- they reached their goals. But I’m always big on, I want to teach you the tools and resources that you can carry with you every day from here on out so that you can continue with your success. And once you realize it’s all about making good choices everyday for the rest of your lifeand not just for this finite period of time, because you’re doing a program or you’re doing this one thing, you will have a much more- you’ll be more forgiving and kind to yourself. Because we put so much pressure on ourselves, especially women, especially moms, especially like we do a lot of things for our families and we’re always giving, but we never give to ourselves. So if you look back into yourself and say, okay, this is a lifestyle.

This is a journey. I’m going to have ups. I’m going to have downs, but I’m going to keep working through it. You will have a much better mindset and a more reasonable approach to reaching your goals, as opposed to someone who thinks that it’s like all or nothing. It’s that all or nothing mentality that gets us caught up and that gets us feeling great when we’re doing well and terrible, and we’re not. And as a fitness professional, I learned that firsthand and I see it all the time and I, you know, and you see those before and after photos and you’ll see all these success stories where you’ve done like these programs and that’s fantastic. But I want to see these people, a month from now a year from now. And what have you learned and what have you- what did you take away? How is this going to change the rest of your life? Being able to understand that and know that fitness is a journey. It’s a lifestyle, especially for people who weren’t active before like I was. Well like for a large portion of my life, I haven’t been active. I’m not an athlete. You know, my body has more fat cells than others. So I know I have to commit to something and continue this as a lifestyle to maintain the health that I have. Right now. So putting that perspective onto things really, really helped.

So fitness is a journey, the small choices, every single day, that’ll make a huge difference. And that’ll keep you, they’ll keep your profits going. It’ll help you maintain.  And inshallah give you like a lot more success, longer term.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:22:04] Yeah. Okay. Very good. Very good. Yes. And I, you stay here. This, this took you like 40 years, so, you know, like we need to be kind to ourselves. It’s a journey. It’s not, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Alrighty Thank you so much nabat, I learned so much from you today, it was really wonderful having you on the show. So how can people get ahold of you and get in touch with you after the show? If they had questions, I’ll say they will like you to have as their personal trainer, you know?

Nabat Sherif: [00:22:31] Yeah, of course. Um, I, I, am best reached- reached? is that the way to put it? Just get me on, uh, on Instagram. My handle is @ N S H E R I F. @nsherif. You can DM me. You can send me a message on there. I’m best accessible there. Otherwise, you can always send me an email, Nabat Sherif [email protected] and Facebook as well. You can find me on Facebook, uh, Nabat Sherif as well.

So, but the best primary place is Instagram. I do a lot of my engagement on Instagram. I talked to a lot of people, clients, and non-clients on Instagram and I’m very accessible. I’m really about sharing what I know and my experience with anybody who needs it and yeah. I live on Instagram is pretty much it.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:23:19] I actually hooked up with Navid on Instagram, so, yeah. She’s awesome. So thank you so much, Matt. It was wonderful having you on. I hope you guys learned a lot because I did. All right. And I hope you can take some pointers from her, right? You have a good week now. Alright. Goodbye.

Nabat Sherif: [00:23:35] It was a pleasure. Take care.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:23:36] Bye bye.

Nabat Sherif: [00:23:39] Bye.

Ending: [00:23:41] Join the Wellness Surge Facebook community so that you can implement what we learned together. I am because you are thank you for listening and sharing your precious time with us. If you enjoy the show, then follow us and subscribe on iTunes, YouTube, or any app that carries podcasts. Have an awesome week. Best wishes to see you thrive.