n Alvine Kapitako
WINDHOEK – Having battled with maintaining healthy weight for most of her life, social blogger and entrepreneur Hermien Elago has embarked on a mission through her ‘Unfiltered Sessions’ to educate women on healthy living.
Through these sessions, the first that started two weeks ago on May 12, Elago is sharing her journey while debunking myths on weight loss and the weight loss industry.
Elago, who is candid about her close to two decades of struggles with weight loss, wants women to opt for healthier options through her ‘Unfiltered Sessions’.
The 35-year-old has lost 35 kilos in the last five years. After failing numerous times through short-cut weight loss programmes that threatened her health, she embarked on a journey not travelled by many.
She chose to eat clean and work out, taking it one step at a time until she reached a healthy weight.
It is then that she discovered just how mystical the human body is. Elago’s initial goal was to lose weight to ‘look hot’ but she discovered how much her journey strengthened her character. Today, her goal is to encourage people to live healthier lives.
During the first ‘unfiltered session’, Elago debunked ‘lies’ sold by the weight loss industry. Elago addressed 12 women on May 12 at the hosting of ‘Unfiltered Sessions’.
“The weight loss industry makes so much out of us. We live in a world where people are out there to make money and the easiest people to make money from are those that are desperately seeking freedom from their struggles,” said Elago.
The more desperate a person is, the more susceptible they are to gimmicks and the more likely they are to buy dreams and lies, Elago told New Era.
“The weight loss industry is a trillion dollar industry that thrives on the desperation of overweight and obese people. These people are seeking lasting solutions but because of the state that they find themselves in, they will settle for the easiest and quickest solution they are offered and that is how the weight loss industry reels us in,” Elago explained.
Elago was a victim of the weight loss industry for nearly two decades. “I am still mentally breaking free from the quick-fix mindset, though I will never go back. They play on the psyche of the desperate by making huge promises, saying that they can help them break free but the solutions that they offer are temporary,” she said.
Elago told the women how she struggled to lose weight and how she tried various slimming regimens, which included pills and injecting her belly, hoping she would lose weight. The short cuts were not without side effects, she recalled.
Amongst others, the slimming regimens reduced the craving for food, she shared. Although she can laugh about it now, she was once hooked to slimming regimens.
Having a body that reacts fast, the slimming programmes yielded results. The time that she had to inject her belly, Elago lost up to five kilos in a week.
“As a former queen of quick fixes those kinds of results were what I lived for,” she states. But because she was always starving, she had low energy all the time, Elago pointed out.
“I was tired of constantly having to inject myself daily in the belly and when I stopped the programme I gained all the weight plus VAT,” she said, making reference to what happened when she stopped injecting herself.
Elago decided she had to do something about her weight struggles when in one meeting she could not sit up properly because she struggled to breathe. Elago’s quality of life was low and this made her depressed.
As young as she is, Elago said, she could not even walk a relatively short distance without wanting to take a taxi.
This was a sign that she had to do something about her weight, she recalled.
On September 1, 2013 Elago got onto the scale and her weight read 100 kilos. That was it, she recalled.
“There were a lot of red flags. My weight was creeping up at a faster and faster rate, and I was finding it hard to do the simple things in life without feeling overexerted. The simple act of just sitting and struggling to breathe was a major sign that something was not right,” shared Elago.
She started by making dietary changes, which included reducing her sugar intake. She also started walking three times a week and as she progressed, she started to run and do other intense workouts.
She ran her first full marathon of 42 kilometres last year. Although things are rocky at times, Elago is determined to never go back to her old lifestyle. And, while at it, she wants to help other people.
“I am on a mission to help people discover, like I did, that they do not have to live a life where they feel stuck,” said Elago. For people struggling with their weight, Elago said: “You are not your weight, do not let your worth be determined by a number on a scale or by what society says you should like so don’t pursue weight loss to simply appease society. Do this for you.”