“See what the influential people in Zimbabwe have to say about working out, eating well and loving their bodies and get inspired to stay health”
“I liken my role in raising health awareness to a cheerleader , I do not have to play the game for you or teach you how to play it , rather I cheer you on saying, you can do it go ahead and lose those kilograms” , says Dr Brighton Chireka
By Doc Beecee
In my endeavour to raise health awareness I have been interviewing some of the well known figures in our society . We are what we eat and do after that and it’s good to know what our public figures are doing to improve their health. I am humbled in that I have managed to interviewed over a dozen of people in our community and I will be featuring them one by one.
Before I go into the details about what she told me about her lifestyle, I would like to write a bit about Noncommunicable diseases which are mainly related to our lifestyle.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The 4 main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. These diseases are often thought to be public health problems of significance only in high income countries. In reality, only 25% ( 10 million people each year ) of chronic disease deaths occur in high income countries – while 75% ( 28 million) occur in low and middle income countries, where most of the world’s population lives.
Who is at risk of such diseases?
All age groups and all regions are affected by NCDs. NCDs are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that 16 million of all deaths attributed to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) occur before the age of 70. Of these “premature” deaths, 82% occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to noncommunicable diseases, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the effects of the harmful use of alcohol.
Under the leadership of the WHO more than 190 countries agreed in 2011 on global mechanisms to reduce the avoidable NCD burden including a Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020. This plan aims to reduce the number of premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025 through nine voluntary global targets. The nine targets focus in part by addressing factors such as tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity that increase people’s risk of developing these diseases.
In my interviews I am mainly focussing on the diet, exercise and the mindset as these are the most important areas that if addressed can reduce the risk of developing NCDs.
This is what Rumbi Bvunzawabaya had to say ;
“My name is Rumbi Bvunzawabaya. I was born in Bikitia Zimbabwe in 1975, the last girl in a family of five. I migrated to the UK with my husband Muchada. We run a niche law practise in Coventry England. Muchada and I have three gorgeous children aged 17, 12 and 9. We are both committed Christians and attend Renewal in Solihull.
I gained weight after child birth. I was a petite size 8 in High School and University. After the birth of Tino I rapidly gained weight and struggled to shift it. I migrated to the UK and gained even more weight there. I was depressed because I missed my birth family, missed my baby and struggled with the weather and the challenges of early marriage in a foreign country. I ate comfort food to help me cope with the pressures. I piled on the pounds and felt really comfortable because most people around me were the same.
I gained even more weight when we set up a practise on our own. It was very challenging for me and I struggled to cook meals at home as I sometimes stayed at the office until the early hours of the morning. I ate take aways and a lot of junk food.
I reached a turning point in November 2013 when I topped the scales at close to a 100kg. I am very short and have a small frame so that weight was all piled on a very small person and it was very unhealthy. I got help from a weight loss consultant and started a journey towards healthy eating. I lost over 30kg and changed in my whole outlook towards food and exercise.
I walk daily to walk regardless of the weather. I enjoy walking as it is low impact exercise which does not strain my ankles. I love the fresh air and the time alone on my daily walk.
I eat a very balanced diet. My typical day is made up of oats porridge for breakfast, soup or salad for lunch. I snack on two fruits a day and a small portion of nuts. In the evening I typically have chicken and vegetable with a small portion of healthy carbs. I drink 2 litres of water a day. I avoid cakes, chocolates and takeaways.
I have a few coping mechanisms that help me with stress. I am a Christian. I pray and read my bible. I get insight motivation and inspiration from the bible. I listen to gospel music only. I listen to uplifting tracks from my favourite artists Tembalami and Pastor G. I also love Bethel Music and Hillsongs. I attend Church every Sunday and prayer meeting on a Tuesday. I have a small connect ( home group ) that I attend . The connect group provides me with support and prayer through some of life’s challenges.
I enjoy spending time with my family. They are the best stress busters ever. My husband and children give me company, entertain and challenge me. They are the greatest supporters and love me so much. They brighten up even the darkest days with their unconditional love and laughter.
I eat to live not live to eat. Since losing the extra weight I am motivated to keep it off and to stay healthy and fit,” says Rumbi.
Wow I am inspired by Rumbi and hope you are called to action so what can you do if you are concerned after reading this article? I advise you to see your doctor and discuss your concerns further, but I will give you general advice here which you can start using from now going forwards. You need to eat a healthy diet taking appropriate calories and right portions as well as reducing foods high in saturated fats. You need to have at least 2 days that you do not eat meat and also if you can manage it have a day that you fast for 12 hours. You need to increase your physical activity and keep well hydrated by drinking enough fluids depending on your body size. Have a support group or a church you go to , you are always welcome in the house of the Lord and you will have peace of mind.
Getting started is easier than you think. Changing a few daily habits can soon add up to a more active you. Be active every day. Every 10 minutes counts. If you don’t think you can squeeze anything else into your day, see if you can reduce the time you spend sitting still and free up time to be active. Stop smoking if you do and also reduce your alcohol intake for those who drink.
Not taking any action about your health is a decision in itself and you will have no one to blame. This health blog is here to stay and it will continue to raise awareness to make sure that you do not lack knowledge. The ball is now in your court to take action and l hope you have and will be activated by this article.
This article was compiled by Dr. Brighton Chireka who is a GP and a Patient Engagement Advocate (PEA) in Folkestone Kent, UK. You can contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can read his work on his blog DR CHIREKA’S BLOG