How my struggle to become slim lead me to be the guiding force for people like me who are struggling with weight issues.
Being a consultant Nutritionist, the majority of patients I come across are the ones struggling to lose weight via any means owing to different reasons, namely:
“My wedding is in 2 months I need instant Weight loss”, “My Doctor recommended me to lose weight for better sugar control”, “I want to get pregnant and my Gynecologist has advised me that I need to lose weight”, “I wanna fit into my designer dress so I need to drop my inches”, “I have an upcoming international vacation need quick weight loss” and the list goes on.
Weight loss is an extremely close issue to my heart as I have faced the consequences of being over-weight and hence easily empathize with my patients’ struggles and psychological issues.
Each time I hear a reason to lose weight, I am transported back to the year 2005 (like the time heist in Avengers Endgame movie) when I was fat. In my early teens, I was a chubby girl (somehow being “fat” was found to be “healthy” as per the thought processes of my near dear ones).
When it came to eating, I never had a large appetite but somehow, it felt as if even the air that I breathe is making me fat. For me, when I saw myself in the mirror, I felt like a buffalo or a wine barrel (sans curves).
HOW A CLASSICAL DANCER TURNED FAT
I was a Classical dancer of the Indian Dance form “Bharatanatyam” from the age of 8 till the age of 14. But when I entered my 10th standard in school (aged 15) considering the due importance of the board exams year I quit my dance classes owing to obvious reasons.
As most of us are aware, quitting any form of exercise leads to weight gain over a period of time and my case was no different. Slowly and steadily year by year after 2000, I started gaining pounds and without much realization, voila, by 2005 I was 60 kg (132.3 lbs) standing 156 cm tall; a whole 9 kg (19.8 lbs) overweight for my height.
BEING CONSCIOUS AND LOW ON CONFIDENCE
I started to get conscious about the extra flab everywhere. My jeans size went from 28” in 2000 to 34” in 2005. One can imagine my shock when the realization dawned upon me that I was FAT with a whole lot of flab oozing out from everywhere.
I started wearing loose clothes, quit wearing pants with short tops to avoid judgmental/snide remarks on my body type. Body shamming is a very common phenomenon among peer groups and relatives when a person is overweight, which I certainly wanted to avoid.
TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT — FIRST ATTEMPT & HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
After a lot of deliberation, I finally came to the conclusion that its time to hit the gym and knock off those extra pounds. I was in for another shock when I went to the gym to register my self for a year. My mom, back then in her early 40’s, checked her weight and she weighed a freaking 4 kg (8.81 lbs) lesser than me (My 1st Heart break as I recall).
So my daily tryst with the gym started and like everyone else, I did not have the wisdom to visit a Nutritionist thinking it’s unnecessary as I can simply knock off the extra flab by going on a salad diet.
It killed me everyday to see my family eating a sumptuous Indian meal while I sat like a rabbit nibbling from my bowl of salad. Though my mother constantly pestered me to eat at least 1 Chapati (Indian bread) with some vegetables but the stubborn teenager in me didn’t pay heed to her valuable advice. So a year passed by in the gym and all I lost was 12 months of my life without losing any weight or inches. I was like the cow which never lost weight by eating only grass.
WHAT ACTUALLY WORKED FOR ME
Post this experience, I had hit rock bottom and told myself that it’s no use losing sleep over your weight, just concentrate on your studies. Luckily, I was studying Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and slowly it became clearer to me that starving would never get me my weight loss results. The trick behind a good weight loss was:
1. Stick to home cooked food (Mom’s are the best Nutritionists in the world)
2. Don’t touch any junk food or colas (save it for a later date when you can freely consume it without feeling guilty about it)
3. Walk more (You save money on transport which you can later use to buy new clothes) and take the stairs whenever possible
4. Don’t binge eat; remember once on the Lips forever on the Hips
5. Learn to say “NO” to food offered by peers/relatives if you feel it may deride you from your healthy diet (May seem rude in the beginning but trust me this mantra works like magic)
6. Lastly and the most importantly, don’t give Weight loss “Bhav” (Importance). It’s the one that worked most for me. The moment you stop obsessing about something, things start falling into their place naturally if you just go about following the right eating practice and increased activity.
So all off the above things became a part of my routine and over a period of 18 months, I lost 15 kg (33.08 lbs) !! And to my embarrassment, I never realized I had lost weight until my friend commented on my clothes one fine day saying, “Your clothes seem like they are on a hanger”. Alas, I had finally lost weight!!
I had come down from 60 kg (132.3 lbs) to 45 kg (99.2 lbs) and there could not have been a better feeling than going shopping for new clothes as I no longer had to hide behind loose fitted clothes. Weight loss also gave me a new aura of self confidence, better self esteem and positive outlook towards life.
MAINTAINING WEIGHT AFTER WEIGHT LOSS
It’s been 11 years now that my weight has never drifted from 45 kg (99.2 lbs), come what may. Now my near and dear ones have a new issue — that I am too thin. They keep telling my mother, “Isko kuch khilao” (feed her something).
So my advice to anyone looking to lose weight is that you take ample time to lose weight as the longer you take to lose weight the better chances of maintaining the lost weight.
Lastly, If I can lose my inches/weight, then anyone can. Be careful not to fall into the trap of instant weight loss plans which may give you quick results but the weight may come back soon again and you would, in the meantime, lose your precious time and develop a big hole in your pocket.
You simply need the right guidance and motivational support to get you to your goals.