As a kid, I was skinny but I certainly wasn’t a healthy eater. On the contrary, I was like a dustbin when it came to food. My parents tried to tell me to stop eating junk but my mother said “When I told you not to eat a chocolate, you would eat three!”. I didn’t think I’d put on weight, I was actively involved in school sports after all. But then I hit puberty and it all caught up to me.
Fours year later, I weighed 89 kilos, compared to the mere 35 kilo frame I used to have. A dietician told me that I had to lose THIRTY-ONE KILOGRAMS! So I went on a diet.
My first diet started out well, I was super enthusiastic about losing weight and thought it was going to be easy because in the first fortnight I lost 2 kilos. So after weighing myself I rewarded myself with a treat. Next check-in, I had put on 400 grams. Busted!
This yo-yo pattern continued for the next 4 harrowing years. I went too hard on myself; I stopped going out with friends and family to avoid bingeing; I literally gave up living. But it didn’t make a difference, my weight loss continued to be super slow. I blamed my parents for the genes they passed on to me (sometimes I still do). I went to every doctor to check for hormones and cysts – but there was no major problem.
About a year into my weight loss program, I contracted an ankle injury after a trainer told me to run on the treadmill wearing ankle weights. I couldn’t walk properly for 6 months, the pain wasn’t constant. Eventually, someone suggested I try custom made silicon soles for my shoes, and magically, everything became normal once again.
I started a rigorous workout regime that saw me lose 21 kgs, and then I broke the fifth metatarsal in my right foot. And all I had been doing was dancing alone in my own room.
I recovering relatively quickly but found that despite my weight loss I had a high level of body fat (37.8% to be exact). I was advised to start lifting weights to build muscle. So I joined one of the best gyms in Mumbai and trained with a celebrity trainer. From 69 kilos I went down to 62 kgs, which was huge for me since I’d plateaued for a couple of years.
Feeling inspired, I decided to participate in the half marathon in Mumbai as a tribute to my grandfather on the 1st anniversary of his death. I trained hard for several months and then started having trouble with my left knee, my left gluteal muscle and eventually my entire left leg. With 2 weeks to go, I fractured my ankle (again), broke the fifth metatarsal (again) and my leg was put in a cast. Goodbye marathon!
I decided that it was time I took matters into my own hands. So I started to prepare my own meals, despite the fact that I had never cooked before. It proved to be a good idea for a while, I continued my workouts as well, but soon the injuries started again.
Rather than just listen to whoever wanted to speak, I chose to visit a sports physiotherapist, John Gloster. He told me not to weight train for 3 weeks, no running, not even walking. The only thing I was allowed to do was balancing exercises and Pilates. Within three weeks my core had become much stronger. I was then allowed to start walking again and added a little weight to my stability program. After three months pain-free, he allowed me to run again, but only for 15 minutes.
Of course I didn’t listen to him, and very soon I found myself in hospital bed getting a steroid shot in my left ankle because I had inflamed the bravis tendon sheath. I then started training with Neville Wadia and Tamara Zweck, doing specific exercises and hydrotherapy treatment. So I traded the gym for the pool, and while I gained a little bit of weight, I have also learnt not to crib about it or hate my body.
So six years into my weight loss journey, I am nowhere near my goal of 18% body fat and am still 7 kilos away from my target of 55 kilos. The difference is, I now know that I will get there. I don’t know when, but I’ve decided not to put a time frame to it. I’d rather let life take its course.
What I’ve learned is that I’m not someone who gives up. I have also learned that I love working out, eating clean and feeling fit and healthy. The journey has been a painful one, but it was all worth it.
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