Ever tried going about your daily chores in the home, going to office, traveling or just chilling while carrying 3 heavy suitcases that you could not put down? What? Why would anyone do that, you ask? Well your shock and surprise at the question is not unexpected. But this is exactly what I did for 4 long years – that’s 1460days! I didn’t have a choice you see – or I thought I didn’t have one. It was tiring as you can imagine! I kept piling on the kilos simply by telling myself that it was useless to try and lose weight and used food as an emotional crutch and often being worried if I did not have something to stuff into my mouth. There was no thought – just plain eating and many a time without even really tasting. I suffered from high blood pressure and severe hypothyroidism. My doctor told me I was at serious risk of heart disease and intestines being ruptured by hernia.
Please don’t read this article if you are expecting me to give you some ‘miraculous’ tips to lose the excess weight. This article is one of experience and comes to you from someone who used simple techniques – those that started with changing the way I viewed food.
We belong to a culture where every event and occasion is ultimately about food. It’s a culture of massive portions since that reflects our willingness to be good hosts and great guests. Of course, don’t forget the cooking mediums – we love ‘desi ghee’ laden curries and sweets and butter is not far behind either. I don’t mean to criticize anything or anyone’s methods but the truth is that in such a scenario it does get hugely difficult to maintain a healthy weight and losing weight is even a more distant dream. I tried to lose weight with a plethora of ‘miracle methods’ but failed. I was severely disheartened since even a combination of ‘exercises’ and ‘diet foods’ didn’t really do much. I would lose a few kilos and would put back double the number once I stopped. It just wasn’t sustainable or ‘astounding’ as claimed.
This exposition is not telling you about getting thin or being obsessed with matching up to standards that seem to do the rounds. Who made those standards anyway? I write to tell you that maintaining a healthy weight according to your height and daily activities is all that you must concern yourself with. So how did I do it? Of course my family supported me but it had to come from me. No one can make you do anything – it must come from within.
- I stopped hating myself each time I looked in the mirror. I got my self-respect back from the one person that mattered – myself
- Changed the way I was using food – no more psychological eating. It was important to develop a healthy relationship with food.
- Switched to a smaller plate and ensured I began with a portion of salad or clear soup. This would fill me up and if it didn’t I would have some more.
- Think about what you are eating – each morsel contributes towards the number of calories. This does not mean obsessing about food but if you can satiate a craving by half of whatever you crave, why have the whole thing?
- Consciously stopped being cranky and irritable. Every negative emotion would have me reaching out for food in an attempt to comfort myself.
- I would tell myself how much I hated not being able to go swimming. Well – I couldn’t find a costume that fit me! I bought myself one and laughed at myself for thinking I could fit in to it. Sure enough, with time I did!
- There would be temptations and at first it was tough to look away from all those ‘gorgeous’ foods. But as I started to kick out those unwanted kilos, it became motivation enough. I didn’t stop completely but I would eat less and chew whatever I ate, well.
- Stopped reaching out for food the instant it seemed like I was hungry. I would wait for some time, have a glass of water or chomp on a carrot. If I was still hungry, I would eat – but sensibly.
- I refused to let people tell me what to eat. No dieticians, no health magazines and not even my friends and family. In fact I got them round to seeing it from my point of view and soon garnered their support.
- For me it was all in the mind. This is not an overnight plan but rather a relentless pursuit of changing the mind-set towards food and making choices that were healthy and suited me in my endeavour to feel fit.
- I didn’t aim for the moon but went slow and steady. The idea was to not let the cut down quantities of food play on my mind and body. Losing weight too fast is unhealthy and in fact makes your body lose water and muscle faster than they can be replaced. Not safe.
- I did not go crazy writing down what I ate each time. I knew that I would eat 5-6 times but smaller portions with healthier food options.
- It was actually a lot of fun experimenting with food options that suited my body type and lifestyle. It clicked for me and I could stick with it for the two long years it took me to shed the excess weight.
- Also I didn’t spend on expensive gyms – things in my home were my gym. I would walk around with outstretched arms with a full one litre bottle in each hand. I would not sit down if I could complete a task standing up and ditched the elevator for the staircase. Taking a walk became a pleasure as I was doing it to gain health benefits and not because I was being forced. Simple stretching and bending exercises were my companions and once in a while I would take my cycle for a spin round the block.
- Weigh yourself only once in the week and preferably on the same machine and at the same time of day. Don’t confuse your mind by varying this routine too much.
- There is no mantra or particular method of losing weight. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario and so you need to do what will work best for you.
I would strongly urge you to first love yourself and change your mind-set towards food. Control food, don’t let it control you. It is my sincere plea not to make the common mistakes of fad diets, quick fix diets, pills, plans and the like. These will leave you deprived and frustrated and possibly discouraged enough to never try again. A healthy you is what you deserve – go get it!