"Iske liye toh tent lena padega I heard my mom telling my grandmother in another room.
She continously tried to cover my hips and tummy with the dupatta in that oversized lehnga as we were leaving to attend a marriage function. Being an obese child I always had to hear such things and it never affected me before I reached college and could see girls in hot outfits. I wanted to wear those jeans and skinny skirts. I decided to join the gym.
Through moving my body, I learned, bit by bit, how valuable and important my health was. As I cared for my body I learned that I was worthy of self-love —And because of my good metabolism I lost 10 kgs in 3 months. It felt so good. I still remember I bought my first jeans and long top (hips were still big). It gave me immense pleasure and pride.
Weight loss journey has never been easy for me. I faced deep fears and deep rooted negativity towards my body.
Slowly, through challenging and caring for myself, I learned to look at myself differently — POSITIVELY.
After my marriage i had again put on weight. My family believed that it was ok because girls always grow plumper after marriage.I knew the difficulties I had had earlier. I again joined the gym and decided I would not give up. I was able to shed few kilos when my pregnancy news came up. After delivering the baby, I had reached 90 kgs with height of about 5”5. I always had a sedentary lifestyle. I ate a lot of fast food and drank a lot of soda.
I thought “healthy” eating meant severe calorie restriction or going on extreme fad diets, and viewed exercise as the ultimate chore — I simply had no understanding of fitness or nutrition.
I gave birth to my son when I was 25 and as incredible and magical as motherhood is, I found myself in a very dark place. I was so grateful for my beautiful and healthy baby boy, but at the same time, I was drowning in anxiety, insecurity, body dysmorphia, and self-doubt.
At my two-month check-up, I knew things weren’t right. I burst into tears as I filled out the survey to assess my mental health. I definitely had postnatal anxiety.
I wanted to lose weight desperately and look my best so that I could get fit into those old clothes.
Somehow destiny had other plans for me. From teaching profession I jumped into fitness industry and joined as a manager in a renowned gym. I always had interest in dancing so I started attending aerobics and zumba classes. And at same time working in the gym gave me a motivation to be fitter and stronger.
After 2 years of rigorous training in dance, I myself started teaching aerobics and dance.
And then fitness journey never stopped for me. Fitness is not about aesthetics. It is about health. Exercise is not a punishment to change my body. It is a tool to care for and strengthen it. I am not broken, weak, ugly, or unworthy. I am capable. I am strong. I am powerful. I am enough.
Even after having a kid and family to look after, I always managed to take out time for myself and work out. I think that should be the mentality of every woman out there. Take out time for yourself, be fit, watch your diet. No one else is going to do it for you.
In the beginning I would weigh myself every morning. I obsessed over the number I saw. I allowed the number on the scale to impact my mood and even dictate my perceived worth.
I set a goal weight for myself — a number (based on NOTHING) that I thought would make me happy. I now know that this number is not healthy for my frame or height, but I did reach it.
As I continued to progress with my fitness, I began weighing myself less frequently. However, my weight began to increase. One day I was particularly upset — I began to cry and expressed my frustration to my husband. I told him I felt better than ever and that I didn’t understand why my efforts to be healthy were no longer working.
He gave me a much needed reality check. I was stronger than I’d ever been and I felt better than I ever had. My clothes fit better and most importantly, I was HEALTHIER mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I decided to say screw the scale. I stopped weighing myself all together and began to focus on measuring progress by how I felt inside instead.
I want women to know the number on the scale cannot measure health or happiness. You have to look after yourself physically emotionally and mentally. You don’t need hours in a gym or extreme diets. Simply live an active life and make a conscious effort to make your internal dialogue a positive one. It is never too late and you are never too old to change your life. Fitness can, and should be, an incredible tool for self-empowerment. "