In January of 2021, I found magic which helped me lose 36 kilos or almost 80 pounds of extra body weight in 10 months. My journey still continues as I am on the last mile. In this year I have lost almost 40% of the body weight I was carrying last year. Along with that I have lost prediabetes, high cholestrol levels, high uric acid, high levels of hypothyroidism etc too. My weight loss journey started with a Rheumatoid Arthritis scare as I carry an Autoimmune disorder from the age of 7. It didnt start with the intention of looking a certain way, but to really take any long or short term risks a bit farther away from my present.
There are always few things that are bound to happen on a life altering journey and they did with me to. The sense of achievement and the beautiful looks, compliments and encouragement I got along the way was beautiful. But equally here are five insights that I didnt expect or anticipate but experienced on my journey that I am sharing with you.
Sadly, your weight has a bigger impact on your image than you think it does
I have always been confident in my skin and have been lucky to have a partner & family who have loved me fully and devotedly whatever my shape or size or appearance has been like. But I was amazed at how much it matters to the world how you look as my transformation happened. There were people who came and said they revered or even feared (!!) me when I was heavier but now find me less intimidating. Go figure! There’s more men in public spaces who think they can get away with inappropriate touching than before which I of course fight back with equal force. There are people who’d come and tell me they thought I was “really fat” and now I look “much better”. There are people who told me how it’s a shame I have lost my curves and the glow on my face to become a flat chested ugly woman (quite literally, no exaggeration). My learning? 1) Everyone will never like how you look so be happy in your own skin 2) Love your body the way you are. The world is out there to judge you and those who truly love, will love you anyway 3) Lose or gain weight for the right reasons. Not to look a certain way because there is no perfect look.
Weight loss is equated to being more sincere, hard working and health conscious. WTF?!
Let me be clear. I have been trying to lose weight for years now. I had given up sugars many years back and also have been eating limited portion size. I have been running and weight training too but things didnt work out for me until I found the right guidance for my body and hormones. People have been complimenting me for “finally” paying attention to my health, not being lazy anymore, not being a glutton and it has just made me sad about how people who struggle with weight are perceived to be lazy, gluttons and many other things while they may just be struggling with underlying issues that have led to weight gain. Many people’s weight gain interestingly is related to stress, trauma, lack of time for self care, slow metabolism that fights weight loss and their situation is the exact opposite of being laid back. As a society, we need to stop judging people without knowing their full reality anyway.But specially related to generally accepted medical advice and fitness advice, there needs to be more awareness and encouragement around self care, mindfulness and being healthy than on weight and body image.
Everyone is a critic/expert of your fitness program and will have an opinion on it
India is a country of self proclaimed experts on every topic. And most of the well meaning people who I have met on my journey who have been impressed with my results were also great “experts and critics” of why my fitness program isnt a)sustainable b)good for health in long term c)authentic and proven d)safe etc! How a diet or exercise routine that they know of, is more meaningful while I continue on the path of doom. And rather than defending it, I have let people express their opinion and nodded to their request to me to not continue with my fitness regime any longer all the way. I have realised, when something is too tough or overwhelming for most people, they tend to discount it. Those who wanted my results have signed up for it and benefitted as well. Between the few people who picked and seriously pursued the program from me, they’ve collectively lost 20+ kgs in the past few months as well. Lesson learnt – dont discuss everything about your fitness program with everyone. Generously help and guide those who genuinely need guidance – don’t hold back. Dont defend yourself and your path to those who critique it. They are talking to you with time on their hand with nothing to lose while you lose your sanity in a meaningless argument.
You will disappoint people you love on the journey more than once. And that’s okay!
When you have a different path in terms of what you eat, when you eat and how you eat; it is going to impact your relationships. With family, friends and colleagues. You will be cajoled, blackmailed, threatened and shamed into eating what you shouldn’t because eating is a social activity in humans. My mom and mother in law were sad that I wouldnt ask them for making my favorite dishes anymore or have just one roti or poori at lunch. My partner would feel disappointed that our dates didnt happen at our usual hangouts/food joints and it left me heartbroken too until we discovered new ways to date and spend time. My colleagues and friends would make jokes on what and how little I eat. My son would be exasperated and ask me ‘mama, when will you stop eating salads! why do keep walking all the time!” My family would hate it that when everyone sat together to chat, I put on my shoes to go for a walk. The three magic words that worked for me were patience, stoicism, compassion. I had to be firm in my decision and help those I love manage their emotions around the change I was making in my life. As results started coming through and I remained focused some leaned in. Others didnt but they also learnt I have changed. And that is alright. If a relationship in your life breaks down (unlikely though) because you want to care for yourself, then it wasnt meant to be – it was just looking for a reason to end anyway.
You are not your weight, dress size or looks
When on a fitness journey, your body starts to look more like a socially accepted image of what fit is, its easy to lose focus. The compliments on how you look beautiful, hot, sexy etc when you havent received them for a while can sway you if you get flattered easily. But it’s important to remember it’s just people’s opinion. Based on what media tells them beautiful is, fit is. Fitness is holistic – its how your body feels whatver its weight, its your mental and emotional health, its your spiritual and social health, its your financial health. And how “Fit” you are is not as important as how “Happy and Grateful” you are. Do not lose focus on your gifts – whether you like to sing, paint, write, travel, blog, read or whatver else. As you excitedly look for new clothes and want to beautify your body, just remember it’s merely a body. It will die. Either it will rot in the ground or burn in ashes in the end. I know this is morbid but we all are mortals. There is more to life than merely obsessing on looks. Your transformation is as temporary as anything else around you. Don’t let it make your spirit and personality shallower or less richer. Retain kindness and keep learning more of what you like.
Change is never easy. And it throws curved balls one’s way that make the journey insightful. I hope you found my account interesting and amusing. I would love to know your opinion or thoughts on this. I will write more about this interesting year and my journey of fitness when inspiration strikes. After all, this is only the beginning
6 thoughts on “I lost 30+ kilos in 2021, and gained these five insights”
What is the secret and what needs to ne done
A very insight. Although not read complete.. great one and true
Would love to learn more about how to do it
So nice! thank you so much for sharing, Neha!
Very Well said Neha. Thank You for sharing.
Just came across this Neha. So beautifully written article. Very truthful, indeed! Motivated me to get on this journey.