“I love my body the way it is”. I have heard this a lot, but frankly I feel that this is a lazy person’s testimony. I’m not talking about those who are medically unfit but I know many around me who use this phrase to justify their sluggish behaviour.
Few years ago I was no different. But when it struck me that weight loss and staying fit is not just about the way you look but your well-being in totality, I decided to do something about my health.
But, let’s begin at the beginning. I’m Nikita Bhardwaj, a 31-year-old content producer and a health freak since 2016.
You could say that I’m a newbie in the world of fitness. But why am I here? What urged me to become so passionate about my fitness levels that I am writing to you guys here today? Well, I feel no shame in saying that it was in fact my weight–and the way it made me feel.
When taking a break from work made me gain 22 kilos
There was once a time when in ten months, I gained 22 kilos. You see, I was working in a media house when I decided to try out for UPSC. And so just like that, I quit my job and started preparing for exams.
Upto 17 hours of sitting and studying was my daily routine. And even though I used to swim in those to take breaks from studying, my weight kept rising and rising.
You see swimming beat my stress but it couldn’t tame my weight
Swimming is a great overall workout. It helps in weight loss, tones muscles, blah, blah, blah… It’s all true, but no one told me that I needed to swim rigorously to keep the weight off. to be intense. It takes two to three laps in one go to keep the weight loss benefits of swimming–which neither was I aware of nor did I have the gumption for.
Another thing that I didn’t know was that the aftermath of swimming–ravenous hunger and sleeping spells–can help you gain weight. So, after diving in the pool, I used to dive in a bowl of some of my favourite meals. REGULARLY!
Then came my “Oh f**k! What have I done?” moment
UPSC exams came and went–and I didn’t make it. So, I went back to looking for a job. And thus began my struggle–with clothes, none of which were fitting me. I also started noticing just how lethargic I had become. And don’t even get me started on the panting and muscle pain after walking short distances.
My confidence had gone for a toss and I had zero motivation to do anything in life. But then, when I least expected it, something happened. I was at a party, enjoying myself, when someone showed me this picture:
Yup, that was the moment–the moment when I realized exactly what I had done to my body.
That was then… and I haven’t looked back since
At that moment I decided that I was going to fix my body. I knew I was precariously reaching the state of obesity, so I decided to work out with all my might and fight the flab before it got worse.
But I knew just gymming won’t make a difference. So I also decided to go on a diet–where junk food, sugar, and booze were a complete no-no, for five months.
I remember that day when I crossed my heart and committed to all of it. And I give the credit to all of this to my will power which never left me alone during those pizza parties and booze sessions with my friends. While they were bingeing, I would enjoy my bowl of salad.
To be a head-turner at my bestie’s wedding gave me another nudge
The day I got this news I wasn’t sure whether to be happy that she is getting married or be worried about how unfit I look. Fortunately, I had time to reinvent myself.
And then transformation took place
Gym membership, check.
Protein shake, check.
I would wake up at 4:30 am (which I still do), drink my morning elixir (lemon, honey, and chia seeds in lukewarm water), and head out to the gym at five o’clock sharp.
I opted to stick to the basics when it came to my diet. So, a wholesome breakfast with eggs, milk, and cereal was my deal. At the office, I would eat one chapati with boiled pulses (no salt and just a hint of ghee). Lunch time was all about salads and curd. Green tea in the evening and for dinner I had options like – sprouts, a bowl of dal, fruits, and at times just a glass of milk. Of course, I would also snack on dry fruits and fox nuts when hunger would strike in the middle of the day.
Five months and no cheat days made me what I’m today. And what’s that? Well, at 31, I’m five feet high, I am 45 kilos–unlike the precariously close to 70 kilos lassies that I used to be.
I want to make it clear that this journey was not just about weight loss. It was more than that, because now I can feel that strength in me. For me, stamina was always a concern–but not anymore. And weight training helped me get rid of that nerve wrecking muscle pain.
Not just that, last year in October I ran my first ever marathon and to my surprise those daily gym sessions showed their true colours. I mean, I ran my first ever 10k run and felt no pain at all. And I completed my run in just one hour fifteen minutes–for a first-timer, that’s not bad.
Staying fit is not just about your body–it’s also about the mind. I’m more positive now, more productive, always motivated, and yes this one is a real catch–an early rise.
The bottom line is that this journey of mine has made me a believer in the power of endurance and persistence. It’s not about getting into a skinny dress because I still have an illicit love affair with my PJs. Neither is it about body shaming. It’s about the fact that I wasn’t liking whom I had become–an unhealthy person who mistreated her body.
It’s not like I have given up my binging sessions, be it food or booze. But now I maintain the holy trinity–food, exercise, and keeping my weight in check. And I’m loving it!