I joined the gym to lose weight and found myself along the way. This is my transformation story

Arushi Grover started working out at the behest of a roommate, but what was an exercise to lose weight helped her feel happier, calmer, and more like herself.
weight loss
Working out is not just about losing weight. Image courtesy: Arushi Grover
Reader Submission Updated: 27 Jul 2020, 10:19 am IST
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This story has been submitted by Arushi Grover

In January 2017, Sania Nehwal won Gold at Malaysia open, ISRO launched a record 104 satellites, and the Parliament passed a bill ensuring six months maternity leave for women. While around me so many good things were happening, the inner me felt disconnected and tumultuous. 

This feeling had been lingering for six months, probably the result of the recent college to corporate transition and living independently in a city like Mumbai for the first time. I was living with my gym freak of a roommate at the time, and with very little idea about how not to feel like this, I simply started following her and going to the gym. 

This one small step changed my life
The first few days, I crawled to the gym because who likes to work out right? After the first week, however, I went on a diet–one that included lemon ginger water and oats of all the things in the world! After 21 days of the same routine, I realized that the lingering tumultuous feeling was subsiding. 

weight loss
Meet, Arushi.

I am also a fan of the Oprah ‘Super Soul Sunday’ show and one day while watching it on YouTube, I came across inner engineering and other meditation courses by Sadhguru. Soon, I found ‘Isha Kriya’ or guided meditation online. Meditation was something that I always wanted to try, however fearing focus it required and my lack of concentration, I always used to ridicule the idea. The guided meditation, however, made it extremely easy for me to meditate. The feeling that you get after you meditate for the first time makes you an addict! 

Just like that, a month went by. I had been exercising, dieting, and meditating regularly and so my mind, body, and emotions felt connected. I felt lighter and happier, and in June of that year I returned to my passion of dancing and joined a belly dance class.  

Now I had a proper routine!
My mornings started with lemon and ginger water, a 20-minute meditation session, and oats and tea for breakfast. I had roti and sabzi for lunch and panipuri in the evening, and exercised for an hour at the gym. I meditated and read books before sleeping, and fell in love with myself all over again. 

By the way, within a year I lost six kilos–which isn’t a lot I know. But I went from large to small and felt infinitely better about myself. 

weight loss

In Feb 2018, I moved back in with my parents. Maintaining my routine was a challenge for the first couple of months, but I wasn’t going to give up. I asked my mom to help with the diet, found a gym near my house, and joined a jazz class for beginners over the weekend. 

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This journey has done more for me than just facilitate weight loss
These past two years made me realize that fitness is not about how you look. Fitness is about how you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. And just as I take measures to work on my physical health, I need to take steps to work on my emotional and mental health as well. There is no magic wand in the world. However one thing that always works is your ‘inner circle’, your support system–which in my case are my parents, that gym freak of a roommate, and siblings.

Today I am a learning specialist at a consultancy firm, a part time PhD scholar, a white paper author, a fitness enthusiast, a versatile dancer, and a keen spiritual seeker. And the one thing that I have come to terms with is that transformation is not a destination but a journey–and a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The question is are we willing to take the step?

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