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I was around 11-years-old when I first started to gain weight. Like for any person, the weight gain was thought to be linked to my love for food. By the time I turned 18-years-old, I had reached 85 kilos. Now I was a fairly active child, so the rapid weight gain did seem a little misplaced. As the extra kilos and hormonal changes stalled my physical fitness, I realized it was time for a health check-up.
After multiple tests I was diagnosed with PCOS, which also brought with it obesity, hair thinning, acne, unwanted facial hair and other health implications that altered my idea of who I was. The biggest battle was the weight gain. I went from weighing 62 kilos to weighing 85 kilos in 4 years.
Being overweight soon became a hindrance to my health. It made me lazy and inactive. I developed high blood pressure, frequent indigestion issues, breathlessness, headaches and an inability to move. For more than 5 years I dealt with a plethora of health issues and continuous weight gain. Between the years 14 and 16, I had gained almost 15 kilos.
I was also impacted a lot socially. Extended family gatherings, school and tuition classes were all places where I was exposed to unsolicited comments. I didn’t feel like going out, meeting my friends or dressing up anymore. It all felt pointless no matter what I did, I ended up being called a ‘fatso’ or a yak.
Also, read: How to stop body shaming yourself and love your body in 6 steps
I remember an instance when I was home, studying for my class 12th boards: I had a severe headache and I was experiencing breathlessness. My father took me straight to the hospital to get it checked. My blood pressure was about 160/110 which was extremely dangerous for a 17-year-old.
It was there that the doctor warned us that my weight could really harm my health. I had heard the word ‘overweight’ quite a few times prior to this but that one incident and maybe because I was hearing it from a doctor, I realised I had waited long enough. It was time to start my weight loss journey–not for other people but for me.
As an extremely self-conscious, sensitive, and insecure person, I had always been reluctant to seek the help of a dietician or trainer. It was difficult for me as I knew I had to spend the first few weeks being told that I am unfit, over and over again. nobody wants to hear that and I certainly wasn’t ready for it. So instead, I trusted myself and my efforts and began to read a lot of books, stories, inspirational quotes and poems for motivation.
I made a lot of blunders initially in my journey towards weight loss before finally taking the right steps. I did crash dieting the first two months—cutting out sugar, oil, junk food, bread and spices from my diet. I only ate fruits and boiled vegetables. This diet seemed to work temporarily, for I shrunk from 85kgs to 75kgs in just one month. While I was overjoyed seeing that small number on the weighing scale, the consequences of that diet were very difficult to fight.
While I did end up losing 10 kilos, the joy was short lived, for this untested diet ruined my stomach and I had to stop the diet. All the key nutrients that I had cut out from my diet made me incredibly weak and I had to re-introduce those into my meals. As a result, I gained weight, about 8 kilos, very quickly.
Though, I wasn’t ready to give up. I was determined to find the right fit for me. So I began talking to my fitter friends to try and understand their healthy habits and behaviours. I began to follow fitness profiles and learned that eating smaller meals was a tried-and-tested formula. I adopted it after a lot of reading and preparedness.
I switched from having 3 large meals to having 6 small ones. I added warm water, fruits, dry fruits, nuts and fibre to my diet. Additionally, I started playing basketball and waking up early to do brisk walking.
I eventually began to gain strength and feel fitter. For me, this was the first convincing milestone in my journey. Another positive result of this new, altered lifestyle was that I began to lose weight too. After a failed diet, health revamp, altered lifestyle and better dietary choices, I was able to bring my weight to 68 kilos in 18 months.
For the past 10 years, I have been working hard to deal with my issues related to PCOS and my weight. There have been days when I have hated looking myself at the mirror. It indeed has been a difficult journey but I have come a long way.
My confidence has improved greatly. Along with being fitter, I am much calmer, more secure, and a humbler person. Today, I dance and work out daily and I maintain a balanced diet. My diet includes lots of fruits, greens and fibre. The weight loss along with a healthy routine helped me manage my PCOS, and today my hormones are under complete control.
My issues related to my skin, my menstrual cycle, and my hair are also settled now. I have in all ways, internally and externally, rebuilt myself, which gives me a satisfying love for my ownself.
Today, I weigh 58kgs and I am happy, for only I know what it has taken to reach here.
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