Whether we like it or not, women’s sense of body image is largely shaped up by societal standards and stereotypes. Being thin sometimes takes precedence over being fit. But at what cost, really? At one point in life you do realize what truly matters, and that’s when you start a healthy weight loss and body transformation process. That’s just what happened with Radhika Nihalani, a 39-year-old public relations professional and communication strategist.
Today, she’s a woman who balances career, motherhood and her own wellness with equal gusto. But it has been a learning curve, and something that all women can learn from.
“I have had a love-hate relation with my body since as long as I can remember. I went from being a ‘fat cute 80 kg teen’ to running 20 kms a day with literally no food, going down to an ‘anorexic 48 kilo young adult’. I had no perspective on fitness or nutrition… I just wanted to be thin,” Nihalani tells Health Shots on a candid note.
For the unversed, anorexia is a psychological eating disorder in which a person self-starves, suffers excessive weight loss and fears becoming fat.
Nihalani, who is now a regular at the gym, says it took a lot of self discipline to prevent herself from “falling deeper into the anorexic life”.
Once she found a good balance and started to live a fit and nutritious life, she got pregnant! That also meant eating away to her heart’s delight.
“I totally let myself loose and ate like I had never eaten food before! I was confident I will lose the weight easily … I had done it before, I can do it again,” she shared.
But reality hit her hard post her first pregnancy.
“Once the baby was out, I realized the struggle, the uphill battle, the nights I wanted to bury my face and not wake up for a week, to the days I wished ended even before they started. My body had changed, it was resisting any weight loss and I was losing my will to fight it (must I confess, I have phenomenal will power),” said Nihalani, who is a mother of two and the founder of Mumbai-based Think Ink Communications.
Hardships are aplenty – be it in motherhood, professional life or in a weight loss journey.
“It’s hard. Raising a baby (or two) is hard. Raising a baby and going back to work is hard. Raising a baby, going back to work and getting back to shape is Goddamn hard,” she adds.
Women tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to become a certain shape. To add to that, the social media pressures are intense.
“When we don’t achieve that size, we stress eat, we don’t work out – we do everything we aren’t supposed to be doing. It’s a vicious cycle – almost impossible to break away from,” Nihalani points out, voicing the agony of every woman who struggles to look ‘Insta-perfect’ nowadays.
Nevertheless, she is happy about the fact that she is slowly embracing her body in its shape and form.
“I’m finally learning to love my body, with all its bulges and fat pockets. Does it mean that I don’t want to lose weight? Hell yes, I do! But I have started to love my body and I can feel it love me right back,” she says.
“I respect my body to be able to see me through hard work days and harder mom nights. It allows me to be a badass at work and be a super enthusiastic mom,” shares Nihalani.
Also read: From 59.4 kg to 55.1 kg in 6 weeks, Genelia D’Souza’s fitness journey proves she’s indomitable
It is only after her second delivery that she joined a gym and that has been a life-changing experience for her. It didn’t just alter her weight loss journey, but also changed her perspective on fitness.
“Now I am just not working out to be thin, but to be strong. I have many bad days where I don’t want to put in any work and miraculously become a side that I see on all magazine covers… But you let those days pass. You learn to accept yourself at your weakest, eating two ice creams post dinner and at your strongest, juggling work, kids, life – the way only a mom can do.”
Take that 30 minutes (if not more) out for yourself. Not for your husband, your parents, your in laws, your children, but for yourself! For Nihalani, one hour a day of ‘me time‘ is sacred for her because of the mental strength it adds to her life.
“It reminds me that I can push myself without falling apart, it reminds me that a determined mind can achieve anything, it reminds me that when you feel like giving up is exactly when you shouldn’t but more than anything it reminds me that we all should take out some time for ourselves to do something that make our hearts truly happy! Just for ourselves,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post.
Pick up any form of fitness that you like and do it every single day. It might seem impossible when you are constantly doing a zillion things, but it’s possible.
Slowly you will see your body change – and that’s magic. “It’s not a short sprint – it’s a marathon. We have to keep at it. Remember that losing weight is short-term decision, and embracing fitness is a lifestyle change,” she concludes.
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