You lose some, you gain some: My lifelong journey with weight and self-love

Sharika’s experience with weight loss and dieting has been a long one. While her weight might have shaped the majority of her life, she has never let it define or restrict her. This is her story.
weight loss stories
“My weight loss journey is one of commitment, faith, perseverance and confidence,” says Sharika.
Reader Submission Published: 24 Sep 2020, 19:06 pm IST
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I have been an obese child since the age of three. My genes have been one of the main reasons for it, as I take after my father, whom we lost to a heart attack when I was nine years old. I was always that one plump child in pictures. While there were no clear reasons for my obesity, I reckon it was a result of binge eating as well as genetics. 

Funnily enough, my paediatrician thought that my baby fat would eventually disappear with age. That did not happen. My weight became my biggest challenge during my growing years.

It wasn’t about looks but health…
Growing up obese affects everything. By the time I reached class 8th, I had gained a lot of weight and was weighing almost 80-90 kgs. Obesity by now was a result of both an unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits, along with limited to zero physical fitness. And it was a vicious cycle. While I was keen to partake in school events and sports activities, my weight didn’t let me. Medical check-ups were especially scary to me. I used to hate it when the health centre folks would make a big deal about my weight at every stage.

Between the years 2006 and 2016, I continued to gain more kilos and by the time I turned 20 years old, I was weighing 108 kilos.

Weight loss isn’t a straight road without obstacles: dieting and setbacks
By the time I turned 23, my weight started affecting my health drastically. I began having major knee pain. I still remember the doctor telling me, “at the age of 23 you have knee pains, just imagine what your future would be like!”

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

So from weighing 108 kilos in the year 2016, I started my weight loss journey. My first step was to improve my diet and follow a strict meal plan.

My dietician recommended a healthy diet plan which included everything in moderation and I was advised to have certain high-calorie food items once in a while. In total, I have consulted over five dietitians and each provided a normal diet plan according to their assessment of my eating habits which particularly aimed at a calorie deficit diet with some sort of physical exercise. 

All these diet plans had a basic rule i.e. to control the portions size of whatever I ate and to include lots of fruits and vegetables. I was recommended to swap oats in its different forms like oats upma, chilla, oats poha etc. Additionally, I was advised to have an early dinner and if I felt hungry later, I was told to grab water and fruits.

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By the year 2017, I had lost up to 20 kilos
Unfortunately, it became hard to keep with the health plan as studies became harder. I was studying law by now and the hectic college schedule halted my progress. I feel the biggest hindrance that led me to stop my dieting and lose my patience were the weight loss plateaus, which are completely normal and happen when the body loses a considerable amount of weight. I eventually reached a point where I lost all my momentum and I gained a few kilos back. After shrinking to 86 kilos, I had once again, gained 93 kilos in eight months.

Insecurities and social challenges
Weight loss has a lot to do with your mental strength as well. When you’re dieting, you have to think about everything you eat and can say no to some food. Any person you look at, who has transformed from physically unfit to healthier, has put in a lot of effort. But before that one diet or one plan worked for them, there were a hundred that failed. Those kinds of failures are very hard to let go off.

There are also a lot of social implications of being overweight. Nobody likes being called a ‘moti’ or ‘bhains’. Yet, I think these experiences make you stronger. I’m very thankful that I had a lot of my friends in school, my colony, and tuition. They helped me value my health and stayed with me throughout my arduous journey to tackle obesity.

Also, read: If weight loss is on your mind then stick to these 5 rules for better results

Getting back on track, one step at a time
I think it was this support that allowed me to get back on the saddle and restart my weight loss routine once again. I slowly began to follow my diet chart once again. My mother started making home food according to my diet plan and removed food items that clashed with my diet plan. We also made a check and balance system so that I don’t steer away from my food regime once again. I wasn’t going to falter this time.

I was following a normal, strict diet (no keto or anything excessive) and the main focus of my fitness regime was on becoming healthier and physically active. I also began going for regular walks. The next few months went into a morning breakfast of milk and a boiled egg along with a toast, followed by a healthy snack/ lunch of vegetable sabzi, 1 roti and, salad and fruits at 2:30-3 pm at the office. I then had a plate of sprouts around 6 and finally ate a dinner rich in proteins at 8-9 pm.

Eat well, practice self-love, be confident…. repeat
My insecurity has always been my weight. Once you know that there is a certain aspect of your body which is a little different from other people, you will always try to overcompensate for it or make excuses for it. A major part of my weight loss journey was to feel confident for the way I look. It took me several years to realise that self-love is about accepting your flaws and working upon them, and not being ignorant about yourself.

My weight loss journey is one of commitment, faith, perseverance and confidence. I weigh 95 kilos today and I am continuing on my journey towards a better and fitter health.

If I were to share one lesson, it would be to not let your weight impact your confidence. Your weight doesn’t define your story, but your health does. So one should neither compromise on their self-worth or their health.

Lastly, remember it is a journey and not a day’s hike. My journey is still underway. Currently, I’m trying to take good care of my body and I try to ensure I stick to my diet. I’ve also started meditating to stay focused and calm. Find your journey and be patient.

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