I completed one year at my gym this month and it is an overwhelming feeling to be honest. I had no hope that i would make it this far, let alone anybody else. It has been one excruciatingly painful and happy journey. Painful & Happy? Yes. Its that pain that you endure to overcome something troubling you. That pain feels good. It’s the same happy pain you feel when you beat the odds and the doubters. It feels good.
Summer 2012 was a turning point for me. I kept falling sick, i kept having mood swings and temper problems and frequent stomach upsets and backaches. I have had sinusitis since i was a kid and it is always a bitch when it acts up. I don’t know how being overweight affects sinusitis but it acted up a lot that summer resulting in frequent fevers, ear pain and blocked nostrils. All this, all summer. I had had enough of this. It was time for change. And don’t even get me started on the sweating. I was a heavy sweater. Was.
A family physician is your best friend during such times. Two are even better. I consulted them on putting an end to this unfit lifestyle and getting healthy. It was the starting point of this transformation. Along with their help, i read and searched articles and inspiring ‘fat to fit’ stories of real people. Arm yourself with knowledge about weight loss and do not believe anything that sounds too good to be true. Explore all sides of anything you read. There is no magic pill, so don’t bother looking for one. Instead, learn about your own body, its likes, dislikes and also learn about your food. What works for you and what doesn’t. Set realistic goals instead of stupid ones. Real ones were 3 kilos a month. Stupid ones were 10 kilos in 2 months. I learnt my lessons.
Then i joined the nearest gym. This is important. If you have a gym near you, go there. A gym near to where i live was the biggest motivation for me to go EVERYDAY. There are at least 5-6 gyms in and around the place i live. They are absolute best, top of the line gyms. But i decided to go to the nearest one. Its nothing compared to the biggies but you get what you pay for. It would have been no use to me to come home from work in the evening, get ready, travel/walk far to the best gym, workout, then travel/walk back home. That did not look good at all. Especially when the nearest gym was 5 steps away. I cannot emphasize this more: GO TO THE NEAREST GYM POSSIBLE.
The first 2-3 months were nothing but experiments on my body conducted by me. At the gym i did what my trainer told me to do and nothing else. At home i ate only and only healthy food. Salads, no ghee/oil, no fried foods, no sugary drinks, no white bread, no overeating, no heavy foods, no eating when not hungry, more water, more greens, more fresh and raw food, more fruit. Oatmeal became my best friend. Whenever i was hungry, a bowl of flavored oatmeal was enough. An Apple instead of biscuits, Water or lemonade instead of soda or other other sugary drinks, I walked more. I would walk wherever possible instead of taking the taxi or bus. I discovered i can walk atleast 2 – 3 kilometers without breaking a sweat and quickly too. This was such a money saver too!
I stopped having unhealthy fast food. Everytime i found myself in a situation where i was in a restaurant or coffee shop with friends or colleagues or at family functions, etc. I would fill myself up with a lot of Water first. Then would proceed to order to eat the healthiest looking options. Not eating what makes you happy or what you like, just because you are trying to get fit is a BAD IDEA in my opinion. It does not hurt to eat what you like every once in a while. For me every 7 to 10 days i’d eat what i like. Although in a limited quantity. But i did. I never restricted my diet to such an extent that it would begin to feel like a punishment. Its important to do this to keep yourself motivated. Food is the biggest change you will make when wanting to get fit and healthy. It is the BIGGEST deciding factor whether you succeed or not. Do not give up on anything, instead be smart and eat smart and do not suppress temptation.
Meanwhile, at the gym, i pushed myself to breaking points in the first month. Anyone new to gyming will probably go through this. You give it all instead of pacing yourself. I gave it all everyday and it hurt like hell the next day. Sometimes it hurt so much that i could not go to work. My legs, stomach, abdomen, hips, back, arms, hands, shoulders, biceps, everything hurt. Sometimes everything hurt together and sometimes in pairs. If it hurts, you are doing fine and it will stop hurting later. Do not give up because of pain. Your body is undergoing changes and hence it takes time to adjust. I’d take a day or two off in a month but not more than that. Because in the beginning each day you miss, it hurts more the next.
I measured my weight (113 Kgs.) at the beginning. I was so grossed out i wanted to break the machine. Just to be accurate, i measured it on 2 machines, one at the gym and one at home. Do not rely on one machine alone as these things can be wonky especially if they are old. After the first 2 weeks, i measured again and had lost a kilo. Somehow i found this very humorous. That’s it? That’s all it took? 2 weeks to lose a kilo? WTF! This was what drove me more and more. After 3 months, Slowly, i was reducing. I saw the change in front of the mirror. Then come your first compliments from friends and family. Then the jeans and pants and shorts were starting to get loose. Yeah. I was getting there.
Transformation of the self is not easy. It cannot be done overnight. I knew i had to change my mental self along with my physical self too. I needed some mental peace which i had very less of in the past. I was always worried about something or the other. It was easy to piss me off. I needed to change all of this along with my physical self. I know it sounds easy and unbelievable but i did this by changing small things about my daily life. First, i stopped reading and watching the news. I read only 2 tabloids instead of 6 (4+2 tabloids) newspapers. I stopped watching ALL Indian News Channels. These things are a cancer to the mind. I knew if the news was important, it would reach me somehow and that i need not know everything. I need not keep watching this shit-fest everyday on TV. The result was immediate. A week later i was already less stressed. Secondly, i accepted myself, who i was, how i was and made peace with that. I am what i am and i can only change the bad things about me and replace them with something good (for egs the physical change i was undertaking). This reduced my anger quite a bit. I did not get angry on anyone and instead thought from their perspective and that helped not only me but the person i was angry on too. Peace became my mantra. I stopped arguing with cab and rickshaw drivers and paid them extra if they agreed on the first go. If i could not pay extra i knew i could atleast thank them. Small gestures. Small changes. Big difference. But sometimes i still tend to stress alot, worry alot and have a temper. But its lesser than ever before. Anger is rare now. No one is more glad about it than me. Mental transformation was faster and it boosted my morale.
I had a few hiccups and hurdles along the way. But after a year and losing 15 kilos, i am hovering in the late 90s. According to my BMI i should be around late 80s. Which is roughly 10 kilos more. As of today, i want to reach that target before the end of the year. It will take time. But i will get there. I know what works and what doesn’t now. So this next phase will be more easier and less painful. My trainer is smart and knows when to push me and when not to.
I celebrated the occasion with 2 bowls of Masala Oatmeal Khichdi for dinner and a small square of dairy milk chocolate. It was all what i needed to celebrate the occasion.