This matter is really close to my heart and I kept contemplating if I really should write this in my food blog but as I mulled over the matter, it made most sense to write about my weight loss journey here than anywhere else.
Disclaimer – I can’t promise this post to be completely gyaan free 😛 but I am not an expert on matters of diet and fitness regimes of any kind. Just a regular person trying to take care of myself the best way possible this year and share my learnings along the way. This is purely a reflection of my feelings and realizations in the process of weight loss.
Let me start by saying this – as someone who really enjoys obsessing over food and all aspects of it, it is easy to get carried away. I thought not having any sense of moderation was okay (worked in my early twenties), eating muffins between meals everyday is okay, having 5-6 pints of beer for entertaining myself every week was okay but most importantly I realized that using the excuse of being a food lover to neglect your health is not okay.
We food lovers are a strange breed though, we can never reduce food to just something we should do to fuel ourselves. We have our deepest emotions linked to food, in fact I’ll take the liberty of saying that we share the most intimate connection with food. Most times, a comforting meal can make or break our day. We use lines like “that cake reached my soul not my stomach” or “that sushi just made me go into a kind of trance” or ” that biryani tasted like heaven”.. you get the drift.
When your emotions are linked so deeply with food, it makes it even more challenging when you resolve to get on a plan with limited food groups. Food groups quite distant from what your mother fed you all of your growing up years (Oh dear rice, I have realized your value after keto).
But good news is – you can take away indulgence from a foodie but you can’t take away their indulgent spirit!
I am proud to say that I tried my best to cook and eat the most tastiest things throughout my weight loss journey (picture collage includes almond butter dark chocolate energy balls, jeera rice and paneer curry, chicken kebabs, whey protein ice cream, broccoli pancakes and grilled cheese sandwich), to the point that I have to start making extra dabbas now for my colleagues who loved most of what I was cooking and eating 😛
It’s important that we propagate the idea of diet as not something to be considered as a punishment for past sins but as a means to teach ourselves better and mindful eating habits while also satiating our taste buds and kicking out monotony from our meals. Okay I am dangerously going to the gyaan zone now (more coming later) 😛
I think essentially all of us want to be in a decent physical shape, put nourishing things inside our bodies, indulge regularly in our favourite things to eat and drink and also enjoy good health overall so we can do something as simple as take the stairs like a sane human being without wanting to die.
Here are the key takeaways from my successful completion of six months of a truly challenging but rewarding weight loss journey (instagram post with picture here if you are interested to indulge in my self obsession a little further)-
- Get a support system – It could be your fitness mentor, your partner, your close friends and family. Get them to support you through the journey. In my case, I had them all to support me immensely throughout the process. I called some close friends and my mother when I felt like nothing was worth giving up rice for (I think I still stand by that. Rice is LOVE!) or when I felt anti social for not touching alcohol at several team parties or when I felt like I was depriving myself of life’s pleasures. It’s impossible to stay on track without positivity and support of loved ones. One can never have enough.
- Move on after bad days – We are humans, we slip sometimes and goof up. We eat something we are not supposed to. Our old demons decide to overpower on some days. It is a normal thing. I slipped several times and then I found beating myself about it for days. It is unhealthy to not move on after bad days. Just forgive and be kind yourself and move on and get back on track from the next day.
- Ignore all unsolicited advice/remarks and learn to say no – “Too much protein will harm your kidneys” “You will faint if you are on diet” “Do you eat anything at all?” “Come on ya, one tiramisu wont harm you, run extra tomorrow” “oh! eating salad again eh?” “Why do you always turn down what I offer?”
Human beings will have a problem with everything – fat people are too fat, people trying to eat right are punishing themselves and not living their life, thin people are too thin.. We are a bunch of judgmental creatures (forgive my aggressive tone here) but that rant is for another day. 😛 Ignore all of the unsolicited advice and remarks and say no without thinking much about who you are offending. Focus on your personal goals and remember to not give any you-know-the-word whatsover.
- Don’t chase perfection – Being ambitious and goal oriented is great but don’t obsess over results so much that it leaves you anxious and stressed constantly.
For the first three months I didn’t care how many kgs and inches I dropped, my goal was to show up at the gym everyday and make sure I stuck to my plan diligently (which was seriously big deal for a lazy bum like me).
- Laugh it off – I keep joking with my colleagues that soon I’ll have a broccoli tree growing out of my cheeks or that I have become a cow for the amount of salads I have eaten. Laughing helps and not taking ourselves too seriously helps even more!
- Be proud of how far you have come – If someone told me last year that I would quit sugar for 3 and a half months completely and show up at the gym 5 days a week for 6 months straight and stay on a no carb diet for 6 weeks, I would have laughed at their face. Sometimes we surpass our own expectations and it is important to acknowledge it from time to time. Never forget to be proud of how far you have come (whatever your goal is)!
- It’s the hard way or the hard way – I always tried to find shortcuts to reach my weight loss goals in the past. I was lazy, my spirit was lazy. There was lethargy in my mind but I resolved to change that. No matter how many books and well established people say it time and again – there really isn’t any alternative to perseverance, discipline and commitment. Absolutely none. Like my mentor says, “got to hustle for that muscle” 🙂
That’s enough of gyaan for one post but I am hoping this post stirs up something inside you to take that one step that most of us hesitate to take (I also did). But I can safely assure you that that one step towards a balanced, healthy lifestyle including all of its bouquets and brickbats holds the power to transform you from outside and within.
Love food immensely but love your body more. I am hoping to launch a series of my favourite recipes that I cooked while on diet and promise to revive this space.
Until then keep hustling! 🙂