Before I begin, let me introduce myself. I am Sohini, 30 years old, a Ph.D. scholar and a school teacher. Like many of you, I do have weight issues and I am in the process of adapting to a prolonged lifestyle change which will not only solve my weight problem but will benefit me holistically.
Now, what I have learnt from history is that “revolutionary changes” are temporary whereas gradual changes are more long lasting. So while planning to lose weight if we suddenly impose revolutionary changes in our body, be it through diet or extreme workout, it is not going to last for many of us in the long run. I have tried such extreme cases and though I lost weight I felt depressed and after a while, I gave up my fitness routine.
“Weight loss” itself is a negative term and let us replace it with “getting fit and healthy“. Now before I bombard all of you with my small lifestyle changing mantras, there are certain things which I want you to know.
Firstly, do not equate beauty with the body. Beauty is much more than that. Beauty lies within you. It may be in your kindness, in your intelligence, in your smile, in your behavior. Do not equate beauty with external looks.
Secondly, accept your present body, be comfortable in it. Appreciate your body for functioning properly. Do not hate your body.
Thirdly, love yourself for what you are.
Fourthly, stop weighing yourself every day. Weigh yourself monthly.
Now, I am going to share about my experience regarding the journey which I have embarked upon.
I had tried going to the gym but since I work and do research, I did not have the energy to continue. I tried drastic diets from avoiding carbs to 1200 calories per day diet and ended up being cranky and depressed. For over a year I read many diet books, watched inspirational videos of dietitians and positive thinkers and developed a process to suit my needs. Here are my findings:
- We should have three main meals in a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. These should be home cooked as much as possible. There are no fixed portions to these meals, it depends on your hunger. Try and listen to your body.
- In between, you have to snack. If you are addicted to junk food gradually reduce it. For example, I love potato chips. I used to have two big packets of it daily. I reduced it to one big packet daily for a week, then one small packet for the next week and finally to one or two small packets in an entire week. It is about gradual reduction. But I have strictly curtailed soft drinks and sugar from my tea. If you love pastries, have it but not every day and reduce the amount slowly.
- Drink water.Don’t drink it at one go; take small sips of it throughout the day. One important tip is having a glass of water before you snack especially if you are snacking on junk food.
- I have come to realized that there are two types of food. “food for the tummy” which is the basic food we need to survive and “food for the soul” which are mainly the ‘junk’ variety. Now just as the mind cannot be satisfied, the foods which are for the soul can never satisfy you, no matter how much you have it. Therefore, just have small portions of them. Do not deprive yourself of those overnight. In the long run, you will see that you can easily do without them.
- Try to have early dinner. Never skip any of the three important meals. Never skip snacking too but try and snack on healthy food like fruits, coconut water, puffed rice, chanas, dhoklas and the list is endless.
- As far as exercising is concerned you should enjoy it. I enjoy walking while listening to music, some enjoy dancing, some enjoy running. But If you take exercising as a chore it is going to be hard. Be active all the time. Talk over the phone while moving around, take the stairs, go grocery shopping yourself, play with your kids in the park etc.
Perhaps, whatever I have said above is nothing new; you all know these things. Let me tell you, I have adopted these changes and I am seeing results. It is not a drastic weight loss, but it is very gradual. From the inside, I am very happy and I have stopped obsessing over my overweight issues. I have done it with patience and discipline. I am sure all of you can do it too because as the wise say, ‘slow and steady wins the race’.