Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Why I Will Never Call Myself Fat Again

mother_daughter_2

Ok, this is an unusual admission from me – I am not fat. Not saying I am not thin, but am not fat either, whatever the definition of thin or fat is.

Which brings me to this question: what is the definition of fat, or thin? And who defines it? And why do we accept it?

The truth, unsurprisingly, is based on our perception about the issue. What I may think of as thin, may not be so for someone else (my children’s friend’s bordering-on-anorexic mothers probably think I am fat. I differ. Conversely, my mom thinks I am thin. Again, I differ). It’s all relative.

Today, somehow, being thin means being skinny, or somewhere near it. The whole definition of beauty has changed completely. And women, more than men, are trying to live by some warped standards of beauty, and are putting themselves through torture to conform to it. Innumerable studies and life experiences of people have repeatedly shown that physical qualities in people do only so much to make them happy and contended – one because they are fleeting and two, because they don’t add meaning to people’s lives. That may be a philosophical outlook that you may or may not agree with, but it does not take away from one simple fact – that our obsession with looking good and the methods of achieving it are unhealthy. And this must stop – because what we’re doing, and by we I mean women like myself who have unknowingly fallen into the trap and perpetuated the idea, is passing it on to the next generation. Most of us (like yours truly) may not mean to, but we are. Every time I look in the mirror and exclaim that I have gained weight, I am (albeit inadvertently), passing on my idea of beauty to my children. I may tell them otherwise, but children look at actions and take away from that. They are watching us at all times and learning from our behaviour. What we do or say seeps into their sub-conscience and feeds their ideas about life and society – in this case about defines being thin; it tells them what they must be like to be accepted as attractive.

Children are sponges – so if you, even in jest, say that you are fat, they will process this very differently than you may have intended.

Let me now confess that I have been guilty of this. I have often made a correlation between my weight with feeling good and not, as I should have, being fit and feeling good – because that’s what it should be about. I want to be healthy, and not being fat, in the medical sense, is part of it. But that’s not what I conveyed in my actions and words. I am a runner and I do believe that it makes me fitter. Yet, I have somehow done a bad marketing job of making those feelings known and amplified the ones that I don’t really believe in – which is about wanting to be thinner than I am.

For instance, when my sister and I joke about “going on a crash diet”, we lead our children to believe that depriving yourself of food is justified and even required if one needs to be acceptably thin (and thus physically attractive). The fact that neither of us never act on our words may not be enough to quell the ideas we had engraved in our children’s impressionable minds.

Why this sudden awakening you may ask? Because my older daughter (now ten) said to me the other day that she feared being fat when she grew up. It was one of those passing things that kids say, which they forget about the next moment and move on. But, her words stopped me in my tracks. I realized what I had done. I knew she didn’t fear it, like she fears the dark, or earthquakes. Yet, just the fact that she, at ten-years-old, had thought about gaining weight when she grew older, was enough to set me on a path of correcting the wrong I had done.

Parenting, I have learned, is not about the ability to always do the right thing, or about berating yourself for doing the wrong. It’s about realizing and admitting when you’ve made mistakes, and setting them right. That’s exactly what I plan to do now. And it can’t be done by siting my daughter down and giving her philosophical monologues on the idea of beauty. That’s taking the easy way out and frankly, it never works. She’s growing up in a world surrounded by image-obsessed people, who, along with some ill-timed remarks by her mother about her own weight, have influenced her little mind. What she needs is to see the right ideas in action. She needs to see her mother run and then talk about being fit, she needs to see her mother dress for a party and not ask if she’s looking fat, she needs to see her mother feel good about herself about the way she looks and not rue about her lost youth when she was thin.

My new-found resolve, however, does not mean that I shall now proceed to wander around with unkempt hair and live in sweatpants, because that would really prove I don’t care about how I look and thus send the right message to my kids. It won’t, they’ll just think I am sloppy. No, it means that I stop saying things I don’t mean and, through my actions, I prove that being healthy is what matters.

And the effects of this will be two fold – one, of course, I will teach my daughters the right thing about their body-image and two, I will feel good about myself, which I have not been doing lately. I run to be healthy and because I enjoy it, not to be thin – whatever that means today.

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I found my old wardrobe. Now for my old self.

Can there be a better feeling in the world than fitting into old jeans? And I mean, old, old, jeans, like the ones you used to live in before marriage, let alone kids, were anywhere on your radar. Nope. Few things beat that.

Ok, there can be better achievements, I know, but for me, right now, in my limited world (yes, I admit it) this is a great milestone. I say milestone because it represents the larger, I-will-get-my-life back outlook that I am trying to instill into myself these days. I wasn’t really fat-fat earlier, but thin is something else. And I’d forgotten what it feels to be thin – to not think about bulges (it’s not like I never think about a bulge here or there now, because you can’t be too thin now can you?) But, I can walk into a store and have the lady lead me to the small section. Priceless.

How did I do it? The gym. I go to the gym four days a week, never more, because I don’t want to. I do forty minutes of intense cardio – mix of treadmill, stepper and cross – trainer, then sit-ups (45, three sets of 15), back stretches, knee exercises, a few weights (not much) and out. So it’s about an hour spent. I drink on weekends, eat what I want – I want to have a life and while I may not be setting the town on fire, I do like a good movie and a good meal. So husband and I eat out most Saturdays and I don’t bring my weight to the table.

I know I could lose more if I really watched what I ate, but that’s not worth it. I am not shooting for the ramp. Am happy just to be thin and to stay so, because harder than losing weight, is keeping it off. I think I’ve said this sometime in my blog before!

Now, all I need is to get a great job with an understanding boss, and a publisher who’d jump at my book. Then I am all set – thin, accomplished and successful. That’s the aim.

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The Weight Loss

We all know it’s hard. So, that I am not going to say.

What I will say is that what’s harder than losing weight, is keeping it off.

The weird thing is, and I am not sure if this is true of other women too, but it is for me, that once I am past that one week where I’ve been to the gym and eaten right, I seem to be on a roll and it gets easy from there. You need to see that initial 500 gram loss on your machine to feel, “gosh this is working, so am not going to slip back this time”. But, you do. Of course, you do. You take a break from the gym and somehow, and this is the really weird part, you even start to eat wrong again. So, it’s a double whammy. No exercise, more food – bam! the inches are back. Aaaggghhhh.

So, what you have to accept, first, before you even start to lose the weight, is that losing weight is like marriage, it needs constant work, you slip a little and the effects start to be visible almost right away.

Earlier this year I told myself that enough was enough, I had to get the lard off. And, I also told myself that nothing comes easy in life, nothing, so stop trying to look for magic and move your ass, literally. I did.

I can tell you, it’s a glorious feeling. You fit back into your old jeans (ok it’s not hanging around your waist like it used to) but you can stuff yourself into them, even that is an amazing feeling. Before long, that too changes; they start to fit better. Then come the compliments. “How did you do this?” asks someone and you feel like you’ve climbed the Everest and start to narrate the ordeals of the gym and eating right.

So far so good. The trouble, however, is to keep this going. That, truly, is the most challenging part. Not impossible, though, far from it. But you need to work on yourself, your mind especially.

For most women this is how it goes:

You put on the inches over the years.
You hide behind loose clothes.
You go on like this for a while. A long while
Your mother tells you to get hold of yourself.
That’s never going to make you do it. You eat more.
Then, one day, something, on its own, snaps.
You wake up with this I-am-going-to-catch-the-bull-by-its-horns feeling. And you do.
Food does not matter the way it did before.
You put yourself on auto-pilot and hit the gym
You loose weight.
People notice and comment.
All goes well, for a while.
Then, you take a break from the daily gym routine. Maybe a holiday.
Routine broken. Domino effect.
You tell yourself – I need a break.
Comfort food again.
Bang, the weight is back.

This has happened with me a few times before, so how am I so sure that this time it’s different. Not sure, actually. Just taking one day at a time and not thinking about the future too much.

I feel good. Am not the size I really want to be yet, but, hopefully, I’ll get there. Am not in a tearing hurry. And that’s the other thing, you can’t, and shouldn’t rush it. Don’t look for magical solutions. It takes time, but you should do this the right way. I am not one for diets, never worked for me and know many friends who got into them, only gain more when they stopped. And you do stop, unless you’re Gandhi.

So, in short, what worked for me was gym four days a week and a little control in eating, meaning, not snacking, staying off the fried goodies, stuff like that.

Weekends, by the way are not for any of this. You gotta have a life! Don’t be too hard on yourself, because if you are, chances are you’ll have a reaction someday and go into reverse gear.

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A confused mind.

I think it’s mid life (no, not going to say crisis, yet). It must be something to do with mid life, because I am confused, stressed, angry, frustrated, and yet, quite happy with life, in general I mean. It’s possible. Didn’t think these mix of emotions can go together, but, apparently, they can!

I think about getting back to work, or to some sort of work. The twins will start school this spring and my older one will have a full day at school. So, I probably can do something, not a whole lot (what between picking, dropping, tennis, homework and the doctor visits thrown in for good measure) But, I can, if I try hard (and I do want to) have some sort of a work, freelance life.

The trouble is, what do I do? One day I wake up, ready to write that book that I’ve been writing in my head for the last ten years, or longer. My thoughts are lucid and I get a high thinking about it. This usually happens when I’ve had little sleep and returned from the gym, all charged up. By mid-day I run out of steam and my who-am-I-kidding mood drapes itself over me like a wet blanket. By the evening, I’ve given up that plan altogether.

Till, another day arrives with optimism, and I think about a neat business idea that I would love to work on and in my mind it all gets worked out – do-able I feel. I think about all the women who took the off beaten path and then made it somehow, against all odds, et all. Again, I get all excited about it, but, after the initial giddy excitement of having found what I want to do wanes a little, I start to see the holes in my so-called great idea and before long, poof! that’s abandoned too.

This happens over and over again. One day I am all set to go be a teacher at my daughter’s school. The other day I want to write, then I want to start a small business. Gosh. This is mid life, it better to be. Either that, or I am losing it, finally.

Between all these spasms I manage, and don’t ask me how, to actually do some freelance work. Some writing here, some design there, etc etc. A friend wants something done, I oblige; like that.

What I , however, do regularly, and this I am proud of, is go to the gym. Yup, started it earlier this year. Not crazy about it, but I do it and it’s shown results. A good feeling.

More on this in my next post..

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So far so good..

When you start working out, even if it’s twenty minutes a day, you feel a sense of achievement. By day three you even feel like some of those stubborn love handles have started to relent, and that’s a great feeling. It’s what makes you go on, because the last thing you want to do, is put the weight back on that you tried so hard to shed!

So, that’s where I am right now. Apart from the weight, I feel better about life in general too. No one can tell the difference and the first few pounds will not make you look a whole lot different, but that’s not the point at that moment. You’ll move past that soon and then people will start telling you what they observe.

I am doing these couple of things apart from the exercise.

1. Walking when I can and not getting into the car, if it’s a short distance and I am not pressed for time.

2. Snacking healthy: Am munching carrots as I write this!

3. Drinking a lot of water.

4. Have made my meal portions just a tad bit less, not a whole lot, but you know the point when you know you’re full and you have that extra bite – I’ve killed that extra bite I thought would hardly affect me. It’s helped

5. This one I am not doing but it’s great if you can: Eat by seven and nothing after that. Drink water if you feel like something, or eat a fruit.

Like I always say, it’s great when all is going well, then you can do all of the above but when you let go even a little, it all kind of crumbles. Am hoping it won’t get to that again!

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Getting into shape -2

It took a lot of will power today to do my spot-jogging, but I did it, and some stretches after that too. Felt so much better. I’ve found that watching TV while jogging works quite well for me, the time passes by more quickly and I don’t keep staring at the watch to see how long it’s been, only to find that some three minutes have passed!

Mornings would be ideal, but I’ve learned not to expect anything quite “ideal” when you are the mother of a toddler, so I’ve told myself I’ll do it when I can.

Evening was really the only time, before I fed my daughter dinner. We came back from our walk – she and I – and then I left her with the maid telling her that I had to do something. Sometimes she clings to my leg and pleads me to take her too, and when she does that, I give up all that I was intending to do and stay with her. Don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, but that’s what I do. (And vent here later!)

Today, however, she let me go, and I didn’t push my luck by looking back. I ran. Thirty minutes later I was a happier mommy and wanted her back in my room.

Twenty minutes of spot-jogging or forty minutes of brisk walking they say is a good start. That’s what I am doing, let’s see how much I can shed!

And yes, I’ve been very good about the no-snacking too. Ate some carrots when I wanted a snack, and drank some water – made me feel very full, really worked.

Not sure how long I can be good. But today was great. Now, if only I can repeat this everyday. (Big) Sigh.

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Getting into shape

When I was twenty, I told myself I’d never look like a sloppy mom. And though I still am not sloppy, I am not what I’d like to be either. I am not fat, but I am not thin. I pretty much look like the mom who has to constantly wear the right clothes to look thinner than she is, and the day a lot of her blacks and other favorite clothes are in the laundry, that’s the day she would rather be in her pajamas at home.

But, I now want to move beyond dependency on the wardrobe. I want to be thin, so anything I wear would pass the am-I-looking-fat test. I mean, I want to be at the stage where there is no need for that side view test. I want to be thin, and I am going to work for it.

Yes,I’ve said it before, we all have. But then I’ve done it too. I just let go a little in all the post-pregnancy period, which is normal I guess for a lot of women. But now, as my daughter turns two this month, I am going to take a few baby steps into weight loss. At this point I have to say that there was one reason why I didn’t really try this before, and that was wanting a second baby. I felt, I’d really get into shape after the second – once and for all!

But, it does not work that way.I do want a second and it probably will still happen, but I am not putting things on hold anymore.

I’ve been working out a little, twenty-minutes spot-jogging. The last time I did this I lost a lot of weight. Once you start, it’s not that tough, twenty minutes a day for the first week and then up up to forty later, with the stretching etc.  I don’t even want to tell myself that I will do it everyday, just when I can – four days a week is good enough to start.

It’s important to set realistic targets and what happens then is that once you lose a little, you  get encouraged and try to be more regular.

So  now I start, will keep you all posted.

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