I had always been a healthy child. I hovered between being overweight and borderline obesity but never let it weight too much on my mind. Food was happiness to me and I genuinely enjoyed my mother’s home cooked meals and the desserts and fast food options around me. All this changed when I entered college. Being amidst new people and staying away from home was a new experience for me. That was also when I first started comparing myself to the other thinner girls around. My first year of college was a period of anxiety, self-doubt, and depression, and I struggled with making friends, let alone finding dates. I used to be alone most of the times, working on projects or reading books.
The anxiety and depression only made me rely more on food, and this has a tumbling effect. I started putting on weight like never before. A regular random blood test revealed that I was borderline diabetic. That was the day I woke up and realized that things were really wrong. I should not be worried about diabetes in my early 20s. I called my parents and cried over the phone, took a few days off and went back home.
“You should be doing something about your weight”, my mom told me. “Not because you don’t look attractive, but because you have the right to be healthy and happy”.
My first step was to consult my family doctor. He confirmed that my HbA1c levels were higher than normal. I was given 3 months time to either bring the levels down or start with medication. I also had a consultation with a nutritionist who went through my daily meal routine and told me where I was going wrong. I was gorging on carbohydrates and bad fat, leaving proteins and other healthy nutrition aside. The fact that I indulged in next to no physical activity added fuel to the fire. I went back to college with a plan. My first step was to join the local fitness center that was near my campus. The first week was horrible. I ached all over and was unable to take the next step to walk.
I kept telling myself one thing, “You have just three months to make a change”.
I started consciously making changes to my diet in the meantime. Sugary sodas, chocolates, doughnuts, ice creams and starchy pasta, noodles, and rice became occasional treats. I threw away all the snacks I usually have on my study table and bought a big tin of mixed nuts to munch on. My roommate kind of freaked out seeing me put on my walking shoes and get out early in the morning for a walk! With time, I felt like she, and other people around me appreciated the changes I was trying to make. They even started supporting me by joining me on my walks and workout sessions.
The gymming became easier by the day. It was exciting to see how much I could push myself every day during the workout. I also met a lot of amazing friends and cute guys at the gym that added to the excitement of it all. I got used to a routine within a month. I woke up early to walk around the beautiful campus. I started my day with a cup of coffee and a fruit. Sometimes I had a fruit smoothie! If I was hungry around midday, I had a handful of dry fruits. My lunch was usually a huge bowl of salad, some fruit, or healthier versions of chicken and fish. I stayed away from deep fried snacks and very occasionally gave into temptation. I worked out at the gym in the evening after college and usually had a protein bar or a smoothie before the session. My night meals were simple, fresh and usually a soup and a salad or stewed vegetables or a stir-fry.
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“The dress fits you perfectly”, the saleswoman told me one day when I was picking a new blouse! It was an amazing thing to hear, considering how much I had always struggled to find the right fit – with even the biggest sizes looking tight and uncomfortable for me.
People were slowly beginning to notice the difference. I had shed around 10 pounds in the last three months. More than that, I felt happy and confident about myself. The guilty feeling of doing nothing about my size had been haunting me for years together. I was finally able to shake that feeling away, with a smile on my face! Thanks to the low carbohydrate and low sugar diet and my weight loss, my HbA1C levels had also come down. I still check my fasting sugar levels once a while, but I am not on any medication these days. The gym has become my favorite place to visit in the day. I love spending time there, learning new tricks, challenging my body and achieving things I thought I never could.
If you are struggling with weight gain, remember that it takes just a few months of hard work to get back on track. So consult an expert, figure out what to do and start making the changes. And always remember that we all deserve to feel healthy and to love ourselves.
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