Let me begin by saying that the four pictures in this collage are of the same person.
Left hand side (Vertical) – My recent pictures
Right hand side (Vertical) – This is how I used to look 17 years ago
I apologize for the poor quality of the photos.
When some of my friends started questioning the authenticity of these pictures, especially the ones which are on the right hand side, I had to mention the disclaimer. I understand that it is a drastic change, and it is hard to believe, but, trust me, these are my pictures.
Seventeen years ago, I was in school, finishing up my 10th standard. My weight was 93 Kgs, and my plumpness was always a topic of joke in the class.
Unfortunately, I do not have great memories of my school days, and if I recall the things which I remember from that time, following are the words which come to my mind: inferiority complex, low self-esteem, low confidence (actually, no confidence at all), zero communication skills etc. My looks always preceded my intelligence, and people’s mean demeanor always dampened my enthusiasm.
So here is my school life in two short paragraphs, and I would be happy to keep it as short as possible because I am not fond of it.
But I have no regrets at all. The above-mentioned days brought a great deal of learning for me, and I chose to learn from them. These bittersweet incidents changed me and the story of my “Transformation” started from here.
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) at the age of 16. Reason – Overweight. I was devastated. Honestly, I did not know its meaning during that time, but the way doctor disclosed it to me, it sounded something cancerous and deadly.
I told myself, “Enough!” I must do something about my weight. Hence, the school-life and the PCOS served as a springboard in my transformational journey, and there was no looking back since then.
And the metamorphic change…
My transformation was not quick as compared to the training montages you see in the movies. It took me years to reach a level which I wanted to achieve. Even though I started with the objective of losing weight (I do not suggest this anymore as I will be explaining later), I was committed towards – not to take any short cuts and follow any crash diet methods.
If I have to summarize my entire transformation in two words then those would be – Healthy Lifestyle. Yes, I followed a healthy lifestyle where I paid utmost attention to three things (I call them the three pillars of Healthy Lifestyle) – Food, Exercise, and Sleep.
Read more about Healthy Lifestyle
Either of them cannot work in isolation. These three pillars need a balance. If you are determined to follow a healthy lifestyle, you have to work on all of them.
I made Exercise a part of my daily routine. As we need food to survive every day, I gave exercise an equal amount of importance. In simple words, my day will begin with exercise. And it can be anything depending on my mood – Run, walk, yoga. gym etc.
Food plays the most important role in following a healthy lifestyle. I have absolutely left Refined products such as White Refined Sugar, Refined Flour, and Refined Oil. Also, I have cut down processed foods by 95% and my meals include fresh food in terms of fresh vegetables and fruits. I cook nutritious food at home majority of the times and keep a thorough check on my cheat days. Here are some nutritious Healthy Recipes.
Unfortunately, we ignore Sleep and do not consider it important. Sleep is a dimension of our sanity. It is important for the harmony, and it has a deeper purpose. Early to bed and early to rise is a simple mantra of Healthy Lifestyle. Do not ignore or sacrifice your sleep for some badge of honour. Instead, be disciplined about it.
Five biggest lessons I have learned in my journey:
1. Don’t focus on losing weight; instead focus on maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle.
As already mentioned above, I started with the objective of losing weight. However, I realized over the years that following a Healthy Lifestyle must be the sole objective. All others things such as losing weight and becoming fit will happen automatically from your exercise routine and healthy food habits.
I have seen people for whom losing weight is a short-term goal and once they reach that level, they again switch to their unhealthy food habits with no exercise routine. This does not work most of the times as they regain weight, eventually.
Make lifestyle changes by taking small steps at a time; do not over-do things. For example: Take a small step of cutting down processed foods. Follow this diligently for few weeks, and if you notice improvements then it is time for you to move ahead and take next step.
2. Please do not follow any crash diets; do not deprive yourself of nutrition.
My humble request to you all – please do not follow any fat-free or carb-free diets. We need all the nutrients such as: Carbs, Fats, Proteins etc.
Food habits vary as per the culture, and India has always been a carb-rich country. Hence, we eat carbs as we have been build-up in such a way. Similarly, our body needs fats; particularly good fats. For example: right amount of cholesterol in the body is crucial for the proper functioning of other hormones.
Of course, everybody has different perspectives but I believe in a healthy diet which contains carbs, fats, protein etc.
3. Make “Healthy Lifestyle” a part of your life.
Again, think for long-term and make Healthy Lifestyle a part of your life. Do not aim for temporary measures such as losing weight or some diets. Certain lifestyle changes can lead to big changes, and I will be discussing those over here – Ground Rules of Healthy Lifestyle.
Cheat days will always be there and that’s okay. But limit them and keep a thorough check on them.
This body is a miracle. Respect it by taking care of it and it will reward you with wellness.
4. Do not copy others when it comes to exercise. Do what makes you happy.
Okay. This is important. I am sure you all must have understood the importance of an exercise routine by now. If not then read the above “And the metamorphic change…” section again. Yes, do it!
I follow one simple rule in terms of exercise which is “do what makes you happy”. Most of the times, we try to copy others, especially when they look fit and slim, by following their exercise routine; and then we give up in a week or so because we do not enjoy that exercise routine. If you want to start something then I would prefer you to go for a walk for few days. Fix your routine first. Commit to yourself and be diligent to set aside at least 30-40 minutes for daily exercise.
If you do not enjoy something then you are not going to continue it. Happiness is the biggest source of motivation so look for an exercise routine which you enjoy. For example: I love to run, but I prefer long walks sometimes just to streamline my thoughts. I am not a gym person as gym-ing makes me claustrophobic.
5. Cut down your sugar consumption; especially in the processed foods.
Sugar consumption is so high these days that I have seen people addicted to it badly. Unfortunately, most of the people do not realize that how severely it is affecting our health. Sugar is the root cause of most of the diseases today; especially, the hidden sugar in the highly processed foods.
My husband and I have absolutely left white refined sugar as it has no nutritional value. We have switched to healthy natural sugars; however, moderation is the key.
6. Do not give up. Have patience for the results.
At last, believe in yourself; focus more on your actions rather than quick results. Things take time. As I mentioned above, it took me years to reach a certain level; nothing happened overnight. And the key is – Never give up.
Small changes can lead to big impact. With the right planning and execution, we all have the capability to achieve the impossible.
I, too, get surprised by looking at the dramatic change (in the picture), but I am so proud of myself. And you all have the power to do the same…
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