There is probably nothing that can make a woman so miserable in the society than being called ‘fat and ugly’. Of course, they would not dare to call this to my face, but they would certainly speak this behind my back. It looks like nothing I have done, achieved and won makes any sense unless I am slim. Why? I do not understand. I never intended to lose weight. I have always been the chubbiest in my circle. Short and chubby… yeah! That is how you define me. They wanted me to do what they wanted- drink green tea thrice a day, exercise in the gym for hours and look more miserable while hopelessly trying to lose a few pounds. One of the most heartbreaking things that I have gone through.
So am I just another fat girl?
No. I have a little business of my own and I employ a lot of ‘slim, fit and attractive’ people. I have never felt that I was not attractive enough. I had no reason to. Applying lipstick was not my way of being attractive. I thought my wit, humor and intelligence mattered more and as long as I have these three, I would keep swimming the tide, for or against, and keep winning. I have still not budged and inch from this value. I believe in it completely. So even when I am surrounded by the most attractive ladies and gents, I prefer to flash a big, broad smile instead of standing there in the corner, quietly wishing that nobody notices me while clicking cool pictures. That is just not my personality.
How did I gain weight?
Well, as I said before, I was nothing short of a chubby or plump girl since childhood. My size was a little bigger than other girls my age and I was totally not concerned with it. Not to mention that weight was never a problem for me. I was a fairly active girl and even played cricket (Six A-Side, just for fun in school). You could make me run a mile or two without me complaining about it. I could run, I could walk and I was still left with some energy to hop 4 km to my home from school, just because I liked solitary walks around that peaceful neighborhood.
Then came PCOS and the weight gain, which was quite subtle and reasonable all through the years became a huge issue for me. I was an adult girl, working day and night on a dream. I enjoyed the occasional indulgence in the best foods in the best restaurants around town, but maintained a rather homely and simple diet still. I was already quite stressed because of the odds of establishing a business from scratch and then I was a patient of a syndrome that does not let you live in peace. I have spent countless days and nights in extreme pain, both physical and emotional, while trying really hard to be someone.
However, all that I tried was making me go in the wrong directions. The medications made me a couch potato (yeah! Seriously). I could hardly walk a 100 meters and even climbing one flight of stairs to my room on the second floor was a pain. Still managed and struggled with it all, until one day when all my clothes started to grow tighter. They were no longer a good fit and I could no longer go and shop, anything that I wanted for myself, without being embarrassed about my size. That night, I could hardly sleep because I was becoming what everyone hated ‘a fat and ugly girl’.
The next morning, I checked my weight and it was a number I only loved in my school papers -96 kilograms. Damn! When did I grow so fat? I am FAT. I am ugly. Nobody loves me. After almost a couple years of consuming all sorts of medications to lose weight and manage PCOS, I was left with a miserable cycle and an even worse number of the scale. Who could have imagined such a stupid thing to happen to me. I had already stopped consuming any medications, about 5 months ago. It was a reckless decision of a girl who was fed up of everything in her life except work. I was feeling much better after those medications went straight to the dustbin. I was emotionally stable now and thought that I had more energy than I had all through these 2 years. I was just happy about my decision. But this excessive weight gain made me more concerned. I thought my body was going to explode.
What did I do?
Nothing, to be honest. You must be waiting for me to tell you a great diet plan and an exercise routine that would make you lose weight quick. I am sorry. It is nothing like that. Exercising was like losing whatever energy I had to survive through the day and dieting (basically starving) was not my kind of a thing. So what did I do?
Here is the secret- it is called natural and holistic living. My 14 kg weight loss happened within a sport span of merely 7 months. On an average, I lost about 2 kg per month. That was a great thing. It is easier to lose the initial few pounds. However, if you want to live a healthier life, you have to make some genuinely healthy changes instead of following fads your doctors and other ‘well-wishers’ are feeding you with. This is what all I did. I hope that if you girls include these steps in your life, you would also be feeling much better. I can certainly guarantee a better life and I promise that your quality of life would improve manifold. These steps are simple and we all know about them, but forget too easily. So try them.
1. Drink fluids- I have binged more on water than on my beloved ‘barfi’. I used to drink close to 5-6 liters of water in a day. I don’t know why I did that. I was just habitual of sipping water all the time. If you drink too less, you will be dehydrated and that would be just too much. However, for a person like me with a very sedentary lifestyle, I thought 5-6 liters were way too much. So I curbed the intake to about 3 liters in a day. I was still well hydrated, but maybe this time, I was not losing out on any essential vitamins that were simply being lost in urine before they were absorbed. I must have lost a lot of water weight too, because of which things were quite motivating in the beginning.
2. Sleep on time- I have a habit of waking up between 5 am to 7 am. I do not remember a day when I opened my eyes past 7 am (exceptions are less in number, way too less). I sleep around 10 pm. It sometimes goes up to 11 but never beyond that and try to wake up by 6. I am an early bird so waking up early in the day is not a problem for me. The more I stuck to this simple schedule, the more energy I had and the more weight I lost. It is crazy, but your body needs rest and all those hormones that have gone terribly wrong also need some time to come back to normal. So sleep your way to weight loss.
3. Eat healthier- prefer green veggies. I already love oranges and pineapples so they have become a staple in my diet. Vitamin C is helpful in losing weight and it did the trick on me. White flour or ‘Maida’ was completely eliminated from the diet and I also stayed away from all ‘white’ foods including dairy and poultry for about 2 months.
4. Eat till you are full- this works better than anything else. Don’t eat less because that would help you lose weight. Instead, eat more and fill your tummy. That would help you avoid stupid snack binging. Never leave home without a breakfast and ensure that it is a filling and healthy too. Opt for whole grains whenever you can and ensure that your tummy is full. I am very, very serious about this. Being hungry does not make you healthy. So choose nutrition over calories and eat for heaven’s sake. Starvation always goes wrong.
5. Nutrition is important- your body needs a lot of macro and micro nutrients. Alas! The micro-nutrients, though important, are always given less importance. I will talk about essential micro-nutrients in later posts. At this moment, you should be focusing on getting nuts, oatmeals and indigenous grains in your diet. My region has a special flour made known as ‘koda’. This golden-brown flour is not just healthy, but also filling. Moreover, it is plain delicious. Sabudana, for example, is made of Tapioca and you can easily replace white rice with it. Indigenous varieties of rice (wild rice, usually reddish brown in color’ is also a great option that can be used to make your diet healthier. Smaller quantities of these grains are more filling, satisfying and full of micro-nutrients as well.
Roasted or plain nuts are a great option for you. If you want to have pasta/noodles etc. someday, don’t consider this a sin. You can certainly have what you like. However, make sure that you include as many veggies in these dishes so that you can get some nutrition boost as well. Avoid overcooking the food. Undercooked food is also a pathetic choice. Ensure that you do not re-heat food.
6. No processed foods- I swear they are bad as hell. So no processed foods as at. Ready-to-eat meals, instant noodles etc. are all a big no. Chips and cookies? No way. No matter how healthy all these foods proclaim to be, they are simply not. So make sure that you don’t eat them. Colas, sodas and other drinks are also not allowed here. They simply don’t work in your favor. Use lemon water or coconut water if plain water is not for your taste buds, but don’t binge on these drinks.
7. A little movement- yes! even if you are not on a massive exercise routine, you can lose weight. Just bring some movement to your life. Walk the stairs someday, walk around the neighborhood someday, buy your groceries yourself someday and just walk around the house on the other days. Dancing is cool too. Try to stand up after an hour or so of sitting and take a small walk, even if in your own cabin or room. Stretch a bit and then get back to work. Stand while talking on the phone or walk. You can find movement in any way you like. Just start doing it.
8. Be happy- come on! be happy. You would never do anything good or positive unless you remain happy. Remove unwanted people and things from your life. Clear the clutter and find a confidante who can help you get rid of emotional baggage. Our emotions trigger our physiological reactions as well. So staying a gloomy, sad and depressed girl will never help. Get up and get going. Hang out with your friends, have some fun. Stress, guilt and feelings of loss have never done anything good for anyone. Remember, a disease or a syndrome always starts with your brain (or emotions). So why not clear your foggy brain that is trying to find a way for the future through the cobwebs of your past. Stay happy and you will be healthy.
There could be scientific explanations as to why I was able to lose weight and be generally healthy because I adopted such a lifestyle and I honestly am not the right person to explain these things to you. However, I express what I have done and experienced. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I would continue to share thoughts, insights and experiences with you. My weight came down from 96 to 82 and it was an amazing experience, not because I was able to lose weight, but because I was able to do it without pushing my body to the limits.
At 82, the weight loss became a little more difficult. With another new idea that was coming to life, life became hectic and stressful. Still, I am trying to stay calm and also trying to maintain my schedule. I am glad that I did not gain weight and have been able to maintain it. At present, I weight about 80 kg. Have included selected pranayama and exercises in my schedule. These things and some herbal remedies will be discussed in later posts so that you all can benefit from my experiences. In the meanwhile, I wish you all a very happy and healthy life. If you have any questions related to PCOS like medications, home remedies, lifestyle solutions, diet and exercise, stress relief etc., then talk to me on Twitter @nehajoychauhan or mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.