Hmmm … so, people who know me must be thinking, “Is this a joke, or what? Anila writing on weight loss sure is a first.” I don’t blame you, I would probably think the same in your shoes. How does a person who lives for food, for whom pizza, Burger King and KFC takeaways are a norm, tell us anything about diet, weight loss and healthy eating?
Well, my dear friends … the answer to all this is “better late than never”, and the fact of the matter is that the best person to give you honest advice on weight problems and weight loss, is a person dealing with the problem in the first place.
Weight loss as we all know, is one of the most popular and painful issues among most of our friends and loved ones. Let me enlighten you; the answer does not lie in medication or fitness instructors at gyms. Trust me, been there done that. You cannot follow any regime for long if you think of it as a task or a burden. You might shed weight, and quickly too, but it is just a matter of your next vacation before you are back in the food game, a game I have been playing with myself over the last two decades!
From my teenage years to marriage, pregnancy, moving away, in-laws, golden jubilees, cousin’s weddings etc – these were all occasions on which I brought myself to lose between 10 to 15 kilos in just 3 to 4 months. But I found that after a while, with no motivation in the form of an event ahead, I would get caught in the same old tiring stay-at-home mom routine, where the only excitement was “Let’s go out for dinner!” Apart from some lucky ones, most dieters return to their old selves in the for-the-love-of-food zone, and are, in no time, back to being their old, fat selves.
Just 6 months ago, I was in the same zone, 23 kilos overweight, hitting a point where I closed myself up in a shell, stopped going out for social gatherings and was majorly depressed, hating the way I looked. My biggest fear was that people might think I am expecting, that is how my body started to look. In fact, my new housemate even said so. Finding myself buried in dejection and unhappiness, my husband stepped in as a last light of hope, and had the presence of mind to give me the wake-up call I badly needed, followed by confidence, support and a nudge to get up and do something about the way I felt; not for anyone else, but for my own sanity.
So there I was, in the same-old situation of a puzzled and dispirited frame of mind trying to win the battle of fitness with myself.
Here is how it all took shape: For the first time in my life, I went to a qualified Nutritionist, and the first thing she asked me was, “How much weight do you want to love?” Unsure what to say, I said 15 kilos. She replied that if she guarantees me this weight loss in 3 months or less, what would I have to say? I was pretty doubtful as it is, after all, her job to say this, right? But I admit I was absolutely amazed at her confidence. She added, “The only thing I need from you is to follow my instructions strictly. Can you do that?”
She put me on a 900-calorie, low-fat foo regime, where I was allowed to have low-fat cereals, low-calorie fruit, lots and lots of green salads, grilled meat/fish/chicken, brown bread, and a mandatory intake of any fiber supplement (Isphagol) once or twice before any meal daily. Also included was an hour of normal walk, neither brisk nor fast-paced, just at a normal-pace, on the treadmill or in the park. Below are some useful links on low fat 800-1000 calories diet plans.
After 10 days, among the most difficult 10 days of my life of following her 900-calorie diet strictly, I could not believe I had lost 4 kilos! I couldn’t believe it: was this for real? “I don’t feel or look 4 kilos lighter”, was the thought in my mind. I went to see her, and told her my weight loss. “See, I told you, if you listen to me, I can and will help you,” she said. “Now the choice is yours; you know what is good for your body, and what is not. What makes you thin and what makes you fat. If you want to take this forward, then make a pact with yourself to change your lifestyle forever, if you want to look good, slim and be healthy. If you can’t, then I am here to treat you from time to time and make money, that’s my job, but I truly want all my clients to stay fit and healthy forever. I wish they never come back to me with a weight problem again, because I know how difficult it is for a foodie to stay away from food you love. Have it once in a while and forget about it.”
Since then there has been no looking back for me; it’s been five months, and I have lost 15 kilos with 10 kilos more to go to reach my desired weight. I will get there sooner or later, as I am not quitting this time. I have learnt this lesson the hard way after 20 years. One cannot live to eat, one has to eat to live, and that isn’t much eating.
In short, nothing is impossible. You can achieve anything and everything, if only you really want it to happen. Your mind can either be your best friend, or your worst enemy. My whole concept of eating has changed completely. Now when I think about eating and what to eat, I think about how it will affect my health and body. Do I want to go back to that fat, old version of myself, or remain the current, healthy me?
I don’t feel like I am on a diet, because I am not. This is a lifestyle change, a choice I have made for myself, and that is the way I will be from now on. It really is all in your head; how and what you want to do, not only in terms of losing weight but in achieving any goal in life. Just overpower all the negative thoughts in your mind, and with determination and hard work, conquer your desires – fair and square.
This article is based only on my personal thoughts and experiences which I wanted to share with FUCHSIA readers. If I have unintentionally offended anybody in any way, please forgive me.
Anila received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Josephs College in Karachi, Pakistan. She has worked in the financial industry for 6 years for Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank Ltd in various marketing and management roles. She currently lives in Saudia Arabia. Her motto in life is “live life laughing” and as a self-confessed “drama worm”, she is known as a reputable and acknowledged authority on all things related to Pakistani drama serials.