As most chubby kids, especially children in the last decade or so, had had to be aware of their body from their childhood, I had not. I was a skinny child whose inexperienced mother was worried about her being underweight forever. But of course, I wasn’t. Without really realizing how or why, over the years my body grew, morphed, gained weight, more than it was supposed to, actually.
Soon enough people started letting me know that I am fat. Gradually, I learned to take it lightly, even go along with it when my friends or family joked about my weight. The casual relatives, the well-wisher neighbors, or even people I have known for a little time, practically strangers, along with concerned family members suggested exercising, or watching what I eat. Though initially, I understood their concern, gradually I could not really look at how well they had wanted to mean, when they were discussing about my body like they had any right to take decisions about it. Also, being exposed to a culture that always portrayed beautiful women as primarily having slender bodies, early into my teenage years, I internalized a feeling of ‘ugliness’ associated with my own body that I am slowly trying to unlearn.
Perhaps, it’s because of all of these things that I have been through weight loss processes a lot of times in my life- sometimes by controlling my diet, sometimes mostly working out, and sometimes both. Each time, something or the other made me lose my motivation and I could not really finish my goal. Although, through all these attempts, there are certain things I have learned about weight loss that I hope will help me and anyone like me down this road.
The first thing I always needed was motivation. Fat women are taught that a thin body has lot of perks- feeling pretty, pretty clothes that fit, pretty boyfriend, but working out is also feeling healthy and fit. Whatever your reason is, feeling better, satisfaction, confidence- you need to think about that hard and make it strong enough. I have a tendency to overeat when I am stressed, but I am slowly teaching myself that treating my body like an anxiety waste basket is not a good idea. If it helps, having motivational ‘notes to self’ to look at regularly could also be a good idea.
Keep reminding yourself your reason over and over again throughout the process. I wish to push myself harder every day, but going out of my body’s comfort zone, it’s not easy. On the days I particularly feel like giving up I try to remind myself of my ultimate goal and how achieving that could make me comfortable in my body. Don’t hate yourself or your body for not being strong enough, instead concentrate on positive thinking. Also, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on small victories, instead of waiting for a goal.
To help with staying motivated, a good way is weighing oneself daily. Marking how each work out session is affecting my body positively is quite encouraging for me, but I also get too stressed out when the scales show any slight increase or no change at all. No two body shapes are alike; weight loss happens differently at different paces for different people. Body weight depends on a lot of things and killing yourself over the number you weigh will not go well with losing weight.
Although, controlling my diet is the toughest problem with me. A food-lover who enjoys eating almost anything, I find it difficult to control my urges. Keeping a food journal, writing down what I have consumed definitely makes me more aware and helps me keep track of the calories.
Eating healthy is important, but it’s not like once in a while, you cannot indulge yourself. I have first-hand experience with feeling guilty after a day of eating the bad fat while on a diet. In such a situation the first thing needed is to forgive yourself; or maybe learning the lesson of reminding yourself beforehand how bad you would feel after eating that. But nevertheless, going a little off your diet does not mean the world has ended, just pick up where you left off and it will be alright.
I know how helpless it feels when you are trying your hardest but there doesn’t seem to be any result. Weight loss is a slow and lengthy process and requires all the patience in the world. Being worried and too calculative about it will only affect it badly. Regular rest and an overall healthy lifestyle are much needed. Be positive about your body, keep remembering why you want this, ask your loved ones to keep supporting you, and you will get through this- like I am trying to.
Written By: Tamalika Roy