Monday, March 10, 2014

Weight Wars - When a fitness freak went astray.

Image credit: Google Images
This post is dedicated to all those determined people out there who have started and are en route courageously on their very 2nd fitness journey. You must be wondering why i said 2nd? Because today i am here to share their dreading experience of having lost the fitness level earned after months of consistent efforts due to some external and uncontrollable circumstances. Indeed it's a very stressful situation where you are subconsciously aware of your fleeting fitness levels but somehow you are just not in a state to take charge of the situation. However, be warned, because even though you may get this feeling that i am offering justifications for lack of self control, believe me that i am NOT! Read on.

I was too busy to worry about my weight (read Health) during my teenage years. I could find the medium/large sized clothes to fit in and that was fine with me. However, there was a point of time when i learned something about myself as a person and that was (and still is) the fact that i love being out there in the social scene. During the course of working for main stream media, i became very conscious of my weight and over all image. There were times when i would enroll in a gym only to go there for a week excitedly and then end up giving up the routine altogether either because i was too busy with my other commitments or that my unrealistic hopes of losing weight quickly were shattered.

I remember not being happy with myself. I too have fiddled with shortcuts like fad diets and magical concoctions only to find out that they were a waste of time and money. I would eagerly start a DVD workout program sometimes but i used to find them exhausting and tiring. Little did i know that the exhausted feeling and tiredness was my body trying to speak up to me. My only expression of self love involved around eating the kind of food that would please me temporarily. It was a vicious cycle of binge eating to reward myself for my very busy life followed by guilt and anger towards myself. As there were many people telling me to lose weight for the sake of my career, my only desire was to see myself become that skinny person who wouldn't need her make up man to do some extra contouring around the cheeks so a fake impression of defined cheekbones could be delivered to those watching my show.

Image credit: Google Images
The most funny yet painful memory that i have around my unfit days was when i went to the beauty parlor for a hair treatment and an over-friendly member of the staff reached out to touch my belly and said: "Baby! Baby? How many months its been?". Even though i managed to laugh it off at that moment, i did spend some time later on wondering about my health. I would start panting after going up first floor through the apartment stairs. I was too weak to carry my heavy handbag and would ask for help with carrying my groceries of few kilos. I dreaded shopping when straight boot cut jeans went out of the fashion and all i could see around were skinny jeans i couldn't fit in. My face started looking dull because of my consistent worrying about something i wasn't doing anything about.

And then one day i woke up and realized that i don't want to live the rest of my life hating myself! It was the time around my birthday (I'll leave it for you to guess the year) and i pledged to myself to take charge of my situation. My confidence was directly related to my over all image and it was time to bring back the confidence in my life. I asked one of my friends to gift me dumbbells for my birthday for which i couldn't thank him enough few months later.

I decided to be my own trainer. I wasn't convinced with the idea of 30 people of varying ages and sizes and physical conditions doing the same kind of workout in the aerobics class. Moreover, i didn't want to put all my hopes in a person to help me lose weight to keep a margin to blame the trainer one day for the lack of results. It took me 6 months of trial and error, unexpected injuries and conscious eating before i finally saw myself in the mirror and smiled wide in my own appreciation. My stamina was improving and my skin was glowing. Through the entire course of these 6 months, i stayed away from the weighing machines. I couldn't allow few numbers to judge my health and fitness. My ability to survive an entire workout became my factor to determine my success.

I had happy tears in my eyes when that beautiful purple skinny fit jeans glided smoothly up in the trying room of the shop. The compliments were coming at me from all directions. I was in the best shape of my life ever! However, I continued with my disciplined lifestyle as it now became a subconscious habit. Now, i wasn't working out to lose weight but to retain my form and stamina. Honestly, skinny aside, it was great to feel strong!

Image credit: Google Images

And then came the Change! It was time to move from Pakistan to France. I always thought i was ready for it however the impact of the move only struck me when my feet were on the Paris airport. The realization of Change and the uncertainties which surround the idea were now unraveling. The weather was not very friendly and the menu cards felt like they were from another universe. When i had my first dinner in full sun light, it struck me that my life was now going to Change in a lot more ways than what i assumed back home. Missing home and friends, adjusting to a new environment and understanding the new culture around me made me forget myself once again.

The French deserts such as Pains au chocolat, Macarons and meringue started comforting me when i missed my family. Crème Brulée became my movie time buddy and French baguette with loads of butter were now routine breakfast items. The initial adjusting period in a new country with everything seeming so strange and cold took a toll on me. As much as i wanted to settle down psychologically, subconsciously i was resisting the Change. While i was offered a set of dumbbells, a mat and few workout clothes within the first week of arrival, i lacked the sense of duty i had towards myself. The food was new to my taste buds and also for my body to accept. I remember the workout i did in the first month after arriving in France and it felt pointless. There were no social engagements where i would be in the limelight and neither was there a mic in my hand or a camera facing me. The uncertainty of the new land left me alone with myself. All this took a toll on my health and one day i found myself struggling with my skinny jeans all over again. I gained the weight back in few months of carelessness and i had lost all my strength and stamina.

Image credit: Google Images
This post today is very close to my heart. Even after all this time, i am struggling on many levels of consciousness to accept the Change. I understand and appreciate those out there who have the courage to face a Change despite so much uncertainty. And that's the reason i am not being harsh on myself for letting myself lose. The time that i spent trying to absorb the Change around me helped me understand myself as a person. I was probably too occupied back home to spend so much time on myself and contemplate. Of course there is no dearth of free advice on internet but nothing will inspire you enough to take any action unless you are aware of the need, the impact and long run benefits of a practice on a deeper level of self. And so, many of the promises that you can read in my previous post are the things that i am able to practice effortlessly today because i am the source of their origin. READ HERE: 14 promises to Self in 2014.

The only thing consistent in life is You! In the midst of Change, all you need is yourself to help you make it through and start over. Make sure you are healthy, happy and in love with yourself. Recently, i restarted my fitness journey as well. I have realized that my fitness and health is more than just skinny jeans and many complements i received back then. It is about my ability to take charge and change my life successfully whenever i want. And hence, i am focused once again and looking forward the Change helping me grow into a much better person than i ever was. The new food, the new environment, the new lifestyle and even the weather seems like an opportunity to make myself further adaptable which itself is an important characteristic to survive.

In the beginning of this post i used the word "dreading" to explain the emotions related to the idea of re-doing all the hard work required. But today, in this very moment, i am looking forward to each and every day of hard work ahead me because i deserve my attention. This time, it's not about people, skinny jeans, camera or other external influences. This time, taking care of myself is instilling a sense of power in me which will help me through this phase in life called Change. I am excited on the prospect of sharing my progress with you all through this blog.

Image credit: Google Images
So, all you strong people out there who had to face a setback at some point of your health quest but managed to regain your control and are back to taking care of the most important person in your life that You are, i offer my sincere compliments to you. Wherever you are, you inspire me!

Please share with us your fitness stories and experience in the comment section below, we will be delighted to hear from you.