‘Gain weight, but don’t gain much, but don’t gain less either’, words of wisdom by my enthusiastic doctor.
‘You have to eat healthy and gain about 12kg to 14kg in next 8 months.’
‘Ok, sure, ya’. I said it understandingly and with equal enthusiasm.
Controlled weight gain didn’t make any sense to me, I wanted to tell her that my body doesn’t listen to me, it works on an auto pilot mode when it comes to gaining weight, it’s already been programmed by some extra terrestrial force, so it will gain what it wants to gain. And it did.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time for many reasons, amongst many, freedom to eat as your heart desire is my favourite. I am a born foodie, I like to eat, I enjoy eating, I love bakery, food is an integral part of my life. Everyday I celebrate food, weekend outings are planned around food. So pregnancy was a beautiful, delightful and delicious time.
Initially my doctor encouraged me to gain weight by eating healthy, though I needed no encouragement. I can gain weight by the thought of food. Towards the end of my pregnancy I weighed 80 kg, I was to gain around 12kg /14kg, I gained 30kg. I ate everything healthy but I still gained more than I was meant too. I believe I gained 30 kg, it could have been more, we stopped weighing in the last month as I was gaining 1 kg a week! I was super happy and excited about being a mother, all the weight gain didn’t bother me. In fact, I never thought about it.
Amaira was born through C-sec. That’s a different story which I will tell you some other time, what I want to you tell now is that an operation makes it difficult for you to lose weight. Post delivery you are weak, emotionally low, many a times facing depression due to hormonal imbalance and the sudden change in your life is difficult, baby brings in changes you didn’t anticipate. In a situation like that there is little motivation to lose weight.
For the first six months I was busy taking care of Amaira, she was absolute priority and since I was feeding her, my outings were also restricted. My weight had reduced to 74 kg after delivery but it was stagnant, I wasn’t making any effort and it was in no mood to go off on it’s own.
When ever I thought about exercising, the very confident inner me, had counter arguments ready,
‘What’s the hurry? You are taking care of Amaira. Start exercising after 6 months.’
‘You are too weak, rest.’
‘If you go for a walk and Amaira feels hungry, she will cry.’
‘It’s too hot to walk.’
‘It’s too cold to exercise.’
‘Are you crazy, it’s raining today.’
‘You have to sleep well to exercise and you are hardly sleeping. Later.’
‘You are not eating properly and you are feeding, workout when she goes on solid food.’
I am very good at listening to myself. I didn’t do anything for the first 6 months. None of my clothes were fitting me. It didn’t bother me.
I am a thin framed person and with so much weight I used to look like a sack. It didn’t bother me.
My sister who was pregnant around the same time lost all her pregnancy weight in 3 month. It didn’t bother me.
Nothing bothered me, till one day I realised, I need to exercise to regain my stamina. I was weak, very weak. I could feel it in every little thing I used to do, no exercise and little mobility had made my body very stiff, there was no flexibility, I was finding lifting couple of books or walking a km tiring.
One day, when the planets must have aligned in my favour, I took out my yoga mat. I dusted the exercise sheet, my doctor gave 6 months back. I never bothered reading it earlier. I sat on the mat, legs crossed and tried stretching my hand, to my horror I couldn’t lift my hand for more than couple of seconds, it pained like hell. That was enough for me to realise that I was in a very bad shape and I needed help. Thus, started my weight loss journey.
First task, to regain flexibility and stamina.
I couldn’t go out so I started doing yoga with my instructor at home. Initially it was extremely painful and difficult to sit and stretch but within a month I saw remarkable improvement, I didn’t lose any weight but I felt better.
Second month, I started controlling my food. I avoided eating carbs in dinner, and went low on sugar, rest of my meals remained same. I lost 2 kg by the end of the month.
After 2 months of yoga, I had to move city. I moved from Delhi to Mumbai, leaving yoga behind. In Mumbai, I had a gym in the complex so I started going to the gym. I used to gym earlier but I have never worked out with a dedicated trainer. The need of the hour was to get a dedicated trainer, I had less time and a humongous task of losing 22 kg. For the first time in my life I did weight training with utmost sincerity. I have to admit it changed the shape of my body. I saw my thighs shrinking with weighted walking lunges. It was miracle of the sort. When I started, I wasn’t sure if I would get desired results.
Two months later, I had to move back to Delhi, this time I left the gym behind. Delhi is like no other city, it has lush green parks and jungle with jogging tracks, right in the middle of the city. Weather around that time was good, so I started jogging. I have never walked over 7 on the treadmill, jogging was a huge challenge. When I started, I could barely jog for half a km, I would jog half a km and then walk for another half. The best part was I didn’t give up, I continued even with my bad stamina and bad records. It was interesting to see all the data on ‘runkepper’ application I used during jogging.
I continued to exercise in various form in which ever city I was. Here I must add, since I was always short of time, I exercised smartly, I would always challenge my body to do different types of workout. Also, I didn’t force myself to do what I don’t like, for instance I don’t like working out on machines, so I didn’t. There were days when I was not in the mood to the gym, so I jogged or swam or did some free hand exercise in the park. If nothing else, I would climb up our apartment which was on the 13th floor.
Idea is to do something, anything. If you have to continue it for long, you have to do what you like. Don’t force yourself to like anything you don’t want to do.
In about a year, I lost all my pregnancy weight, I lost whopping 30 kg!
It seemed impossible when I started. Every day I had to remind myself that if I continue it will only get better, even if I won’t lose, I would at least feel better. Staying hopeful and positive is the key.
Friends suggested me to consult a dietician but I never did. It might help, but in my case I was sure that I won’t be able to follow. There is so much information on the net that you can actually plan your diet. I followed my regular diet, with some amendments.
I added eggs, mainly egg white to my daily diet.
I started eating lot of nuts, almonds and walnuts.
I replaced sugar with honey in my tea.
I controlled carbs. I must add that I didn’t give up anything, I just controlled the portions.
I avoided eating out during the week. Eating out was restricted to once or twice week.
I added a lot of raw vegetables in meal in the form of salad.
I ate protein in every meal, like eggs for breakfast, dal in lunch and again chicken/ dal/ black channa/ fish in dinner.
I avoided packaged food
I tried staying close to raw form of food.
I avoided eating fruits later in the day.
I controlled fried food but I used to have parathas in breakfast once or twice a week.
I controlled sugar, but I used to eat couple of pieces of dark chocolates after every meal.
I didn’t deprive myself of anything that’s why I could continue it for long. I still follow the diet to maintain my weight.
There are few more things which i learned and i would like to share,
There are certain kind of food that helps you lose weight such as sprouts, it takes more energy to digest it than it provides, add that in your meal.
Certain combination of food helps you lose weight, like eggs and apple when consumed together helps you lose weight, add them in your breakfast.
Lot of Indian spices aids digestion such as turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom. Try having one Indian meal a day or try incorporating these spices in your meal.
Drink lots of water.
Add colours in your meal, eat different colour of fruits and combine different colour of vegetables in your dish.
When you need to lose 5/7 kg, you can lose by dieting and exercising but when you need to loose 30 kg, you need to bring in lifestyle change. It doesn’t take too much to lose, all it takes is determination. Find a regime that you like and you look forward to, design your food in way that brings you joy and doesn’t look like a compromise, only then you will be able to follow it.
I didn’t do anything drastic. I ate chapatis, I ate bread and butter, I ate white rice, I ate out, ate bakery products but what I did do was, portion control, I never over ate and I didn’t eat carbs after 8.00.
I lost it all within a year!