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Okay, so let’s get real. How many of you have gone on weight loss plans? Scoured the internet, the papers, magazines, and friends’ Facebooks and Instagrams, anything you could possibly get your hands on, trying to find different ways to lose weight? If you don’t want to admit, that’s fine! But I know you have, you know you have, and your mother knows you have. Whether it was 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or 2 months ago, you’ve tried one. I won’t lie; I’ve tried a couple (maybe more, who knows?) too. Every time, I have failed. It’s not because it was too hard, I just like food too much. I love my fries and my pizzas and my ice creams. Mmmm. But I’ll start at the beginning.

Looking at my friends and their tiny waists and thigh gaps and zero-flab arms, it would give any girl a weight complex. Especially after having a child, your figure goes for a toss! Sometimes, comments got passed around about how I had “let myself go,” or how I didn’t “give importance to my body.” One day, I thought to myself, “That’s enough! It’s time to get fit and thin and sexy.” So naturally, I decided to go on a weight loss program. Now, I’m no nutritionist, so I didn’t really know what this would entail. Who do I turn to? Of course – my friends and my mother (because I make practical and smart decisions. Ha). These are some of the different techniques of weight-loss that were suggested to me:

1.Cut down on fried stuff.

2.Eat smaller meals, more frequently.

3.Make an exercise plan and stick to it.

4.Cut down on chocolates.

5.Drink juice to fill your stomach (and it’s healthy!)

Now, I was very eager to get that size 0 body. So I followed them all religiously; for about a month. But after that month, I swear to you I had withdrawal symptoms from all my favourite foods. I couldn’t do it anymore! The horror! I had to stop right away. For a couple of months, I was content and my tummy was happy. However, after a while, it was the same deal. I realised that I was not the most aesthetic person to look at. I was re-motivated and more pumped up than ever before. I did a little more research this time and tried to identify my mistakes.

Mistake no. 1: All or nothing!

So, as I mentioned, I followed them ALL religiously. This was probably my biggest mistake. A weight loss program is something new for your body, so when you decide to undertake one, you need to start off easy and give your body time to adjust. Doing everything at once didn’t give my body enough time to get into the swing of things. Instead, it became an onslaught of newness (and sadness). So of course, it didn’t make me feel too good and it demotivated me quite quickly.

Mistake no. 2: Bye Bye Food.

There are a lot of foods I was advised to cut down on. And cutting down on all of them at once was quite a blow to my heart and tummy. Restricting my intake of most of my favourite foods was a highway to demotivation. Who really would stick to something that keeps them away from so many of their favourite things? Exactly.

Mistake no. 3: Juice Junction.

If someone tells you to replace some food with juice, slap them. I learnt this the hard way. For one thing, juice, more often than not, contains a LOT of sugar. Secondly, it’s not as filling as you may think. Thirdly, it, in no way, provides you with nearly the same amount/quality of nutrition as a meal. It’s a good replacement for a tiny snack (like maybe a samosa) but never for a meal.

These are only 3 out of the plethora of mistakes I found in my dietary palace. On revisiting that month, I felt quite stupid really, for not realising these mistakes earlier. I realised that I was so focused on losing weight that I didn’t pay enough attention to my health. My main problem was my misplaced focus. I realised that the most important thing to focus on was maintaining good health, and weight loss would follow. “Carbs are bad for you!” That isn’t true. Carbs and fats are good and necessary for the body in regulated quantities. There are some carbs and fats which are essential for normal, healthy functioning.

Exercise doesn’t kill. As daunting as exercise sounds, I realised that it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be a 2 hour workout session with a personal trainer yelling insults in your face, spittle flying in all directions. Even something as a half an hour walk for 1-2 kilometres a day is enough. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Small things that get your body working and speed up your metabolism.

As a mother, the things you do affect your family, either directly or indirectly. Some of the direct effects would be the change of the food available at home which my family had to suffer through simply so that I wouldn’t be tempted to break my diet. For those of you with children, (I’m assuming all of you) you’d know that this does not bode well with tiny monsters who love sugar. Indirect effects included the shared atmosphere of irritability in the house. I was annoyed and snappy due to the loss of my food babies which in turn lead to a negative atmosphere for everyone else in the house. An important thing to remember for mothers of newborns – don’t restrict your diet too much (apart from reducing the unhealthy food you eat) because your baby is depending on you for his/her nutrition as well. If you don’t have enough for yourself, what’s your baby going to get?

A fun fact I was told by a close family friend – after a brisk one hour walk, your body continues to burn calories for the next hour at a faster-than-normal rate. If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will. I think the most important thing I learnt from all my failures is that, as cliché as this sounds, it’s important to not get influenced by society’s insane expectations. What we need to focus on is not becoming model sized. Our focus needs to remain on being healthy and fit. Being healthy by eating right and exercising. This doesn’t mean I have to stop eating all my fries (Ah! Beautiful French fries). It means I need to regulate my intake of foods classified as ‘unhealthy.’ This is good not only for physical reasons, but also for mental and emotional reasons. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Furthermore, it makes us feel good knowing we are achieving something. It boosts self-confidence and self-esteem and I think this is something vital that every man, woman, and child needs to learn and think about.

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