The thin and fat of it

A new mother's story of her battle against the bulge

happy woman on a weighing scaleA year after pushing out a kicking, screaming seven-pounder from my nether regions, I stepped onto the weighing scale and keeled over in shock. According to the scale, I had put on 20 pounds [10kg] during my days of waddling around with a mammoth belly.

I blurted out the number to my hubby, who cast an eye over my figure and said, ‘Yeah, that sounds about right!’

I hadn’t been reed-thin before I got pregnant anyway, but I shuddered to think that 10 kilos of extra flesh were padding out of my stomach, thighs, arms, and, of course, the ultimate triumph of a nursing mother, the chest.

Mission ‘lose fat’

Desperate situations called for desperate remedies. I stomped into a local gym and signed up for a weight-loss programme. Now I could just lean back and watch the inches of flesh roll off my abs as I worked out every alternate day.

The weeks passed. Trips to the gym ebbed in frequency, as my work schedule messed up my attempts to carve myself into Cameron Diaz. Meetings starting at six in the evening meant I missed my evening workout on more than one occasion.

The moment of truth

A month from the date I started, one of the trainers idly mentioned taking my weight and measurements again, to check if I was on track. I dithered. For so long I had resisted the temptation to step on a scale.

But I was sure I’d made progress. After all, the dietician had deemed my eating habits acceptable. I had eliminated coffee from my diet, and as per her strict instructions, nibbled on healthy snacks every three hours. This amounted to five meals a day, two of which consisted entirely of stacks of multi-grain biscuits.

When I stepped on the scale and eyed the figure, I reeled again. Not only had I not lost any weight, but I had also gained a full pound!

I went home and cried into my pillow. How could this be happening to me? All the bones and muscles in my body ached with the torture I subjected them to. My knees threatened to dislodge from their sockets, and my calves throbbed with all the running on the treadmill and the cross-trainer. And yet, there were no results to show for all the hard work.

No more tears

After a day or two of moping, I committed myself to major lifestyle changes. The aroma of caffeine had already disappeared from my life. To the list of banned beverages, I added fruit juices, soft drinks, and shakes. I also cut out white bread, egg yolks and rice.

I switched to brown bread, skimmed milk, and low-fat yogurt. I breakfasted on oats, or sometimes on boiled chicken with plenty of veggies added, or even fluffy omelettes made from the egg-white. Food swimming in oil such as burgers and fries, fatty foods like chocolates and sweets, and finally, my precious biscuits—I consumed items like these maybe once a week.

On weekends, I caved in to my gourmet-food-starved soul and binged. I glugged down chocolate shakes, gorged on all-you-can-eat-buffets at big restaurants, and even chomped on the occasional burger.

The second change I made involved the timing. Squeezing gym visits into a nine-hour workday schedule had proved impossible, especially when the day stretched out to 10 or 11 hours whenever the higher-ups chose to call a meeting. I decided to work out at 7.30am in the morning every day.

This suited me. I rose at seven and fed the baby her early morning bottle, then crunched my muscles in the gym for an hour. From the second month onwards, I stuck to the routine by exercising every weekday at the bare minimum.

Yes! I did it

One Saturday, six weeks after commencing this disciplined regime, I was cleaning out my cupboard when I chanced upon my pre-pregnancy jeans.

With a slight thudding of the heart, I slipped one leg into it, and then the other. It fit perfectly! I didn’t hurt my fingers trying to button them, or even struggle with zipping it up.

This inspired me to unearth an old measuring tape. As I applied the strip to each fleshy part of my body, I noticed the reducing numbers. The tummy had retracted by two inches, the hips by an inch.

My arms had lost their flab and enviable muscles had sprung in its place. I took the plunge and stepped onto the weighing scale at home. Ready to cringe at the sight of the figure, I peeked down. Six pounds less! Hollywood, here I come!

Happy ending

The positive results have inspired me to continue my journey to slim-dom. The greatest benefit, as my spouse pointed out, is that I now have enough energy to lug around my 20-pound daughter without collapsing into a heap. I chase her around the house without ever feeling the need to sink onto the couch at regular intervals.

To quote an original saying coined by my dear father, ‘If you can, you can. If you cannot, you cannot.’

Gargi Mehra writes fiction and humour pieces in a determined effort to unite the two sides of the brain in cerebral harmony. Her articles have appeared in leading newspapers and magazines.


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