Losing weight instantly is a new fad. There are many diets, drinks, pills that promise the same, but these methods don’t benefit an individual in the long run. Apart from that, those who are unfit owing to medical conditions face complications in their physical and mental health when the desired results are not delivered.
Two years ago, Irawati Kore (23), a Pune-based banker was one such individual who was looking at quick weight loss options. She was 21 years old when an unhealthy lifestyle of sleeping late, eating at restaurants and avoiding home-cooked meals caught up to her.
“I weighed over 90 kilos. I realised I had gained so much weight only when none of my clothes fit me and everyone around me would ask why I gained so much weight. I reached a point where I did not want to face myself in the mirror or the camera. I did a lot of research online about how I could lose weight, and I came across many quick fixes, but I avoided them because I also came across stories contradicting the same quick-fix.”
Today, she has lost 22 kilos without a strict diet or following a rigorous exercise regimen.
Here’s how she did it –
Looking at obstacles as opportunities
In 2018, the weight-gain caused Ira to miss her periods for a few months. That is when she visited a gynecologist who diagnosed her with PCOD and mild hypothyroidism. The doctor also told her that it would be hard for her to lose weight as people with PCOD tend to gain weight faster.
While the doctor suggested continuous workout and strict diets, Ira knew she loved food too much and it would be hard for her to stick to patterns proposed by others.
“After that doctor’s visit, I got onto the internet and did a lot of reading about my condition. I came across many motivational stories about other’s journeys of weight loss, but each was different in its way. Through continued research and reading motivational books such as ‘Don’t lose out, work out’ or ‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight’ by Rujuta Diwekar, I promised myself that I would not try to lose weight, instead gain health.”
Overcoming her negative thoughts was the first step to Irawati’s weight loss journey. She told herself that losing weight with her condition was not easy, but reassured herself that it was not impossible.
“I never spoke to a dietician or a nutritionist. Instead, I switched to the basics – traditional home-cooked meals. I started paying attention to what I was eating. I told myself that ‘You are what you eat’. With that thought, I started to include more fruits, vegetables, grains like whole wheat, ragi, and for snacks I switched to the traditional Indian ones such as Chakkulli, besan laddoos, and dry fruits,” says Ira adding that she never measured the quantity she ate, instead focussed on when she felt full. She points out that she would eat the amount which satisfied her hunger and that was better than other diets.
She ensured that she had something to eat every two hours to keep from overeating at one go.
Here’s what her meal plan looked like most days :
Breakfast – Home-cooked meals like khichdi, upma, or paratha
Mid Snack – Fruits or dry fruits
Lunch – Roti and sabzi
Evening snack – Fresh juice, besan laddoos, or homemade snacks such as chakkuli or chiwda
Dinner – Rice with dal, milk, or some curry.
Ira says, “On some days, I would get a crave to have a pastry, pizza, or some sort of deep-fried food, and I never stopped myself. I indulged in every kind of delicacy, but I just avoided eating that late or after already having a meal.”
Changing her lifestyle
Another obstacle she faced was the lack of sleep. Being a student of Interior design, her college work and hobbies like art and reading used to keep her up all night which forced her to sleep for less than 6 hours.
“While I could not stop working on my hobbies or college work, I also needed to focus on activities that would keep me moving. So I charted out a weekly plan. I enrolled myself in Bharatnatyam, yoga, and got a gym membership. Once I got done with the class, I would focus on my college work. Post this, I was forced to sleep because my body needed it. Every week I would spend 5 days alternating between three of these rigorous activities. The other two were for taking rest, and focussing on my hobbies,” says Irawati.
Keeping herself active from morning to the evening not only helped her boost her metabolism but also helped her sleep better.
“Within a few months, I noticed myself slowly wean from my craving for fast food. I noticed that I was more interested in finding traditional recipes such as kheer made from whole wheat or Chillas made from besan flour. I realised that what I was doing became a part of my daily routine, and I was not charting out plans like before.”
In her weight loss journey, there were days where she would assume that what she was doing was not helping her and that she was not losing weight. On those days, she whispered to herself that she can do anything. She would also reassure herself that it was better health that she gained.
“Mid-2019, when I was out with a friend she clicked a picture of me and I noticed that I was looking thinner than before. Even my relatives would see me and ask how I lost weight. After those comments, I stood on a weighing machine and noticed I lost 18 kilos and that I looked much healthier.”
Amulya Kalyan, a friend of Irawati since college says that her consistency and determination are an inspiration to her.
She says, “When Ira gained weight owing to her health conditions some friends and her family criticised her a lot. But she stayed positive through all that, focussed on her vision, and achieved what she wanted through healthy diets. She made me believe that the success of achieving good health is in the mind which eventually affects everything you do.”
To date, Ira has lost 22 kilos but her journey of being fit does not end because it is her lifestyle, not a series of diets.
If you wish to know more about Ira’s journey you can read her blog here or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)