Struggling to fit into the perfect image, Radhika Nihalani went from being overweight to being diagnosed with anorexia.
Having now aced the balance between fitness, work and motherhood, Mumbai-based Radhika says, “It wasn’t an easy journey, and it still isn’t.”
Growing up, she was always the ‘plump kid’ in class, but she was comfortable in her skin. It was in her young adulthood that she started to have body image issues.
“It never occurred to me until I joined a dance class that every single person in the class was a certain size, and I didn’t look like them. That triggered me,” she recalls.
“One day my cousin and I decided to weigh ourselves on our newly bought weighing machine. I was sure that my weight wouldn’t be more than 55 kg, but when I weighed 78 kg, I could not believe it,” she says.
These incidents led Radhika to take extreme measures to lose weight. “I stopped eating food properly and starved myself to lose weight. There were days when I just ate an orange.”
Additionally, she practised extreme exercise regimes — like running 20 km a day without eating sufficiently. Her weight dropped drastically from 80 to 48 kg.
She moved away from home for college and continued her practices. It was a friend who pointed out that she might be bordering on anorexia.
This was the much-needed reality check for Radhika. “But I was determined. I thought, if I have the willpower to starve myself for so many days, then I can train my mind to be better for myself.”
So, she started eating healthier food while working out. In 2006, she got married and moved to Mumbai and gave birth to her first child.
The stress and anxiety of being a new mother made her stress-eat and gain weight again.
So, to combat that, she took up a 100-day fitness challenge on Instagram where she posted about her workout every single day.
“I do hit the gym, but there are days when I miss them. But on those days, I make sure that I compensate for it by walking to work or ditching the lift and climbing the stairs,” says Radhika.