Fact: Neither Nisha nor I have a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Nisha and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation, which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.
Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood, with a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are excellent, so long as they are respectful.
Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors, and each person and situation is unique.
Imagine this: An overweight lady in the Indian context. What will follow in your head is probably images of similar overweight characters in movies and television, the jokes and songs based on them, people talking behind their back, offering unasked for advice, and so on. If you have been an overweight person yourself, it will probably bring you a rush of the painful jab of images and words you’ve had to endure.
After repeatedly braving through such barbs and quite possibly putting oneself through many secret weight loss endeavors – to not much success, understandably, the person develops a shield of sorts. These shields are masks and come in many types. The most common ones are I-don’t-care-for-how-I-look mask, This-is-my-body-type mask, It’s-about-you-not-me mask and I’ve-made-peace-with-how-I-look mask and so on.
At other times, the person uses a very spiritual lingo to turn away from a harrowing situation – “I love my God-given body” or “Acceptance is key to happiness” and so on. Somehow, it “feels” legit when we say to ourselves or comfort a loved one with words like – “if they remarked thus about your weight, it speaks volumes about who _they_ are.” Or “don’t take _their_ comments personally,” or we stifle our inner voice with “count your infinite blessings and accept your body just the way it is.”
Psychologist Robert Masters calls it a “spiritualized strategy for not only avoiding the pain but legitimizing the avoidance.”
This is not to blame or point fingers. This is also not a holier than thou kind of observation, for we all do it. And it is certainly not body shaming. With growing up comes responsibility – responsibility to identify BOTH, the problem, and its solution. But the keyword here is awareness. If only we become alert to our resistance and work through the difficulties and pain, the results can be astounding.
I am reminded of the Reinhold Niebuhr quote – God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Nisha seemed like one courageous lady who had internalized this kind of wisdom described in the quote. She had the bravery to admit that her ways with food and eating habits needed looking into. It is not short of gallantry to open yourself to scrutiny at this level. If you want to understand what I’m saying, record all you eat – every single morsel you put in your mouth – for a short period of three days and send it for a critique! Okay, don’t even bother sending it. Write it honestly and look at it yourself.
Over the last four months, she has worked enormously diligently, and just before the end of 2017, the weighing scale read a full 20 – yes, TWENTY, pounds lesser than where she had started.
What is your takeaway in all this?
Have you considered walking, jogging, gym joining to lose weight? Many many women do just that. When you are looking to lose a few pounds and look trimmer, the first thing that comes to mind is to exercise away all the excess.
May your #1 lesson be this:
Research is evident about exercise NOT being a useful weight-loss tool.
While exercise has and plays a significant role in your well being, it’s what you put in your mouth, meal after meal and in between meals, day after day which needs looking into, if you are trying to lose weight.