I have always been a chubby kid since childhood. Not fat or obese but chubby. People got used to my chubby cheeks and I remember a friend saying that she cannot imagine me being lean/slim. I loved myself but also felt conscious while wearing any clothes.
After teenage, I gained a bit of weight (in 2015 and 2016). I was maybe 20–25 lbs overweight than I am supposed to be at my height (5″3). it’s not about the weight that I worried but bad amounts of fats being deposited in wrong parts of my body.
Stress and lack of money and time:
I was a master’s student in the US paying a high amount of tuition fee per semester and trying to save whatever earnings I have (even by buying cheaper foods mostly junk) to pay the fee. But I was aware I want to take care of it. I could have eaten healthier or just ran every day. I wasn’t aware that I am on the way to be overweight.
I tried to find out my best angles for photographs, colors of clothes in which I won’t look fat. Kept some clothes in reserve in consideration of wearing them someday when I am “fit”. To add to it, obviously, there were people around to pull me down. Some of them made fun of me directly or indirectly. I didn’t have awareness, time, money or even the mindset of knowing how important it is to me and my body. I tried to work out just by cardio which was just 15 minutes per day, which resulted in nothing.
In my final semester, I gained a lot of weight due to the stress of finding jobs, graduating and other things. I used to stress eat.
After graduation in 2015 December, I moved to another city where I started working full time.
In 2016 February I got a Gym membership. The gym is just a 3-minute walk from where I live. I started going to the gym and worked out irregularly. I wanted to convince myself that I am doing all I can to become fit. I even tried all home workout videos on YouTube. I still ate a lot of unhealthy food. So even the irregular workouts never showed any changes.
Weight in January 2017: I reached a maximum of 145 lbs
Finally, from 2017 January, I took things seriously (Yeah 2017 was my year). Now I had a constant job and time to take care of myself (Also I CHOSE to).
I hired myself a personal trainer at my gym. I knew nothing about strength training or any workouts. My trainer is the sweetest and best thing happened to me. She made me workout on strength twice a week covering all muscle groups of my body. She taught me how and what to do specifically that suits my body and my goals. By getting a trainer, I knew they are gonna kick my ass and If someone is trying to teach me something, I will commit to it to at least with a sense of respect.
I started with just 5 lbs for everything Arms, shoulders, Chest, leg press, biceps. I even found it difficult to lift 15 lbs dumbbell. Slowly and gradually my trainer helped me in gaining my strength. I saw myself lifting more heavyweights than before and running for a long time on the beach without getting tired. Overall I felt healthier, fitter and the best ever.
It took 3 months to see changes. I felt stronger, healthier. In 4–5 months I was down by 10 lbs (Only workouts no proper diet). By June 2017 I was 133 lbs. I could see a little muscle build in my arms too (so happy). This went on for a while. My personal training sessions ended by June. Soon, I wasn’t seeing any more change in my weight or body and also gained some fat again after a 2-week gap from workouts.
I realized that no matter how much I workout, I need to make changes to my diet. Having a healthy diet is the most important part of any fitness journey.
Change in Diet:
Now I was aware of having a proper diet to reach my goal of having an ideal weight (115 lbs was my goal), I started researching on what can I eat so I can build muscle and lose fat. But everything online was so confusing. Some say eat carbs, some say don’t eat carbs. Some say eat Avocados it’s good fat, some said don’t. I have had enough of that.
I also learned that only weight is not a proper measurement to track my fitness. I need to keep track of my body fat percentage and muscle mass to move forward on the correct path.
My goal now was to get to 18–20% body fat. I was at 39% when I started.
I contacted a fitness expert and an online trainer who gave me my diet plan according to my weight and Body fat %. I even got an awesome workout plan. Since I already knew how to workout on different muscle groups, I had this extensive schedule in hand. It was the healthiest diet I have eaten in my entire life.
Protein: Soya chunks (textured vegetable protein), Eggs and egg whites in the form of boiled and scrambled.
Carbs: Brown rice, sweet potato or Yams, original unflavored oats.
Fats: Paneer, some cheese cubes
Veggies: Spinach, Green beans, Edamame, Tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers and many more.
Supplements: Whey proteins, Multivitamins, BCAAs for muscle recovery
4-5 variations of all muscle groups each day starting with the chest on day 1, followed by triceps, biceps, back, shoulders and legs. Working on Abs on alternative days and cardio for 30 minutes every day.
Cardio consisted of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) including brisk walking, running, elliptical and cycling.
At the start of this new lifestyle of eating healthy along with workouts, I lost 12 lbs of weight in almost 11 weeks.
To my surprise, I could see a growth in my muscles (Skeletal Muscle mass) and reduction in body fat %. I was down to 30% from 39 %. So I lost 9% of only body fat.
I am still on the way to achieve my desire of 18–20% body fat and very confident to say that I can easily do it.
I don’t miss junk food and I can fulfill them on my cheat meals if I want. I am very happy. I don’t want to go back to my old self ever again!
I can’t stop myself from my routine of working out or eating healthy now. It’s become a lifestyle like brushing my teeth. I got down 3 sizes of my pants. From 29 to 26. I had to give away many of my old clothes. I am not buying any new ones anymore considering I might go down more for my goal.
How this process changed my life:
- Sound sleep
- Feel strong and active all the time
- High metabolism
- Way less stress
- Any dress fits (haha best part)
- No need to look for good camera angles
- Skin glows (Another best part)
- Get lot of compliments
- Strength to run and lift better
- Better Menstrual cycle
- I also saved a lot of money from not eating outside. For instance, even for a salad outside, I used to spend $5-$15 per meal. Now my overall per day is less than $10 because I buy veggies and steam then that’s all.
- Saved a lot of time by not having to decide what to eat/cook for every meal.
Myths involving women’s workouts:
Women are told not to do strength training (at least people who I met before) because they think, they might bulk up like men. But this is not true.
Being fit and healthy is a LIFESTYLE. You can’t reach your goal overnight. It is a personal choice for an individual to adapt it. At the end what matters is being happy in your own skin. I wasn’t happy. So I fixed most of it and still on the way. But I am happier now about myself.
Many people tried to make fun of me at hard times, ridiculed that I am posting workout pictures to show off, I never cared about all that because I do not have time for it!
Thanks for reading.
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