I remember the time. When I used to be a chubby girl with pigtails. My mother used to tell me I was born as a healthy 3.8 Kg baby. I used to think God made me that way. So it did not bother me. That it took ages to find the right clothes that would fit. To generally be the last to finish a meal. To be called the numerous nicknames by my family and friends, anything from “Piggy” to “Moti”. We are four sisters and one brother, so nicknames were a mandate in our house. I also had a lot of obese friends, who were happy being themselves. Yes, that’s what I was proud to be – myself. I didn’t need to fit into a perfect body image that the world had painted. And my family and friends agreed. I was luckily a part of an environment where people do not judge you for your appearances.
After I was all grown up, I found the perfect partner who understood me and loved me – all of me. I didn’t even feel the need to lose weight before I got married to fit into my dress. I was a firm believer of the fact that the dress should fit me and not the other way. I have to admit, though, that it was kind of frustrating to find the clothes that fit. To find yourself surrounded by the heaps of clothes in the trial room. But I couldn’t care less. I was marrying the love of my life.
So what changed? Why did I become a Zumba instructor? From a whopping 83 kgs, why did I drop down to a 61 after putting in a lot of hard work? It wasn’t for my family, friends or the significant moments in my life – the teacher’s day, the day of my farewell in school or college, the convocation, the wedding of my siblings or even my marriage.
The moment of truth came when we were pregnant. I was expecting my first child and the family could not be happier. I was given a license to eat even more. After all, I was eating for two people! The tests and the regular checkups did make me nervous every time. But like all expecting parents, we knew all would be normal. We would have a healthy baby who would make our family complete. I was asked to take a sugar test. The one thought that popped into my head was – Come on! A sugar test? It was unimaginable that I would test positive. I gulped down a glass of glucon D, feeling quite smug. The results were shocking!
I had Gestational Diabetes and the primary reason for it was my weight. When my gynecologist suggested a week of medicines and a very strict diet, I only thought it was just a matter of weeks. I cribbed about drinking my tea without any sugar now. The re-test results were worse. I was immediately administered insulin shots (4 times a day). I also had to prick myself 10 times a day to check my sugar levels constantly. For someone who is petrified of injections, this was a nightmare. But there was a lurking danger which was even worse. My child could be born a diabetic! A small probability that suggested this.
And it hit me. Being obese and being ok is not really about proving a point. Proving to the world that you do not care about the ridiculous body image that is supposedly the right one. It is about being healthy for yourself and your loved ones. I prayed every day and promised myself that I would turn my life around. Thankfully, my child was healthy when she was born and I decided to change myself. When my child could be a part of a play group, I enrolled myself in a Zumba class. I started eating healthy and no longer enjoyed sugar in my tea. I lost 23 Kgs and in the process found my calling at the age of 33.
I became a certified Zumba instructor and a functional strength training instructor. I spread the message that being healthy and fit is not about a choice, it is a principle. And charity begins at home. What started from me, spread to my family. Eating healthy is a way of life at my house. My three-year-old enjoys oats and chicken more than a chocolate. My sister ran her first 5K a month ago. My younger brother is training in martial arts, and as for me, I invested my savings in a state of the art studio in Gurgaon to teach Zumba. Every morning I wake up with a bright smile on my face and have a cup of tea, sugarless!
Liked Shweta’s story? Read Jasleen’s story – a battle with weight loss led to her career as a nutritionist.