I cannot motivate anyone to lose weight and neither do I want to.

What I learnt from writing an article on how I lost weight after pregnancy
Blog Health Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 09:06

I recently wrote an article on how I lost weight after pregnancy and childbirth for a parenting website. I wrote it as a matter of routine, as part of many other articles I’ve written for them. However, my article on weight loss seemed to have touched a chord with many. So many that I began to worry about writing the article in the first place. There were people I didn’t know, complete strangers, sending me friendship requests on Facebook and asking me if I could help them lose weight. There were people on mommies and fitness groups, where the article had been shared, who wanted me to personally motivate them to keep up with their weight loss journey.

Now I’m not a professional dietician or fitness expert or anything of that sort. I’m just someone who lost weight and I found it a bit alarming, after a point, that everyone was celebrating this as an achievement. I realized from the responses that for so many, being overweight was not just about health or appearance. It was something that affected them very deeply and left them feeling vulnerable and helpless.  

Personally, I don’t consider my weight loss to be an achievement. It was not easy to lose weight but it was just something I had to do if I was to remain healthy, given that I come from a family with a history of diabetes. I realized that if I was going to persist with my sedentary lifestyle, things were going to go downhill pretty soon. I’d been irresponsible about my health and now I was taking measures to regain it. Weight loss, for me, was necessary – that’s how I saw it and that’s how I approached the problem. Achievements, on the other hand, aren’t necessary. You can lead a content life without achieving anything as long as you make your peace with it.

Sure, I felt happier with what I looked like once I’d lost weight but even when I was at my heaviest, I did not shrink away from life and all that it had on offer.  I wrote books, I went for literature festivals, I gave talks, I conducted workshops, I went for trips with my friends, I took care of my family. My life did not revolve around my weight. It’s true that I wasn’t happy with my body at that point but then, there are loads of people with ideal BMI who aren’t happy with their bodies either. And more importantly, there are plenty of overweight people who are happy with their bodies and who don’t need to lose weight, like I did, to feel that way.

The point is, fat is not the worst thing one can be. It can seem so, given the amount of fat shaming that goes on in our culture, but all of us are more than the digits on a weighing scale. I don’t want to make empty statements like ‘beauty comes in all sizes’ because I believe it’s time we stopped telling people, especially women, that all of us are beautiful and instead, start questioning why being beautiful is necessary in the first place. Being fat isn’t a tragedy. It’s not sad. It’s not ugly. It just is. If I’d filled myself with self-revulsion because of how fat I was, I doubt that I could have jiggled down the road with my spanking new sports shoes without feeling like a loser. I doubt that I could have walked up hills, run around parks, cycled on bumpy roads, and twisted myself into yogic poses if I had hated who I was so much. I lost weight because I think I’m awesome and I can do anything I set my mind to do.

I cannot motivate anyone to lose weight and neither do I want to. I’m a sample size of one and what worked for me may not work for you. But I can tell you this much - you are not going to get there by hiding or loathing yourself. I lost weight because I love myself and that’s the only reason I stayed motivated throughout a long and often lonely journey. 

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