Five years ago…….
As far as I can remember, I had been in constant war with my weight!
No shame in admitting that I was lazy, never challenged my endurance during workout(s), caved in to bad eating habits, indulged in sinfully unhealthy treats(I thought I deserved the reward), obviously relied on FAD diets in the need-of-the-hour(popularly known as the GM diet), and needless to say, I was UNFIT.
On this particular morning after my usual workout routine (which seems like a joke now) I hopped on to the weighing scale just like always hoping to reach my goal weight for the month or at least close to it. I tried my best to outsmart the damn weighing scale by working out on an empty stomach. Reality hit me HARD… very HARD! I weighed 165 pounds(75kgs).
Seventy FREAKING Five was the number I dreaded and bang- there it was staring at my face. I realized the depth of my denial towards the way my body ACTUALLY looked and functioned. One moment I was disappointed, the other I was panicking. That evening I confided my worries to Adi (who was my good friend then) and he decided to help me. And thus began my journey towards a lifestyle I coveted!
Phase I – Log and MONITOR
Adi created a spreadsheet wherein he first got me to log my workout routine and then created a whole new plan wherein I was introduced to running. This is what it looked like-
I laughed at this plan then (today I laugh at myself for that). I could never run beyond 30 seconds on the treadmill and suddenly I was asked to do this kind of interval training. Without even trying I had already decided that I couldn’t do it.
I was, naturally, freaked out on the first day of this new plan. I kept asking myself “what if I can’t finish it?” or “what if I get tired in the first three minutes itself?”.
Adi just told me one thing- ‘run as though you are running for your life and when you come back home I wanna hear the fatigue in your voice’. I couldn’t finish the routine but managed to complete 80% of the plan. My ears felt like they were letting off steam, my stomach was churning, my legs were numb, and I couldn’t utter a word when Adi called to inquire. But I felt good, real good in a long time.
Phase II– DAMN the treadmill!
New workout regimen Wunderbar! Suddenly people around are noticing the difference in me. I am more active, more radiant looking, my hair looks fab, I am also fitting into my clothes better, and did I mention Adi is now my fiancé 😛.
I continued to put all my efforts on cardio. Did do some amount of weights but not as much as cardio. Went on like this for a year. With my wedding around the corner, I also introduced rope jumping(a.k.a skipping) into the routine. And suddenly one day I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle, which completely left me impaired even for a slow jog on the treadmill.
Apparently I had developed an extra bone in my ankle due to stressing it out on the treadmill. So I had to stop all that running at once. Sounds ludicrous I know!
Phase III – only you can help yourself!
I started personal training sessions post marriage given the condition of my ankle. I was introduced to sports training(moderate level) which helped me tone up and lose few pounds. But it didn’t sustain long term! I blame myself partially for being liberal with my diet and blame my trainer for not being too vigilant about my activities and diet post workout.
Phase IV – The big shift…
I moved to California 10 months after my wedding, which meant I had to look after the workout regimen myself. Initial months took some time to adjust. I did have a gym at my disposal but nothing really motivated me to get out there. Once I settled in I started to workout like crazy at the gym after browsing various workouts on Pinterest- cardio, weight training, sports training, high intensity, etc. (you name it, I’ve tried it)
The good- I felt active, time passed by, I was maintaining my weight.
The bad- I wasn’t able to focus on a concrete plan for weight loss. I was getting carried away by all those pins on my Pinterest board with pictures and videos of fabulously toned models/instructors and after doing a few sets over couple of weeks I was back to browsing and pinning workouts. I had about 100 pins and hardly followed 4-5 of those.
Phase V – Ever thought of getting FIT?
I began to see a pattern by now. It was all a TEMPORARY fix! Everything I did in the name of weight loss was short-lived. It kept me in the high when worked and sent me down crashing when it didn’t. After months of working out for almost 3 hours in the gym it was time for change. BIG change! And this change was not my workout regimen, it was my mind-set.
“Workout to get FIT, and weight loss will follow”- Adi has been fixated on this saying since the beginning and true to his preaching he follows this simple rule till date. I however couldn’t or refused to comprehend that for I was looking for immediate results(little Ms. Know-it-all). After much persuasion from Adi, I started to run again, only this time on a trail- The Guadalupe trail (that runs just behind my apartment complex). There was just one thing on my mind- getting FIT.
Phase VI – Let the mind not decide what the body can do
I was nervous about getting back to running at first. But this time around with the whole ‘getting FIT’ mantra on my mind I felt so much more confidant about pulling off something that looked far-fetched.
I decided to shove all of my previous workouts, plans, diets out the window and start afresh. I began to focus on my pace and the best way I did that was by using the ‘Map My Run’ app. I swear by this app and absolutely recommend it to those wanting to begin/resume running.
I started with a short distance-2 miles, just to test my pace. For a week or so I went on with 2 miles(by a week I mean thrice a week).The week after that I increased my distance by a half mile and kept doing so week after week until I hit 5 miles. I have to admit it wasn’t easy to get to 5 miles. All of that was possible because I programmed myself to let my body decide how much I was gonna run rather than getting overwhelmed just thinking about increasing the distance or improving pace. I did combine some cross training but major chunk of my workout regimen was the running. There were days where my avg. pace was 11.5mins/mile and days where I was at 13mins/mile.
I ramped up to 5.46 miles quite soon but my knee didn’t take too well to it. I believe the term is ‘Tendonitis’- inflammation of the knee-joint patellar tendonitis due to running/repeated jumping and landing/kicking. I took a break from running for couple of months and started yoga (Vinyasa flow) to recuperate and strengthen my core.
Adi would have probably heard me say this a million times- “I have never ever felt this fit in my entire life”. My body has changed dynamically over the last six months just because of the shift in my attitude- an attitude to get fit rather than just lose weight. Now it feels like I am on the right path to my goal (notice I didn’t mention ‘goal weight’). Nevertheless, there has been tremendous weight loss without even trying for it. But that’s not my priority now!
Every morning I wake up with an enthusiasm to either go for a run or head for yoga or go biking, or swimming. I am obsessed! Any activity I take up is with the attitude to improve my core stamina. Never to lose weight! It truly feels like I’ve accomplished something- for someone who couldn’t run beyond 30 seconds on the treadmill, I now go 2.5 miles (at 12.25mins/mile avg. pace) without any break.
It’s amazing how life changes in a matter of six months. Along with my running routine I am currently on a clean-diet wherein I avoid junky foods, desserts, and anything that’s made of all-purpose flour. Bye-bye unhealthy diets, shoo away lazy afternoons, and hello to an active, fit, and healthy ME!
I owe this fabulous feeling and health to my husband/best friend/trainer/guide Adi who has been by my side throughout those years of struggle, celebrated my highs and tolerated the lows, motivated me throughout, never let me give up, and most importantly always made me believe that I am competing only with MYSELF.
P.s. Stay tuned to know about how I am training for the Golden Gate Relay 2015– a 191 mile running relay come May.