Sheena runs Mogra Designs, one of my favourite online boutique stores. I have never thought of her as someone who was overweight, so I was surprised when I saw her post on Facebook talking about how she had reached an unhealthy size and had struggled to come back to her ideal weight. As I read through her weight loss journey, I realised she had gradually lost 10 kgs in 5 months the “right” way. She had found what form of workout she enjoyed, figured out what eating habits suited her body and not pressurised herself into losing it all too quickly. This was exactly the kind of fitness routine I wish everyone followed, especially brides to be! I have never believed in quick-fix methods and crash diets, and Sheena’s story was precisely the kind I am always looking for to share with my brides. Here are ALL the details of her 5 month journey, straight from Sheena’s keyboard 🙂
More posts on Wedding Fitness can be read here.
If you would’ve told 21 year old me that 8 years later I’d be trying to lose a ton of weight, sweating in a gym, with Drake playing in the background, I would have been ROFLing. I was never overweight, never had body issues and generally assumed that plus sized people were lazy. Well, karma, beer and pizza is a b*tch!
If you ask me now, I know how I got here but along the way, I never knew how wide, how insecure and how uncomfortable I had actually gotten. 8 years and 13 kilos (22 lbs) later, I know that I’d had a hundred too many bags of chips, a dozen too many pizzas, a few too many beers and not enough visits to a gym or that overpriced pair of running shoes stowed away in it’s original packaging at the back of my closet.
I tied the knot to my superbly fit husband 3 years ago and collectively we spent more time getting fat (the “word that must never be mentioned”) while feeding off each other’s bad habits (his: beer & binging / hers: chips & candy) and less time focusing on the good habits (his : gym / hers: sleeping in till noon)! It took us a really long time and a trip to test out body fat to wake up and smell the coffee. And then it took us 2 more years to get our act together! By then I was at 33% body fat, which is medically obese.
That’s when things got real, my brain caught up with my body and I knew something had to be done!
Chapter 1: Home workouts never work out!
I bought a Jillian Michaels DVD, a pair of 1 kg dumbbells and a yoga mat! I was so excited, I even took a screenshot of my shopping cart and posted it on Facebook!
I finally pulled out those damn neon Nikes, bought a pair of leggings from Puma (after all, every fit woman tells you that looking good helps you want to work out more?), put in that DVD and busted out some squats, lunges and crunches.
I hated it! I hated every minute of that 30 minute shred and after 2 weeks I was done! That DVD is now a dusty memory that I would never recommend to anyone with weak willpower or hamstrings!
TataSky Active (a tv fitness channel) was next on my list and I imagined myself doing elegant yoga stretches, becoming stress free and finding my core. Unlike an apple, I quickly realised that my core isn’t that easy to find and trying to match my two left feet to those moves just had me even more stressed out! This clearly wasn’t my cup of chai!
I then saw a YouTube video of an awesome before and after where a woman shed over 50 lbs in a short time doing interesting exercises via an app called Freeletics. No prizes for guessing that I got the app, paid for the “coach” (where you get a special workout plan) and discovered my utmost hatred for burpees!
Within a month I uninstalled the app and all home work outs from my life!
Chapter 2: Clean eating! Can it really be done?
At around the time I gave up on workouts and started scoping nearby gyms for spinning and pilates classes, I came across the Whole30. The Whole30 is a Paleo diet which promotes clean eating in it’s purest form – no dairy, no lentils, no processed foods – basically nothing our Paleolithic forefathers wouldn’t have eaten. In it’s essence this diet seemed like a revelation and after all, I had been eating unhealthily for almost 30 years…30 days of healthy eating wouldn’t kill me!
3 days later I was missing my coffee, dying a slow death from heart burn and had developed a raging migraine that promptly ended the diet!
The Whole30 community believes that these are symptoms of a much-needed detox but unfortunately for them and for me “detoxication of your body” is a popular myth that has been debunked.
Chapter 3: Will I ever lose weight?
I’m not going to lie. All this experimenting with various workouts and diet plans helped me lose 3 kgs (6.6 lbs) in 5 months. By now my husband (and current trainer) had become a regular at the gym next door and was already well on his way to fit-ville!
With his help, I discovered IIFYM or If It Fits Your Macros. Commonly referred to as flexible dieting, IIFYM follows the logical principal of calories in vs. calories out (eating lesser calories than you burn everyday) with a focus on macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats). I found that I could consume upto 1200 kcal a day and eat almost anything I wanted (including the weekly Starbucks, froyo and doughnut) as long as they fit within my macros and calories (though, I try to keep 80% of my foods clean).
I used MyFitnessPal to log everything I ate and within a month, I had dropped 2 kgs and was now down to 58 kgs!
My goal quickly became to get to 54 kgs at 25-31% body fat since that would put me out of the obese category and was the “recommended” safe weight for a woman of my height and age (5’2″ and 28).
Chapter 4: #DoYouEvenLiftBro
One day on a whim I asked my husband, Alpha, to take me to the gym. Someone must’ve slipped something into my water or I must’ve hit my head while I was asleep because I seriously hated the gym with a vengeance. I had signed up and out of so many gyms over the years, and it was now merely something I would think about out of courtesy on New Year’s Eve!
I hated the treadmill (no one ever makes decent sports bras for them) and the cross trainer is my sworn enemy. Basically, cardio was my nemesis.
After a dreadful warm up (which felt like the actual workout) and what seemed like a thousand squats, Alpha handed me a pair of weights and that’s when I knew – this was it! I HAD FINALLY FOUND MY WILL TO LIVE AGAIN (exaggeration apart, I knew I would give this a fair shot).
A couple of sore days later I was back in the gym and am happy to report that I have never missed a workout since! Weight training took my weight loss to a whole new level helping me lose 3.5 kgs in just 1.5 months. Incredible, right?
I don’t do any cardio and I’ve never felt more powerful in my life. Now at 54 kgs (119 lbs) I lift 50 kgs and squat 30 kgs. I can fit into clothes I used to wear in college and even though I know I still have fat in places I shouldn’t have, I couldn’t care less. I know what a crop top looks like on me and I can proudly flex those newbie gains in front of a mirror everyday!
So, now that I’m here at 54 kgs and 26% body fat, my new goals are to get to 50 kgs and become the strongest version of myself.
What I Learnt While Losing Weight
I’m here and these are a few directions on how you can get here too:
- Skip the crash diets and restrictive meal plans that tell you to eat 6-8 times out of katoreez. Eat good whole foods and keep a food diary (aka myfitnesspal) to keep track of your calories and macros.
- Remember, you want to be fit forever, not only for that one sangeet you’re attending in 2 months. Find a way to eat that fits YOUR lifestyle in a way that can be followed for the rest of your life. Fad diets will almost always make you gain the weight back (plus more) since they’re difficult to adhere to in the long term.
- Keep yourself informed. Read nutrition labels. Don’t believe in “healthified” foods and know what goes into the food you eat. A glass of orange juice has at least 3-4 oranges (all sugar, no fiber) and logically, you wouldn’t eat 3-4 oranges in one sitting, let alone one day. It’s your body and you should know what you’re putting in it – you wouldn’t put diesel in a petrol car just because it’s a type of fuel. Similarly, don’t put a bag of chips in your body just because it’s a type of food.
As a small example, probiotics are the latest health craze and a well known brand of probiotic drinks has captured the Indian market. Heck, my mom used to make us drink one small bottle everyday. Did you know that 1 small bottle of this drink contains 3 teaspoons of sugar?! Get your probiotics from yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and other natural fermented foods instead.
- Protein is your best friend and helps ensure that you lose fat and not muscle during weight loss. Whatever your dietary preferences, non-vegetarian, pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of good, whole protein sources for you. Plus ladies, it’s good for your hair, skin and nails!
- Strength or weight training isn’t only for men! Don’t listen to the haters or believe that weight lifting will make you “bulky”. Your body will gain as much muscle as you train for. Treat muscle building like a long term health insurance plan. Muscle growth increases your metabolic rate and helps your body burn fat even when you’re not working out. It also helps prevent bone problems as you age.
- Add weight training to your regular workout routine to feel strong. Women’s empowerment is a personal battle as much as it is global. Lifting weights will make you feel much more empowered and secure than you ever have before.
- Come to the IIFYM side…we have cookies (in moderation)!
Follow Sheena on Instagram for her fitness updates.
What are your tips on losing weight and getting fit in a healthy way?
You may also like to read:
- The Tale of Ten Surya Namaskars
- 14 Diet Secrets Every Bride Should Know
- My Personal Fitness Plan for Getting Bride Ready
- How to Eat Healthy Post Wedding
Even more posts on Wedding Fitness can be read here.