I have always been slightly overweight, partially because I was the first kid and my mom showered her love on me through food (like a lot of other Indian mothers do), and partially because the numerous weight management programs I had tried in the past had never really become a lifestyle for me – they were always a temporary stop gap arrangement. Throughout my college days, and early work life my mum always told “Do something about your weight, listen to me now, or else you will repent later”. This would lead to a crash diet, which would show some results, and then I would have to stop because my mother would not approve of the method – either the diet, or the restrictions or the philosophy in general. I really couldn’t do much since food, cooking and most other things in the house were all under my mother’s control and influence — and nobody in the house could do something against my mother’s wish or command.
A few months ago, I returned to Mumbai after spending 19 months in Europe on a work assignment, and while the first few months in Europe were a dream with me losing weight, enjoying life being independent on my own etc. the last few months were spent wolfing down junk food with my brother who was visiting and helping me wrap up my life in Germany (his taste buds were so accustomed to junk food, that healthy versions of anything would be thrown out of his mouth at the speed of light). The bid to spend quality time with him, show him around and have food handy while packing up for my cargo shipment lead to a nearly 7 kg weight gain in 3 months.
Moving back to India, taking up a position in a fledgling company within a large group and setting the foundation for its marketing activities further led to long hours at work, frequent travel and a drained out feeling at the end of the day. This in turn led to an additional gain of 5 kgs over the next few months. I was in the vicious cycle of “I should focus on getting fitter, but all I do is get fatter”, and “I am too fat to do this and wear that and I have no time or energy for this!”. Then one day, while surfing my Facebook page, I came across a recommendation for SBS and after doing some online research and credential check, I decided to approach them to understand their approach (keeping in mind how much of it would be feasible for me, how much could I control and also how much of it would be approved by my mother, since I was back to living with her under the same roof!). Meeting Tehzeeb and Manal for the preliminary meeting gave me a ton of confidence about their approach – I remember asking them questions like will I need to do very intensive work-outs, does it mean a drastic lifestyle change, how do I manage when I travel? Etc and Tehzeeb clearly had answers to each and every one of these questions. That’s all I needed, I decided to sign-up.
Tehzeeb made the most minor changes to my eating schedule and in fact created a plan where I was eating much more than before. In the first few weeks, while she pushed me to start doing some light exercises and stretches, I always had my heavy work schedule and lack of motivation to fall back on for not doing so. However, other changes did occur such as improved energy levels, more aware choices, dealing with cravings effectively etc. A few weeks on, I decided to do a basic workout on my own during a work trip to London and the happy high it gave me, had me convinced that I needed to do this more often….and 2 weeks after I had signed-up for yoga for 3 days a week and a personal trainer for 2-3 times a week. For the first few sessions with the personal trainer, I was huffing and puffing…and could make a fantastically funny YouTube video (but I decided against it :P).
A month after starting the physical training, I had to attend a school friends brothers wedding. My mother as usual was more concerned than I was – “What will you wear?! Will you fit into this dress? Look at how fat you have become..etc.” I dealt with these questions in the most calm manner and attended the wedding with my father in tow. On my return at 2:00 am (the party was still going strong as most Sindhi weddings do, but I decided to come back so my father could get some rest), my mum was wide awake and in full mood to hear about the wedding, the jewellery, the relatives etc – the standard woman to woman gossip download.
And while doing this, the topic again diverted to how fat I’ve become….this time I was prepared and said “Mom, I am doing the best I can and have been working out every week day for the last month, however, how many times in the last month have you asked me to compromise on my healthy eating habits and asked me to eat something that is easy—since food is her part of the bargain towards my weight loss journey. This statement hit her hard, and while talking to her, I also slipped out of my gown and into my night dress, which till a few days back had been a bit tight for me….Lo and behold my mum looked at me, and looked at the night dress and confessed…”Yes, you have lost weight…this was not fitting you too well last month” …. So now, Tehzeeb’s plan and lifestyle recommendations are not only proven for me, but they are also “Mommy approved!”