Being thin my whole life, I had taken my hilly physique for granted. I could eat together with the boys and still would be the last-woman standing – happy, on the weighing scale. It was only once that I had gone overboard with my weight. I was in college in Kolkata and had a can of cola and ‘kheer-kadam’ every single day for six months. First time in my life I had gained a whole lot of five kilos and suddenly found myself lethargic and fatigued by the end of the day. I checked my eating habits and found the two culprits and was easy peasy for me to get back to being energetic after I quit having these.
Later on, when it happened, the situation was different. I had just had a baby. Mommy-hood is not something you can just quit. To all those who know, the first three months go in a frenzy of – what just happened?! Forget about your health and fitness, your eating habits and sleeping patterns, in fact just forget about YOU. Because you have a whole new being to take care of. Brought in happiness, sure, but, took over your life. It’s beautiful and it’s quite crazy, to be honest.
Then one day, you realise, you want to find yourself in the rigmarole. In that, fitness comes to mind eventually. For me, it was 11 months after, of being a new mother.
The one thing I liked about ‘The Alchemist’ was the quote – And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it – I wanted to get fit so that I could do my walks without panting, get back in shape and while on a break go for a trek to Paro-Taksang, in Bhutan. Don’t mistake this to be about slimming down to fit the new norm of ‘fit mommy’ which were doing the rounds then. This was about getting myself back and being fit. That’s it. That was the goal – To be fit, walk without panting and climb to Paro-Taksang in six months – clear as crystal, attractive and SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound).
I wanted to get it first-time-right and I did. Here’s how to stay committed to your nutrition and physical fitness goals:
- Create a holistic plan that supports your goal
Just like any other plan, look at the availability of resources, activities and even budgets. To achieve this goal you need time, the right kind of food which is easily available, an exercise that suits you and motivation. And the right information. Having a plan is the first step towards success and is highly motivating. It also helps in making the routine un-intrusive for those you live with.
- Educate yourself first: With all the fads and fancies and everyone giving you advice, become that educated woman/man by educating yourself further. I did a course from Coursera on Diet and Nutrition. To swallow the guilt, I did one on Child-Nutrition too!
- Find your time: Everyone has different support systems at home, in mine, I could only find time to do this if I woke up an hour before the progeny which could be really early or late. I chose the really early, the morning air beckoned me.
- Change your diet: Scan around your area for accessible, walkable places to find your new groceries. As I said if you want something badly…I found a place which sold blueberries for my heavy-duty smoothie breakfast, rich in nutrition and tasty as hell. I created a 10-day, calorie-efficient food plan with all the things I could eat and cook so that I had the right amount of variety, nutritious enough not to make me look gaunt and tasty enough for me to want them more. This becomes a life-long habit. To eat tasty, nutritious, amazing food, every single day – seven years for me now.
- Exercise daily: Choose something that fits your timing and isn’t cumbersome to prepare for. I chose yoga and walking because of accessibility and least probability of injuries or me dropping off. It was a sustainable choice – you can do it anywhere, anytime. Make it un-intrusive, baby sleeps, pick up the dumbells.
Find support ‘systems’: I found one in an app – My Fitness Pal – which is great because it’s always there for you. Everything you eat, drink or do, goes into it and a community to share the progress with. I also picked up a juicer, learnt to make better cappuccinos with cinnamon and threw all food considered junk or high in empty calories. Of course, bought the buy-in from all at home.
More motivation: Stick the routine, goal statement and pictures on walls, mirrors and phone wallpapers. Keep motivational quotes on the insides of your wardrobe, my favourite was, of course, Ann Richards’ “I don’t want my tombstone to read ‘she kept a really clean house’” because the house was then full of my sticky notes but still remains my favourite quote. I used Pinterest extensively with topics only on health and nutrition to keep myself abreast of the latest.
Finally, don’t plan too much! Just do it: Since I had to get up real early, I had my walking outfit laid out at night. I would get up with an alarm and without a thought dress up, drink some water and go. Your mind is a powerful tool, don’t allow it to talk you out of it. Just do it before it does.
All the points mentioned above are steps towards creating a motivating mindset and environment for yourself. You’ll see the changes within weeks and that keeps you even more motivated.
I went for the trek just for months into my plan and walked uphill, without a breaking a sweat or into a pant, to Paro-Taksang, one of the most sublime places I have ever seen, in the truest sense of the word.