For many folks fitness is about achieving a fixed number or idolizing ‘that’ perfect physique, for me, it was finding the ‘forgotten myself’.
This often happens in our lives especially when we are too engrossed with a demanding career, family, and other necessities, we tend to forget who we truly are and what brings us happiness. The same happened with me after I became a mother, ironically the time that brought me the biggest happiness of life and at the same time, a deep dark era struggling with a deep identity crisis.
2 kids, no job, ailing health, and increased body shape and size, there was this constant pressure that was hard to handle. I wasn’t ready for this sudden shift in life, a sudden increase in my weight, and this sudden change in my identity from being a progressive work professional to a SAHM mom of 2 kids. I should have been feeling happy and content, but I wasn’t. I was searching for perfection, someone whom people can see and admire, but it was even getting harder to see myself in the mirror. More than anyone else, most of the questions were coming from within; ‘Who am I and What are the options I have to survive’?
You stop hating yourself, your situation and it seems impossible to find happiness. Until one day when I literally broke down. But surprisingly at that very moment, I realized that I am going to change myself no matter what comes my way.
Perhaps I didn’t want to project myself as a victim of life in front of my kids.
And began gathering up whatever options I had; to start with first focusing on my health!
No gym, no consultation, I trusted my mind and body and began with simple goals. Be it 15 mins workout or 5 mins run, I showed up every single day. It’s hard to accept but the biggest change and the first step always begin with self-acceptance. You can never start something yourself if you won’t love the way you are in the first place.
Here, I also promised not to go punish myself. Because I wanted to make workout a habit. I didn’t want to start with deprivation but appreciation. So, I continued eating everything and gradually began to eliminate eating sugar, chocolates, or cookies. For me, jaggery, home-cooked, and ‘Desi’ Sweets were my rescue.
And then things began to change, slowly!
Yes, nothing like ‘losing 5 kgs in a month’ or so. I never tracked how many pounds I was shedding away, for the kind of person I’m, I know I can’t keep a track of these things. I wanted to enjoy seeing what I was doing for myself rather than figuring out my failures. And this consistency and dedication fueled up my muscles as well as my mind that I can do lots many things despite having few ‘stops’. Those weren’t the dead points but an indication of the new beginnings.
I began investing in 2 sets of dumbells, a good yoga mat, and 2-3 pairs of active sports wear. Some music on, some deaf ears to ignore kid’s wailing, and some ignorance of the household chores and I was good to go. That became my mantra and slowly the family also learned to understand my me-time.
At the peak of the pandemic, with house responsibilities and 2 small kids at home, I resumed my career. It was tough but I kept on pushing my limits. The whole idea wasn’t to prove anything to anyone but be determinant to do whatever you can, and you should!
I learned to manage time and though I’m still learning time management, trust me as a mom of two, it’s tough at times. I have also inculcated this habit to not be too harsh on myself. Because
–There can be days when you don’t like to work out or be 100% efficient at work and that’s okay.
-There can be scenarios when your tummy would still bulge, and those stretch marks would stay and that’s okay.
-There can be moments when you may not like your actions and that’s okay. You can still do it!!
What’s not okay is not to accept yourself and set some imaginary standards that don’t define you and your life. Because whenever I feel low, I look back at my memories and reiterate my heart about where I had started and how far I have come, and how far I must go.
And when you are out of the game ‘to fit back in your 20s jeans ‘ or ‘ lose 5 kgs in a month‘ ‘be a 16-year-old teenager forever’ are kind of over-expectations. Embrace life the way it comes to you, you will certainly not feel that much of a load and you will keep on moving.
For me dedication and consistency have been the key. I didn’t mind the occasional treats. Well, there are no cheat meals either. Life is a celebration, and we must celebrate it wholeheartedly.
I would be happy to know what’s driving you.
Author: Arti Pandey