A girl who just loved running and playing various other games, who jumped around on the streets of a small town, ran faster than the boys of her age, won many races in school, who ate what she liked and how much ever she liked, and still was as fit as a fiddle – for her weight was never a botheration. Puberty and young age hit her as naturally and beautifully as they would for any other girl. What changed in her except her physical features – absolutely nothing or a little something?
Now, it’s her turn to transform into a woman. Post marriage her lifestyle changed drastically. The initial 5 kg gain in body weight did not hurt but eventually, it led to many visible and hidden issues. Fitness went on a toss and so did her interest in playing games or in exercising. Now, this woman becomes a mother. Yes, it was a C-Section. By God’s grace, mother and child were hale and hearty.
The recovery process was tough, but she fought back with the help of Yoga. Very soon, she got rid of back pain and became fit and flexible. (Warning – baby creams and baby food are not for mothers.) Her skin felt supple and soft, but the baby food was not doing any good to the mother.
Then, the second child and a major personal crisis hit her hard. Lost in depression, this woman developed too many bad habits and the worst one was stress-eating. Sweet cravings, midnight snacking, sleep disorder, binge-watching, and all the wrong choices created a mirage of happiness.
By the time she realized the importance of a proper nutritional diet and physical fitness, it had gotten late. So much so that she lost her body balance along with her mental balance. Gaining weight also causes depression for most women because they do not like their bodies and lose self-confidence. Disappointment and self-doubts were settling in kilos under her skin and mind.
In her journey to gain back her fitness, she had multiple injuries due to a lack of guidance. She would join random activities for a few sessions and again fall back in her cocoon of depression. She lost that key of consistency every now and then. Cycling, jogging, home workouts – she tried it all. She would fall and again get up with new motivation and inspiration every time. Participating in a small 2 km run and then a 5 km run with her children, playing badminton with them, and going for random cycling rides made her happy.
She started taking her fitness seriously and hired a personal trainer and dietician. She started understanding her strengths and weakness. Slowly, the weights didn’t seem like a burden anymore but like strength. Yoga gave her balance and flexibility. She took a step towards her dream of learning the court game – tennis. The ankle injuries stopped hurting as she was getting stronger each day. The little girl was back, and the woman and the mother were happier.
Strength training and muscle stretching are important for women in middle age. Understanding the importance of warm-up and stretching is crucial to avoid injuries. The importance of a balanced diet, especially the ratio of carbs to proteins and fiber, are a few key essentials for a healthy woman. Most important is water intake and good sleep which are usually neglected in the process. Weight loss due to muscle loss could be dangerous whereas inch loss is a good sign.
Maintain metrics, track changes and set reasonable targets. Furthermore, go for regular health checkups, Vit B12, Calcium and Vit D, bone density are pivotal for women’s health. A mentor is always paramount so seek help whenever necessary. Every woman’s body is different and responds differently. So, do not go with the herd. Understand what works for you and be consistent. Enjoy the fitness journey like the little girl did in her childhood without deliberate intentions and being hard on herself. No matter how slow the progress is, remember that you are still ahead of many who aren’t trying.
Fitness is a perpetual journey that should not have a destination. Keep the child within you alive and embrace and enjoy every phase of womanhood.
Author: Sushma Peri