Since hitting adolescence, I was always overweight. Once I came to Bangalore on work, back in 2005, I lost some weight but stayed at a steady number (lemme call it X) for around 2 years or so. No, I’m not going to reveal the number; its a secret more heavily guarded than Pappu. Around the time of my engagement, in Aug 2008, I lost some more weight and this was the lowest number I touched on the weighing scale. The weight loss happened on its own without any effort on my part. Anyway, four months later and in time for my wedding, I gained all that I had lost and was back to weighing X kgs.
I gained 2 more kgs after my wedding and stayed steady for the next three years. Then I got pregnant. Gained 18 kgs over the course of 9 months and retained 4 kgs after childbirth. Gained 3 more kgs after I stopped breastfeeding. So in total I was about 9 kgs more than X.
At first I thought it was ok, you know. I was overweight, yes, but I was still normal by Indian proportions. So a few more kgs after childbirth is kind of normal too. But then we planned a trip to Ooty, like a pre-vacation vacation to see how Fearless deals with a vacation. The pictures clicked during that vacation opened my eyes. It was like I was seeing a completely different person. Three days after getting back home, I started squeezing in exercises when Fearless slept. I mostly used to follow some dance-type videos, kickboxing, skipping… In short, heavy, crazy-sweating workout. I realized then just how much my stamina had come down. I could barely finish a set at first but gradually, over a month’s time, I could not only complete one set, but also do two more videos of 3 sets each. I worked out for about 45 mins for 6 days a week. Two months later, all jittery and nervous I stepped on the weighing scale. And guess what? I had lost, wait-for-it, 1 kg!!! :-O Just. One. Kg. For all the sweating and working out for 3 months, I had lost just one kg. I was so disappointed.
Meanwhile, thanks to my PCOD my cycles were still not regular. I started my cycles once more when I had completely stopped breastfeeding @ 15 months. I ran to the doctor once more and she said weight loss was the only option. I told her I had been working out like mad the last 3 months and had only lost 1 kg. She was like, “Wow, that’s amazing!” Huh! I hadn’t expected that kind of a response. She said I was doing great and to continue whatever I was doing since my diet sounded good (I wasn’t following any special diet, I was eating my normal food as I usually did) and the exercises seemed to be working. This was a confidence booster. In the next 8-9 months though I managed to lose 6 kgs with the same diet and exercises. Whew… Wasn’t I relieved! That was a total of 7 kgs down, 2 more to go. But now I again hit a block. The scale just would not budge. But at least now I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Some relief.
I decided to change my exercise regime and started walk-run intervals in the mornings when my baby would be asleep and Ashwin would be there with him lest he should wake up. I used to walk/jog for 30 mins. Two months later I was down by 2 more kgs. I was finally at the weight I was during my wedding. A few more kgs and I would be at my dream weight.
Then one day when cleaning, I developed lower back pain. It was the first time I knew such physical pain, of course I’m not counting childbirth. I was barely able to stand up straight. I could not walk in my natural speed, I was walking like how babies walk the first time they learn to walk. I could neither sit comfortably nor stand. If I slept, it was like my upper body and lower body were two different pieces; I could not turn to one side without holding my dress and pulling it out and turning as a result. I could not lift anything and that included my two and half year old. Every step I took was excruciating. I never knew such pain, I was always healthy and this was just driving me crazy. Who would look after my baby and home? I never ever want to be bedridden and to be dependent on someone else for simple things at this age was all I could think of. I know its just a bit of pain but in my mind the whole thing had blown out of proportion. This was not for me. Pain and me don’t go together. The pain remained for 3-4 days and then subsided on its own. I was so grateful. But a week later this repeated. I ran to the doctor because I felt sure something was broken inside me. The X-ray showed that it was just a normal thing for someone after the age of 30. For me it happened within a year of turning 30, it was crazy. I wanted to know if this would repeat. He said its like common cold; as long as I have a nose I could have cold, as long as I have a spine, I could get back pain. Whoa… What?!! He gave me some yogasanas to practice daily. It took some 10 minutes to do them all. I did follow them but it wasn’t a foolproof method. I could still get back pain. This did not make sense. In the next 4 months I got this back pain 3 more times. Since I had stopped all my exercises (walking, jogging, dancing, etc), I gained 4 kgs. Seriously?!! That was when I decided to join some yogasana classes so that I could get rid of the pain completely and then get rid of the extra weight again using my usual workout.
After reviewing a few yoga classes, I decided to join YogaTree, a yoga studio about 4 kms from my home. I enrolled for the 3-month course. After explaining my reason for joining the class, I began my yoga practice. I was quite flexible before my back pain started, or so I thought. But now I realized how brittle I’d become. The simple things that I could do before with ease were now not at all possible. Slowly as my practice progressed, my back pain vanished and my flexibility improved. By the end of 3 months, I was free of back pain and 2 kgs lighter than when I joined.
I was happy, but wait. All was not right yet. I began walking and jogging daily and a month later I lost another kilo but something did not feel right. My mind was not in it. I wanted to go back to yogasanas. This time I joined a local class less than 2 kms from home and which I could easily walk/cycle to. The reason I chose it was that they charged a fraction of what YogaTree charged. I liked the classes at first but soon realized that there was no discipline there. One day it started at 11:15, another day at 11:40. One day it ended at 12:30 (my deadline, since I had to go pick up Fearless from school) and some days it stretched for longer. Even the students came one day, did not come the next, came 20 mins later or left 15 mins earlier. If I was the only student in the class, the class was canceled. Somehow I stuck it out for 3 months but did not see any positive result. I ended up instead with an even worse back pain than before and knee pain (possibly due to cycling to and from the class) in addition to that. I was done with that one.
I tried a couple more classes nearer to my home but nothing really suited me. After my knee pain and back pain subsided a bit, which took about a month, I decided to join YogaTree again for good. Weight loss was not my concern any more. Health took priority. I want a pain free life. A little pain here n there, now and then, is ok but ending up with worse issues with wrong yoga was not for me. This time I took the yearly membership at YogaTree and am doing my practice everyday. Almost 4 months later my back pain is almost gone and knee pain is considerably less.
I have stopped all efforts at weight loss and am just concentrating on my practice. I can see positive results as I mentioned above. I still browse through weight loss articles once in a while but its mostly time pass. I have begun to respect and appreciate my body a lot more than I used to, before childbirth. Now, the respect and appreciation is even more for all the things I put it through in the name of weight loss. With yogasanas I hope I am giving it the best possible treatment. I still have a long way to go to perfect the asanas and reach the flexibility and perfection of the great yoga masters. I hope one day I can at least touch the base of their perfection, if not the peak. And more than that, I hope to be able to reach the state of yoga with support from the asanas.
Update 16-May-2016: Thanks to this, I am finally down to X kgs. Ooooh yeah, baby! 😀 And PCOD? What’s that? 😀 😀