It's amazing how everyone I have met in the past few weeks has just one thing to say: "You have changed a lot." The cheekier ones have called me a "choosa aam (squeezed mango)" or "punctured tube".
A few days ago, my brother-in-law who had come over from Canada said: "You've taken the extra man out of you." It feels great to know you've achieved what you long desired. My friend Monika, who used to call me Buzo, once said I didn't have a neck, just a face.
When a chair broke and the entire office clapped wondering if I had done it with my hands or weight, I realised how fat I was in those days. "Yaar kuch karna paina; tidh nikli jaanda (Mate, I've got to do something; the belly is getting bigger)," said my friends, when they had gained only a few kilos, and would get working on it. I couldn't care less.
Every New Year, I would make a resolution to lose weight, and the next day, make another to forget the first one.
A couple of years ago, everyone would recommend that I exercise and watch what I eat. As if it was easy. I loved to munch on a packet of chips every time I sat in front of television. I adored ordering food from outside. Being born and brought up in Chandigarh, paranthas were my staple breakfast, and with all the fast-food restaurants around, it was difficult to control the temptation. Rice was replaced with fried rice; fruits with pizza and pastas. Maggi noodles were my best friends, for who else could stuff me in two minutes.
A time did come when I decided I could not go on adding weight. The first day of gym, the digital weighing machine showed me five scary numbers that read 137.22 (kilograms). For a second, it felt as achievement. After all, not everyone gets to wear 48-inch-waist jeans or a 4XL-size tees.
Controlling my eating impulse required a strong willpower and discipline. The first two months of exercise weren't fruitful, so I thought of giving it up. Then I read somewhere that just as you don't put on weight in one day, you don't shed it either in a day. It meant that all the weight I had put on in 10 years would at least take a year, if not more, to go off.
I continued with exercise and fell in love with it, slowly. That's when the change started happening. I felt dizzy and restless, if I missed a day of workout. "Pehle main dolu tha, ab mere dole hain (Before, I was round, and now I have round biceps," I told my friends a few days ago.
I then asked myself if I loved the other things I did, and the answer I got made me switch career. The moment you love what you do, sky is the limit. Having said that, also be prepared to grind. I wish you luck in your journey.
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