Weight loss: More a mental challenge than a physical one

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Aishwarya Kansal had been plump since childhood, and was never given a chance to forget it.

“I used to be teased about it all the time,” she recalls. “I’ve been going to gyms and trying to lose weight ever since Class XI.”

The 23-year-old, at 72 kilograms with a height of 5’ 5’’, remembers hitting gym after gym, spending hours at a time there without getting any results.

The act of joining a gym alone doesn’t guarantee you the guidance you need, she says. “I had no clue what I was doing. Plus, I was never motivated enough,” she says, remembering having quit a number of times, within months of some new regimen or the other.

Getting it right

It took a few years for Kansal to understand where she was going wrong. She eventually realised that she was being spurred into gym-ing for all the wrong reasons.

“You’re not losing weight for somebody else: to please your parents or to raise your appeal in social circles. You’re losing weight for your own health,” she emphasises.

Once she began prioritising her wellbeing and put societal pressure in the backseat, Kansal found all the weight-loss motivation she needed. And with motivation, she found the initiative to educate herself and fix on a plan.

“I found out that for my age and activity levels, I needed around 1,800 calories per day. I downloaded one of those calorie calculation apps and noted down every single thing I ate. It turned out that I was crossing 2,700 calories a day,” she says.

A fine balance

Once Kansal had zeroed in on the problem, she changed her weight-loss plan to focus on 70% on diet, and 30% on gym-ing.


 

“I used to focus only on exercise, spending hours at the gym, only to come back and have chole bhature for dinner. I cut that kind of behaviour out,” she says.

She also began to understand the importance of commitment, realising that it was about more than just sudden spurts of weight loss. “Body transformation requires consistency; it comes with at least three-four months of steady change. Losing weight comes with a lifestyle that you adopt,” she explains.

Her biggest challenges were her midnight snack cravings and her sweet tooth, things she still has to keep an eye on.

“I began to drink a lot more water every day. Not only was hydration important to the weight-loss process, it also kept the munchies away,” she says. She began balancing out her food intake as well, including multiple food groups in her daily diet, prioritising fibre, protein and whole fruits while occasionally giving in to waffle cravings.

Those who help themselves

Once she stuck to her plan and persisted at the same gym for months, more help started coming her way.

“I met a college friend who used to gym a lot; he began to guide me. He taught me to mix and balance different kinds of workouts I would need.” She also realised she needed both cardio and weight training, with a greater emphasis on the latter.

“I lost 17 kilograms in six months; going from a weight of 72 kilograms to 55 kilograms,” she says.

The practising lawyer is now comfortable in her skin, and isn’t bothered by occasional weight fluctuations. “I work 13 hours a day now, and don’t even get the time to walk,” she says.

So she’s put on a few kilos again, but is regulating her diet and isn’t too worried about it. “I’ve realised it’s more of a mental challenge than a physical one,” she says.

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Weight loss: More a mental challenge than a physical one

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