Battle of the bulge shouldn’t be a war

For the last 20 years, I’ve been fighting the battle of the bulge. More often, the bulge wins but it’s time to take control.

They say it takes a great change to make us understand the error of our ways and sometimes, that comes with a painful set of physical side effects.

Battle of the bulge, Shailaja, Moving Quill

I’ve always been on the heavier side. Actually, that’s not true. If you see pictures of mine prior to age 15, you’d be stunned to note that I had hardly anything approximating to ‘weight’. Family despaired that I’d ever gain weight. Guess who’s worried now. Yes, life can be ironic and nasty all at once.

My physique is a very strange creature. I’m heavy on the hips, face and the abdominal area but surprisingly, have very thin arms and legs. Now obviously that means I have a lot of weight that isn’t being distributed right.

Never a fan of diets, I took to badminton and noticed that while my stamina improved dramatically, my weight didn’t drop much. Plus,Β starting rigorous physical activity in my 30’s came with its downside, namely, insufficiently stretched muscles, a weakened lower back and a tendency to binge eat, soon after a workout.

What really helped though, was swimming. I took to the water and found that it was a complete workout and put hardly any strain on my lower back. It was a thrill that energised me, left me wanting more and made me come back every morning at 7 to savour the cold splash that would hit my face.

As long as I maintained my swimming schedule, things were looking up. I still hadn’t gotten rid of that stubborn mid-section but my weight had come down and my hormones were also under control contributing to a calmer me.

After I took to blogging with a passion and started networking with energy, I began to neglect my health. ‘Writing’ meant staying up late, finishing a post, checking for comments, reciprocating visits, bouncing from one social media channel to another until it became all too obvious that something was off.

Prolonged sitting led to snacking and the urge to keep track of social connections kept me from bed. Dark circles grew bigger under my eyes as did the layers of fat on my body. Lower back pain increased while my threshold for overall pain Β reduced to an alarming low.

About six months ago, I began to notice the pattern and started consciously avoiding certain things: staying up late, using screens in bed and replying to comments and notifications immediately.

I’ve had friends who’ve been trying to get me to exercise but, honestly, you can only lead the person to the gym. You cannot get on the treadmill on their behalf.

And that’s when it struck me: The only person who benefits from my good health is me. If I am healthy, everything else will fall in place.

I’ve not made health a priority before this and I’ve decided it’s time to change. I don’t have an ideal weight or any figure in mind, but I am working towards a fitter me, starting today. That may mean more walks, lesser time online, more swimming, lesser snacking but it also means something far more important.

I’ve got to stop seeing this as a war on ‘fat’ or ‘weight’ and start seeing it as an engagement with health. That’s the key.

Challenges usually work for me, be they blog-related or personal goals, so here’s to setting my next one: a road to a healthier me.

It’s said that the master appears when the student is ready. There are lessons at every corner that we turn and every path that we cross. What matters is if our eyes are open wide enough to see them and learn from them.

I’d love to hear practical, useful ways to keep my weight in check while incorporating a sensible vegetarian diet and routine.

Do share what worked for you in the comments section.

33 thoughts on “Battle of the bulge shouldn’t be a war

  1. Your Post is very useful, I am truly happy to post my note on this blog. It helped me with an ocean of awareness. I really appreciate it.

  2. Many of us are in that same situation, Shailaja. Good for you for making a concerted effort! I had a health scare earlier this year and was similarly motivated, but lately find myself backsliding. Thanks for the inspiration to get on with it. Best wishes for your success!

  3. Hey Shailaja ! Great that health has become your top priority. It’s really neglected facet in today’s fast life. One thing that has worked for my husband.. is to eat quite less at night and eat much before bed time. Also incorporate salads at night..because digesting salads keeps your metabolism higher. Hope it helps πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you, Jaish! I agree that it has to be an overall effort and the motivation must be bigger and more enduring than just weight loss.

  5. Thank you so much Geetika! I think more and more people are advocating Yoga and with good reason too. Will definitely let you know what I began as part of my routine πŸ™‚

    Good luck to you too πŸ™‚

  6. I think you are completely different from me πŸ˜‰ Plus your metabolism must be fabulous given all the exercise you do! And yes I agree with one thing: I cannot run!

  7. Sigh I know the portion control battle is the worst!

    And I completely agree on the accountability. Am planning something in my head to keep me on track and maybe, like you said, some sort of update on the blog. Here’s hoping. Thanks Shantala!

  8. Hi Shailaja

    I was quite obese in my late teens and early twenties. A year before marriage I reduced my weight drastically. I guess I kept working at it without expecting immediate results…exercised because I enjoyed it…I started eating carefully from a weight per se but gradually started enjoying and feeling better on consuming healthier food…Good luck!

  9. I loved how you injected humor into describing what is a major commitment. You already know pretty much all I have to say on this subject so I won’t say much, but having someone as a partner/nagger can make a big difference ;). All the very best to become a fitter you!

  10. I’ve found that without health, no matter what you have or achieve, you’ll be miserable. So I try to do as much for my health as possible.

  11. Your body type is so similar to mine. I have a huge ass and my upper body is just fine. My wrist is thin while my biceps are big, my ankles are thin but I have heavy thighs! Quite disproportionate, eh?
    I tried yoga for a while coupled with eating light but healthy food and it did show its effects a bit. Yoga my body really flexible and helped me curb the back pain I often experience. I feel yoga is the best way to keep fit. It does take time to show it’s effect but it sure it worth the wait.

    So share when you try something and help us with your regime πŸ™‚


  12. Sounds identical to what my dad told me earlier today right down to the brisk walks and cutting out white stuff. Will definitely try, Tulika. Thank you!

  13. I don’t know how to incorporate weights into my routine. Must check with a trainer,I guess.Meditation is crucial,I agree. Thanks Rachna 😊

  14. Completely agree that health scares are the only things which jolt us into action and back to reality. Have been having more back pain of late and it’s scared me. Thanks Lata. Will definitely speak to a nutritionist.

  15. Daily yoga for 20 minutes seem doable. Now To actually start. Fitbit is something I’ll consider a bit later in the regimen. Love the diet ideas. Thanks Sampada!

  16. Oh the fat on the face!! I have a post lined up just for that … Swimming is an awesome workout and if your are doing it diligently I think you are fine. Plus your daughter is enough to give you rest of the workouts πŸ˜€ For cardio I follow Blogilates and Popilates on Youtube. They are awesome. I used to binge on McD, KFC and Taco bell for 6 years … but when I came to Sydney, the fitness level of people made me die in chullu bhar paani. So many of them run 20 km just like that… and they are people like you and me, not sportsmen preparing for competition … I started with running and jogging … and then moved to do 30 to 45 min Cardio workouts. Last year I started doing yoga and the changes I have seen since then is overwhelming πŸ™‚ I cook proper Indian meals – Dal, Rajma, lobia, all sorts of vegetables … you will be terrified by the amount of Rice I eat… I can finish a cooker πŸ˜› A slight change in lifestyle here and there works like magic. (But I still can’t run though!! )

  17. As you know, I too have been on a fitness journey this year. Challenges work well with me – as long as they are actually achievable and timebound.

    Though the one thing that works better than anything else is – accountability.

    The quarterly updates on my blog are no longer only a means of tracking, they are my motivation too.

    You must have read my updates so I will leave that out. The current focus is – portion control (it’s the worst!), water (which is going well) and yoga (baby steps).

    I would love to read more about your fitness journey, if you choose to share. You can count on me to cheer you on.

  18. You know what, I’ll be there every morning with pom-poms and upbeat music all through the morning walk πŸ˜€

    I wouldn’t be able to give any info regarding weight management et al. But will surely tag you in any informative post I find online!

    All the best and much love πŸ™‚

  19. Ah! Good luck to you. and Good luck to me too. Trying a new regime – let’s see how it works. πŸ™‚

  20. I have a somewhat similar body structure, fat is not distributed evenly. Also fat shows easily on my abdomen area.
    Yoga with a balanced diet works best in my case. Diet plays a very important role. Eating less will make you week and eating excess makes you plump, so a balance is required it should be wholesome and nutritious.

  21. That’s a brilliant way to look at it, it really isn’t a battle of weight or fat, but fitness . I’ve gained so much weight in the past three holiday months and have a plan to start workout from next month. Swimming helps, but I always felt it wasn’t enough. Need to get a trainer to see what suits best. All the best with your fitness goals! πŸ™‚

  22. This comes at such a good time since I’m yet again in search of a new fitness routine. I’m quite a veteran at this weight loss thing and yet it keeps coming back each time I travel or when there’s a bout of illness and I cannot go back to my exercise routine. I won’t go into my long standing war with the bulge, yeah it is war for me. But here’s something you could try – have an early dinner and try a twenty minute evening walk. Try minimising carbs from dinner. Stay away from white rice, white flour and white sugar as also the fried stuff. If you were once skinny, weightless will happen sooner rather than later. I’d advise Zumba but I know that’s not your thing – so stick with the walks but they have to brisk, really brisk. Do invest in a good pair of shoes. I also find apps such as Strava pretty useful to keep track of the walks. And most importantly – STICK WITH WHATEVER YOU TAKE UP! Sorry for the caps but that essentially is the key.

  23. I could write 2-3 posts in the comment easily. πŸ˜‰ I will just say intent is the real beginning. Another key is regularity. This is for life hence plan for what challenges your body and yet does not deter it. Eat at regular intervals. Sleep well. Do a mix of cardio, Yoga and strength training. Swimming is only cardio. Helps to get a trainer for the initial few months to know what works for your body and to also workout regularly and correctly. Don’t miss out on meditation. Keep a time aside daily for workout. Good luck!

  24. Hi Shailaja, I can resonate with you. It has been a problem for me for 11 years ever since I had my second son. But a health scare was all it took for me to realign my priorities. We can bid the slim and trim frame good bye. But being healthy goes a long way. Right step.. small steps.. but be consistent. I would advise to consult a dietician / nutrionist too for eating right.

  25. Hey Shailaja!

    I am so glad people are realizing the concept of being fitter than being slim or shapely. Doing yoga improves your overall fitness because it touches every muscle of your body. 20 minutes of daily stretching and 5 hours of exercise per week should be reasonable enough. Biking, badminton, swimming or walking should cut the deal. Get a Fitbit to keep you motivated. Its great until fitness becomes a habit.

    As for diet, have a heavy breakfast (more carbs), less heavier lunch and a light dinner( less carbs). This works wonders. And if you spend a lot of time sitting and working, eat in smaller installments. Keep only healthy snacks at home, remove all junk. Carry nuts, cereal bars, cut fruits with you to binge on whenever you are bored or hungry(Yeah, I tend to eat more out of boredom!) And yeah, cut down sugars as much as possible! Need I say that?

    There – I have said it all! It comes so easily to us, no, giving advice?

  26. A journey well begun is half done, isn’t it? You’ve begun with the right spirit and attitude. Also, it helps to have just smaller but quantifiable goals. A fitter body is good but losing a few kg by the end of a specific period is even better to track. Of course, the key to set really achievable targets.
    For me, for some reasons, the weight per se is not the trouble rather than specific areas. So, I’ve kept a couple of old dresses that have become rather too snug for comfort. Fitting into them is my goal now.
    All the best on this healthy journey.

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