Fitness is a topic that’s SO close to my heart. There was a time a few months ago where I created an all-fitness blog, and wanted to showcase all my favorite workouts and healthy recipes. To be honest, when it comes to being fit, I honestly started from the bottom. Back when I was in high school, about 7 years ago, my extended family consistently ridiculed me for being overweight. I had chubby cheeks (still have them now, not ashamed of it), and chubby EVERYTHING. I noticed that people in my community that I grew up with either noticed me for the wrong reasons, or never noticed me at all. I remember having a sleepover with my middle school best friend, and we had made brownies, naturally. We were just sitting around talking, and while I was eating brownies, she literally said “Okay, you need to stop eating.” Talk about a defining moment right? Soon after I saw all the signs, it just clicked – I wanted to come back and prove them all wrong. I wanted my revenge body.
I started working out religiously when I turned 16, and did kickboxing every single day. I slowly realized why I felt and looked the way I did – all I ate was junk food, fast food, heavy portions, and I also ate when I was bored. This included food items like white bread, white rice, pizza rolls, chips, dip, school cafeteria food, fried chicken…. the list goes on and on. I was almost 25 pounds heavier than I am now. But once I started kicking the junk out of my diet (pun intended) and reduced my portion sizes, I started losing 2, 3, and then eventually 6 pounds. It finally got to the point where that same extended family told me “You’ve lost so much weight!” – rather than the classic Indian euphemism for being overweight – “You’ve gotten so healthy!”
Since then, I let nothing stop me from getting the body I deserved and needed. I’m not saying I have a perfect body now, because I definitely don’t (I’m eating a cookie as I write this because it’s cheat day). I went through college sacrificing dinner dates and fun adventures with friends because I didn’t want to be forced to eat anything unhealthy when I was out with them. If I *gasp* ate something healthy when I was out with them, I wouldn’t hear the end of it. I only semi-regret sacrificing that, because I think my self-control and dedication are honestly the traits that got me here. College was only last year, but to this day, people still make fun of me for being the girl who “always orders salad”. I used to get really annoyed at that, I’m not going to lie. I constantly wondered why people always ridiculed others for being healthy – but then I realized that I used to be ridiculed for being unhealthy. It just goes to show, you can give people what they want, and they still won’t be satisfied. This is exactly why I stopped caring about what people thought, and started focusing on what made me more confident and what made me feel beautiful.
Since I was 16, my workouts have included boxing, HIIT training, running, pilates, yoga, and strength training. I have an eating regimen that I follow religiously and don’t stray away from. My daily diet includes nutrient-rich foods that will make me stronger, healthier, and happier. I’m not perfect, though – I still crave chocolate and ice cream and cookies and everything I used to eat. The difference is that now I make sure to let myself enjoy what I’m craving and I don’t feel bad about it. I tell myself that I know I’m working as hard as I possibly can and I’ve come so far in this journey, and that it’s so important to do things to make your soul happy too. I know that sometimes, the only thing that can make your soul happy is a hot fudge sundae.
Deprivation is never the answer, moderation is. I completely stopped eating any type of fast food – McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King…. these used to be my favorite places to go to as a child. The difference is that now I don’t deprive myself, I just changed my mindset to focus on quality. I’ll go to places like Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A because I can customize my order and make it more healthy – for example, I usually substitute grilled chicken for a fried chicken sandwich, or skip adding cheese/sour cream to the rice bowl at Chipotle. When I go to Starbucks, I’m always that annoying customer who has a million customizations because I’m asking for nonfat milk and no whip cream and sugar free vanilla. Doing little things like this has really helped me solidify my way of thinking and helped me feel better about eating “fast” food.
*Disclaimer* When I’m on vacation, I make sure to let myself take a break and enjoy what the city has to offer. This is part of the whole “make your soul happy” philosophy” – I still look for places with amazing smoothies and acai bowls, but I will NOT say no to a quality burger, fries, and a shake. It’s all about the best of both worlds for me!
I’m so happy to be where I am now, in a state of constant improvement. Working out is my therapy, and eating healthy is always going to be a lifestyle. I take back what I said earlier – I have no regrets.