10 pounds down: My fitness journey

The story really starts about 10.5 months ago when I bought a Fitbit. I thought now that I have spent some money I would have more incentive to be fit. But my real journey started way back. Back in 2007, I was in my 2nd year of graduation. I was a thin person. People (mostly relatives) used to question me on my food habits and the quality of the mess food. But in a way I never had to bother about fitness and weight since I was thin and that was all fitness meant to me then.

It was also during my graduation that I started eating a lot, at all times and all kinds of things. I also started getting more stressed and used food as a cope-up mechanism. In no time, all that oil and butter and fat was getting on me. I still remained thin but my waist started to creep up. However I was too lazy or too weak to exercise. I used to just convince myself that I don’t need to do any of it since that’s not my strong area. I considered working on a computer to be my strength and that’s all I did. Sitting and sometimes lying on the bed for hours at a stretch meant my body got little work out.

By 2009, I had probably gained 15+ KG’s ( 30+ pounds). Now I had started feeling weird about this slim hands, slim legs, fat belly and a double-chin figure that I had started resembling. I kept feeling I should do something about it but I didn’t really know what to do. Mostly I just wished it away, hoping it would leave me alone. But that didn’t really do much. I tried to be a little more careful with what I eat and how much I eat. That helped me slow down the weight gain.

Once I actually got a job in 2010, it was just easy to forget about these things. Work, and then recovering from work took all my time. Over the next 2-3 years I kept inching up the weight scale due to eating out, eating more pizza, eating good food cooked by a professional cook. The increase in disposable income started showing up more and more on my body. In a way, as some of my relatives say, your wealth should show on your belly. I don’t know why, but they do. Even till 2014 I used to get away with it. I was never fat but I just had a belly and a double chin. And my family was happy to see me like that instead of being thin, as if I am starving. But things changed after that when even my friends and family (including my mom) started saying “kitna mota ho gaya hai!” (How fat have you become!).

I think that was my wake up call. When your mother tells you, you are fat, you are definitely fat. But there was always a race to run, another project to complete, another meeting to attend, another promotion calling out to me. That is when I got a Fitbit. To be honest, I bought it more for the tech geek in me that for the fitness. I thought, how cool would it be to have a fitness tracker that tracks your heart rate. And that was when I got the device. You could add your height, weight, fat percentage etc into the app and track it. So I got a weighing scale and measured myself up. Almost 81 KG’s. I think that kind of freaked me out. Especially when you convert the number to pounds (178).

I think that’s when I decided that I need to do something about it. So I set a target to hit 75 about 10.5 months ago. I did not really know what or how I will get there but I like to at least set challenging targets. So I set myself a target. Then I downloaded a few fitness apps. And in some ways I slowly began to take 2 of them seriously. One of them was a workout app and the other one was a running app. I did follow them on and off. I stopped following the work out app at some point and just started doing a fixed routine occasionally.

The other app (couch to 10K) is the one I still follow. I sometimes lose a month where I don’t run. But mostly I have been trying to be at it. It’s funny however that I just completed week 7 of that routine today. This is because every time I leave it for a few weeks, I start 2-3 weeks before to build up the stamina again. When I started I could barely run 3 minutes at a stretch. I used to run 3 minutes, walk for 10 odd minutes and I was done. Today I can consistently run 25 minutes / 2.5 miles.

It has been slow process. Being more specific about what you eat, when you eat it, how often you exercise and running has helped me go from that 81 KG to 75 point something. I have lost more than 11 pounds since I started, a lot of it in the last 2 months as well since I went on my leave of absence and I feel more alive.

The other thing that I do see is that my heart is more efficient now. When at rest, my heart beats 62 times a minute to keep me alive instead of 73-75 times when I got the Fitbit. That’s like a 17% improvement in heart efficiency. That is just a by-product of low stress and better workout but I feel it’s a very important indicator of how your body feels.

To sum it up, it was not all about losing weight but mostly to be fit. If your body feels fit, your mind benefits from the positive feedback. If your mind feels great, it reflects on your body as well. I just wanted to get myself in the positive feedback loop instead of the downward spiral of stress and weight gain that I had started seeing about a year ago. And it feels great to be fit, mentally and physically!

Go on, get yourself that app and start running today!

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