Through a carefully carried out year-long binge, I managed to go from a size 10 to a size 14. My once curvaceous, hourglass body went from full-on Beyoncé-Beyoncé to full-on fatty-boom-boom! Of course, my diet consisted of your good old chocolate, crisps, popcorn, ice cream, cheese toast, milk shakes, more crisps and the like, as well as developing a certain penchant for Nutella - oh, and I also had the bright idea of becoming a pastry chef…because, you know, food wasn't already easily available in surplus!
Don't get me wrong, the life of a pastry chef is difficult and extremely active. My school had 5 floors through which you had to cart a 2 kilo knife kit around on your back as well as files - of course I had every intention of taking the stairs and starting my epic weight loss journey there itself, but instead (big surprise) I took the lift - day in, day out.
To add to that, I had become known as the delightfully chubby girl who carried a rather large packet of Doritos with her to class and had a chuckle at her own weight. Fair enough, at least I had become comfy with it. Deep down, though, it was killing me to be this size.
My overeating didn't stop and eventually I became even bigger - now, a size 16 - I was realising that my former figure was something of a memory from the past that would occasionally reprise itself in an old photograph or two. It's funny, I didn't necessarily notice my weight at first. It was only when I caught glimpses of myself in other people's photos that I was horrified. My clothes stopped fitting, obviously, and if I am honest, I stopped getting the attention I was used to. Now, now, I know I have a fantastic personality and boundless charm but that's the thing about being overweight - it has a way of sucking out your confidence and replacing it with fat…that's what it did for me anyway.
Of course, I vowed month after month, week after week, that I would join a gym. I would cut out carbs, I would eat healthy, etc. None of this happened. Then, I moved to India. It was a blessing, in a way. As none of my regular go-to snacks were easily available, I started eating more home food and found myself in better spirits. Then, came an invitation to a lovely wedding - right around the corner. I had one month and 15 kilos to lose. “Yeah, right! Not going to happen,” I thought. But I was determined. I had to wear a freakin’ ball gown, after all.
So, I dug out my gym clothes and went to the gym - this lasted two days, and I was off the wagon. I cut out carbs…and of course ordered a pizza the moment I got a chance. Then, I came across a diet that a friend had told me about - the GM diet. It's a week-long detox of sorts, where your body is essentially weaned off gluten. It's intense, sure, but it seemed doable - and so I began.
Day 1 - only fruits. This was pretty easy, I like fruits. I also really like the smell of toast! So I had one slice. I also went out that night and had a sufficient amount of whiskey that would negate any effects of the fruit. So, the next day... Day 1 (round 2) saw me eat just fruits - successfully! I felt lighter, I also needed to pee a LOT. “Whatever,” I thought, “must be all that water weight”.
Day 2 - vegetables. I should mention right about now that my favourite vegetables are potatoes and carrots, both of which happen to be carbohydrates! So to see a melange of greenery on my plate made me wonder what on earth I had gotten myself into and whether or not I was human or indeed rabbit. Gross. I want to add that if you have rarely eaten spinach before, you will find that it leaves a rather peculiar taste in your mouth and texture on your teeth. Not a fan. But, again, determined to fit into a ball gown, I decided to prevail and eat the spinach, broccoli and beans that my mother had so kindly provided. No salt, no butter - just greens. Ridiculously unsatisfied and hungry, I later reminded my mother, a fellow chef, that adding steam or indeed heat to my food did not actually qualify as an ingredient. And that if I were to do this we would need, at the very least, a bloody pinch of garlic! She agreed.
Day 3 - fruits and vegetables! And yes there is need for that exclamation mark because, here's the thing, after eating the same food group for a whole day, you really, really do appreciate the variety! The day started with the pleasure of a boiled potato. I decided to mash it up and add aamchur. It was delicious. Sure, it was just the equivalent of boiled mush but it was warm and sent fuzzy feelings of love to my tummy and heart! I'm not going to lie, I had a bite or five of gluten-free cake that night because well, sugar. It didn't derail me, though.
Day 4 is bizarre - banana and milk. I couldn't get my head around this. Why would one starve oneself and then eat loads of bananas? Aren't bananas fatty? Well, apparently the trick here is that your body will be consuming less than a 1000 calories but by eating filling foods it won't feel the void. Whatever, I like milk and I like bananas, so this day was good.
The next day was chicken and tomatoes. It was horrible. One just cannot stuff one's mouth with a bunch of tasteless cardboard meat and tomatoes. I skipped dinner that night because I just couldn't.
And then it was the weekend, and I fell off the wagon. I wanted the diet to work, but I also really wanted Chinese food. Five dim sums and a crispy aromatic duck roll later, I was satisfied!
I did manage to lose 4 kilos and I was looking lighter. I could see the physical difference and my colleagues did notice a slight difference in my appearance, claiming I looked lighter. So, all in all I was happy. But let's be honest - it's just not sustainable. Two weeks later, I had gained 2 of the kilos I lost back. I have learnt that eating healthy and exercising will be the only route to a fitter self.
This story isn't aimed in a body-shaming kind of way. It's my story of how I feel having gained weight. If you're comfortable with your body, then good for you. But I wasn't, I'm still not. The fact is yes, I want to fit into my dress - but more than that I just want to feel like ME again. That's not a bad thing.