Here is a message to teens who gain weight by making bad food choices and then, struggle to become fitter. Read a first-person account on how you can knock off those extra kilos without dieting!
By RJ Sowjanya
It's been years since I lost all my excess weight. Even now, I get queries from friends and fans as to how I managed to lose almost 30 kilos in a period of two years.
Well, in my late teens, like most others, I too was lured by ‘junk’ food. Hanging out not just with friends, but also with burgers, fries, and cola drinks was so cool. I never really had any clue what I was getting into.
Soon after college, things only got worse. I became a radio jockey (felt like a star!) with a huge fan-following and, yes, the feeling of great joy on the last day of every month when my salary would get credited to my account. I spent a lot on junk food every single day and did ‘zero’ exercise.
One fine (rather, sad) day, I realised I had put on more than 30 kilos in a matter of two years. The Body Mass Index (BMI) confirmed that my 95 kilos was a signal that I was not just overweight, but I was obese. This hit me hard. I was just over 20 years old and lost my confidence.
Urged by well-wishers, I visited weight loss centres, gyms and parlours hoping for a miracle solution to make me look like those hour-glass figures on the silver screen. Nothing worked and I realised there will never be a shortcut to weight loss. So, I decided to do it on my own.
I stopped eating junk (and saved a lot of money!). I started having six small meals a day, designed my own calorie charts (with help from Internet sources), walked two hours a day, engaged myself in all the household chores and drank plenty of water.
My plan was — cut down 500 calories a day and burn another 500 calories. The result — I lost 1 kilo/week. Yes, it was a slow process, but it worked. Of course, I did have my cheat days, when I would pamper myself occasionally with ‘not-so-healthy food’.
On the whole, it took me a good two years to lose 30 kilos and get back on track. In the process, I regained my confidence. All this was achieved with patience — tons of it. And, that is what people who ask me for tips to lose weight don’t realise. Self-discipline and patience are the key factors in losing weight. Today, I am married and hope to continue to follow a healthy lifestyle and be a good example. What better gift to give yourself than health and fitness! So, act now. It’s never too late.
It’s really challenging to be a parent to a teenager, in this era. Owing to peer pressure, the fancy for size-zeros and six-packs, the lure of fast food, and a technology-driven lifestyle, teens of today are a confused lot. They either indulge in too much exercise and follow a bizarre diet regimen or lead a sedentary life and go on binges. I rarely find teens who are able to strike the right balance.
It is you, as a parent, who has to introduce your teenage children to a healthy lifestyle by becoming a role model. Keep asking yourself constantly if you are doing the right things. If you are, then your child is likely to follow suit at some stage.
RJ Sowjanya works with a radio channel in Bengaluru and is keen to share her transformational story with teenagers.
Wanitha Ashok is a certified fitness expert and author of wellness-related books.
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