Even though she was a chubby kid who became a fat teenager, Ritika Sawhney never felt ashamed about her XL size. She tells Foreverfit how her self-confidence has been her biggest asset during her transformation from fat to fit.
I was a fat kid, but my parents always made me feel like a beautiful princess. When I was growing up, my mom always said that the beauty of a person lies within, rather than outside.
So, even as a kid, I believed that appearances didn’t matter. In the end, inner beauty is what really counts.
I had no complexes about my body
My mother encouraged healthy eating habits when I was a kid. But being a food lover, I ate whatever I craved, which was mostly junk food. So, I went from being a chubby child to becoming a fat teenager.
But unlike other overweight teens, I wasn’t ashamed of my body. I had no complexes, and was confident and proud of myself. Instead of hiding my body in loose clothes, I wore whatever made me happy.
I ignored the body shaming in school
At some point, I noticed that my school friends were embarrassed to have me around. I was bullied, teased, and called a “baby elephant”. It was hard to bear this, and I felt lonely since I had no real friends.
My mother was my only source of support. She told me, ” It’s better to be your own friend instead of trying to befriend people who are mean to you.”
Nothing fit me and I was devastated
Though I got used to being body shamed, one particular incident stands out in my mind. This occurred on my 13th birthday. I was excited and went shopping for my birthday dress. But at the shops, nothing fit me properly.
The shopkeeper lost his patience and remarked “We don’t have any bigger clothes, please come back once you can fit into the regular sizes.” His comment really jarred me.
I cried all night, and promised myself to make my pain my strength, not weakness. In the next six months, I lost 30 kg. When I returned to the same shop and reminded the shopkeeper of the incident, I was XS size.
Inspired other fat girls in my school
My transformation amazed everyone at school. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be friends with me again. But, I was happier about setting an example for other fat girls in the school.
Looking at me, they were inspired to lose their excess weight too. And guiding them gave me immense pleasure.
I achieved a second transformation later in life
As an adult, I gained 39 kg after the birth of my twins. Eventually, I decided to join a gym to get back into shape. Yet again, I was the target of people’s negative remarks. I was reminded once again of how typical it is to be judged for your appearance.
But, I wasn’t bothered. Since I had achieved a body transformation as a kid, I knew I could do it again. This time I lost 37 kg, and I am fitter than ever. My passion for working out and fitness has grown.
My formula for weight loss is healthy
Being a food lover, I don’t believe in starving myself. Instead, I try to eat healthy. My diet includes high protein and healthy foods like fish, grilled chicken, salads, veggies and soups. On cheat days, I eat my favourite snack of golgappas.
At the gym, I focus on cardio exercises. My cardio sessions are 60-75 mins long and include running, spinning and time on the cross-trainer. Sometimes I enjoy kick boxing and some weight training. Chatting and laughing with gym buddies during my workout keeps me motivated.
Be consistent and take criticism positively
Being overweight makes you a target for many. But, we can deal with the criticism constructively, and use it to fuel your efforts to improve yourself. Then again, transformation isn’t an overnight job.
The body changes gradually, depending on the kind of effort you make to modify your diet, and workout. In the end, consistency is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss and fitness. Any one of us can achieve a transformation, if we set our minds to it.