Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Weight of Happiness

Written last week, posted today thanks to the ever-unreliable services of BSNL.
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I suppose most women tend to be at their slimmest best for their weddings.

Not me.

I'd finished my dissertation - nearly a year's worth of sitting in front of the computer, my mind at work 24x7, constantly needing food-fuelling to maintain my momentum. After that, I landed a job with a 10-hour workday, again pretty much seated at a desk the whole time. Somewhere along the line, I met the man I would marry and due to various practicalities and constraints, our wedding date was fixed a scant three months later.

November was my last month at work, as I'd wanted to spend a month's quality time with my family. However, that month also brings Christmas along, highlighted by my mom's superb cooking and Christmas cakes and goodies. So even though I tried to compensate by going for walks regularly, the ultimate result was still that, at the time of my wedding, I was the plumpest (objectively, I still wouldn't say 'fattest'!) I'd ever been in my life. That's how my in-laws and the rest of hubby's huge extended family saw me for the first time, and by Kerala standards where big is beautiful, I was alright!

A few days later, after all the festivities were completed and it was just hubby & me here in Bangalore, I assumed the responsibilities of a homemaker and life settled into a happy routine.

Cut to May 2008.

My mom and her mom were coming for a week-long visit. At the airport, I rushed forward eagerly once I spotted mom, and the first thing she said as she hugged me was, "Baby, you've lost so much weight!"

"Huh", I said. "Really? Oh, I hadn't noticed."

And as strange as it may seem, I truly hadn't. It was only after my mother, who's seen me all through these years, told me that I'd lost weight, did I realise that I'd finally achieved a goal I'd been pursuing (albeit not very determinedly!) since the age of 16. Only after she told it to me, did I realise that my pants & jeans were slipping down my waist, certain loose-fitting tops and kurtis hung limply on me, and t-shirts that once had me sucking my tummy in, now fit smoothly and without any added effort from me :D

I was thrilled!!! I was beyond thrilled, I was ecstatic!!! I had finally, FINALLY done it, though unintentionally. How??? I kept asking myself. I walked regularly and played table tennis with hubby a few times a week, but surely that couldn't compare to say, the two month aerobics classes, or the three-month intense gym workouts that I'd once done (neither of which resulted in any significant weight loss).

Nor was I dieting - for a foodie like me, whose entire set of 32 teeth are really sweet, 'diet' is a bad, bad word. Some might think I was stressed out, or moping coz I was away from my family for the first time, but no, that wasn't it; I was happily married, blissfully thankful for the life I had and anyway, when I'm stressed, I pig out.

So how then? Observing my lifestyle, mom said it was simply that I was active throughout the day ..... I wasn't sitting at a desk for hours together, I was constantly moving about, cooking or puttering around the house, and that, she said, was making the real difference, of course, supplemented by the walks and table tennis.

And I was thrilled!!! I was beyond thrilled, I was ecstatic!!! Did I write this before??? Hell, yes, but I don't care because that's how ecstatic I am!!!

BUT.......

I was in the minority, the very small minority of people who were thrilled. On subsequent trips to hubby's hometown, everybody's first comment was how much weight I had lost, and all conversation would revolve around that for the next few minutes. Initially, hubby's parents kept berating him, that he wasn't taking enough care of me etc etc, till I sat his mom down, and clearly explained the above saga to her. She was sort of convinced then, but how do you explain it to scores of neighbours, friends and relatives, all firmly conditioned to think that a new bride losing weight like this surely means problems in the marriage?

And if I thought that it was only in Kerala that my weight would be an issue, man, was I in for a rethink! Friends and relatives in the UAE and more recently in Bombay were flabbergasted! Most people found it incredibly difficult to get over. Some of my more outspoken buddies exclaimed outright: "She's not happy!" with a sort of perverse glee (hmmm, I should seriously reconsider these friendships!)

Even after the initial few minutes of explanations, when the conversations were like an hour old, I would get quiet, serious-faced questions: "You're sure you're ok, na?", "There are no problems with your husband, right?" And so on and so forth.

Only four people in Bombay, seemed genuinely delighted by the slimmer me and told me that I looked great. Only one college friend disagreed with the rest, and said of course she's happy, look at her smile, she's glowing from within!

Obviously, I did expect reactions to my weight loss, but somehow I’d naively assumed that my friends would be happy for me. I certainly didn’t expect everyone’s parting comments as they hugged me goodbye to be along the lines of “Next time we see you, you should’ve put on some weight”. What the hell??!!

Even though I’ve lost weight, I still cannot be considered thin, nor do I ever want to ..... I rather like my curves :) And its not that I’m looking hollowed out or miserable; hubby & my family are my most brutally honest critics and they’re totally ok with my appearance. Most importantly, I am totally ok with it!!!

Honestly, I don’t expect this phase to last very long, I know that eventually I will gain more weight and I’m totally ok with that too. But still, it feels fantastic that at least for once in my life, I produced some head-turning, eye-popping, jaw-dropping reactions!!!

And I am thrilled!!! I am beyond thrilled, I am ecstatic!!!

In case you were wondering what the fuss is all about, I lost 9 kilos last year!

13 comments:

  1. 9 kilos!! woman, u have got to share further details on this.. since th last 8 months, all i have wanted is to shed 3 kilos! yes, only 3 kilos.. and have not been successful, i am not fat, nothing even close to it, but i want to be THIN:/ so yes, bottom line, share more on the diet bit
    and congratulations, believe me i can totally understand how thrilling it must be :)

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  2. U knw my story sounds the same.....but just the other way around.
    U were plump b4 marriage...I was terribly skinny.
    U lost wg after marriage....I gained, oh how I gained:-(.
    My parents & sis didnt recognise at the airport when I went back home for the 1st time:-(....& my sister later said tht "If chechi can gain weight, anybody in the world can"
    All my friend looked at me like I came from outa space...made me feel stupid almost:-(
    Only my betterhalf was happy....yes really. Even now if I say I want to go to the gym he'll try to dissuade me:-S

    Seriously, Congrats.....its gr8 news & like u mentioned....just keep urself occupied & the rest happens automatically.
    And 9kgs is like WOW!!!!!!

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  3. Oh I'm so happy for you!

    I bet you're thrilled!!! I bet you're beyond thrilled, you're ecstatic!!!


    So do you have more energy and all that?

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  4. 9 kgs!!! thats way too much.. no wonder relatives were concerned..but congos and i kno how thrilling it must be :D

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  5. Lady, I wish I was in your shoes. Only that it would have to be a good 30kgs for me.;) I had once lost 6kgs in less than a month when i was in college, and I think that was my moment of glory for eternity. hehehehe. Its wonderful that you managed so much. Congrats, and stay in curvy shape.

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  6. Wow....9 Kilos is real good work :)

    You know I've noticed something in friends sometimes, which might not be apt here to this post but still, wanted to share. Everytime there is something negative to me...a zit, a grey hair, unwaxed hand (cant be in the parlour all the time, can I?), bushmen eyebrows....friends dont think twice before ridiculing me abt any of those. But if there is something I feel good about...a dress that suits me well, an awesome hair-day, just anything that gets me on a high...the comments come scarcely. Stopped bothering about them a while ago coz it stopped mattering what they thought. It was about what I thought about myself...

    I must stop rambling on and on now :) Congrats ....and thrilled for you :)

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  7. wow:), tell me the secret, I badly want to loose 20 kgs:)
    But yes i also faced the same problem when I didnt put on wt, some even ascribed it to the reason that my MIL stayed with me:), but once I started gaining..its not stopping:)

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  8. 9 kilos! Great...pls maintain this...and just think of those wagging tongues to be a jealous lot!!

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  9. 9 kilos!!! will you please bullet your schedule :). I totally understand your excitement. In 2007 I lost 10 kilos through diet and excercise and I was beyond the stars and the moon. I was a skinny girl before...don't know how I gained weight :(. Now it's a constant struggle to maintain. I'm so happy for you :). celebrate

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  10. ISH - that's the thing, I didn't diet, not at all!!! I was just more active throughout the day, not sitting for hours at a stretch like I used to when working. That's the only thing that made the difference!


    Reflections - I got that "what the hell happened to you" look from my maternal grandmom BEFORE my wedding (she was then seeing me after 2 yrs) ..... that's how much weight I had put on before marriage :-S


    Agnes - :D Yes, I did feel more energetic, I walk taller & straighter and when I wear the kind of clothes I could never do before, I feel as if I'm walking on air!!!


    Amrita - yeah, it is a great feeling & I'm so glad I got to experience it at least once in my life :D


    Goofy Mumma - 6 kgs in a month!!!! Now that's an achievement!!! And as for me staying in shape, well, time will tell :D

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  11. Smriti - thanks! And you're absolutely right about friends downplaying your positives. Every single one of my friends in Bombay have put on weight & honestly I felt all their comments were tinged with envy, so I'm not taking them personally :)


    Renu - ha ha, ppl just love to gossip, don't they? Regular exercise & more healthy food, I guess .... that's what makes the difference.


    My Space - yes, absolutely, most folks were just jealous I think, considering they'd all put on a lot of weight!!!


    A - so congrats to you too!!! And I know about the struggle for maintenance part .... when I was losing weight I didn't realise it and so didn't think about it. Now that its become such an issue, I also wonder sometimes if I'll be able to maintain it :D


    Goofy Mumma - thank you, thank you!!!

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  12. haha.....i gain and lose weight so easily these days (except those love tires which never seem to completely go away) that I myself do not get too hung up on my current weight at any given point in time........and i am so with you on "loving the skin you are in" bit.......

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