Sunday September 9, 2012
Meet Ms Confident
By VASANTHI DEVI S.
A taunt leads a teacher to shed kilos and with it, her old inferior self.
PICTURE a woman waiting at a bus stop with a group of students. Someone passes by on a motorbike and shouts, “Teacher, teacher, why are you so fat?” All the students start laughing.
Yes, this happened to me two years ago. My immediate reaction? I cursed the man who had shouted at me and was angry with God for putting me in such an embarrassing situation.
Now, I dare say the stranger on his bike is the reason behind my life-changing weight loss. He has made me go from 85kg to 57kg in less than two years. I wish I could meet him and thank him for his “rude” remark and apologise for cursing him.
From young, I’ve always been on the chubby side. I grew up without doing much exercise. By 17, I was almost 70kg. No one dared ask me to lose weight for fear I’d scold them for being insensitive.
Life isn’t easy when you are on the heavy side. Imagine learning adjectives in English class. When the word “fat” popped up, all heads would turn to you.
Shopping with friends was a big no-no. Reason? It was so difficult finding well-designed XXL clothes. Trying out clothes was a nightmare because there I’d be in the fitting room desperately trying to zip up and my friends would be outside, waiting eagerly to see me in a dress that could never fit.
I remember buying garments without first trying them on just to escape any embarrassment.
I’d do anything to avoid the weighing scale. Weight-loss shows on TV were also a big no-no. I would rather watch a foreign language programme without subtitles than a show that could motivate me to do something about my weight.
At meal time, fruits and vegetables were a side dish. My main dish was a heap of rice, and second helpings were a must.
I felt embarrassed talking to anyone, especially if they were smaller than me – which was just about everyone. I would give all sorts of excuses to avoid attending weddings and other functions, for fear someone might pass a remark about me ... and my weight, precisely.
My self-esteem was very low. I remember looking in the mirror and hating myself for being so big. Daily, I prayed to God to make me thin. I guess He heard my prayers and came “personally” on the bike to help me turn my life around!
I work as a teacher in the Sathya Sai Primary School, Kuala Lumpur. The school has a unique approach in that teachers inspire the children to strive for excellence in as much their studies as their characters. It was very challenging for me to inspire my students to chase their dreams when I myself was not doing so. I felt really guilty preaching something I did not practise.
Then one day, I decided that for once I was really going to lose weight. My initial objective was just to lose enough to be healthy. I forced myself to go to a fitness shop and treated myself to the most expensive gift I’d ever bought – a treadmill. I have never stopped using it since.
As I have to leave for work at 6am, I’d force myself to wake up at 3.45 daily to do my workouts. I’d walk five kilometres in the morning and another five in the evening. A good friend asked whether I was trying out for the Olympics – I just laughed off the comment.
Many times, I felt like giving up but the image of that biker shouting that derogatory truth kept me going. Sometimes I’d be motivated by the thought that if I didn’t use my treadmill, it would be such a waste.
Hey, I’ve invested in another treadmill for use in my family home on weekends! I love both my treadmills!
Shedding my first three kilograms was cause for a big celebration. The more I lost, the more rigorous my workouts, the more obsessed I became.
Believe it or not, I’ve never engaged a trainer, let alone visited a gym or attended a class. It has been 100% my own style of workout in the comfort of my own room.
When I got comments about the changes in me, I felt even more motivated.
Remarks like, “You are getting thinner day by day,” sounded more to me like “Shah Rukh Khan has agreed to marry you!” Yes, I am a big fan of the ever-trim star!
My point, exactly, is that the feeling of being noticed and getting compliments is out of this world. Thanks to all those who gave me positive comments.
My objective is to be fit, slim and healthy. My target is to reach 55kg and I have no doubt that I will get there. Of course, maintaining the frequency of workouts after that would be another story.
I now feel great about myself. Every morning after getting dressed, I tell myself: “You’re beautiful, Vasanthi.” I enjoy shopping with my friends now as I love dressing up. I don’t have to worry anymore about squeezing into clothes that don’t fit.
I’ve become more sociable and confident in facing life. There is no more fear or inferiority complex when I meet and talk to anyone, even if they are smaller in size than me.
I’m definitely proud of myself and I hope to inspire others to lose weight because reading motivational stories helped me in the early stage of my journey. If I could, I’d “kidnap” all the large-sized people around me and run them through workout sessions until they become thin!
The best part about losing weight is you become more concerned about your own health.
To everyone out there who’s unhappy about their size: Listen to your inner voice. It’s hard at the beginning but once you’ve made up your mind and started the ball rolling, you will only gain momentum.
There is no short cut to losing weight. Set your own rules and, more importantly, follow them with steadfast discipline. As a mentor, Mr Reddy, once said, “Love yourself because if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.”