Now let me be clear, that what’s bad for me may not be bad for you. I’m not saying that having excess weight is bad. Or that your skin is bad if it isn’t perfect. Sure, there are some health risks with the extra weight but if YOU are happy with the way you are, no one should be able to tell you otherwise.
But I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. Not in the least. I had NEVER looked like this before. Even though I didn’t actively exercise or run, even with the little paunch I had, I had always effortlessly been on the thinner side.
After I saw myself, I decided to measure the extent of the damage.
To put things in perspective, I was around 63 kgs when I conceived (and even that was 8 kgs over my ideal weight), weighed 74 kgs in the week before I gave birth, and was 69 kgs 2 weeks post partum.
At 73.3 I had become the heaviest I had ever been, excuding my pregnancy here. Walking tired me out, my feet had started to hurt because they couldn’t carry my weight, I couldn’t climb more than 2 flights of stairs without running out of breath, and I’m pretty sure I would have died if I had to run to save my life.
The fact that this is my state at just 32 years shook me a little bit and I realised I couldn’t take it any more. I wasn’t as concerned about looking good as I was about feeling good and being able to do things without feeling like I was 80. Mentally, I’m perfectly happy being 80; just not physically.
But how did I let it get so far? Surely I stood in front of the mirror many times in almost 3 years, right?
The answer to that is, yes and no. Yes, I DID stand in front of the mirror many times, but no, I didn’t LOOK. If I was getting ready to step out, my focus was on my eyes and kajal, and my hair, and lips if I had the time and patience for lipstick. I didn’t use mirrors to put on clothes because really, how hard was it to wear leggings and a kurta without a mirror? I didn’t use make up on a regular basis, so 2-3 minutes in front of the mirror were all I needed.
And imagine, if this was the situation when I was actually getting dressed to go out, how much time was I spending on myself if I was staying home?
Not even a little bit.
And in some ways, that became toxic. It’s a different kind of toxicity when you don’t care about yourself, or rather forget that you have to take care of yourself too.
When I sat back and thought about how I let this happen, I actually went back and looked at pictures of myself. Before the baby, I had a post bath-time routine that involved applying creams and dolling my face up. I wouldn’t be caught dead without kajal in my eyes or lip balm to make my lips shiny. I made sure my hair was proper and I looked good even if it was just to sit down and write a few thousand words. When I left the house, my hair was ironed most of the times and on most days, I liked to look like I’d just stepped out of the salon.
I used to admire myself in every single reflective surface, both indoors and outdoors – long windows, glass doors and panes of shops, windows of cars, and even puddles. I used to paint my nails – both hands and feet – every few days, and I was so particular about it that once, I made a big hue and cry about a toe nail chipping off. Nobody other than me was going to look at it, but I KNEW and that was all that mattered.
Cut to October 2016, and all I had time for after my bath was to put on clothes and a little bit of kajal, and some days, not even that because I had to rush out of the bathroom halfway through my bath to soothe a crying baby. And that was when I had a newborn who had a fairly predictable schedule.
When, at around 4 months the rosy part of motherhood was over and I had to single-handedly face regression, teething pains, a baby who liked to roll over and fall off the bed but wouldn’t sleep inside the crib so I had to stand guard even when she was asleep – my priorities in life became eating and going to bathroom. Bathing also took a back seat. And as far as eating was concerned, I ate whatever I could quickly make or whatever was readily available depending on how much time I had, and most of the times, I was junk food. Maggi was at the top of my go-to “meals” and I enjoyed it.