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My Fitness Journey #StrongNotSkinny


October 12, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Health and Wellness


My Fitness Journey #strongnotskinny | Baby Beyond

Around three and a half years ago, right before I conceived, I was at my fittest. Between power yoga, gym and Zumba I was working out 4-5 times a week. I once did 100 surya namaskars at a go in 1 hour. I had never felt stronger than at that point in life. In fact I continued yoga throughout my pregnancy as well, but of course at a much lighter pace. And then once my baby was born, I completely let go of myself. 

 

Last December, I started on my fitness journey after a break of almost 2 years. I also started sharing about my journey on my Instagram and hosted a challenge for moms to kickstart their fitness journey post baby along with me. You can read more about it at #KickstartFitnessWithBAndB

 

Also read: 10 Tips to Kickstart Your Fitness Journey Post Baby

 

#StrongNotSkinny

Every time I spoke about my fitness journey, I got messages saying “You are already so thin, why do you need to worry about fitness?” or “Why do you need to go to the gym, do you want to disappear?” These only highlight the myth that exists in our society that being fit means being thin. Yes I admit I do not worry about losing weight. I have been blessed with decent metabolism and I am at my ideal weight as per BMI. I have been more or less at the same weight since the last decade. I put on weight if I binge, but I lose it easily too, including my pregnancy weight. But does being thin mean that I am fit? No! Because most of that weight is fat, not muscle.

 

My Fitness Journey #strongnotskinny | Baby Beyond

My Fitness Journey #StrongNotSkinny | Baby Beyond

 

As I entered my 30’s, I realized that fitness is not just about a number on the weighing scale or on the measuring tape or on a dress label. Fitness is about being healthy and active overall, mind and body. The light bulb moment came one evening when my son was about 20 months old. I had taken him out on his new cycle while I was running behind him and in 15 minutes, I was completely out of breath and dizzy. This was a real eye opener for me. At that point, I was probably at the worst fitness level I had been at in my entire life. Yes I had lost my pregnancy weight, but I felt weak. Add to that my hypothyroid and vitamin deficiencies and I always felt lethargic, low on stamina, anxious, I was falling sick often and I had severe joint pains. All this was not right at all at my age. It dawned on me that if this was my state in my early 30’s, how would I manage to be there for my son as he grew up?!

 

Also read: Living with Thyroid Disorder - My Story

 

“Fitness is not just about a number on the weighing scale or the measuring tape or on a dress label. Fitness is about being healthy and active overall, mind and body”

 

And thus began my true fitness journey, a journey focused on #StrongNotSkinny. These are the 4 major characteristics of my fitness journey:

 

Focus shift from cardio to strength training:

My previous workouts were all about cardio and losing calories. They used to leave me feeling even more tired and drained out. While I still do cardio once a week, I am more focused on strength training now, which helps burn body fat while building muscle. At the end of a strength training session, I don’t feel burned out, but I feel stronger and more energetic. 

“At the end of a strength training session, I don’t feel burned out, but I feel stronger and more energetic”

 

Not spot reduction, but overall fat loss:

Yes I have a problem area and I admit I would love to change it if I could change one thing about how I look. But I’ve realized that spot reduction is a myth. Studies do show that it is not possible to reduce fat in one area by exercising that body part alone, rather fat from the entire body is burned through clean eating and regular exercise of the overall body. So now I don’t worry about one single body part, but about strengthening my body overall. This includes a mix of weights, floor exercises and yoga. The key is consistency and discipline.

My Fitness Journey #strongnotskinny | Baby Beyond

Learning to eat right:

Even after I started strength training, I continued binging on fried food (my favourite kind of food) and other junk. My rationale was that I am not putting on any weight with it and I am exercising anyway, so it won’t matter. But when after 2 months of exercising I still felt tired and lethargic, it finally hit me. Being strong is as much about what I am putting in my body as it is about exercise. Fitness is 20% about what you do in the gym and 80% what you do in the kitchen. My daily diet loaded with oil, sugar, wheat, potatoes, rice, tea was not ideal for my body. It’s just been a month since I have started learning about what is good for my body and what is not and I am trying to incorporate these changes in my diet. I have already cut down on tea, sugar, rice and processed foods. It is just a small start but it is a step in the right direction.

“Fitness is 20% about what you do in the gym and 80% what you do in the kitchen”

Also read: 3 Healthy Lifestyle Changes I am Making

Lifestyle changes:

As I said, fitness for me now is about a healthy body as well as sound mind. So equally important to exercise and diet is living a balanced lifestyle, eliminating stressors and finding more time for things that make me calm and happy. Screen time had become a huge part of my life ever since I became a blogger. Now I consciously spend less time on the phone during the day. Every time I feel the urge to browse social media when I don’t really need to (for work that is), I pick up a book instead. I find this small change makes me less tired and anxious through the day and I tend to sleep better at night.

Pranayama (Breathing exercises)

 

Also read: 40 Simple Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms

 

This is just the start of my fitness journey and hopefully I will be able to share some positive updates along the way. What has your fitness journey been like. Do share in the comments below.

 


This post is part of the “Get Fit Stay Fit” blog train. I would like to thank Kalpana from Lazy Summer Diaries for introducing me and I introduce Mandavi from An Urban Nomadic. Check out her post on 5 easy ways to ditch processed foods and start preparing them at home.

Get Fit Stay Fit

I am participating in the ‘Get Fit, Stay Fit’ blog party with Bon Happetee!

Hosted by
First Time Mommy
Aesha’s Musings
Kreative Mommy
Sirimiri

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Comments
  1. Aesha Shah said on October 12, 2018 3:03 pm:

    Awesome Mahak. I am so glad you had the vision to alter your fitness routine as per the requirement of your body. And I so agree with you when you mention about how people mistaken between looking thin and being fit. Anyways we can’t change people’s perception but can surely keep creating awareness by sharing our fitness journey.
    I am glad you are part of our blog party.

  2. anupriya said on October 12, 2018 8:15 pm:

    I like all your suggestions and agree completely to the fact that as you age, fitness also has to include strength training. My best score at Surya Namaskars has been 15. You are fabulous yaar!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 12, 2018 10:14 pm:

      Thank you! Though that was around 4 years ago and over a period of 1 hour. I don’t think I can do it now

  3. Anshu Bhojnagarwala said on October 13, 2018 7:01 pm:

    Lovely post, mahak and you have highlighted the mindset only too well. Skinny is not fit. Glad you shared your fitness journey, so many people who think that they are thin will know thinness doesn’t guarantee a fit and healthy body. I too believe in the goodness of strength training and I feel it does wonders for women. It doesn’t make us bulky but strong.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 13, 2018 10:23 pm:

      Thank you Anshu. Yes I do hope this is an eye opener for some

  4. Shruti said on October 13, 2018 11:10 pm:

    Awesome journey… I too have practised 108 surya namaskars at one go. It feels great. It really made me feel strong and confident. Good luck and will wait for more positive updates

  5. Kalpana Manivannan said on October 16, 2018 1:05 pm:

    Inspiring journey Mahak. And the tagline ‘strong not skinny’ is apt. Its all about feeling fit and healthy not looking skinny. Great read.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 16, 2018 1:09 pm:

      Thanks Kalpana

  6. Prerna wahi said on October 16, 2018 5:41 pm:

    This comes across as a well researched and useful piece. Thanks for sharing it and giving these wonderful tips!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 16, 2018 6:18 pm:

      Thanks Prerna. Though not really tips, this post is just about my own journey 🙂

  7. Roopali said on October 17, 2018 7:31 am:

    Inspiring journey and post too. I always try to increase number of suryanamaskar but fall short in stamina.

  8. Mandavi said on October 17, 2018 9:58 am:

    Seriously, I hear this all the time too. Thin maynot really mean strong. I have been working out regualrly for last 3.5 years and I see such a huge difference in my stamina levels.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 17, 2018 10:01 am:

      Really happy to hear that as I have just started out and it’s good to hear that someone who is already on this journey has benefited from it

  9. Ashvini Naik said on October 17, 2018 8:36 pm:

    I so agree with you, Mahak, when you say that fitness isn’t about your body stats but the level of your physically active & immune.

    Great job on your fitness!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 18, 2018 5:23 pm:

      Thank you Ashvini 🙂

  10. Dipika Singh said on October 18, 2018 7:32 pm:

    Amazing journey Mehak, fitness has nothing to do with body shape. It’s a total myth that prevalent in society. Glad you busting it out with your positive post.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 18, 2018 8:20 pm:

      Thank you Dipika

  11. Rohan Kachalia said on October 19, 2018 8:59 am:

    That’s an amazing and inspiring journey, Mahak. Your post has motivated me to look further from being healthy towards getting fit.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 19, 2018 10:27 am:

      Glad to know it struck a chord with you. Thank you

  12. Sitharaam Jayakumar said on October 19, 2018 10:53 am:

    You know fitness does not mean bursting with muscles or simply being thin or any such stereotypes meaning. One may not have the physique of a body-builder but if you are generally fit and healthy without any physical or mental ailments that means you are fit. People have a very cock-eyed idea of fitness generally. Your post explains such outmoded ideas.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 19, 2018 9:43 pm:

      Agree. I don’t really like the term “getting in shape” because there is no one ideal shape that we should all aspire for

  13. Neha Jain said on October 19, 2018 9:11 pm:

    Very nice post, taking care of yourself is equally important for all women, I make sure I get some tike for me, water yoga makes me happy and keep me fit. And yes I make sure to avoid packed ready to eat food.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 19, 2018 9:42 pm:

      Oh I’ve never tried water yoga. Sounds interesting. I’m going to see if I have any classes close by

  14. Maria said on October 19, 2018 9:30 pm:

    I should try the picking up a book instead of the cell to adopt a holistic approach to fitness.

  15. Varsh said on October 20, 2018 11:08 pm:

    Many people don’t realise the difference between getting thin and getting fit. I embarked on a similar journey myself and know that some major lifestyle changes are necessary. A healthy mind and a healthy body is what we should aim for.

  16. Deepa said on October 21, 2018 2:26 pm:

    Agree with you Mahak, Its about being healthy and fit. You are doing a great job.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 21, 2018 3:46 pm:

      Thank you Deepa

  17. Pallavi said on October 30, 2018 9:55 am:

    I really loved reading your post and love the way u stay motivated.I truly believe Health is very important than number.Hope so people do understand the difference.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 30, 2018 10:13 am:

      Thank you Pallavi!