"When you realise that life is all about taking one step at a time, nothing can stop you or fail you. You fail when you stop trying.”
This is my story from being an overweight 9 to 5 employee to being a fit mother, winning titles in beauty pageants, emerging as a fitness influencer and turning into an entrepreneur.
We always hear transformation stories of weight loss of those who were athletic since young age but turned lazy over a period of time due to unhealthy lifestyle and then they decide to turn around to their previous body types. But what about those who never played a sport in childhood, who never had any knowledge about being healthy and spoke of only art and education at home. There is nothing wrong in being into arts, music and dance or studies but when you live a life like that, you start to believe that may be physical strength, agility & fitness isn’t your cup of tea.
5 years back, I used to believe that healthy means being thin. That fitness is only for athletes, sports professionals, models or actors. And I was none of them, so how could I have fitness goals. And after living in this shell for most of my life, my insecurities built up to an extent that anyone talking about my weight or body made me cringe and give way to self-doubt. This got worse when I became a mother and my friends & colleagues started making fun of me, calling me a a fat aunty having a midlife crisis. I had to break out of my shell and take action, if not for anything else, but just to prove them wrong.
That was the first mistake in my journey to fitness - ‘doing it for others’. We have been conditioned to thoughts like ‘Let me do it to shut their mouth’ or ‘Let me get a size smaller to prove I’m better than her’ or ‘Let me get slimmer so that he finds me hot’.
This is what needs to change. “Don’t Do It For Them. Do It For Yourself”
I realised this when I started to lose weight. The same people whose approval I used to seek, started criticising me instead of appreciating my efforts, saying “I want to get fit just to get attention from others”. When I got serious about my health and started living a disciplined life they questioned me on that too saying “You are a wife and a mother now, so what's the need of all this?
That was the day I decided to stop doing things to please others. I realised I needed to do things for myself in my own way, right or wrong. ‘My journey, my efforts, my goals all for myself.’
So what started as a shallow attempt to get thinner for others’ lame approval, became my strongest perspective towards life. It made me stronger not just physically but mentally too. I started my fitness journey for others but now my growth is mine. I have no inhibitions about how people judge me or the way I look. Now people questioning me on my healthy lifestyle actually makes me smile.
"Profession can be anything that you do for a living but passion is something that keeps you on your toes no matter where and how your life is going" says Afreen.
My discipline in fitness has not only made me stronger, it has made me set an example for my 5 year old daughter who is my biggest support now. Her idea of fun is working out with me at home and it makes me proud to see her learning about the importance of health at such a young age.
When fitness and self love became a passion for me, life started paving way to unknown territories for me. I got the opportunity to represent my city, Bangalore on a national level platform and was crowned the FACE OF SOUTH 2018 in MRS INDIA EARTH pageant. I was not only fortunate enough to share the stage with beauties from all over the country but also got special recognition for my physical strength in the fitness round. After the pageant, I was featured by renowned platforms like Decathlon Sports, Womanly, Body & strength and many more for my transformational journey.
From being a shy art loving person who never played a sport all my life, I am a health & fitness blogger now who does a combination of cardio and strength training. I love doing compound movements like deadlifts but right now my focus is calisthenics. I'm learning body weight training and that is the reason I am much stronger from inside than I was when I did only weight lifting. I feel that your strength grows immensely when you do movements like push ups, frog stands and headstands which are not easy to perform as they need a lot of stability and core strength.
Today, I aim to inspire as many people around me as possible about the importance of health and fitness, especially for mothers. I believe mothers should set example of being fit & healthy, for our children all through their life and not restrict fitness to a particular age, profession or status. I hope someday every woman will include fitness as a part of her day to day life as a means of self love. Be healthy for your own self. Do it cause its your body and it deserves the best from you.