People who go on a strict diet and exercise regimen often have to completely alter their lifestyle. And it isn’t an entirely easy process. Especially in Pakistan, where aunties will tell you there is no need to diet or people will constantly shove food your way at dinner parties. It can become very difficult to remain patient and not give in to your cravings. However, we recently sat down to speak with Rimsha Ali, a 27-year-old Communications professional, who lost 70 kgs in two years by actually understanding how health and fitness work and, in the process, developed a love for food.
This is Rimsha’s story.
Her weight had peaked at 110 kgs
Soon after Rimsha got married, she and her husband both started gaining a lot of weight. Rimsha tells us that she was extremely lazy back then and if eating meant she had to cook herself, she would just starve herself. “I’m not the best person in the kitchen and so I would rather not eat if I have to cook something myself”, she tells us. Back in the day, she and her husband would call it a day by simply ordering McDonald’s. And this had become such a bad habit that they both started relying on junk food more and more. And her weight touched 110 kgs!
It had become difficult for her to even climb stairs
As her weight increased, her ease of mobility decreased. It became difficult for her to do even the simplest of tasks. Once, while climbing the stairs, she became so out of breath that it made her re-evaluate the kind of lifestyle she had. That was the last straw and then she actively began to research on weight loss and fitness.
She started off with the Dukan Diet
Rimsha had never gone on a diet in her life. That is until a friend suggested she try out the Dukan Diet, a protein-based diet designed by French physician Pierre Dukan. In May 2015, Rimsha set out on her weight loss journey when she adopted the Dukan Diet, which forced all carbs out of her meals and pushed more protein intake. She kept at it for a year and by May 2016 she had lost 25 kgs. While the diet helped her lose fat, she also lost a lot of muscle. This made her look more flabby. So in order to get in shape, she joined a gym but left it just two months later. “I was just very lazy!”, Rimsha tells us.
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… And then started the 42-day Challenge
When the Dukan Diet ended, Rimsha moved on to the 42-day Challenge. She now admits that it wasn’t the smartest decision as she was starving most of the time and suffered from major Vitamin deficiency. “I was so desperate to lose weight that I was willing to try anything that people said would work”, she says. Nonetheless, she started the 42-day Challenge which allowed 800 calorie meals per day with a focus on protein and carbs. There was a cheat day too! While the diet drained her of energy making her feel tired all the time, she ended up losing weight and was at 78 kgs when the diet ended in September 2016.
Things changed drastically when she started the 1,300 Calorie Diet
By October 2016, Rimsha had lost 32 kgs but it was all through fad diets. She was shedding fat but she did not feel healthy at all. That month a personal training center opened up in her city which she luckily joined. “That is when things really started to change”, says Rimsha. The training center put her on a 1300 calorie diet but the best part about it was she could eat almost anything as long as her calorie intake did not cross the 1300 mark. Before this Rimsha had hated food and all the weight she had gained was due to excessive junk food. So 1300 calories seemed like a mountain to her. But she gradually started developing a love for food and incorporated homemade food to her diet. As a result, she got her appetite for food back and started gaining muscle as well.
She didn’t just diet, she exercised rigorously
From October to December 2016, Rimsha carefully followed the 1300 calorie diet plan and did not have a single cheat day. Along with a diet plan, she had also started working out. Rimsha tells us,“I never enjoyed sports. Even at school, I would play table tennis so that I wouldn’t have to move around a lot.” However, since last October she has become a fitness freak and is currently involved in muscle and strength training to get fit.
Her weight loss journey has brought a massive change in her lifestyle
Rimsha’s weight loss journey has resulted in a huge lifestyle change. She recalls the psychological impact being over weight had on her. Even though she seemed outspoken to people, she struggled with her inability to find clothes that fit her and a difficulty in moving around with ease. However, her drastic weight loss has boosted her confidence but most importantly it has straightened her eating habits.
For all those people who want to lose weight, Rimsha says, “Weight loss is not just a 6-month trick after which you can go back to your old habits. So if you want to lose weight I would recommend people to adopt a diet that you can sustain.”