My Obesity Problems started with a Choco Pie: Part 2 (Journey from PCOD to Weight Watchers to Gymming Frustrations)

November 5, 2015

This is the second post of a 3-part series about my weight woes. Read Part 1 (Journey from Childhood to College) here and Part 3 (Journey from Physical Fitness to Mental Fitness) here. 

Imagine you are an obese and content Indian female, excited about starting your MSc in a field you want to carve a future in, with all of life’s possibilities in front of you. Then, imagine you go to see a gynecologist who scares the living daylights of a 21 year old you as she explains how your PCOD condition could lead to high chances of infertility and hinder your prospects of having any normal “happily married life.” This is why, the numerous women doctors dictate, I need to lose weight now!

**Insert head roll and long rant about different life priorities/choices, preconceived notions of marriage, and not to mention the ignorance about one’s gender and sexual identity.It is NOT a given that every person is interested in marriage, the opposite sex, or giving birth to babies – and each issue is mutually exclusive!** 

To be given such pointed threats by the doctors, that I might lose the ability to conceive and procreate if I leave the matter unattended to (regardless of my personal inclination to or not), was both horrifying yet exceeding infuriating. It seemed my weight worries migrated from being my own person’s concerns to that of a third party. I wasn’t dismissing my disease’s importance, but I also felt like my symptoms were not unique just to me, and it was glaringly not a life or death situation. The nutritionists weren’t much better as they weren’t taking my lifestyle and schedule into account when prescribing me a meal plan to follow. Studying as an international student abroad, these Indians gave me diets that’s clashed with what was available to buy and make in my surrounding. Needless to say, I never visited the same doctor twice.

Yeah I'm fat because of PCOS, and I'm working on that. I'm still beautiful and I have a great personality.

Guys and gals still found me beautiful (or at least not ugly), I was happy doing what I wanted to, and the family and I had come to accept, to some extent, what was ‘Manjree’s weighty problems.’ Friends would be surprised to hear I was considered “obese” (unless they were just being super sweet) and the chubby arms bothered no one at grad school. Seeing so many girls who looked like me casually walk around wearing sleeveless clothes and short cocktail dresses, I definitely gained my nerve to start doing the same.

Again, memory might fail me, but all the right stars seemed to align around then. I found a fantastic GYN in India who didn’t feel the need to boss me around or shamelessly rebuke me. A cocktail of drugs twice a day to keep the PCOD in control was all she demanded before sending me off with her blessing to study further. Check. Upon arriving in England and visiting the GP there, I was told my “obese” status meant I could redeem a free pedometer, a Weight Watcher‘s trial for 12 weeks, and subsidized gym membership too. Some new health initiative by the NHS in my city. I decided to seize the opportunity and give it a try… nothing to lose. Check Check Check.

Although I didn’t walk or exercise much due to the grueling demands of a 12month intensive practicum-based degree, Weight Watchers turned out to be a dream come true. I lost 7kgs that Fall and felt great. I’d never ‘lost’ any weight before, per se, so I never knew how it felt to fit into something a size smaller than I normally wore. (Of course I never bought the smaller size wardrobe because of a sixth sense that I might never fit into them again!) Despite my schedule, I managed to be creative with the diet and I was finally starting to get comfortable with this new world of cooking (something I finally got interested in towards the end of undergrad). It was soups and stews galore I tell you!

Despite a pretty serious addition and craving for chocolate 24/7 as a direct result of joining Weight Watchers (is this another false memory spurred by the Japanese Choco Pie incident?), going to WW meetings gave me a sense of solidarity in the struggles to be rid of hard-to-lose fats. When I didn’t renew my membership post free sessions, and I started getting busier and busier, I slowly gained back those kilos I’d lost, but smoothly over many months. I didn’t regret it or feel upset or shameful. I took it in stride, as I take most of my weight fluctuations, and life continued.

It’s been 5 years since I returned from my MSc and the best word that can describe my battle with my weight is – FLUCTUATING! As the weighing scale has proved time and time again, my weight has been up, down, sideways, and upside down over time. I guess it’s mirrored the confusion and various directions my life has taken these past few years…

For one, I’ve traveled a lot and lived with different family members for 1 to 2 months at a time (not to mention the multitude of weddings and celebrations I’d attend for 2-5 days at a time). Uprooting myself and making a home somewhere new, for short bursts, affected my lifestyle, diet, and also my weight. To live with extended family, even temporarily, is always a sort of weird adoption isn’t it….Whether it was to take GRE classes, do research at a specific library for an article I was trying to publish, taking a month-long cooking course, attending conferences abroad, or staying put while I attempted a month-long silent fast, I had to get used to the diet and cooking methods of that particular household. Some household styles (like using ghee in everything!) resulted in me gaining weight, while other household styles (like being forced to have soup and salad twice daily) resulted in weight loss. Regardless of which direction my weight went during my stays, the changes were always noticeable and time-consuming to adapt to, and later on, to recover from.

But the non-stability hasn’t bothered me as much as you’d expect. To be obsessed with one’s weight, I find, is a huge vortex of pain and suffering. So I’ve been avoiding that route like a plague! Although I’ve always had relatively low self-esteem (and understandably) because of media and society’s portrayal of ‘slim is beautiful’ and ‘fat is lazy’ I have been lucky enough to not have that propaganda overtake my life. (Other serious problems and thoughts have led to depression and self-harming behavior in my time, but my obesity never ranked anywhere in the top reasons for these thoughts.)

Instead, my earnest wish to simply ‘get healthy’ and have a ‘balanced diet’ – as opposed to ‘lose weight’ – has proven to be both an exciting discovery and non-cumbersome. In fact, it was my desire to be healthy and fit (coupled with the pleasant lull of nagging family members who consistently complained about my weight problems) that led me to join the gym for a year (despite all my travels), before I left for Chicago. Although I did my best to follow the gym trainer’s advice and exercised diligently, I ended up frustratingly stable on the weighing scale. I say frustratingly, but that’s not quite how I felt on the matter. Whilst I may not have lost kilograms, I was toner, fitter, lost inches, felt more confident in my own skin, and was replacing plenty of them fat cells for muscle (thanks to my love of weight lifting over cardio).

Nevertheless, my numerical weight and “obese” status remained unchanged….

…Stay tuned as my weight journey continues in Part 3 (Journey from Physical Fitness to Mental Fitness)! Stay balanced and stable! 😀

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2 Responses to “My Obesity Problems started with a Choco Pie: Part 2 (Journey from PCOD to Weight Watchers to Gymming Frustrations)”


  1. […] This is the first of a 3-part series about my weight woes. Read Part 2 (Journey from PCOD to Weight Watchers to Gymming Frustrations) here. […]

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  2. […] This is the last installment in a 3-post series about my weight woes. To read the earlier posts, here are Part 1 (Journey from Childhood to College) and Part 2 (Journey from PCOD to Weight Watchers to Gymming Frustrations). […]

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