Jolly was 72 going on 73 when she decided to fight.
We are talking about fat, not age. Seventy-two was not the age that sat on her, but the kilos she had comfortably packed around her. Standing pretty at four ft and eight inches with the flab dwarfing her to insignificance, Jolly was every bit uncomfortable. She withdrew into a shell, tortoise-like, till help came from unexpected quarters.
“It’s all in the genes,” Jolly used to comfort herself surveying the layers of fat covering her in cushioned comfort. Her father was fat, with more than a 100 kg to his credit. So were her paternal aunts. Hence, it was but natural to take after them.
“When you get older, you will also be like them. You take after your aunts. After all, it runs in the family,” she was constantly told. The reality was dinned in till it sank into her psyche. So be it, she said. “I’ll face it when it comes to that.” But she was jolted out of her complacency by forces beyond her control.
Jolly was carrying her third child and at six months, for reasons inexplicable, her BP shot up and the baby had to be brought out. Despite the best efforts of the doctors, she lost her baby. Weighed down by the loss, she hardly ever bothered to spare a thought for her health. And the weight went up.
As usual, friends and family started carping about her weight gain. She touched 72 kg and was heading for more. The constant disconcerting comments about her weight began to tell on her mental state. Cornered by forces beyond her control, she lost confidence and withdrew into the confines of her home. She stopped going out. She tried everything … went on an oats diet, skipped meals and moved around on a hungry stomach. But the weight showed no signs of relenting. It stayed at 72 kg. She felt she had hit a dead end when she chanced upon an article in popular women’s magazine Vanitha about Escaso, a health set up which helps people shed those unwanted kilos through relatively easy ways. Jolly wasted no time in going up to Escaso’s Thrissur branch where she registered for a six-month therapy.
A visibly cheerful Jolly recounts her Escaso days. She recalls how she lost weight without starving or dieting. She ate heartily and shed her flab.
“There was no unnerving diet regimen as I had feared. I was foodie and was always hooked to rice, even for breakfast. Hence, a strict diet would have upset me. They fixed a food schedule for me. I was directed to have a protein-carb combo diet in limited quantities at regular intervals. I was also given recipes of those dishes I could snack on when hungry. I gave up food high on fat and sugar, said bye to coffee, tea and juices. I got to know how important it is to have a fixed time for each meal,” said Jolly.
“As soon as I woke up, I would eat a fruit. This was followed by breakfast one-and-a-half hours later, by 8.30. A combination of carbohydrate and protein, it was usually either idli, dosa or appam, just two in number. An egg was added to the diet and could be had in full with the yolk providing the protein. Two hours later came the snacks … a few almonds, a glass of curd, or a dish of vegetables, lightly sauteed in ghee. Lunch was between 12.30 and 1 with a small cup of rice and huge servings of pulses and vegetables with spinach, scrambled eggs or fish for special flavor.
“The evening snacks were given between 2.30 and 4 pm. We could choose from flaxseed, pumpkin and melon seeds. Dinner was at 6.45 pm with rice, poot, or dosa on the menu. A glass of water at 10 pm completed the diet. We were also made to drink 3 litres of water every day.
“While in Escaso, we were given machine massages for an hour each on three consecutive days. As Kerala women tend to pack the fat around their thighs, hips and tummy, the massages were concentrated on these weak spots. The machines could be worked under several modes. We would begin on a slow pace with the speed picking up as the massage proceeded. No other exercises were prescribed for the other four days. Six months later, my weight had fallen to 55 kg.
“I turned quite active once the flab disappeared. I became more involved in our pharmaceutical business. It took me a while to realize that if I were to take things for granted I would pack on all the fat I had lost. By then I’d even gained a few kilos. Off I went once again for a three-month package and shed five more kilos. Now I weigh only 50 kg.
Jolly is touched by the solid backing she got from her husband and kids. Hubby Mani Thomas and kids Thomas Mani and Cecilia Mani encouraged her post-40 weight loss endeavor to the hilt.
“I wonder what would have happened to me had I accepted that ‘it’s all in the genes’ theory. All of us can get rid of body fat. After all, where there’s a will …”