At 19, she looked 29. Today, at 23, married and mum to a one-and-a-half year-old baby, Perumbavoor-native Anu looks as if she’s just stepped into college from school.
So what’s the secret behind her amazingly young look?
“I now weigh as much as I did when I was in class five. I weighed more than 50 kg then,” says Anu. She was born a chubby infant. Being the only child to her doting parents, they saw to it that she ate all that she loved and in lavish quantities too. In fact, everything revolved around food and soon the chubby baby had turned into a fatso. When she got married at 18, she weighed a solid 90 kg. But the young girl felt no qualms about her weight, nor did it give her any discomfort. She was pretty comfortable in her flab and was not in the least affected by her “enormous” body. Anu says it was surprising that even her friends never once thought of laughing at her fat or calling her names.
“It was in fact my weight which got me my husband,” laughs the young girl. Her husband, Aneesh Alex, was the proud owner of a well-toned body. A former Mr Kottayam, he was more than 6 ft tall and weighed 108 kg. Hence, it looked like a made for each other match.
That was precisely why she never felt the need to cut down on her flab post-marriage. But reality hit her hard when she felt herself being weighed down, literally, after her baby was born. She packed on the kilos to touch 106 when she was with child. The pain and discomfort of a C-section added to her physical misery. Anu realized she could not even bring herself to get up and walk around. And she could not lean on anyone else for support because of her overwhelming weight. Her gynecologist warned her of the dire consequences of this weight gain at such a young age. That set her thinking. She would lose weight … some way or the other.
She took things easy for another six months. Six months into childbirth, Anu started her own diet regimen. Though she made it to a gym nearby, she bid bye to it within a few days. From what she had read and gleaned, she decided to give up rice and have chappathis instead. Within no time she had lost six kilos, all on her own support. Anu remembers that it was her father Joy who stood by her and egged her on to shed her flab. She then went to a nutritionist in Perumbavoor for expert advice. She continued her experiments with fat-free food and went by the expert advice she got.
It stands to her credit that Anu has not tasted rice from the day she started her special diet. It was quite tough to give up something which had been her all-time favorite food right from childhood … rice and fish curry. She wistfully remembers how she used to gorge on rice and mum’s fish curry at least thrice a day. To pack on the calories, cashew chammanthi was also a daily side dish. Evening snacks used to be puffs or cutlets. The fact that she did not have a sweet tongue seemed to be a saving grace.
When Anu decided to go for a lean body, the first thing she gave up was her favorite food items. No tea, no coffee. Fruits and tubers were banned. By 8 in the morning, it was a glass of fat-free milk or a glass of soy milk. What she had in plenty were egg whites, at times the whites of four or five eggs. This was followed up with plenty of water and two robusta plantains five hours prior to lunch.
Lunch comprised three chappathis, boiled vegetables and fish, followed by a five-hour break. To keep hunger at bay she had sugar-free cucumber juice and lots of water. It was three liters of water during the morning hours followed by two liters in the evening. A robusta plantain again, if the tummy rumbled. The true test of her determination was on show during festive occasions. She refused to budge from her diet. Nothing would tempt her to binge on a favorite food.
She would hit the treadmill daily. Her determination was so fierce that there were times when she would be on her machine at 2 am, after singing her baby to sleep. To this day, it’s become a regular exercise, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Anu remembers how difficult it was initially to walk on the treadmill for even ten minutes. But she persevered to walk for a much longer time.
She had shed almost 30 kilos before she left for Dubai to join her husband. But the diet and exercises continued. She would walk all over Dubai’s parks, sometimes up to 8 km a day. It was either juice, salad or grilled fish for Anu when the family dined out. In one year, she succeeded in getting down to 58 kg. The young mother now weighs 53 kg. It’s time for toning up the body now. She hits the gym regularly for a flat tummy and well shaped muscles.
Anu has a dream which she hopes will see the light of day soon. It’s no big deal to shed weight if one really wants to have a go at it, says the lissome lass. She looks forward to the day when she can open a weight-loss clinic for all who are struggling with weighty issues. She would love to share her secrets with them.