Nazahat ul Zahra Gillani endured almost everything a girl her age goes through when she does not fit the standards of beauty our society has built. She weighed about 90-95 kgs in her teenage years (touching 100 kgs at her heaviest) and looking back at this difficult period of her life, she said: “It was a tough time for me when I was so obese and made it difficult for me to stay motivated.” But the silver lining in this arduous journey of hers was her support circle who motivated her at all times. In this exclusive with Scaryammi, she shared the story of how she lost almost 50 kgs.

When did you start working out?

At the age of 14 when I was studying in ninth grade, I decided enough was enough. One fine day I got up and just told myself that it was time for me to start looking better. It was high time I lost weight and started working out. As habits developed at an early age become a lifestyle, now fitness has grown to become a permanent part of my daily routine. I opt for different activities on the days I’m not working out so I don’t lose touch with my routine.

How long did it take you to become this slim?

It took me around a year to shed off the extra fat that I had been ludging around with me my entire life. After that, I was on track to getting myself into shape and thankfully I have been able to maintain my fitness level over the years. 

Who was your inspiration?

At the age I was at that time, you are always hearing about every other girl’s journey of weight loss or something of sorts. To be honest, such stories were my inspiration and I knew I had to work on myself to look anywhere close to the image I had in mind. Being in shape may not be that important but being healthy sure is and I am glad I decided to take that decision when I did.

Did you ever feel like you would give up?

Yes, there were many times when I felt like giving up. Especially during the initial stages because it was almost impossible to keep track of what I was doing and when I was doing it. But consistency is the key to almost everything, you just have to not lose touch.

Girls give up on eating proper meals just for the sake of dieting, what do you think about this trend of starvation-dieting?

I would highly discourage unhealthy approaches to losing weight including crash diets and excessive workouts. Giving up on eating is not a solution at all. You should always eat, eat smaller portions but please don’t skip meals. An unhealthy diet or not eating at all will lead you to have an unfit body, a lower metabolic rate and less energy to deal with your daily routine. Eat wisely and don’t stress too much over your weight. Instead keep pushing yourself towards your goal – which should be a realistic one in order to keep you going and keep your sanity intact.

What were the first steps you took on the journey to weight loss?

I eliminated all kinds of junk food from my life and added walk on a daily basis.

Do you believe the phrase: “Abs are made in the kitchen?”

Yes I do believe in the phrase to some extent as 70% of ur weight loss depends on diet and 30% depends on exercise.

Did you do any research on your journey to weight loss? 

Yes I did do a little research about what steps I could take and how I could go about the entire process. My dad used to be an athlete so he guided me a lot about various exercises and made sure I made healthy choices.

What changes do you feel after becoming so fit?

I generally felt happier and the feeling of accomplishment kept me going. I started to love myself. I stay fresh all day long and it also affects my mental health. I look better, hence I feel better and have a more positive outlook on life. 

Hafsa Chughtai

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