I cannot swim. Yes, it’s an embarrassing confession to make, because I consider swimming a life skill. As a kid, I just did not swim. I hated it, was scared of water and so didn’t learn it. My parents took me to the beach often, since I lived few meters away from it for many years but I would just play on the shore, jumping over the waves, making sand castles. I also never really wore a bikini. I wore swimsuits and tankinis but never a bikini. I was very skinny as a child and young woman. I was thin till I got pregnant. But I never had the confidence to don a bikini. Why you ask? I guess because in my mind, bikini was an outfit that women wore to showcase their perfect midriff, tight abs and sexy figure. To swim you don’t need a bikini, but when you have a model like figure, you deserve a bikini. And somehow, I never considered myself deserving of such a sexy outfit. Thank you very much movies, marketing and media.
Anyway, I got pregnant. A skinny girl became a mini whale in a few months time. I loved my new found curves and I quite liked my baby bump because, obviously my baby was in it. I was naive, I thought that all this baby weight will disappear once the baby is delivered. No really, I actually thought so.
But the reality slapped me out of my naive wishful thinking when I couldn’t fit into the homecoming dress that I had picked and packed in my hospital bag. I was stuck and I cried, not because my stitches hurt but because my heart was in a stitch. What if I never lost this bump? What if this post-partum body struggle was real? What if I never felt sexy again?
Anyway, my baby proved to be a huge distraction and the next 8-9 months I forgot about how I looked or what I weighed. I was alive. I was keeping a little baby alive and my wife duties were on auto pilot, all this with record breaking low sleep levels that I ever experienced in my entire life. Crying over stubborn fat that was refusing to leave my body was not my priority.’Ain’t nobody got time for that.‘
Then something happened. I felt sick. My baby was 9 months old and I got flu. Like any other flu, it should have disappeared max in a week’s time but it stayed for 2 months. I felt weak, helpless, depressed and utterly useless during that time. I realized that I had channeled all my energy and the strength in my body towards the upkeep of my little one and my home. My body was begging to be loved. My body was asking me to look at her, treat her well and strengthen her again.
I resolved to do something about it. It took me 6 more months after my daughter’s birthday to finally enroll myself into a pilates class. As I expected ( I was wiser now), I had almost zero stamina but I had 100% will to make a change. I attended those classes for 2 months and then I had to relocate to a different country. Settling in took another 4-5 months. Whatever I had lost in weight, I had gained back and whatever I had gained in strength, I had lost.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not overweight or even fat after my delivery, I don’t have a body transformation story thanks to my decent metabolism and body type, I just didn’t have enough strength, health & body confidence.
Anyway, moving to Dubai, joining Exhale Fitness Studio, was a turning point. I cried after my first group session. I was the fattest girl in the class and I was least fit person too. But I wanted this to change. I hated gym. I never diet. But somehow I fell in love with Pilates.
I soon started gaining strength. I started staying in a particular pose for few more seconds, I even got the confidence to take fitness lessons from a personal trainer who later motivated me to enter a real gym. My body changed. My perspective changed. My personality changed and my confidence is on the upwards too.
Am I perfect? No.
Do I have a flat tummy? Hell no!
But do I feel sexy? Oh yes!!
I don’t feel the need to suck in my gut anymore. I don’t wear spandex under the fitted dress anymore. I look at myself in the mirror and I smile and I respect my body now. I am amazed by what it has done. It has gone through severe changes to give me my baby and now it’s once again going through wonderful changes to become healthy and fit.
This weekend, I wore a bikini. I did it as a symbol of my love for my body. I did it to tell myself that measurements won’t define what I choose to wear. I am still nowhere near the vital stats of maxim cover page model. But I am a beautiful version of me. I am a work in progress.
My body deserves my respect and I have earned this confidence to flaunt my curves with unabashed pride after a lot of introspection, hard-work and discipline.