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Not a lockdown Barbie

Close-up Of A Human Hand Filling Meal Plan In Checkered Pattern Notebook  

Size S was never for me. I have always been on the thicker side of the spectrum, and hence, a subject of frequent ridicule and endless counselling sessions from family and friends alike.

Growing up, I was constantly reminded of how I didn’t fit the Indian ideal of “tall, slim, fair, with a Ph.D.” These comments didn’t help my negative body image or my struggle with social anxiety, and instead of dealing with them healthily, I ate through my feelings.

But the 2020 pandemic brought a wave of articles overstating the potential effect of the lockdown on physical fitness, filling my mind with images of an inflated me struggling to pass through the doorway of my house. Exaggerated as this idea is, it pushed me to resolve to transform my entire appearance, hoping to emerge from the lockdown as a Barbie doll of sorts.

It wasn’t easy. The sudden fitness regime was more than I could handle. I had no idea how to lose weight, and extreme exercise and stringent diet took a toll on my body. Hairfall, irregularities in my cycle, and an outbreak of acne were only a few of my body’s pleas to hit the brakes. Additionally, the abrupt elimination of added sugars, meat and carbs left my system gasping for nutrients.

Eager for results

I was forced to listen to these cries and re-evaluate my regime, but I didn’t slow down by any means. I wanted results and I wanted them fast.

But unfortunately, weight loss isn’t like a get-rich-quick scheme. It took a long time, but eventually, I did begin to see results. I lost a significant amount of fat in my arms, calves, hips, and even my face. The problem was, these weren’t the areas I was keen to trim. Flabby thighs and a sizeable posterior have always been a constant source of shame for me, and I was keen on shedding them along with traumatic body-shaming memories from my school years. But I quickly realised that weight loss doesn’t go the way you want it to.

But have I achieved my goal of becoming a Lockdown Barbie? No, and I probably never will.

But no matter how much I change, it will never be enough. I realised this a while ago, when I met a family member who was one of my primary motivations for weight loss. I expected a surprised reaction, maybe even proud encouragement. What I received was a slap on my back and a remark to lose some more weight. Others, however, seem to think differently.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have received hurtful comments on how I will look downright ugly if I lose more weight.

But as another year ended and a new one began, I am happy with how I have changed. So, I’m not a Lockdown Barbie, but I will always be a work-in-progress. That’s good enough for me.

divyagrace1997@gmail.com

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:16:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/not-a-lockdown-barbie/article33586862.ece

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