Thursday, February 18, 2010

I finished strong.Are you going to finish strong?

Do you remember this post from a few months ago??? It totally changed my life.Such a huge impression from watching a few minutes long video...I never thought that was possible.Curious to know more? continue reading :)
Some of my friends have already heard my weight loss story,some kind friends were with me in this via Internet pretty much every day since last year and saw me through it all.
It is an emotional and as well as a very proud time for me to be able to compile this blog post,I've been waiting to write these words here since many many years,but more than ever since last 9 months! It still is un real for me to write these words saying that I have lost 80lbs... 80lbs!!! oh my gosh...I still can not believe that happened to me :) but it sure did!
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME:
I started working on losing weight oh about 7 years ago...at that time, I had oh about 30lbs to lose,but I could never keep my resolutions more than a month or perhaps more than 3 months...I would give up and gain it all back! the reason...I never tried to CHANGE MY LIFESTYLE!!! I always tried to "lose weight", and that's something no one tells you :)
A few years ago,before my 25Th birthday I promised myself I won't turn 25 with all this extra weight on me...needless to say, that didn't go as planned,and instead of losing weight I lost confidence,faith,my personality and most importantly my determination...in everything! Those past few years turned me into a totally different person.I guess it is safe to say that all those extra pounds took the word,"Happy" out of my life! I was in a very sad place...I wanted to just isolate myself from everything and everyone.
I never wanted to get my pictures taken,I'd delete my pictures,crop myself out of family pictures.Maani kept stopping me from doing so,I remember,he'd tell me I am erasing memories.And I was!!!I don't have very many pictures of me with little Waaiz :( most of the time I didn't want to get my pictures taken or even if someone took my picture,it ended up in my computer's Trash bin.
Here is a true example...Maani wanted to get his picture taken with me and I turned and hid my face with my shawl :(
I'd wish I could wake up one day and all this weight would be gone.You would say ...that can't happen...well, it happened to me! BUT...it didn't happen to me until I worked for it.Now that I have lost all the extra weight and am in the best shape of my life,I look back at all these months of all the hard work I put in...and it feels like just yesterday! I literally feel like, it happened instantly.God made it wayyyyy too easy for me.
It all started last year,I stepped on the scale and it said 187lbs.What a sad sad day for me...I was angry,sad,heartbroken and more than anything ashamed!!! ashamed of myself for letting me down for so many years,for starting something and always ending up leaving it unfinished... that definitely was not my personality... I never leave anything unfinished!!! I had to take care of this ...it was a matter of Now or Never!!! I wanted to go back and take care of my pending assignment and close that file that has been open and collecting dust since last 7 years.I didn't want to turn 30 with guilt and knowing that I didn't do what I promised myself I would!!!
GREAT EXPECTATIONS:
Plus, around that same time,Waaiz was going through some of my pictures from the time I was 18 and he stopped at one particular picture and asked me,if I would wear this dress at his birthday.
My response was...oh child, you have got to be kidding me,how in the world can I fit into this dress with all this weight??? but then it hit me...WHY NOT!!! I CAN TRY.
I think just the thought of disappointing myself and my loved ones once again was enough for me!I didn't want to do that,didn't want to ride that roller coaster again. So I started working on some ideas!
A NEW BEGINNING:
Day 1 of of my regular workouts was May 1st 2009, my birthday was in 10 days and I promised myself..."this year,I will change my life 100% before my birthday".It was not about losing that many pounds,it wasn't about fitting into that size or anything as such! it was about wanting to change my LIFE!!! and I did just that.
I worked out that day...oh about 30 mins,it felt great.I ate pretty good.Kept myself away from junk.And that's how the whole week passed.I worked out everyday that week.I was noticing a difference in myself...I felt FRESH and ENERGIZED!
I kept going on like this and 4 weeks later I was 10lbs lighter!!! I was very proud of myself.I took measurements that day...just so I can see how far I've come...and I am glad I did that.
I promised myself I will lose another 10lbs before July starts.I started eating healthier as I was educating myself with ingredients and nutrients in the foods we eat.
I discovered how evil sodium and preservatives are...and how many sneaky ways we get extra carbohydrates in our bodies and don't even realize it.It was a huge change.
That was around the time,Maani and Waaiz jumped on the healthy eating wagon with me.Waaiz gave up his cereals for Oatmeal and eggs.I remember one day I read him some facts about all the bad ingredients in the candies and juices...that kid just completely freaked out and he hasn't touched candies or processed foods since then!
GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES:
WOW! everything is getting easier and easier for me...then it just hit me...someone is making it easier for me...every door I see opening,didn't open itself...something is going on! I just felt God working in my life.I saw something I've heard many many times,come true and alive! I am sure we've all heard someone say," when you take one step with honesty,God takes 10 steps towards you and He extends His hands out and pulls you,so your journey becomes easier and easier"
And that's exactly what was happening in my life! God was showing Maani and Waaiz how to be supportive towards me and my goals.All of a sudden Maani knew exactly what to tell me and when to say it,he knew exactly how to support me,when to comfort me and when to push me to work even harder!!! Now that's a miracle ;)
POWER OF A PRAYING PERSON:
I realized...I have been praying about all this... ever since I started working out and changed my lifestyle...I kept asking God to help me stay strong and motivated, and make it easier for me...I just asked for this!!! I didn't ask for a 26" waist or a super model's body...I just asked for determination and perseverance,and He gave me just that!!!
WORKOUT SCHEDULE:
I started walking on my tread mill (that was the best $40 I ever spent on buying anything from craigslist :D) I'd walk 15 minutes in May and I would be so exhausted and tired.Now... I run! If I don't run a good 4 miles...I feel like I haven't done anything :) and all this stamina...I was blessed with it...because I asked for it! I came across a website that had various free workouts...Strength Training,Pilates,Interval Training,Ab workouts...you name it they had it...and It was FREE!!! I worked out to many many trainers's workouts...but I connected with Cindy Whitmarsh ,I loved her workouts and saw my body changing FAST!!! I also loved Dove and Stephanie Vitorino.oh and also,Marco Reed...but I could do hours and hours of Strength training with Cindy :D
I started adding those workouts to my daily routine.I'd run one day and do an hour of Winsor Pilates and then the next day I'd do an hour of Strength Training exercises and 30 mins of Ab exercises.I was literally working out 2 hours everyday for 6 days a week!!!
SUPPORT AND INSPIRATION:
I kept working out alone...every day,ate right.kept myself motivated!!! Then I came across an online group of ladies who were balancing it all...kids,jobs,workouts everything...I started reading their posts...educating myself to workout correctly,eating right etc. I made some really sweet friends there.Some of them in the same boat as I was...working hard to lose weight.So we pushed each other,we taught each other,we learnt so much from each other!
I read the story of Shantell, who lost close to 50 lbs in less than 6 months.She answered each and every email I sent her! I hope to meet her soon.She lives just a few hours from me.
Katheryne, she was the person who had my jaw on the floor....she lost 80lbs in less than a year.She is a vegetarian,loves to run and motivated me and kept telling me,I could do this!!!
I developed a beautiful sisterly relationship with a wonderful girl,Margaret aka Peggy :) She ROCKS!!! she knows how to be a good listener,what to tell you and how to make you happy!I know she has an angel's heart in her :) She discovered Winsor Pilates and started working out regularly!She was always the first one to motivate me,congratulate me on losing inches and pounds! Love this girl :)
One of my friend Rochelle,who lives in Ohio( I never met her) wanted to lose weight too...we decided to workout together every day!we had the time of our lives...we never saw each other but we just communicated via chats and emails.I kept telling her,she is a fighter!!! she doesn't know the word,QUIT!!!
Then I developed a good relationship with running by watching Skye,an amazing lady from TX( I've never met her either) she kicks some serious butt!!! and walks around with my dream butt.LOL! I would just hear about her running stories and that would motivate me to run even stronger!
Tammy!!! where do I begin...you have to go and read her blog.What an amazing mom she is...what an amazing transformation! I owe her big time for the idea of putting Spinach in my smoothies :D ahhh those are a lifesaver! We are all addicted to my green smoothie now :)
Jenifer Leah,I have never seen a supportive and encouraging lady like that in my life!she hopes to come to Texas someday and meet me after she visits the new Cowboy Stadium :D
Lacey!the determined chic.Who is ready to try anything to get the body she wants...I am just amazed at her transformation.
Nicole, the yoga passionate lady!!! Love her and her positivity.Brittaney,who kept posting her before and after pictures!!!Heather...gosh! I found so many people who were fighting and working for a healthier life and a healthier body.It was contagious.We spread the working out and eating right bug to each other... we were all supporting each other little by little! How can I ever thank all these wonderful friends.
A TRUE PARTNER FOR LIFE:
However I still felt like I needed something closer...someone to talk to,someone who'd workout with me...there were times,I felt all alone.That's what I prayed for...and Maani started working out with me...every other day! what a beautiful thing.He'd make my tough workouts so much fun and the time would just fly.Thank you dear.God answered every question I sent His way!
I saw the weight coming off slowly...I was loosing 10lbs every month since 2 months and then all of a sudden I hit the dreaded Plateau.I learnt to make changes...in everything...eating habits,workouts etc.Then all of a sudden the weight started dropping again...and I was happy!
LISTEN TO THE WISE:
At that point I had a conversation with my wonderful neighbor who is a personal trainer.Mr Daniel aka,an angel in disguise.I mentioned something about shin splints and he immediately pointed towards my shoes...he gave me a few pointers and sent me towards a running store.I owe him big time for that!!! God bless you Mr Daniel.If you are reading this...I wanna tell you again, that everytime I run and most importantly..."run pain free" I pray for you! you have done a huge favor for me :)
I got myself fitted for running shoes that suit my arch and the shape of my foot and I just love my running shoes :)
OLD PAINS:
Since we are talking about my foot and shoes...let me mention something here.I twisted my ankle when I was very young,oh about 7 years old perhaps! so I have this weird looking bone sticking out a little below my right ankle,who knows what it is...an old fracture perhaps...I never got it looked at,although it bothered me everytime I had to stand up for a few hours on the tiled kitchen floor( decorating cakes or cooking for longer periods of times), that bothered me a lot when I would run or workout.I remember I'd be so disappointed and frustrated.But I didn't let it stop me from reaching my goal...i think...the more it bothered me the more it fueled my energy and I worked harder than ever!!! It still hurts sometime... but I know I am stronger than that :)
LITTLE CHANGES:
Fast forward a few months...I kept making sure I drop 10lbs every month and I did everything I could to do that.
I switched from white carbs to healthy whole grain carbs,white sugar to brown sugar.Whole eggs to egg whites,whole milk to fat free milk etc just made little changes every day!
I continued working out 2 hours every day,6 days a week.I kept taking measurments every 4 weeks or so.I kept a log of my workout days on my calender.Everyday I'd workout 2 hours,I'd make a "x" mark on that day,PROUDLY!!! as if I was counting days to a better me!Here is that calender..I still have it :)
FINALLY, THE DRESS:
I reached my initial goal in October,way before Waaiz's birthday.I was fitting into that gorgeous dress!
Waaiz was so proud of his mom,Maani was so proud of his full of determination wife!I had lost 60lbs from the time I started working out!!! what a proud moment for me.Then all of a sudden...Waaiz decided I should try wearing a different dress on his birthday! haha...are you kiddin me,I worked my butt off to fit in this dress and now you put me up for another challenge! ok kiddo bring it on. I tried that particular dress and it was - too tight!!! I had 3 weeks to work harder than ever and fit into it! hey if I can lose 60lbs..then I can shrink a few inches in 3 weeks,right?
AND THEN ANOTHER DRESS:
Then finally,his birthday came and tada!!! I was fitting into the dress my birthday boy wanted me to wear :)
TAKING A BREAK:
As a reward...I gave myself a break from working out.I just ran...and did ab workouts here and there.It was refreshing as I was getting weary and tired from working so hard past couple of months.I reached the goal weight I wanted to be in November!I had big plans for December.I wasn't done with the weightloss yet.I was happy with my progress but I wanted to do more.I didn't want to leave this unfinished.I knew I can get my body in the shape I want it to be.
Throughout the month of November, I ate healthy and worked out occassionally,nothing too intense.Throughout the month of November I lost almost 7lbs,pretty good for a "rest" month.
Waaiz was just so happy to have his happy momma back :)
and Maani was happy to finally find the happy girl he married.

ITS SHOWTIME!!!
As soon as December started,I came back into it stronger than ever! I WANTED to start working out regularly,I wanted to see the scale moving again,I had a goal to reach before the year 2009 ends.
I continued my 2hr/day workout routine for 6 days a week.I worked very very hard and managed to lose another 6lbs in December.My body was in a much better shape now,wayyyyy better than what I looked like in May :) SUCCESS!!!
Here is how I looked like at the end of December- after 7 months of working out.
A NEW YEAR,NEW LIFE.
2010 started.I cut down my workouts to 5 days a week and instead of 2 hrs everyday I was working out 1 hr everyday.Life is good.I am getting compliments,wows and some criticism as well.Some of the people I know,thought I had lost too much weight :) But I had my eyes set on a different goal,I wasn't working out to lose weight anymore.I was working out to maintain my current weight and my main focus was to to tone my body.I had to take care of problem areas now.I found myself falling in love with running more than ever! I noticed I am eating healthier than ever.
I am proud to say that the outfits that I wore when I was 18 years old,are now loose on me :) I am in the best shape of my life.Don't believe me? See for yourself...
Here I am when I was 18 years old.The year is 1998 and I was at a concert.
And here I am in 2010 with my own artist :)

...LOOK HOW FAR I'VE COME!!!
WOWZA!!! as of January 2010,I have lost a total of 78lbs and over 50 inches off my body.O.O
I am super excited to see what life has in store for me now.I am a better and happier person today.
This is a pair of pants that I bought in June as a reward for losing 10lbs!!! I remember they were tight on the waist in June 2009.Look at them now :)
Here is a shirt that I bought for myself in January 2009.
NOW the much awaited BEFORES and AFTERS :)









Here are two pictures,one from February 19th 2009,and another one exactly one year later February 19th 2010.







I have lost all the extra weight all right...but I have gained SO much...spiritually,mentally and even physically,yes I gained strength and muscles :) I am super proud of my guns! I worked very hard to develop beautiful lean muscles.Check 'em out! Pilates sure ROCKS!!!
This blogpost has been sitting as a draft since last 2 weeks and as of today I have lost almost 82lbs :)...I had no idea it will take SO much to write this post,it is safe to say this is bitter sweet.But at the end I know it is all good.I am a much stronger person today.
I couldn't have come this far without the support I received from my best friend,my soul mate and my husband,Maani.He was kind,gentle and patient with me through this entire journey! He never loved me any different when I was heavier,but I knew he wanted me to lose weight for myself.Just so I can be happy again!He wanted to see me happy.
His encouragement kept me going.He never complained over anything,whether it was my workout schedule or a delayed dinner or my bad mood.He knew exactly how to be patient and what to tell me and when to say it :) He helped me celebrate every single pound I lost and cheered me up when the scale wouldn't move after weeks of working out.Somehow he always knew how to make me happy and helped me stay positive and focused.He was the one who always believed in me.Who always pushed me to do more...to give me all!He knew I will reach my goal.
I am Thankful to God for having His hand over me throughout this tough journey,it would have been impossible without having God working with me in all this!I cannot even begin to thank Maani for supporting me and to Waaiz for all his little hugs and cheers that I got from him,day and night!I am blessed to have boys who worked out with me when I was ready to lay flat on the floor and give up!They didn't let me.Their love raised me up and helped me get to a point where I am at right now.
I want to thank anyone and everyone who prayed for me,who helped me through this.I apologize if I forgot to mention your name.But your help and support is truly appreciated.

Monday, February 15, 2010

...so you think you can bake??? ugh!!!!!!

Last few years I have been searching for an authentic recipe for "nan khatai"- a short bread cookie we used to eat when we were little.Now I have tried many many different recipes from various blogs and books...nothing turns out like the real thing.Many recipes are missing necessary details and sometimes even the critical ingredients are not even mentioned in the recipe! How insane is that.
Recently I found a couple of videos of some South Asian "chefs".They are good at doing what they do on TV- Act and COOK!!! but can they bake??? You be the judge! Just look at this mess...
these were supposed to be about 3/4" thick discs of yummy goodness...but following their recipe ended in nan khatai turning into an almond crisp!
How frustrating...this was a recipe of a "chef" who failed to mention that these call for baking SODA instead of baking POWDER!!! and didn't even bother to tell the audience the baking temperature of the cookies.
It is so sad to see people from our countries being fooled by such "cooks" who think they can bake... but fail to explain the difference between a cupcake and a muffin or the difference between a cookie and a biscuit! Seriously.
As if this wasn't enough...they aren't even ashamed to tell their audience to "eyeball" the baking temperatures...here is what one of the "chefs" said in their show about baking cookies and cakes. " First you turn your oven ON at full heat, then when you are ready to put your cookie sheet/cake pan in there,turn the heat to "HALF" and then stick the tray on the 3rd rack of your oven and bake" O.O SERIOUSLY!!! Is this how you are supposed to BAKE???
Such a sad fact...my advice...if you can't bake, then stick to teaching your audience how to cook yummy authentic Indian/Pakistani foods.Most of the people who are presenting cooking shows on South Asian TV are pretty good at cooking our traditional dishes and I have learnt many new things from their webisodes.I just wish they'd stop misleading people who are learning to bake! Not to mention, it is such a waste of our time and ingredients :(
I am off to find the perfect recipe for these yummies...and wont give up until I find it :)
Now Waaiz, who helped me bake this "childhood favorites" of mine...still liked the taste and crispiness of this failed cookies :)
Oh well, at least one of us was happy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

This child of mine...

So I wanted to share my awwww moment with all of you guys :)
When I was at the video shoot for the Winsor Pilates DVDs, I wore a coral shirt,not a color that I usually wear,I do like it,but never had it in my wardrobe.I loved how it looked on me and the fabulous makeup artist Adam Christopher used a coral lip gloss for me and I just had to get myself a lip gloss like that :) as for some reason I had bought 3 different tops in coral color in December.
On my recent visit to Ulta, I found myself a beautiful shimmery coral lip gloss that I couldn't wait to try.I got home and couldn't find it in my bags :( needless to say,I was very sad and disappointed. Waaiz as always offered to help and Maani also pitched in( gotta love helpful boys) .
Poor Waaiz searched through my huge collection of purses and makeup,but even he couldn't find it.He was sad for mommy's loss :(
Maani,being the sweetheart he is, said "Its OK, you can always get another one".
Later on that night,after dinner Waaiz came up to me and asked me to close my eyes, I did and he handed me a paper.Do you wanna see what it was? Well here it is :)
It was a beautiful handmade card!!!As instructed on the card,I lifted the top page,and it revealed this...

Can you read what it says? It just melted my heart!!! It said,
" Check out this side,kind of worth that lip gloss!!
<------ before looking at the "thing" inside, think about what could be inside; ok?"
oh, do y'all need Kleenex? I know I did!!!
Now I HAD to look in the "pocket" that he made on the other side of the page.Here is what that looked like...
It had $$ signs on it :)pretty cute,eh!
tada!!!! He gave me handmade $100 bill :) How cute is that!!!

and then he gave me his nice big hug and said, " Now you don't have to be sad over losing that lip gloss, now you have more money to get you another one.And I hope it is enough to buy a lip gloss".
gawd!! this kid just knows how to melt mommy's heart!!! such an affectionate boy he is...I wonder how lucky his wife will be :) Probably as lucky as I am...as he gets this tenderness from his daddy! Maani,THANK YOU for being kind,gentle and caring towards me and everyone around you,so Waaiz can follow your steps!!!
here is a picture of my precious card.

I remember how everyone at the Studios in California kept praising Waaiz on his artistic skills, I hope to God,Waaiz continues to follow his love for creative arts and never loses sight of the real things in life- Love and Care!!!
Love you my child.THANK YOU for making my life a whole lot brighter.