This case study is truly remarkable and special. Vaishali has taken the initiative to write her own story, a powerful act of self-expression and self-empowerment. Her words are a testament to her own strength and determination. She is a reminder that we all have the ability to take control of our own narratives and shape our own destinies.
My Rollercoaster Transformation: 18 To 8
18 to 8—those are probably just numbers to others, but for me, that is my transformation! There was a time in my life when I was an 18 dress size (even a 20 in some shops!). But after dropping almost half of my weight, I am now a size 8 (or even 6! in some shops). I never thought I would get here! Fitness has never been something that I desired to do back then, but now it’s part of my life that I cannot live without. Not working out or going to the gym now makes me feel like “there’s something incomplete about my day.” That hunger to get in shape has kind of embedded itself in me now. And that’s all through this journey and the progress that I’ve seen in myself, both physically and mentally.
I remember when I joined, my goal was just to drop a few kilos and get into a size 14. And I don’t know what I was thinking back then, but I thought that a size 14 would get me into the shape I desired. No! I was dead wrong! I remember having a conversation with Saj, and he asked where I would like to reach in terms of my dress size. I said to him, “Size 14 at the start,” and then when I got there, I said to him, “Saj, I don’t like this. Our next goal has to be size 10/8. I want to get into those amazing Zara dresses, haha.” And at the beginning, I was an XXL size in Zara, which sometimes was hard to find in dresses that I liked and disheartening because it didn’t look flattering on me at all. I said to Saj, “My ultimate goal is to be a medium dress size in Zara. If I can get there, then I’ll be over the moon.” And that “hunger” didn’t stop at medium… Currently, I’m a small to extra small at Zara.
The reason I’m talking about dress sizes here is because for me and probably for some other women out there as well, going shopping and not finding the size you want or having to buy a bigger size or looking at yourself in that fitting room mirror and saying to yourself, “This doesn’t look nice on me” or “gosh! This makes me look fat” or simply having to look at yourself and think, “I look so unflattering in this” or saying, “I wish this looked nice on me as it did on her!” is the WORSE torture we women do to ourselves. And it’s not nice, it’s not right, and we 100% do not deserve it. I have been a victim of this torture MOST my life, so for me to switch that off and be normal is hard. Even now that I’ve achieved this much, I still find myself torturing myself like that at times. But one thing I’ve learned through this journey is to put aside one bad thought or one bad meal and move on quickly!
The turning point for me was when I was told “I should eat less”. When I received that comment from someone who was older than my own dad! Obviously, it made me angry…super angry—mainly because he had the audacity to comment in a crowded place surrounded by family. Obviously, I didn’t take that comment lightly, forgot about the age difference, forgot about the fact he was family, etc., and replied back to him. But that day he pushed me off the cliff, yes, the method wasn’t right, but by doing so, he triggered this hunger in me to go achieve the impossible. Throughout my life, I’ve always been cubby, I’ve been nicknamed based on my size. I was literally called “fat”. It’s cute when you’re a baby, but the people who continue with that as you get older don’t realise the impact it has on people. When I was getting called that well into my 20s, people didn’t realise the impact it was having on me. They didn’t know I was skipping meals for days, I should have hated my own skin, always had the baggiest clothes on. I would do everything and anything to hide myself from people. But these taunts and negative comments could have worse consequences. But I decided to use that anger and taunts as fuel to get what I wanted. And it worked!
The Long Journey
Going through a transformation isn’t easy! Whether that’s physical or mental, both take a lot of willpower. My journey has transformed me physically and mentally, and I can say that for sure! But getting to this stage hasn’t been a walk in the park. For me, the biggest challenge was my mindset! Disciplining my mind was a difficult process filled with waves and waves of emotions! Being a person who is very emotional and thinks and reacts more through her heart than her head, training those emotions to not have an affect on me or to manipulate those emotions to fuel my journey was tough! But that shift is what got me here!
My journey has been one hell of a rollercoaster! Filled with all the ups and downs, twists and turns, and everything that I didn’t imagine would happen when I joined. Four months into the journey, my family’s life took a HUGE turn! My father was diagnosed with cancer. Having to deal with those emotions was challenging enough, but at the same time I was having to juggle my life, work, family, and hospital appointments all while making sure I got my workout and steps done and ensuring the scale was dropping every week! It was a tough ride! But after 4 months of discipline, my mindset was shifting, and this turn of events made the gym my escape. It became my therapy, my de-stress tool. It was my way to forget, for brief moments, all the stress and worries and just focus on one ☝ thing and one thing only. Getting my workout done. There have been many moments where I’ve said to Saj in my checkins, “I’m tired,” “I’m exhausted, mentally and physically,” “I feel like giving up on everything,” etc., so many times I’ve said that. But his support was incredible! Always there to guide me. And reassured me that I’ve got this!
At first, I was super conscious of recording myself working out! It did NOT feel normal to me. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like listening to her own voice, so seeing myself recorded made me cringe hahaha. But after the first day or two, I had to firmly tell myself, “This is my BODY transformation, I need to snap out of conscious feeling.” And for me, that self-talk was all that I needed for that. Self-talk also helped me get my PBs! The workouts themselves were challenging for me at first. Even though I had a personal trainer before, I hadn’t done intense weight training like this before, so I was nervous and shy about doing it! But to get to the end goal, I had to break all those barriers. And get those workouts done! The workout side of things, for me, was exciting! Yes, at the beginning, it was like I was in uncharted waters, but then it became home! I used to love them!
Throughout this journey, I never had any problems with the workouts themselves; my rollercoaster twists and turns were more related to my life outside of the gym. But like Saj said to me, “your mood will affect your performance,” and indeed it did at times. But once I dealt with that, I was hitting PBs again!
Learning From Kmak
This journey has been incredible, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It hasn’t just been about getting slimmer and fitter. It has taught me a better way of life. A better way to manage food and fitness. It has changed the way I function. It has made me stronger, not only physically but also mentally. Strengthen my mindset. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this journey is how to balance my food. The change in my diet has benefited me in more ways than I can imagine. Having to stop my sugar intake made my skin glow! It has improved so much. The amount of greens, vegetables, and protein in my diet has made it well balanced. And I can say for sure that now all of that food learning has been embedded in my mind. Now I think about what I put in my body in a healthier way. Don’t get me wrong, I still get cravings, and I still enjoy a meal out every now and then. But now, all of that is done thoughtfully.
Joining KMAK was the best decision I ever made. And I’m so glad I did it! The support I got in the first 4 months from Saj was incredible because those 4 months were tough. But little did I know that my personal life was going to get tougher as I progressed on this journey. But I cannot thank Saj enough for the constant support and guidance that he provided. The help I received from him throughout was amazing!