In a world where magazines and inspirational videos tell you to love your body and accept yourself the way you are, people in Pakistan still body shame and openly comment on how they feel about your body to the extent that you dread social encounters altogether. Even your relatives will go an extra mile to state what’s already pretty obvious.
This girl from Karachi took all that judgement and turned it into motivation
Meet Maria, a 22 year old who just completed her bachelors in computer science from Karachi. She’s a true inspiration for anyone who has ever been a victim of body shaming and for anyone who is struggling to lose weight.
“All those harsh comments, judgemental looks and degrading behavior shattered my confidence, I started to avoid social gatherings and instead started hiding in the comfort of my home”, Maria says about her experience with weight problems and people’s comments on it.
“I was not only struggling with being over-weight but also the odd one out in a family where everyone else was way fitter. I had to go through a lot of negative comments from my relatives and every other person my family introduced me to.”
The comments did not motivate Maria, instead they made her rebellious.
She had tried various weight loss regimes but refused to budge into what others were saying and make her weight loss about those people, “it wasn’t easy for me to look in the mirror everyday and not feel happy with what I saw”.
“This year when I got done with my bachelors, I decided to give this another chance.”
This time, her motivation came from within. After several failed attempts, this time she wasn’t doing it for others or because of them, she was doing it for herself.
“My journey began on 3rd February, 2016, I weighed 104 kg at that time.”
I got enrolled into a fitness routine and after 40 days I was able to shed 8 kg.
On my convocation day, people around me saw me and were shocked. They couldn’t believe I got this far in such a short time, and that made me even more determined.”
After 5 months of non-stop hard work, I now weight 70 kgs.
“I was able to achieve this through consistent workout and clean eating.”
“Out of many other things in the world; health/fitness is a thing that cannot be bought and nobody else can do it for you. You, yourself have to go through all the pain yourself and have to walk through this journey on your own. No money, no medicine, no doctor, no trainer, no diet plan can do a miracle or change you over night.”
Maria also believes that those who are swayed by the allure of “short cuts” shouldn’t do so because, “in short, there are no short cuts, believe me. You have to pull up your socks and never look back. Yes it will not happen overnight but you have to stay determined and not give up. Sooner or later things will change.”
“The very same people who once commented on me being overweight now comment on how I’m pushing too hard, that I should stop now, I look fine now.”
Maria says people just have a habit of commenting without any empathy, “they will never be satisfied or happy in any way. Just keep doing what you love, do more of it, do it often. And let others say what they want to, they should never come between you and your goals.”
“I feel more confident, I feel at peace and I feel proud! Girls and women meet me and tell me their struggles and how I changed their perspective. They look at what I have achieved and want to follow my suite. Post-delivery weight, teenage obesity, they are fighting with it and I am their inspiration. There is no bigger achievement for me. As I always say if I can do it, so can you! Just keep moving; keep pushing. Just do it for yourself, not to impress anyone.”
Maria’s story really is an inspiration for us. Girl, keep on doing you! And no matter how small or big you are, nobody has a right to shame you for your body.