Why would someone join a gym at the age of 9? Ask Mawra Ishaque, who had a gym membership at that tender age purely because of body shaming and bullying! The notion that being fat was not okay was drilled into her so deeply that she was willing to do anything to lose the extra weight! Surprised much? Here’s the story of Mawra Ishaque and how she found the mantra which led her to success. Here’s what she revealed about her journey in a candid interview with Gympik!

Gympik: Tell us a bit about yourself?

Mawra: I am Mawra Ishaque and I work as a  Head of Strategy and Content at Velocita Brand Consultants, Pune. I was always that fat kid with a book. My love for books developed way back in school when I realized that I wasn’t one of the cool kids. I would spend hours pouring over all kinds of books which allowed me to explore the world without the constant worry of being judged for my appearance.

 

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When a cheat meal turns into a cheat week 😱 * * * With birthdays, catching up, and eating desserts almost every day, I’ve definitely deviated a little from my diet. The old me would be rigged with anxiety and guilt, the new me understands that it’s hundred percent okay to take some time off. * * * Here are five things I did to make my peace with falling off the wagon: * * * – Went to the gym despite how I ate. I have conditioned myself to get rid of the initial mindset of ‘I’ve already fucked my diet, now I’ll start tomorrow’, and replace it with ‘Let’s Undo some of the damage today’ * * – It’s a lifelong journey, there’s no way I’ll have a perfect week for the rest of my life. Let me enjoy this moment instead. * * – The damage is never as big as it seems on the scale. There’s no way I’ve gained 3 kgs. Most of it is water retention and probably some fat gain, which I can get rid of easily. * * – I will still be comfortable with my body and love it the same even if I do gain some weight. * * – Tomorrow is always another day to restart the journey. * * * Falling off the wagon is okay, staying there isn’t. Ready to go into the weekend strong? • • • • • • _______________________________________ #gymshark #goals #bodyimage #motivation #weightlossinspiration #weightlossmotivation #girlswholift #getstrong #gymrat #facetoface #gym #gymlife #weightlossresults #TrainHard #FitLife #FitnessAddict #GetStrong #NoPainNoGain #selfie #transformation #fatday #selflove #cheatmeal #Fitspo #GetFit #Fitfam #WeightTraining #weightlossjourney #weightlossbeforeandafter

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Though my love for reading hasn’t disappeared, the fat girl has! I also (try to) travel a lot. In fact, till a few months ago, I’d backpack at least twice in a month, but since I’m currently training to be a certified personal trainer and nutritionist along with managing a full-time job – which I love – and doing a three-month extensive fitness regime, I just don’t get the time to travel as much. I guess it’s all about priorities!

Gympik: Tell us something about your fitness journey- when did you start and how it became an important part of you?

Mawra: From a very young age I had been constantly bullied by everyone about my chubby appearance.

Even as a 9-year-old the fact that being a fat girl wasn’t okay was embedded into me so deeply that I tried every trick in the book to lose weight.

I lost weight multiple times using these shortcuts. In fact, I have probably lost over 110 kilos collectively but it all kept coming back. This is when I realised that both my methods and my approach towards my body needed a major overhaul!

When all the methods failed, I stopped hating myself for my appearance. Instead, there was an acceptance, and the realization that I wasn’t happy where I was in life, and weight was a part of my being made me stronger as a person and driven me to take up fitness for the love of myself. But the deeper I got into fitness, the more I realized that it was so much more than the  looks; fitness has a profound impact on my mental and emotional health too. Fitness became a therapy for me.

However, this didn’t come easy to me! The initial failures and struggles to  someone like me who couldn’t run more than 7 minutes on the treadmill definitely took its toll. Added to this was dealing with Bulimia and body image issues. In fact, I had drifted apart from my close friends for putting fitness before partying every weekend. It is true that choosing a different  lifestyle wasn’t easy. At every step I had to constantly remind myself about why I am doing this. Today when I look back, I thank my stars for keeping me consistent with my lifestyle as the mental, physical, and emotional growth worth every challenge I faced.

Gympik: What role did your diet play during your transformation journey?

Mawra: I’ve always had an extremely complicated relationship with food, having battled Bulimia or binge eating. Since the time I was nine years old, I have been a comfort eater all my life. So, when I decided to start my transformation journey, I knew right away that my lifestyle would need a major overhaul. However, my earlier experiences had taught me that I can’t do anything drastic with my dietary habits as that would trigger my binge eating again.

In the beginning, I would eat junk food five out of seven days and even on days when I tried eating healthy, junk would still be huge portions of the home-cooked rich meals. I researched a lot about  nutrition, the impact of macros, and how clean eating changes the body. The only ‘major’ change I made to my diet was to trade in junk food for healthier options while restricting junk to cheat meals. And because I made smaller sustainable changes, I still follow the same diet, with periodic adjustments depending on my current fitness goals.

Gympik: What, according to you, is the best way to keep yourself motivated towards fitness?

Mawra: Personally, I feel motivation is bullshit. It might trigger you initially as you embark on your journey, but it doesn’t last. If you truly want to adopt fitness as a lifestyle, it has to become a habit. You can’t take a sabbatical, go on a strict diet and kill it at the gym for a few months to reach your ‘goal, because that success lasts only till you reach that number.

After that, you’re not motivated enough as the weight maintenance doesn’t show the kind of spectacular results you want or your body. The motivation then starts to fade away and before you know it, you’re back to the comfort zone, eating junk 5 days a week and skipping the gym.

Gympik: What do you think is the single biggest thing people need to keep in mind while embarking on a transformation journey?

Mawra: I think a lot has already been said and written about the training and nutrition part of weight loss and fitness. What’s not given enough limelight is the mental and emotional grit that’s required to walk the talk. Very few people actually care about finding the root cause of obesity or not being fit.

Fat isn’t the problem, it’s more like the symptom, the cause could be lifestyle choices, medical conditions, and even eating disorders. Too many people want to fix the symptoms without addressing the cause, these are the people who have a myopic view of fitness- they want quick results and go for short-term solutions.

For fitness to be adopted as a mindset and lifestyle, there is a need to assess where you currently stand in your journey, the issues, the causes, the problems, and the right customized solutions. It’s not about going to gym for a few months and then quitting when you lose some weight, it’s about being consistent and developing a responsibility to love yourself more than anything else.

Gympik: Any fitness mantra you would like to share with our readers?

Mawra: My mantra for life, and not just for fitness, is Believe. Hustle. Conquer. Peace out! If you believe that you can do it, nothing in the world can stop you from achieving it.

In The End

From being someone who had been bullied all her life for her weight to a fitness inspiration for nearly 3k followers on Instagram, Mawra Ishaque’s journey is a walk to remember. In fact, her incredible story was featured by The Hindu! Need we say more about the success she has achieved through sheer hard work and determination? Gympik is super inspired by this 29 year old rockstar and hopes that her fitness journey  influences to all those victims of body shaming who have been bearing the brunt of the society quietly. Gympik salutes this Superstar for her indomitable spirit and wishes her good luck! If you too have a story, message us and we’ll be glad to cover you in our next post! Till then, stay fit, stay happy!

 

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An avid bibliophile, blogger and a biryani enthusiast from the city of Nawabs, I love to write and eat.

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