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Self-Image: This is What I did For Myself, My Confidence, and My Happiness!

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

The Timeline of Pain and Soulful Experience!

February 2020

On the 12th of February 2020, I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree of science in management information systems. I was so happy with the high CGPA and the skills that I have come up with, but I wasn’t happy with the body transformation that I had.

During the last 3 years of college, I gained 33.06 lbs (15 kg) ! Yes, 33.06 lbs!! I know it is too much for someone not to notice this. But believe me, when you put your goals and accomplishments above your life priorities list, this is where all health problems are going to appear!

Since I was a little kid, I have loved running, swimming, cycling, and playing basketball. Also, when I was in high school and college, I started again to play basketball, and I have learned how to play badminton from Dr. Anita Davis. She was my Physical Education lecturer at Yanbu University College, and I loved badminton so much because of her! So, I have never been an inactive person except during the last 3 years of college.

I kept thinking about what I should do to get back in shape with better results. I laid out a couple of questions for myself, such as from where I should start? The moment I started asking myself such a question, I remembered that a year ago I really wanted to buy a bike to be more active, and it brings best memories of my childhood.

So, I bought a bike from Trek, and I was beyond excited to listen to music while riding the bike in our yard. During the second half of February, I started to ride the bike on a daily basis starting with 20 minutes a day, 30, 40, until I reached 45 minutes towards the end of February.

Regarding the diet, I didn’t want to be hard on myself at the beginning of the journey, so I just decided to eat homemade food and reduce the junk food intake to one or two meals a week.

I remember, during the month of February, I was so happy because I was doing wonderful things for my health. The lower part of my body was getting stronger, and I started to lose some centimeters on my thighs and waist.

March 2020

From day 1 of March, I decided to join a 10 minutes abs workout challenge for 14 days on YouTube with my elder sister, Maha. She was very supportive throughout my journey. I would love to take a moment to emphasize on the importance of supportive partners who keep encouraging and reminding others of their set goals. I took measurements of my whole body because I wanted to measure change in specific areas instead of just focusing on losing weight! In my opinion, weight is just a number. What makes us more confident and happy is how our bodies are shaped and how we feel.

The first week was not easy. On some days, I cried because I was feeling so tired and stiff. As someone who seeks challenges, I was committed to the workout schedule till the last day of the challenge.

On day 14, I took the measurements, and I was surprised by the centimeters that I have lost! I said to myself ”that was the result of just 10 minutes of workout every day for a short period of time, what if, I kept doing the workout for another 14 days? I would see more improvement!” I felt so so motivated, unknowingly my challenge was turning in to an exciting habit!!

April - September 2020

During these 6 months, I was so focused on losing full-body fat, so I started working out targeting the specific body parts as shown in the table below.

In the first two months, I focused on my abs, and I was cycling to burn fat on the thighs and legs. Then, I targeted the upper body. Finally, I worked on the lower body. This part was already stronger because I was cycling a lot during the previous months.

I really enjoy cycling and music. When I am on these vibes, I feel that I am traveling with the movement of the wheels so fast, as if I am going to the top of the world. My workout with music takes me to different levels... touching my soul. I felt how this is so beautifully contributing towards my mental health.

I started with 20-30 minutes/day and 5-6 days/week. Slowly and steadily, I reached 40-50 minutes of total session that included 30-50 minutes of cycling. Fridays and sometimes Saturdays were my day-offs.

I had gained weight during the last few years of college as a result of sedentary lifestyle. There was no way to burn this fat with a snap of the finger!! During the last 6 months, I was not putting a lot of pressure on myself regarding diet. I just focused on drinking approximately 2.5 liters of water every day, eating more vegetables and fruits, increasing the protein intake, and reducing the carbs and junk food intake of my diet.

I lost 2-3 kgs (4.41- 6.61 lbs) every month but what genuinely made me happy was, my skin and hair getting soft, shinier and hydrated. I never thought that exercising would result in this amazing overall affect. I felt, I was renewing myself without using artificial hair and skin products. That’s quiet a money saver!

October 2020 - February 2021

During this period, I came across a very lovely experience that has a really positive impact on me in a holistic way. I found on Instagram a promoted ad about a 14 days hair growth challenge. As a character who is open to challenges and has had a previous positive challenge experience, something was strongly telling me to explore this one because I really liked the challenging tasks and its only for 14 days. During this, I got to know about meditation for the first time in my life!

In fact, I started meditating every morning for only 10 minutes. It has helped me a lot to breathe well, reduce stress levels, observe my thoughts and get good night sleep. Reducing stress levels through meditation has not only helped me to have wonderful hair, but it also helped me to be selective and consciously pick nutritious food every day. I remember how stress had increased the amount of food I used to take during the last few years of college. Yes I am talking about portion sizes! It leads me to say that stress played a big role in gaining weight along with the inactive routine.

Indeed, the hair growth challenge has helped me to know how our body parts are actually affecting each other whether in a good or bad manner based on our daily practices. During this new challenge, I kept working out 4 times a week at least for 30 minutes a day to increase blood flow and to make my hair shiny and healthy. Also, I got back to play basketball for 30-40 minutes/week. Actually, I really enjoy playing basketball because it strengthens my upper body and lets me live in the moment and being here and now!

March - June 2021

Currently, I have started practicing Yoga in order to strengthen my body, improve flexibility and lung capacity. I am able to perform poses with greater range because I am more flexible due to my past 15 months of participation in physical activity. It really helped me in relieving the inner pain related to emotions and connected me to my inner strength. I find Yoga so amazing. After more than a year of total lifestyle change- here are the results:

My journey is ongoing..... I will keep myself and my health at the top of my priority list, and I won’t ever let my career goals or achievements take over the priority list, this is my promise to myself!!

However, if someone had asked me a year ago, “How would your weight loss journey look like?” I wouldn’t even know what to answer considering what I have gone through! What I am trying to explain is, never go for too much planning, just start with an honest intention with yourself that you're going to be responsible and strong during this kind of journey because it would take time and effort from you. Believe me, it is worth it because you deserve to be the best version of who you are for yourself!

We are all unique individuals and so as our weight management or lifestyle management journey . Yours is going to be different than mine! So, please enjoy your journey and trust your transformation process, and all the good opportunities will start happening to help you!

In summary, these are some helpful tips for you to start your weight management process.

1. Create an honest and loving intention for yourself and your body to start this journey.

2. Take your body composition measurements.

3. Begin the journey with an activity you love from your childhood.

4. Have a supportive partner.

5. Start with a few steps then go for add ons along the journey.

6. Motivate yourself along the journey with small gifts.

7. Explore new health concepts that would help you along the journey.

It is a lifelong process. I hope this article will be amongst one of the opportunities that you come across and inspired you to take the first step or to deal with a relapse.

Dhuha, Saudi Arabia

Guest Contributor

Salutation Fitness and Wellness

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