Self-Awareness

FROM 181 lbs to 137 lbs

Life is a journey they say, for me it was a journey from being born ‘FAT’ to staying ‘FAT’ no matter how hard I tried. Whatever I had lost, I had gained it back and even more within a few months or years. My family was super happy to have a chubby 9 lbs baby with white cheeks dangling around as ‘fun’ toy for everyone. L-O-L but did I know then that the weight would become the ‘horror’ of my life, my self-esteem and existence!

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RIMA

Being ‘fat’ in the Indian culture (India, Asia) is totally unacceptable. When we meet family, friends – current, old or new, the first greeting starts with a ‘weight tag’. If you have lost weight you get all the ‘wah-wahs’ (thumbs up), if you have maintained it, you get happily surprised faces gleaming half with praise and burning half with jealousy. But if you are anything like me, all you get is JUDGMENT! Major JUDGMENT, COMMENTS about your hips, thighs, stomach and lots of FREE, UNASKED for A-D-V-I-C-E!  If you think this judgement came only from other women, you are so wrong. It would start with my Father, be extended to uncles, aunts, friends, siblings, everyone. Growing up I began avoiding family and people in my mind just because I was scared of the comment they had to make about my ‘body’, even my TEACHERS!!!!

Honestly, growing up without a mother was anything but fun. I had nobody to guide me to be honest. My aunts would come home, eat food and leave. Some of them were very kind, but no one was there to guide me toward HEALTHY eating, exercising, let alone help me with my DEPRESSION and GAD – Anxiety! While I was praised for my skin color, my sister was praised for her thin body. I was developing an inferiority complex that was only growing with age. My friends and cousins were thin but I could not seem to get over my ‘sugar cravings’. I DID NOT KNOW I was depressed, we could not afford money for FRUITS, I had no idea was an ACTUAL SALAD was. I was busy figuring out how to ‘survive’ amidst major financial situations, emotional starvation, pressure of school grades, lack of friends, major loneliness and a body that felt HORRIBLE. By 5th grade (10 years) I was already 57kgs!!! I had bouts of being slimmer (not slim just slimmer) and being outright ‘fat’ over the years.

I can go on with that story but at some point in 2005 I discovered how much I enjoyed exercising. I was always in to sports and was a tom boy but never had I been to the gym. I had a huge home to show the world but we did not have money anything close to spending on a basic monthly gym membership, buying any exclusive fruits, shoes or gym clothes! I started nevertheless, with some SHAME, some CURIOSITY. I was so lucky to have found an amazing instructor – Imran Sir who showed me how to use weights to tone my body and I became confidence like never before. I dropped from 61 kgs to 56 kgs, looked ravishing and soon got engaged. Life seemed just fine! …

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RIMA 2006

… fast forward couple months. Married in a traditional family in East Africa, I was expected to do all house chores morning to evening and keep exercising or gyming the ‘last’ priority which wasn’t allowed to be checked marked most of the days. Eating sweets was a daily routine and choosing to eat anything beyond what was cooked was almost not an option. That is how most traditional Indian families are or were after all. I began gaining weight quickly. Fast forward… I slowly began to take charge of my life after the unexpected demise of my mother in law. I joined the gym, found another great instructor – JENNI. She was my angel in disguise. I shaped back to 59 kgs. Alas, that was temporary too!

I got pregnant and within a year, post my delivery I was 84 kgs!!! I was back to receiving comments, feeling ashamed, wanting to avoid social situations, unable to stop my sugar cravings no matter how much I tried. Being the person my dad and I have been, we eat more and binge more when depressed. I surely had it in my genes, all my parental aunts and my dad were heavy in their body and turned to sugar for busting stress but I wondered how did so many other Indian girls remain thin even after a baby and I didn’t!

5 years passed and I continued to range from 178 lbs to 181 lbs. I had moved from Africa to USA by then. Then one day, I had a wake-up call, I would say my Twin soul activated that within me. I was done being fat, feeling ashamed, socially awkward, rejected and outcast. For once, I started a weight shedding journey which was ‘SHEDDING’ not ‘LOSS’.

When we seek to ‘lose’ weight, we will ‘find’ it again at some point. When we seek to get done with it, shed it off, it’s gone forever. But what we need to know about that shedding is that more than the physical weight, what needs to go with it is the SHAME, FEELING OF REJECTION, GUILT OF EATING, VOICES OF OTHER PEOPLE, CULTURAL CONDITIONING and all the EMOTIONAL NON-SENSE that was built up and stored in our cells, bone marrow, aura, spirit and more. That was hence, the turning point in my body-weight journey.

By then I had been diagnosed with hypothyroid, the condition where weight shedding is very hard. But I was determined. I gradually cut down on and eventually gave up DAIRY PRODUCTS, DAIRY (except chocolate cravings that I had then), starting JUICING in my regular blender with ANY veggie combinations, re-began exercise becoming my own instructor (I could not afford paying one in USA). I also gave up the need to look good when I enter the gym but more than anything I BEGAN SERIOUS, INTENSE EMOTIONAL WORK. I began taking Guided Meditations, Hypnotherapy, Life-Coaching sessions to work through my FEARS, my SELF-IMAGE, how I related to my body, how I felt about myself and cried out many tears of the PAST NEGATIVE MENTAL SCRIPTS that I had internalized from the voice of other people and cultural expectations.

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That internal, emotional work brought a huge transformation in the way I felt about myself, other women and about my life. I began relating better to my daughter, enjoyed my time with her, dropped my sugar cravings and found more ‘fun’ in life. All of this happened in 2015. Since then, even with major stress in my personal life with major life-changing very stressful events and having an even more complicated thyroid condition, I have managed to maintain that weight +/- 3 lbs.  From 2016, I have stalled in shedding more weight simply because I suddenly had the stress and need to urgently start earning and supporting myself financially but what’s amazing is that despite working very long hours daily, major life-demands I have maintained my weight. The reason I have been able to do so is because I changed my EMOTIONAL STORY. I changed how much I would want to please the world and how much I would want to allow my fears to define my body.

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RIMA DESAI 2017 JAN

I  no more want or wanted to shed weight to ‘FIT INTO’ the world, I wanted to shed what made me feel good about my body. I wanted to do it at my own terms, pace and for myself. It has changed everything for me. I am not burning inside now looking at other women lose weight quickly. I am not wanting to starve myself or tell myself horrible statements for eating a couple chocolate squares. I love myself like never before.

I do have lot more weight to shed off and there is scope for me to do more EMOTIONAL WORK and PHYSICAL WORK on my body and spirit, yet it is not coming from a place of SHAME, GUILT or SELF-HATRED like before. My body does not define my emotions, life or self-acceptance. I accept my body and am okay if I don’t ‘fit’ into the society as per their expectations.

  THIS IS ME 2 WEEKS AGO :)

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RIMA DESAI DEC 2017

Do you relate to this story? Does it move you or inspire you to DISCOVER YOURSELF, YOUR POWER and RECLAIM YOUR LIFE? Allow me to show you the GUIDED MEDITATIONS that you can do to shed that weight off your SUBCONSCIOUS MIND. You can never maintain your weight if you have a negative emotional story attached to yourself, your past or your body. BOOK YOUR FREE PHONE SESSION WITH ME HERE

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Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Fun with Phonics: Teach Phonics in a Fun Way (Re-post from ParentEdge)

This is a RE-POST of my article from The Indian Magazine: ParentEdge: http://parentedge.in/fun-with-phonics-teach-phonics-in-a-fun-way/

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Ideal Age: 3.5 years – 6.5 years

It is fascinating to see our children grow through their different phases and one such thrilling phase is when they begin to put words together into sentences. Next, they begin picking up sounds of letters to make more sense out of them.

In simple words, learning Phonics is about learning the sounds of each letter so that they can be put together to make a word. This means that instead of rote learning CAT with the letter C, A, T, the child would learn to ‘develop’ the word CAT by saying the sound of each letter as in C-A-T. Today we will learn simple exercises to boost your child’s phonic awareness in powerful ways.

I want you all to know that the activities I list here are the activities I do with my daughter sincerely and many of the activities in my articles are MY OWN ORIGINAL ACTIVITIES which came about with the need for ‘creative play’ with my daughter to teach her more by spending less!

Magnetic lettersACTIVITY ONE: The first step is to get your child interested in the alphabet per se. We need a magnetic surface and magnetic letters. Place toy letters on the fridge top or a magnetic surface to attract your child’s attention. Playing A-B-C nursery rhymes and showing them letters in their environment makes them more aware that letters give meaning to our world. When we are waiting for our train ride, or parking at the airport, my daughter and I have fun playing I Spy and spotting letters.

ACTIVITY TWO: We need lots of blank white paper, a dark color marker, and some cello tape. We are going to write names of simple objects around the home and then stick the paper on that object. E.g. Write DOOR in big bold letters and tape the paper on any door. Same with Fridge, Wall, Chair, Table, and so on; this helps your child associate words and letters to objects in their environment and learn spellings at a later stage.

spelling objectsspelling objects 2

ACTIVITY THREE: We need some wooden plain blocks, (preferably rectangular) and a marker. Along with your child, write the name of each of your family members on a block. Encourage your child to place that name block on the dining table assigning each family member a place to sit. This way the child learns to spell names and gets more involved in mealtime preparation.

Another alternative: take more blocks and write one letter on one block to spell out names of all family members. This is an advanced version in name spelling and can create a lot of fun for your child especially if s/he likes challenges.

Below you can see I have used the same block to write both words on opposite sides. This way my daughter learns the spelling of and associates both the words. Similarly, you can take 3 cubes and write M on one, O on the other and M on the 3rd one to help them spell it out literally by themselves.

spelling block

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ACTIVITY FOUR: This is my daughter’s favorite activity. We began it when she was 4.5 years and now 7 months later she enjoys it just as much.

We need – pencil, paper, eraser, you and your child in a place comfortable enough to write.

Pre-requisite: Child must know sounds of each or at least some letters and must know how to write them.

Aim: To help your child spell a word, write it, and then draw a picture of it.

How to: You will begin by thinking of a word, let’s say STAR. You will now tell your child that you are going to spell out the word for him / her by saying the sounds of each letter in your word. Begin with ‘S’ (just make the sound of S, don’t say S). Your child has to guess which letter it is and write that letter on the paper. Next letter is ‘T’ (Just the Tah sound) and so the child guesses and writes T. In this way, you finish S-T-A-R and then allow your child to guess what the word if. If s/he cannot get the word, you say it for them by putting the sounds together like ‘St’ ‘ar’  = Star. Now s/he must draw a star in any way s/he can.

Remember, it is ok if the word letters and pictures are not aligned or in order. The presentation is not important here, the learning is!

Below is my daughter’s paper at age 4.7 years. She spelled and guessed all of the words below and drew pictures. Mostly we do this when I am cooking in the kitchen, she sits nearby, and we enjoy the game together. spell testMy other articles from ParentEdge magazine:

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Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

Fun and Educational Games for Kids

This is re-post, it is my article from Parent-Edge Magazine: http://parentedge.in/blogs/fun-and-educational-games-for-kids/

Feb 28, 2015 Activity-Led Learning,


Last week I came across a post on Facebook that reminded me of a game my dad used to play with us. Dad has always been great with kids. He attracts kids the way magnets attract paper clips. Besides fun, play, and stories, he was great with constructive activities to sharpen our I.Q. I will give dad a lot of credit in helping me be a Parent Educator today.

Hence, I dedicate today’s article to all the activities that dad played with us.

 Ideal for ages: 6 – 10years

All the activities require:

  1. Either more than two children or an Adult and a Child
  2. Pen and paper per person

Winner: For every game, the winner is the person or group with most correct answers or points.

Activity 1: NAME PLACE ANIMAL THING

 Aim: To get as many words as possible per row.

How to play: Each player draws a table on their paper as shown.
NPAT

The 1st player begins reciting letters A to Z silently in his head. The 2nd player shouts ‘stop’ anytime. At this moment, the first player must mention which letter was playing in his head at this time.

Let’s say that alphabet was ‘G’

Now, each player must write G in the letter column and then write one word in each column. One name beginning with G, one animal, one place and one thing with G.

The game stops whenever players decide to stop or when they complete all the letters.

Alternatively, players may simply go alphabet wise from A to Z on paper and time themselves or they may pick up letter cards from a face down pile to avoid any cheating.

Scoring: 10 points per correct answer. 5 points if another player has the same response as you.

 Activity 2: WORD VOCABULARY

How to play: An adult assigns all kids one long word. They all get the same long word written on top of their paper.

Word vocabulary

E.g. – ‘Elephant’ or ‘Superabundant’ or ‘Idiosyncratic’

Aim: From this big word, make as many small words as possible in three mintues. All words must be more than 3 letters and they must have a meaning. Older kids may generate 4-letter words and more.

 Activity 3: WORD RACE

Again, this has to do with picking a letter of the alphabet. Then within a minute, players must note down as many common nouns as possible. No proper nouns, verbs, or names allowed here.

Word race

Activity 4: DUMB CHARADES

This game is more fun when played in a large group, but it is possible to play it with 2 players also.

How to play: The adult or an opposite team member gives the player a word secretly in the ear. The player must enact that word only with actions. He must not speak anything, not even a sound.

If there are only 2 players, the other play must guess the word and gets a point on guessing the exact word within the time limit. If there are 2 groups, the enacting player’s team must guess the word to win a point.

Activity 5: WORD DUMB CHARADES

 One player picks a chit of words or gets a word from an adult. This player cannot announce the word. Let us say the word is ‘Water’.

He must now speak out related words that will help the other player guess the word WATER. He cannot say the word Water in any language but he can use other related words to indicate water. He must speak only single words, not sentences.

E.g. – : here he may say – blue, swim, sky, etc.

Points are given to correct guesses within the time limit. Pre-decide the time limit, like 3 minutes or 5 minutes, depending on age and difficulty.

 

Activity 6: WORD PLAY VARIATIONS

 We can create many variations for word quizzes.

E.g. – An adult writes a list of words for all players. Players must then write as many synonyms or antonyms of those words as possible, within a time limit.

Similarly, we can do a rhyming list challenge with younger players.
Word play variations

Make your own variations. These activities are great fun at sleepovers and casual parties.

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