By Liana Jacob
THIS FORMERLY obese UK mum who would shun taking her daughter to the park for fear of being judged felt such a failure as a parent she lost SIX-AND-A-HALF-STONE in just two-years to become the super-mum she always dreamed she could be.
Business owner and mum of a 13-year-old girl, Chan Vekaria, from London, UK, always struggled with her weight since she was 11-years-old. Her lack of knowledge about healthy eating and nutrition as well as indulging in high carbohydrate food and doing no exercise resulted in her reaching her peak weight of 16st 7Ibs and UK size 24.
Throughout her life, there were many breaking points that lead to her decision to turn her life around. When she was just 16-years-old, she was at a theme park with her friends and feared going on one of the rides in case the harness wouldn’t close. But it wasn’t until summer of 2009 when her daughter was just five-years-old that Chan had a wake-up call.
She avoided taking her daughter to the park and insisted that her mum or sister take her instead so that she didn’t have to go out in public. The look in her daughter’s eyes touched a nerve, and she decided to turn her lifestyle around so that she could be a better mum. She is now 10st 2Ib and a UK size 10 to 12.
“The day I decided to change my life was the summer of 2009 when my daughter was five-years-old; I avoided taking her to the park and other play areas as I didn’t have the energy to keep up with her,” Chan said.
“I used to ask my mum or sisters to take her and make up an excuse why I couldn’t go. That summer, I took her to our local park with my sister.
“It was such a hot day, but I refused to take off my jacket. I waited by a bench sweating while the two of them had a great time.
“I remember my daughter kept looking over at me and calling me over, but I refused to go. The look of disappointment on her face will stay with me forever.
“I felt like a failure as a mother. I was missing out on doing the fun things she wanted me to do with her because I was too lazy to do something about my weight. That was the day I decided to take control of my future.
“At my heaviest, I found it difficult to walk even ten minutes, so I knew I had to make changes to my diet if I was going be successful in losing weight.
“I started logging all my meals into the calorie tracker app. It was a game changer when it came to my yo-yo dieting because I was amazed (ok, disgusted) at how many calories I was consuming on a daily basis.
“I researched a lot on nutrition and even signed up for an online course, so I could understand things better for myself.
“As I made changes to my diet, and the weight stared to come off, I found I had so much more energy, so I started getting up earlier and walking part way to work.
“I gradually built up the distance I was able to walk, then made the decision to sign up to a gym. That was the best decision I ever made. I didn’t realise how much fun exercising could be. I was hooked.
“My life is nothing like it used to be. I feel like a totally different person. The best thing that has come out of me losing weight is that I can now do so much more with my daughter.
“She doesn’t remember me being bigger, but she has seen pictures and videos. She understands what I have achieved, and she is very proud of me. Just that makes it worth all the hard work.
“It also makes me feel proud that I can be a positive role model for her; not just when it comes to health and nutrition, but also with being determined to want to achieve something and never giving up.”
With Chan’s new lifestyle of working out five-times-a-week and eating healthy meals three times a day, she has completely changed her perception on food and it shows to strangers.
“The changes I made at the start of my journey are still a part of my life. I eat out, I eat desserts, I even enjoy pizza night with my daughter,” she said.
“But I balance it out with eating clean the rest of the time. The foods I eat now are healthy through choice. I work out five-times-a-week because I love it.
“There was not any one particular thing which was hard. There were a lot of obstacles such as not knowing what foods to eat and how to exercise.
“I was fortunate to have met some amazingly inspiring people who had been through my journey successfully, who became my mentors.
“I love seeing the reactions from people when they see how much weight I have lost; a lot of people see what I have achieved as ‘impossible’, so I want to share my story with as many people as possible to show them that it definitely is achievable.
“The best advice I received at the start of my journey was ‘work out WHY’ you want to lose weight. Journal it. The more you think about your why, the deeper it will get.
“I would also advise people to find networks or communities to support them. People who are not a part of your journey may not understand why you are making the choices you are making.”