'Every fatty has a heart-breaking moment'

Dec 24, 2011, 09:03 IST | Aviva Dharmaraj
Self-confessed 'serial dieter' Kalli Purie's weight loss epiphany came when she tipped the scales at 103 kilos and realised that she didn't have the energy to keep up with her two young children. Realising that she had been putting off her life, while she had been putting on the weight, she decided it was time to go on a diet. Confessions of a Serial Dieter is her weight loss memoir

If there's one thing that Kalli Purie is, it's tenacious. Over 40 kilos lighter and 43 diets later, she's still determined to reach her goal weight: 58 kilos. "I am very conscious of my food intake," she says over the phone from Delhi.

It's been three years since Kalli has hovered around her goal weight, but that doesn't mean she has gone easy on her exercise routine, or herself. "I exercise six days a week for an hour everyday," says the 38-year-old, who works out with a personal trainer. "Delhi is 3 degrees Celsius right now, I definitely need a trainer to get out from under the covers," she jokes.

For those of us who might not have the resources or inclination to work out with a trainer, Kalli suggests following a home video or having a workout buddy. "You need some other way of keeping pace," she explains, especially on days one might be running low on motivation and feel like a stroll instead of an energetic walk.

An honest confession
Kalli's sole qualification to write the book is that she has "been in the fat suit". The disclaimer right at the beginning of the book reads: ' �I am no dietician or trainer. I am a serial dieter. I have been there, done that diet. Rather, 43 of them. And survived to tell the tale.'

"The book is told from an emotional point of view; from a dieter's point of view," says Kalli, adding that her book is a first-person account. "Fat people don't think of themselves as fat," says the self-confessed serial dieter, who allows herself to eat foods like French Fries, pizzas and jalebis only once a year.

Lifestyle battle
The mother of two says that living in any of the metros doesn't make healthy lifestyle choices easier. "What choice do we have, but to be closet dieters! We are continually assaulted by processed foods and 'lazy entertainment'," says Kalli, referring to options like going out for a dinner or a movie; choices that are usually defined or restricted by food. "I ask my friends to join me for a walk instead."

Dear diary
Writing the book proved to be a cathartic experience for Kalli, who says that her biggest revelation during the experience was the realisation that, "Everyone who is thin, is working on it." "There is a diet out there for everyone; you have to find what works for you. This is what I did," she says."Finding your 'happy weight' is like finding your soul mate. It takes time. I found my soul mate easily, but it took time for me to find my 'happy weight'," she signs off with a laugh.

Deep heart counselling
Through the week, Dr Calm called me in for evening chats and deep, soulful counselling sessions ensued.
He told me a very interesting fact. When you put on weight, your body becomes sluggish and so does everything else. You put on fat, not just on your body but also on your mind. Your physical, emotional and mental functions, your ambition, sex drive and brain, all slow down. Nobody had ever told me anything about the brain becoming lethargic with fat.

I discovered that the slowing down of the brain and the fact that it could no longer perform at peak level was what was causing me stress. I wanted to work and multi-task at the same pace, as I used to and I couldn't. The frustration was making me stressed. And because I could not cope, I always felt like I had too much going on. It wasn't that I had too much going on, it's just that the more there was of me, the less I could do.

This was creating a vicious cycle. Stress. Eat. Slow down. More stress. Eat. More slow down. More stress. But now things started to fall in place. He was the first person to describe exactly what I was feeling. I was living life at a lower level. I had shifted gears for the worse. The weight could be seen on my ankles. He pressed my ankles with his fingers and his fingerprints remained.

He said it was a symptom of water retention. Water was collecting in my ankles and weighing me down. The body was resorting to its natural survival techniques. It was slowly winding down to accommodate the extra work it had to do to support the extra weight. The body wants to be healthy but if there is no harmony between body and mind, it switches to a lower mode at which it can function comfortably.

This scared me. I was slowly dying at the age of thirty-two. My body was packing up. Unless I drastically altered my lifestyle, I would be unable to perform at normal activities.

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