From bad to worse
Then in 2005 I had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy because of a serious infection doctors said could result in a cyst if left untreated. I had to stay in bed for two months. The weight piled on. By the time I could get up and move around, I was 12kg heavier.
To make matters worse, three years later I also developed hypothyroidism – where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of some thyroid hormone. It’s a condition that can raise your cholesterol levels, cause obesity and even a heart condition.
Before I knew it my weight was 90kg, I couldn’t squeeze into my jeans and T-shirts and felt terrible – struggling to breathe and listless.
My husband too was obese at 92kg. He had always been overweight but I appeared much fatter than him. I packed away my T-shirts and jeans, and opted for oversized salwar kameezes and used a shawl to hide my rolls of fat.
I was losing my self-confidence and became reluctant to step out in front of a crowd, fearing they would snigger about my size.
While none of my friends commented on all the weight I’d put on, my husband began to worry about my health and often suggested that I enrol in a gym or go on a diet. “I’ll help you and we can go to a dietician together,’’ he often told me. “I am sure if you follow a proper diet, you can lose the extra weight.’’
But I didn’t want to go to a stranger and talk about my body, my diet or my self-image issues. So I always made excuses not to go – not enough time, the cost, anything to avoid it.
“Why don’t you try yoga?’’ my husband asked. Willing to try, I enrolled in a centre in Dubai. Three months later I found that while I’d lost a couple of inches off my waist, my weight had barely dropped by a kilogram or two.
With each passing day, my expanding girth was making me more and more self-conscious and from being a party lover who would arrange get-togethers and social gatherings, I now had to be coaxed out of the house.
I’d stand at the back of the group in photos, and would make up reasons why I couldn’t attend parties and social functions.
Then, in September 2012 I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen for over a year and half. She had always been around my size, but she was almost half the size she’d been, thin, glowing and pretty. “What did you do?” I asked, incredulous, and she told me she had lost 33kg in a year on a fruit diet prescribed by a Sharjahbased homeopathic doctor named Swati Shah.
Inspired by her, I promptly made an appointment with the doctor. I was willing to do anything to lose my excess weight. One of the first things the doctor did was prescribe a number of tests to check my blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides levels and my thyroid. The results showed I was suffering from hormonal imbalance because my thyroid gland was not functioning properly. I was also found to be deficient in vitamin B12 – involved in metabolism and energy production – and D - the sunshine vitamin, perhaps because I wasn’t going outdoors a lot after I had put on weight.
My BMI was extremely worrying – 36 when the ideal is 22 to 24. The doctor first prescribed vitamin tablets to fortify the deficiencies and made an elaborate diet chart for me to follow.
“Raw fruits and vegetables are what you should have in plenty,’’ she told me.
On day one I could have bananas with a bowl of salad that included lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with a dash of lemon juice. On day two I could eat any number of apples with a bowl of salad. On day three it was watermelon, day four was yellow pear, day five