It wasn’t as if I wasn’t fit before I got pregnant, I did follow a fitness routine. After I had given birth to my daughter in March 2013, I decided to focus more on nourishing my baby and ignored my health.
Soon, I tried to eat right for a while, but I went back to binge eating even faster and gained weight. When my thyroid levels started increasing, my doctor told me that I needed to lose weight. To address that, I joined a marathon training group. My daughter was about a year old, and I would sleep for just 4 hours every night, robbing my body of time to rest and recover. Understanding your body is the key to maintaining a regular fitness schedule. I realised my mistake, and my coach was kind enough to tell me that I needed to get enough rest and sleep. Once I began walking 2-3 kms every day, at my pace and convenience, it was more enjoyable, and my body didn’t feel punished.
The incident that really inspired me was when Milind Soman completed the IronMan challenge. I read the news and felt inspired. After this, there were three separate incidents which changed my lifestyle completely.
The first was the Baby Wearing Walk in Mumbai on November 22, 2015. We usually come across many dieticians and fitness experts who talk about weight loss as the primary goal to a healthier life. What inspired me most is when Milind Soman spoke about regular exercise being the key to a healthy, disease-free life. He stressed on finding those 30 minutes to an hour’s time every day to stay fit. His mantra that weight loss is the byproduct to a fit, healthy life is what motivated me the most. I downloaded a tracking app and started walking 2-3 kms every day.
I had participated in a few short runs in Bombay before I participated in the Pinkathon. What appealed to me the most about the Pinkathon was its inclusivity. The fact that people, who otherwise found it challenging to take part in other events could participate was commendable. It was all inclusive and non-judgmental. I did the baby wearing walk which was a promotional event before the main event.
The second life changing experience was the main event at Pinkathon Mumbai 2015 when I volunteered to run with a visually impaired woman. When I saw a post on Facebook, requesting people to volunteer to pace the visually impaired girls, I jumped at the opportunity. My partner was a 48-year-old, working for the Sales Tax department and had gone trekking every year across various cities and terrains. It was an incident that changed my life. When you volunteer to walk or run with a visually impaired partner, it’s not just them that you’re supporting; you’re doing yourself a big favour because you end up learning so much. You learn why you shouldn’t take your life for granted and you realise that you can either choose to sit and brood over your issues or tackle them head on and move forward.
We were briefed about the way we needed to guide our partners throughout the run. It wasn’t very different from my regular walk or run. In fact, with all her trekking and active lifestyle she was fitter than me. We had a good chat, and I told her my stories, talked about the buildings that we passed, spoke about why women need to take fitness seriously and so on. It felt like just another walk you’d go for with your friend in the park. We shared about our life and trials, and the entire experience left me spellbound. I ended up crying when she finished. That year, she was the only contestant to do a 10k. In December 2016, we had four visually impaired women doing the half marathon.
The third incident was when I met Giridhar Kamath, who in just one meeting, convinced me of the ill effects of sugar. I gave up sugar the next day, and so did my husband. As a result, I lost 20 kgs in a year. My focus wasn’t losing weight; it was making healthier choices.
Ever since I heard Milind speak at the Baby Wearing Walk in November 2015, I had been walking and running 3 to 5 kilometres every day. So the race day was fun. And for me, it was the idea of participating in India’s biggest women’s run and the associated paraphernalia; the Zumba, the energy, the palpable enthusiasm, the support of other women and the fact that you’re not being judged, is what mattered most.
Pinkathon is a movement where women support other women, uplift them and encourage them to focus on fitness. No one judges you by your timing or the distance you covered. The fact that you dedicate at least 30 minutes of your day to fitness is appreciated.
We often feel that women don’t need to exercise because they’re active the entire day taking care of their family and running behind the kids. Working mothers are considered doubly active as they manage both work and home. Well, truth be told, some of the most dedicated women I know, are successful professionals who manage home and work with dedication and don’t miss their workouts even a single day. No one is too busy. Everyone can take time out for taking care of themselves. It is a gift that only you can gift yourself.
My commitment to the cause only grew stronger once I became an ambassador. It was a huge honour and a great responsibility since this is a cause I truly believe in. The fact that you can motivate many others through your actions, posts and updates is something which is very humbling. I realised the effort that went into making Pinkathon the flawless celebration that it is. Right from the duties assigned to standing at the flag off and end line and looking at the pure, unadulterated joy on the faces of the women as they sprinted to the finishing line is and will always be the most heartwarming sight. Kudos, to all the Pinkathon Ambassadors who work tirelessly to bring Pinkathon to every woman’s doorstep.
About the author: Swati Mukund is a Pinkathon Ambassador and an integral member of the Pinkathon community.