A Marathoner. An Art Director. A Mother. An Army Wife.
Shruti Sharma – A story of Grit, Determination, Persistence. The girl with the brightest eyes and the warmest smiles, is a girl who confronts life and takes it into her confidence. Will cower the trials down to win them over with her determination where no devil can take her down. She is my first Boss Girl. Because she has achieved what all of us are equally capable of doing, only if we put our minds to it.
Her story is about overcoming instances of body shaming, health issues to becoming a fitter, healthier person that she is today. The objective wasn’t beauty, but rather health and core strength.
Sharing my tete-a-tete with Shruti with all of you 🙂 Read on.
1. So from where you are right now, I know you are extremely hard working. How about you tell me your story first?
First thing first. I am very happy with wherever I am now.
I was a fat/plump/overweight person all my life. I have been shamed and teased by classmates, relatives and some close friends too. As a fat person, I never had any defence mechanism to deal with this. I kept sulking but always put up a happy face to show them it never affected me and that I think is the story of most of the women around us. But it kept breaking my confidence day by day. By the time I reached college, I had developed some major health issues due to my weight. That’s when I began to get serious about weight loss.
I was brought up in a Maharashtrian middle-class household by simple, honest and god-fearing parents. I didn’t have the luxury of using influences since I never had any. I knew I have to work a little extra and little differently in all that I do to make my impression in early years of my working. I worked as an Art director in a renowned Ad Agency for 8 years till I got married to an Army Officer because of which I had to leave my job and my city, Mumbai.
That was the real turning point. Army life is mostly about discipline and fitness. My husband is an avid runner. Seeing him made me want to do it too, made me want to Run. My husband never had any issues with my weight or the way I looked. But I used to feel extremely embarrassed,
“If a fat person like me runs, they will laugh at me”
“Which people? And why do they matter to you? You either sit at home and think about people you don’t know. Or wear your shoes, Get out and Run.”
That’s how my fitness journey began. Everything that I did after this was towards getting back in shape, in a healthy way of course. After pregnancy, my weight touched a new high, a disappointing high but by now I was determined to bring it all down.
I thank my stars that I found the right guide and coach in Raj Vadgama, Fitness and Marathon Trainer. He has literally broken all the fitness myths for me and pushed me to do more and more. I took up Running very seriously and weight loss thus has become the by-product. I enjoy running marathons, group runs, strength training with my coach. Today, Running is nothing short of Meditation to me.
Gradually yes, today I feel gratitude towards all those who have been part of this journey and towards those too who fat-shamed me. That was the real motivation.
2. Tell me that incident that was your breaking point, that moment when your head and heart both went, “This is it?”
At the age of 15 or 16 I developed BP problem. I didn’t even know the seriousness of it till my doctor pointed it out. My parents were obviously worried. The fat girl is never comfortable in her skin. She never thinks that this is how I am and this is how I will be.
It’s never the case. An overweight person Always wants to get fitter. One just has to accept that one has to and get down to business. This is what I told myself – I have to get fitter or the salt-less food will be here to stay forever.
3. Who was that inspiration or mentor that was driving you towards your bigger goal?
My biggest inspiration is my coach Raj Vadgama. In my journey of weight loss he has been a Rock, a solid support and never lets me give up. NEVER! He scolds me, shouts at me but encourages me to do bigger things every time. It’s because of him, that I was able to participate in an ultra-marathon in which I managed to run 95 kms at a stretch!
Fitness is infectious indeed. Sometimes I feel emotional about it too.
In your journey of achieving something, your entire family and friends play a big role.
4. Your “Eureka” moment?
I don’t know if these were my eureka moments. But definitely the moments that told me, “you have to do it and show it”
I remember once I told a friend I am going to run 10kms. Albeit not with the intention of hurting me, but he laughed and said, “You and 10kms?”
Another incident was when we had a stage show and the stage was slightly broken towards where I was standing. Some of the participants had a great laugh saying how it’s going to break further when I begin to dance.
Of course, the third one was not the kindest example either when a senior lady in the Army disgustingly announced, ‘Gosh you are so fat. You better lose weight.”
These memories still bring tears in my eyes. Why does an overweight person have to go through this all this in his or her life? Nevertheless, taken the right way, they play a big role in get you going towards your goals.
5. Tell me what does this mean to you? How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a person Who Did Not Give Up!
That’s the single most life-mantra I follow not only in running but generally in life too.
6. You have successfully balanced home and work and while I know men never get to answer this question, I still would like to know how you did it? Simply because there are a lot of us out there who can take some cues.
I know it’s a difficult task for married women and especially for mothers to take some time out for themselves and work towards their fitness goals.
But at the same time, if we are able to prioritise 30-mins TV serials, 40-mins chit-chat and gossip sessions with friends, or several hours on Whatsapp and FB though the day, then why not for fitness?!
Everybody gets 24 hours. Leave 8 hours to sleep. We still have 16 hours. Trust me, out of those 16 hours, 40-45 mins are more than sufficient to start working towards fitness and getting back in shape. I would cut it down further for those who are super duper wooper busy. 30-mins flat. Everyday and you body will start showing wonders.
I am a working woman. I work as a writer and a creative director. I work from home and travel for work too. I have an 8 year old son to take care of. Army life too is very demanding and socially active. Amidst this, I have warned my brains not to stop down with unimportant things. Fitness should come as a priority because there is long term gain in this.
All you have to do is START! 🙂
7. What is your take on Self Affirmation? Do you think it is underrated? Do you think it is quintessential for success?
Running can do wonders. Not only physically but on an emotional level too. It has made me a self-believer. Self-affirmation is the key to every thing. And being fit is getting me closer to self-affirmation each day. People meet and tell me they feel inspired looking at my pictures and they want to work on their bodies too. This truly feels like a medal. It boosts me further to work little extra towards my personal fitness goals too.
8. What is your Soul Workout?
Running and writing are my soul workouts. Both these activities give me a lot of solace and Me time that I always look forward to.
9. Give me that one quote you live by… not someone else’, but yours.
You can become what you perceive yourself to be so choose your perception carefully.
And lastly, NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP!