The year 2017 was a rude wake-up call for Maneesha. She was struggling to get pregnant and she thought she would get a complete health check to ascertain if there were any underlying health concerns that were impeding their path to parenthood.
It hit her totally out of the blue to learn that she didn’t just have a couple of things that were troubling, but a few rather serious health concerns! Her BMI indicated that she was overweight, she was prediabetic and was insulin resistant, she suffered from Vit D deficiency; she was so stressed from work that she suffered from hypertension and to make matters worse, she also had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)!
“I was shocked! I had no issues with the way I looked, I didn’t even realise I was overweight or that I had any problems with my health. After my health check-up I wanted to take steps to course correct, and from 2017-2020 I was on my own journey. I decided to reduce some of the stressors in life by reducing work hours as a physician. I changed the way I ate; and in an attempt to get fit I really got into playing tennis. I was also getting coached, by that I mean mindset coaching for weight loss. I made progress on my own, but I had plateaued. I had been contemplating some sort of program as a culmination of years of trying on my own and so I decided to take the plunge and join RNT. I wanted to really understand body composition and I thought ultimate health would help with fertility.”
The Root Cause
Maneesha and her husband were at an impasse and they found it harder and harder to navigate around it to find a solution. She didn’t want to have children but her husband wanted to be a father. It was a situation that was tough to resolve.
“Looking back I know what caused all the stress and anxiety that triggered all of my health problems. From 2013-2017 my husband and I were constantly fighting. He wanted kids and I didn’t. It was something we just couldn’t reconcile and we kept arguing about it and separating over this matter. There were so many things happening in that 4 year period around this matter that I ended up coping with food a lot. I wanted this relationship to work but we just couldn’t figure it out. The more I got stressed, the more I resorted to food for comfort. It didn’t help that work was stressful and I had a difficult boss which added even more stress. The thing was I had no awareness at the time, it seemed like a normal thing to do. I was coping however I could at that moment and so I never knew I had a problem. I never noticed that the food was causing all this weight gain.
Despite it all, I felt good. It was a difficult time but I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing to my health. The turning point really was when I had those 4-5 diagnoses and I knew that something had to change.”
The Struggle Is Real
Setting off on a life-changing journey is never totally smooth. There are always hurdles that are mental, emotional and physical that get in the way.
“When I started, I thought it was going to be easier to set some of the habits into place. And I realised, especially in the first three months that all this habit building wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. Simple things like drinking water, steps, tracking food were hard to fit into an already busy schedule. I remember thinking it would be easier as my husband started RNT with me at the same time, and I remember thinking, Oh we’ll just do everything together and it’ll be easy. But it quickly became clear that he had his own preferences in terms of food, when he wanted to exercise and take steps. That’s when I realised I had to do it on my own. It was a reality check that this journey would take some serious mental effort and mental awareness and that it wasn’t going to fall into place without being intentional about it.”
After about 3 months into the process Maneesha found her stride. She found it easier to execute the exercises at the gym, she hit her step count consistently, was able to drink the prescribed 3 liters of water and her sleep improved.
“I had a few miscarriages, which was emotionally and physically so draining. But mentally, I was getting stronger. I was starting a business of life coaching. I was writing a story in a book. I started playing competitive tennis on multiple teams. All of these happened alongside inculcating the RNT habits! I tried to give myself some grace when I wasn’t achieving what I needed. I was constantly questioning myself, where do I push and where do I let off
It was always back and forth. It was either too much grace or too much pressure. I never found myself coasting, it was a constant battle.”
Finding The Courage To Face The Fear
With the help of the RNT coaching team, Maneesha slowly found her rhythm. She introspected deeply on what her true motivations were. She realised that she wanted to be an example of what was truly possible by changing old patterns and overcoming habits that weren’t serving her purpose.
“I had that gym euphoria that a lot of people talk about. I felt so good after I went to the gym that I wanted to take care of my body for the rest of the day. I was finally in the flow and felt like I wasn’t pushing and pulling anymore. The more I did it, the more I wanted to do it.”
Through this process Maneesha’s awareness heightened. She realised that there were parts of her that strengthened and there are parts of her that still needed work. She realised that when times got tough she still used food as a crutch even when she knew there were better and more beneficial ways to cope.
“The fact that food was my comfort became more apparent. But having that awareness really helped. I could just let it be. I could just sit with it and analyse why I felt like I needed to eat to feel better.
There was so many things happening at that time, there were so many miscarriages and I was being so hard on myself and I was using my situation as an excuse to eat. I even remember getting angry with the coaches - thinking maybe RNT wasn’t for me as they don’t understand what’s going on with me. At the same time I knew that wasn’t true, they were great and really empathic. They knew how hard things were for me.
Just a month before my checkpoint I had to go under general anesthesia to remove a non-viable pregnancy just a month before my Checkpoint! Going through The Grind when I was going through that was just too much! Having to be with those emotions and not resort to familiar coping mechanisms was really scary. I was feeling sad, I was feeling lonely but I had to find the courage to sit with those feelings and emotions and not cope with food or other external mechanisms. I had this fear of facing inadequacy, I even had the fear of fear.”
Working Through ‘The Muck’
Through all the emotional upheaval and the struggles of the past few months Maneesha had the strength and the willpower to stay consistent.
“Resorting to willpower all the time isn’t sustainable, you need to find an easy rhythm but there were times when I had to dig really deep and find the willpower to resist my urges. I even had these out of body experiences where I could see myself walking towards the food and even picking it up, but then deliberately setting it down and walking away. I had to catch myself really quickly before I fell into that trap.”
Despite all of these struggles after Maneesha’s stayed consistent and continued to check the boxes. She has developed a healthier relationship with food and doesn’t use it as a means of coping anymore. But as we all do since we are human, we are so quick to berate ourselves when instead we should be commending ourselves on our progress. The process is never about perfection, but rather a journey towards self-mastery. Through the process you learn to identify when you are likely to stumble and allow for those mis-steps as well as knowing when the going will be easier to navigate.
During The Grind, when your body is being pushed to its maximum and you have to harness every last vestige of self-control and strength to make it through the day there is always a moment of revelation. During those arduous few weeks we are suddenly forced to face those dark and dingy places of our lives we don’t want to visit. Most of the time we choose to ignore those parts or we even like to pretend it isn’t even there until we can’t escape from the truth anymore. During her Grind Phase, Maneesha came face to face with her truth.
“I realised that the stronger my body got, the stronger my mind became. I got the strength to get what I needed. I saw what wasn’t good for me any more. Through my RNT journey I realised that my relationship wasn’t serving me anymore. It was no longer a supportive environment and that I needed to leave my marriage to a man I believe is my soul-mate and the man I still love. But we both wanted different things and we just couldn’t reconcile our differences and I realised that I needed to step away for good.”
The Physical Is The Vehicle
Maneesha’s journey has been life-changing. Not only did she make the hard decision to end her marriage, she also decided to stop practicing medicine. She realised that she had had enough of the stressors of being in the medical field and she found the courage to completely change her career.
“I never thought I would actually leave medicine! I never thought I would become a life coach, start a business, write a chapter in a book! Two years ago I would never have done any of these things. I am playing tennis competitively now! And I carefully evaluate my food choices. I prefer to catch up with friends around an activity rather than sitting around a restaurant eating and drinking. I have even adopted a dog! I understand now what I really want rather than just passively going along a set path. I am much more creative and now everything just flows, where there was so much resistance before but now there is just a beautiful flow.”
The Identity Shift
We always carry a mental image of ourselves, and It takes a while for us to shift away from that. It takes conscious thought to accept this new identity and accept that we aren’t the same anymore both in body and in mind.
“Even now when I look in the mirror, everything is so unfamiliar! This is not the body I’m used to! Even the clothing sizes are so unfamiliar. There is still a disbelief and disconnect between the body I see and the person I think I am! It’s thrilling!”
Words Of Advice
When we asked Maneesha what advice she would give to RNTers just starting out on her journey. She shares this:
“It’s not a fitness program. It’s a life transformation from inside out. You end up exploring parts of yourself you never explored. And you create things that you never thought you were capable of creating. RNT helps you tap into your fullest potential and to live your life to your fullest potential. It is amazing to see the impact it has on everyone it touches. Everyone deserves to go on the journey!”