High Performer Shruti Emerged From A Deteriorating Relationship And Went From Underweight To Healthy And Strong

How do you escape from a constant barrage of self-criticism?

Whom do you turn to if your need for validation ensnares you in toxic relationships that choke your own growth?

How can you hope to heal if the only voice you can hear in your head is laced with venomous self-loathing?

Shruti’s journey truly highlights how holistic guidance, structure and support can pull you back from the brink of complete self-destruction.

This is her story.

The Road To Self-Destruction

Shruti was just 15 years old when she was first diagnosed with an eating disorder.

“I never felt good enough.

Not good enough to join the popular kids at school, not good enough for parents, not good enough in my studies. I desperately wanted to impress my family but in my attempts to be this amazing person I lost sight of how wonderful my life really was and how lucky I was to have such wonderful supportive parents.

All I could hear instead was a voice that constantly kept reminding me about my own unworthiness.”

With anxiety and worry crippling her, Shruti didn’t know how to cope.

The only route she could find out of her turmoil was restricting what she ate to a dangerous degree.

Limiting to an extreme extent what she ate and along with over-exercising gave her a false sense of control.

Things were getting really precarious for her but fortunately, she got a lot of support from her parents.

So after years of therapy she got better. Her relationship with food finally improved.

But if you have a history of eating disorders, there is a tendency to go down that route again.

A Slippery Slope

When Shruti started at university, she was doing really well. She slowly came out of her shell and started to spread her wings a bit more.

“During my first year of university, I did spread my wings but had some troubles. I lost friends and even tried to commit suicide with a paracetamol and alcohol overdose! But then I met a really good guy and we were together during the rest of uni but split up at the end due to religious differences and that broke my heart.

My twenties were a bit of a struggle. I was going out a lot, drinking and relying on unhealthy crutches, as well as going on multiple binge-restrict cycles.

It’s a predictable behaviour pattern for those who have gone through extreme restriction. You want to eat like a normal person but then you either can’t control it so you binge and then you end up punishing yourself for bingeing.

In my mid 30s, I met someone who was extremely appearance focused. He loved to present himself in the best light possible on Instagram. I wanted to be worthy of him and so I became even more self conscious about how I looked. I firmly believed that if I didn’t maintain my slim figure I would lose him.”

Initially, Shruti’s super slim figure earned her a lot of compliments. The focus was always on how fit she looked, how flat her stomach was, and how good she looked in trendy outfits.

Hearing these compliments fuelled her need to be as slim as possible. She believed that as long as she had a flat stomach she would be popular among her peers and loved by her partner.

The Last Straw

On the surface, Shruti was living the perfect life.

She looked great and was in a relationship with someone who was seen to be “a catch” by his family. So Shruti felt like she had to live up to that image her partner had established amongst their friends.

To make sure that she always looked her best, Shruti started becoming more particular about what she ate and on top of that, she was exercising a lot!

“I was pretty fit. I would go to the gym and work out. I was also running 10km every morning. What I didn’t realise was that the excess cardio was depleting all my muscle and taking away my strength. My training was all wrong and completely counterproductive.”

All the exercise and food restriction made her lose a lot of weight. But, her partner didn’t seem overly concerned.

She was functioning, her mind was still focused, she was excelling at work. Things were fine for a while.

But then, the wedding bells started to ring and the excitement that surrounded it threw her off her already unsteady base. All the while her weight loss was being justified by others and reinforcing the pressure that “all girls lose weight close to the wedding”.

In preparation for her big day and to make sure she looked her best, Shruti completely stopped eating carbs. Keep in mind Shruti was already pretty slim and this added restriction was not at all what she needed.

Over the next three months she lost 10kgs. In the end she weighed just 39kgs!

She was severely underweight. Her hormone health suffered, her periods came to a complete stop, and there was no romance left in her relationship. Even though they were newly weds, there was a sudden rift between them.

“I now weighed just 39kgs, which was really low. You could see bones and it wasn’t really attractive. My slim figure seemed to have caused a sudden issue previously not mentioned. This exacerbated existing issues and caused more strain in our relationship and just like that the romance was gone. My periods had also completely stopped which became a major concern as we wanted to have children.”

A Cry For Help

With her relationship on the rocks and her self-confidence at an all time low, Shruti knew she needed external help.

“I was so tired. I was always cold, low on energy and would always feel really nauseous. But I was still working full time and was doing really well. But I needed to repair my relationship. That became my biggest priority. I had heard about RNT from Gita Vadher; a colleague and friend at work. I had seen Gita’s amazing transformation and I had seen all the social media posts and I was convinced that this was the only way.”

Shruti had tried everything in the past: dieticians, nutritionists, therapists and none of that gave her a longterm fix. She knew this was not what she needed this time as she just wanted to learn how to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle that incorporated a holistic approach. She wanted to find a way back to living a healthy and productive life.

Most people join RNT to lose weight, so this was a completely different journey. However, the principles are the same. The RNT process shows you how to build a lifestyle solution. We help our members shed myths and gain knowledge about the three core aspects of physical and mental wellbeing: training, nutrition and mindset.

Our programme’s focus is to show RNTers how to build a structure that fits their special needs. In Shruti’s case, we gave her the guidance she needed to accept the need for healthy weight gain. By teaching her about nutrition she learnt how to fuel her body. Our modules on strength training showed her how to adopt a training schedule to improve her body composition and boost her overall health.

The Path To Recovery

The first biggest battle for Shruti was to accept the weight gain.

“I was worried I was going to look like crap if I started eating all this food.

It’s silly but my mind was still focused on aesthetics. But then gradually it changed from the need to avoid food to the need to meet the macros and calories to build muscle and gain strength. I finally learnt that the body is something you need to nourish and look after. Your body matters if you want to achieve more in life.”

Nailing down on her 3Ss (structure, strategy and system) to achieve her goals really helped Shruti. It finally helped her shift focus from aesthetics to strength gains.

“I love hitting PBs in the gym! It’s so exciting and so empowering. I don’t really care if I have a flat stomach any more, I just want to get stronger.

Of course I was shocked to learn that it would take me 18 months to 2 years to really gain more muscle and strength and that gave me some real perspective.

But I am ready to put in the work and stay consistent to meet my goals for I know now that consistency is the key. And I know I will get there.”

Staying Strong And Resolute

From the very beginning, Shruti was completely dialled into the RNT process. It became the anchor that kept her steady in the raging storm that her life had become.

“While my initial reason to join RNT was to fix my fertility, libido, marriage and overall health. I realised through the process that RNT was offering me so much more.

I feel that everything RNT teaches and the actions we make as part of the journey allows us to tap into our inner strength and free our inner potential.

I needed this strength to help me cope with the pain when my now ex-husband suddenly left me in the lurch in a new country, with no warning.

It was such a difficult time for me personally and my family thought I would need antidepressants just to be able to cope.

But because of the support RNT gave me, I had the tools and the strength both mentally and physically to push through the year.

Despite it all, I achieved a better position professionally; I could cope without needing antidepressants; I found the power within me to break through mental barriers and realise the limitless possibilities that lay ahead.”

180 Degree Shift In Perspective

Looking in the mirror now Shruti sees herself differently,

“I know I have a way to go but I feel empowered. I feel strong. I feel like a different person. I feel like someone on a journey to go somewhere. It’s been such a great journey and now I realise I do have things to offer. I do have good qualities and that is the result of the support RNT has given me.

RNT has not just saved my life physically, it has taken me to the next level. It has helped me increase my capacity to do more in the world. I can see a vision and I am going to be more than I was before.

If I had a chance to speak to my younger self now I would ask myself to block everyone else out and have self-belief. I would tell myself not to hide my true self, not to change just to please others and most importantly I would ask myself to have trust and have faith in myself.

The youth of today are so focused on looking good and it promotes a wrong idea of what is healthy. I want to say that if we don’t take care of our bodies it can affect us on so many levels - bone health, hormone health, energy levels to name a few.

This issue of over-restricting food needs to be addressed and can be addressed. There is a better way and I want anyone who is struggling with their self-image to know that there is a solution, there always is.”

The Podcast

Episode 327 on RNT Fitness Radio is really heart-wrenching. In this episode, Shruti speaks with such honesty about her journey and what it means for her to be sitting in the hot seat and sharing her deeply personal story.

In this podcast she says, “I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t signed up to RNT when I did - RNT literally saved my life.”

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