I grew up in food obsessed family (like most of our country) where there were several excellent cooks and meal times were events that involved multiple courses with all of us being told to eat some more!
I attended boarding school and though food was good, it was scarce. We had 15 minutes for every meal which meant that I learnt how to cram an insane amount of food in very little time. I bribed every friend whose parents visited to smuggle in butter chicken and chocolates. I had tuck hidden at the back of my cupboard for snack related emergencies(which was every night) and I ate 10 naans in one sitting during a field trip and asked for more. Needless to say, overeating continued into college which happened to be in the Land Of Massive Portions otherwise known as the US of A. There was no bell to signify the end of the meal and our cafeteria had endless options from pizza, pasta to ice cream and other desserts. I happily ate everything on offer, never knowing when to stop. A few months later I came to India for my brother's wedding and my father didn't recognise me at the airport because I had put on 10 kilos.
Surprisingly, I never hated my body or tried any diets. I am not sure if this was a good thing or bad because I should have got a grip on my overeating a little sooner. I didn't have any guidance on how to eat. I moved to Bombay to start my first job as an assistant director on a movie and ended up being on my feet for 18 hours in a day(fellow lowly AD's on the food chain know what I'm talking about:) and was too stressed out to eat too much most days. Needless to say, I dropped almost 12 kilos. By the time, the film wrapped, my appetite had become much smaller and I was able to keep the weight off.
I started cooking soon after and loved shopping for fresh vegetables in Pali market to figure out my meals. I wasn't mindlessly eating anymore and made sure there was protein and veggies every meal. I didn't cut out any food out of my diet, just reduced the portion size. If I was craving dessert, I would make it myself to control the sugar and use only the best ingredients. I never deprived myself and therefore managed to keep the weight off for good.
Over the years, I have added yoga, cardio and strength training which has made me fitter but honestly, 70% of my health is dependent on the quantity and quality of food I consume. For anyone looking to make a big change in their fitness routine, I will suggest to start with food: smaller portion of food made with all natural, organic ingredients will set you up for success.