A conventional weight loss story would mean you exercised, went on a strict diet and had eight glasses of water everyday. But not for Diksha Chhabra. She did the usual, but losing weight was not enough for her. “I used to starve myself. And losing all that weight didn’t make me happy like it was supposed to,” she says.
A typical Indian household expects women to take care of themselves, their children, their spouse and their inlaws. In addition to keeping the house intact with food, decor and decorum. But this multitasking often leads women to remember everything else but themselves. In Diksha’s case, her mother-in-law’s cancer meant added responsibility of the house, her treatment and handling Diksha’s own mental health.
“It took a toll on me. I was busy with all household chores and often resorted to junk food. I would end up having two pizzas at times!,” says Diksha. She was born and brought up in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, by two working parents. So, multitasking was not new to her.
Married to an Army officer, Diksha then started working at a school. “But something was still missing. I still lacked that sense of achievement,” she says. This hollowness soon led to depression and insomnia. As a result, Diksha had hit the century mark on the weighing scale.
A visit to the doctor revealed that she had PCOD. Her doctor advised her to reduce weight because she was still in her 20s. But getting a treadmill at home didn’t do the trick. This was also the time her husband’s posting shifted her to Gangtok.
“Once I was in Gangtok, I decided to eat healthier. Since the place was beautiful and had fresh food, I started enjoying fitness,” she says. Diksha took a break from her school and decided to shift her focus on herself. “I was cooking my food and loving it!”
A usual social media scroll directed her to the Mrs. India pageant. By now, Diksha weighed 62 kilograms and had started receiving compliments. “Once that happens, there’s a desire to do something with yourself. I applied for the pageant and didn’t tell anybody,” she says.
Her application was perhaps her first step to a life she never thought she could have. Diksha understood what it meant for a woman to go out there and show the world her skills, and decided to face the challenge head on. “I knew that I didn’t want other women to feel the way I had, physically. And that’s when I decided to be a part of the health and fitness industry. Not as a business, but rather a platform through which I could create awareness,” she says.
She went to be the first runner up as Mrs. India Earth.
Diksha decided to go a step further and educate herself about nutrition. As a science graduate, this was not difficult for her. “All I wanted to do was share my journey. I got an overwhelming response from social media,” she says.
Increased interaction with her social media following led Diksha to take up fitness and diet plans for prospective clients. This was her launch into the other side of the business. But she reiterated it was all zero-investment, money wise. “One of my followers once told me to train a group of ladies in his office and in return, he made my website.” she says.
Barters like these expanded her client basis, and before Diksha knew the show was running. As a mother of one, she also saw changes in how her family ate and exercised. “My mother at the age of 63 reduced 17 kilograms with the help of zumba and watching how I eat!”
She is a firm believer of how children follow what mothers do. “When I was lethargic, my son had lost interest in play time as well. When I got active, he became double-active!”
But in this growing age of social media transparency, most often end up being self obsessed and forgetting the world around them. “This is why I always want to meet people and make their plans. Apps and websites won’t allow that mental connection to let a person become healthy, holistically.”
Diksha draws inspiration from her mother. On celeb lists are Jennifer Lopez and Sushmita Sen. “The workouts Sushmita posts are extremely difficult. And I also appreciate her ideology,” she says.
However, men still don’t feel that women like Diksha can train them. “Yes, I agree that women have a certain comfort level, but I am qualified enough to train both. For me, the human body is the same!”
All she wants to tell women like herself is to practice what you preach while educating yourself before imparting all the diet and fitness wisdom.