Dr. Anindita Bhateja is a Physician, runner, trekker and diver. This is her journey…

“I was never an athlete, in fact, I never even played a sport growing up. By the time my younger child was born I was around a 100 kilos. I used to go to the gym, but nothing was working. My husband used to take my children cycling in Cubbon Park, so I started walking there. I didn’t know for the longest time that in 45 minutes I was walking just 2.5 km. I eventually worked my way up to a slow jog. I participated in a 5k run with a friend and then I was hooked. Since then I’ve participated in many 10k runs and several half marathons.
In 2014, I visited Bhutan and decided to climb the Tiger’s Nest. I was petrified of heights and took several hours to climb with my daughter holding my hand the whole way. At that point, I decided that I had to get over my fears. In January 2016, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m not a religious person, but I found God in that mountain. Every step was a challenge for me. I felt like I was at my weakest most vulnerable state, as I had to deal with my fear of heights, my breathing and my weight. By the end of the fifth day I was exhausted and I decided not to summit, as I knew I would slow down the whole group. When I returned to Bangalore, I couldn’t stop thinking about going back.  It bothered me that I hadn’t finished the climb. So I went back with my friend last month and I made it to the top! It felt wonderful!
I’m also scared of water. So I went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef with my children last year. I’ve since completed the basic diving course and I want to become a certified diver. I’m still scared of jumping into the water with all my equipment, but I think I can do it.
I’ve been doing things to get over all my fears. I’m scared of cycling because of an accident that I had when I was a child, but I will try that next. I want to trek more. Everest base camp, Inca trails and the Great Lakes of Kashmir are on my list. I want to run 21 km with my son next March when he turns 21.
Food was a passion at my house growing up. Relatives would constantly pour in and every meal was bigger and better than the previous one. And I love to eat. That perhaps was the reason for my weight. But in the last two years, I feel like I’ve learned how to eat right. I don’t feel like eating refined flour and packaged food anymore. Sometimes I indulge in a little chocolate, but otherwise I’ve cut out sugar completely. I eat home-cooked meals like eggs or a light poha and fruit for breakfast, a regular Indian meal for lunch and usually the same for dinner but without the carbohydrates.
I felt old at 35. I couldn’t move or breathe and I couldn’t climb the stairs. Today, I feel younger and more energetic. I started running when I was 39 years old!
It’s never too late to try something new. If you believe in yourself then you’ve won half the battle. You may not be able to do it at the same speed as someone else, but you can do it. My first half marathon was in 2010 and I took 4 hours and 20 minutes to finish! Everyone else had finished in less than half the time. I was so disappointed with myself! At my next half marathon, the organisers packed up and left while I was still running! Now I can finish it in 3 hours 36 minutes. This is still quite long, but this is a huge deal for me. Of course I have moments of frustration when I see others doing well, losing weight and reaching their fitness goals. But I don’t give up. I love it and I’m going to keep doing it.
My children and husband are very supportive, especially because they know I’m not athletic and not competitive at all.  My children don’t fear anything, so when they are with me I feel like I don’t need to be scared either. My husband and I do some pretty dangerous things. He’s had two surgeries due to cycling accidents. But we let each other do the things we love. We have one life and we need to live it!”

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