"I lost quite a lot of muscle as well"
Captain Harpreet Chandi stated that she lost 10 kilograms following her 700-mile solo expedition across the Antarctic.
She has now returned to life in Derby with the aim of regaining the weight and strength she lost.
Captain Chandi, nicknamed ‘Polar Preet’, went on a 40-day expedition to the South Pole.
She trained for months to prepare herself for the expedition.
Now back in Derby, Harpreet is recovering and trying to put the lost weight back on.
The 32-year-old said: “It doesn’t feel like it was a whole 40 days, it feels like it was split down because each time I would take it degree by degree.
“It was ten degrees from my start point to the finish and it was all kind of broken-down although I lost 10 kilos, so it gets colder as you go up.
“So, one – it’s colder anyway and obviously I’d lost a fair amount of weight, but not just weight, muscle as well, so once all my fat had burned, I look skinny now, because I lost quite a lot of muscle as well, so I was then just colder.
“Even though my pulk was lighter, and you could tell because I’d eaten a lot of the food, it didn’t feel lighter as I was pulling it.”
After being inspired to take on the trek after joining the army at 19, Harpreet believes Derbyshire is the ideal place for people to start their trekking journey.
She admitted: “We’ve got the Peak District on our doorstep and I, again, didn’t start hiking or doing anything in the Peaks until… it wasn’t even that long ago to be honest.
“I was the person who didn’t know where we were, I wasn’t an outdoorsy kid who knew how to navigate or what clothes to wear.
“I was born here and my whole family live here, so I actually moved away from Derby when I was 14, but I’ll always come back because I have a lot of family here, and I guess it’ll always be home really.”
Upon completing the expedition, Harpreet became the first woman of colour to complete the expedition solo.
Harpreet continues: “I understand that not everyone understands that term and I’m not really asking for people to completely understand it, everyone has different experiences.
“When people say we’re all equal, I’m not sure when equality meant ignoring race, so it’s interesting that it’s okay for me to describe myself as a woman, that seems acceptable, it’s okay to describe myself as an army officer, that seems acceptable, so why is it not okay to mention the colour of my skin?
“To me, it means embracing each other’s differences, that’s what equality means to me personally and I think growing up, not feeling proud and feeling embarrassed or ashamed at certain points because of some of my experiences.
“I definitely feel proud to be able to describe myself that way now.”
Following the feat, Harpreet Chandi is planning another trip to Antarctica later in 2022 if she can secure funding and get time off work.
She hopes to fully cross Antarctica, which will be a longer journey. Harpreet aims to set off in November.
She added: “I’m aiming to do the crossing of Antarctica next, and that would have seemed quite impossible to start with, but now it seems way more achievable to do, which is great.
“It just shows really that we can all do more and the more you do, the more you realise you’re capable of.
“It’s funny because it’s just an idea for now but that’s how things start with me.
“It’s just one tiny little idea and then it grows into something more, I’m a bit of a daydreamer and an ideas person, and then I make it into plans.”