Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Joy of Giving - Card 16 - Experience

I have always battled weight issues. As a child I was thin. But somewhere along the way as I grew up, weight became a problem. I have written a lot about my weighty problems and my struggles... Have reproduced two of them at the end of this post.

I am still overweight. On the scale. I say "On the scale" because I look like I have only flab on my body, but fact is I have a lot of muscles too. I have excellent stamina and capacity for hard work (physical labour).

All this is thanks to my workout regimen.

I have been an avid gym goer for the past five years and although I haven't lost as much weight (on the scale) as I ought to have, I have lost oodles of inches. It has helped elevate my confidence and made the clothes I love wearing, look a whole lot better :-) Recently I have also added Yoga to my routine, three times a week.

So when I, before I left for the XMas vacation, picked this card for the last week of the year, I was happy. Happy because I would get to share the secret of my fitness regimen with my friends. And perhaps inspire somebody to take up an exercise routine they find comfortable.

If you knew the story of my fat-fit-fat-almost fit life, you'd wonder how someone as lazy as me even gets to the gym almost 5 days a week and works so hard that most people are in awe of the workout routine I follow.

I will cut the long story short and simply say, I decided that I was okay with the fat on my body (a lot of it is genetics, a lot to do with stress and and a lot more to do with unhealthy eating habits), but I was not okay being unhealthy. The prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in my paternal family, the struggles my mom had endured running to hospitals while my dad lay in the ICU recuperating from a heart attack (and eventually a by-pass surgery), the medications, instilled in me a resolve to do something to remain healthy.

So I, the one person who completely loathes routine of any kind, made a lifestyle change. I decided that I would do some sort of physical exercise at least 5 times a week, for as long as I live.

Thus came into picture my gym - world famous in Pune - Talwalkars. I have stuck to the regimen and although I took a short sabbatical a few years ago, I got back to my gym with gusto as soon as I felt my stamina depleting.

I don't need to spell out the benefits of a workout. But I will say to all my friends out there who have a reasonable excuse to skip any sort of workout regimen (be it a gym, daily walks, a treadmill at home, yoga, pilate, dancing, swimming, aerobics or what have you) just like I did for many many years, we need to incorporate exercise as an un-missable part of our lives.

Lifestyle change. Any sort of exercise routine must be made part of our daily lives - not something we do because we want to lose weight before a wedding in the family, a party or some such "special" occasion. It should become like that cup of tea/coffee in the morning that we cannot do without. It should have a space in our lives, much like the time we take out to commute to our workplaces, or the time we spare for TV viewing everyday.

To indulge in some sort of exercise routine simply means to spare some "me" time; time for ourselves. As a woman I know that most of us refuse to take time out to pamper or indulge ourselves in the smallest ways possible. So sparing 1-1.5 hours everyday for a workout may sound impossible. But it won't be impossible if, as I mentioned earlier, we make it 'part' of our lives. Like the 8 hour sleep we need. Or the four course dinner we HAVE to make for the family. Part of us.

And the need to spare some time for exercise also includes the men. Health is definitely wealth regardless of our genders.

To conclude this ramble, I raise a toast to the Card of Week 16 and hail it as a MUST DO for all of us! Hope you follow it too...

Leaving you with two snippets from my old blog on the same subject. The first one is inspiring and the second - is about the "excuses" I believed in before I thought enough is enough!

2 December 2005 

Nearly all of us will accept that we overlook our personal health and its upkeep. Giving into a temptation once in an odd way is acceptable. But most of us eat unhealthy food out of sheer habit than necessity. Incorporating a work out into a full fledged routine is an arduous task too, given our lack of time. So we end up battling the cellulite deluge.

Most of us give up. Fat is not good for our self esteem and confidence. But it is EASY; easy to accept, easy to live with, easier to grow.

Take me, for example. I am a working mother of two who has had to fight the bulge ever since I can remember. As a child, my mother enrolled me in a dance class that helped me keep fit. As the pressure of excelling academically grew, I stopped training in Bharatnatyam and grew in size. My height just refused to beat the mark it is at even today.

In college, I managed to keep a 26 inch waist and a 46 kilogram weight, perfect for my 5 feet one inch petite frame, only because I survived on one meal a day. It took its toll on my complexion which my north Indian relatives blamed on the tropical south Indian sun! 

Then I got married. For many years I tried hard to get into a work out routine. But it never worked out! And hell, how was I to keep away from food when I was cooking it? My battle with the bulge was back with a vengeance. All hell broke loose when I became pregnant with my first child.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to turn back the hands of time since. Two kids later and numerous efforts at “diet control”, dieting, fad diets and once-a-year dance stints with Shiamak Davar have yielded nothing. I have reached a weight that I hate to comprehend even to myself.

That I belonged to a family with a history of diabetes and heart disease, failed to make me overtly conscious or instill a fear of the inevitable. I took shelter under the advise my gynecologist sister-in-law offered me, that a 10% increase in body weight after child birth was considered normal for women. 20% for two kids. I was a little over the 20% mark but I reckoned it was not something to lose sleep over or avoid the lip smacking strawberry pastry for. I realize now, that by merely taking cover, I was not taking charge.

Cut to the present.

The easy routine at my work place has seen me frequent a gym at least thrice a week. But the results are yet to show. Because I lack the motivation to work out as much as I can; I am willing to skip it on the smallest pretext. I also lack the self control required to say NO to a cheesy pizza or the regular rajma-chawal. It is also slowly dawning on me that as I grow older, not only will this fat become a permanent entity; it will certainly get added onto. It is scaring the hell out of me, but….just not enough.

I am not happy with the way my weight is, but I am willing to compromise. My complexion is not that bad! I guess I have also gotten used to people telling me that I am not that fat; and that I carry my weight well. As my husband always says, (which I think all husbands who love their wives say, even at the cost of sounding like liars and fibbers) “a little fat looks good on you.”

Quite frankly, who in the world wants to question such love?

One year after I wrote this, I turned my life around by sparing one hour at least 5 days a week for MY health and happiness.

Believe me, its do-able!
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