The headline is targeted on me, not on you. And therefore, you may like to conclude that I’ve lost my mind, now that I’m talking to myself through my column. But, even you would, if one day you realise that your waist size has diligently gone up to be precisely the same as your age — every year in the past decade. And though I’m not telling you my age, trust me that I have fairly good reason to be stressed.If you share the same stress that I have — that of being unfit — you’d know that this is one of the worst kinds. Because for most other stresses in life, you can conveniently blame someone else or at least circumstances. But, for this one, we know sadly that it’s all our own doing. I just got my blood pressure measured and while my five year old is proudly telling friends that her mom got such a ‘high’ result, I know it’s trouble calling.
So, I tried to do some serious introspection, over a mug of beer, about my lifestyle and where I was getting it wrong. But it didn’t help. I then stepped out to catch some fresh air. And just taking a look around told me that my stress was not just mine.
Far from it , almost 70 per cent of people I saw on the road must have the same tension. Unfit, unhealthy, unkempt. In Paris last year, I remember I couldn’t help wondering how everyone — right from a store executive to a homemaker to a roadside balloon seller— looked so very stylish and fit. While it’s true that we Indians have more potential to look beautiful than anyone else in the world, we are gleefully wasting it away, with more than half of the population looking perpetually seven months pregnant. And everyone having accepted potbellies as our national symbol of prosperity.
For all the gyms that have mushroomed in every street corner… and all the congregations of white kurta wearers with their arms raised and laughing maniacally in the parks every morning, we still don’t really see fit people around. And then there are ‘informed’ people like me who know every damn fitness and diet trick that there’s to know — in theory. We talk about it in parties, pester our ‘fit’ friends to share their secret, enthusiastically exchange diet plans — and then eat away a parantha as if there’s no tomorrow. We, actually, deserve stress.
But now after so much self bashing, let’s come to some tricks. For calmness from this tension, I’m not going to give advice like ‘eat healthy and exercise everyday’ which you already know. I just have these three tips to give, which I too intend to follow from now on.
1 Eat everything: Just reduce the portions. While having a burger, leave the upper bun aside, have just the filling and the lower bun. When gorging on butter chicken, focus on the chicken piece and curb the temptation to lick away till the last drop of gravy. The butter is not likely to feel hurt if you'll leave it on the place, trust me.
2 It’s ok to not finish: Come out of the mentality to try and get every penny’s worth of the food you’ve paid for, by eating it all. Even when our body is screaming ‘no’ we gulp down the last few spoonfuls of some rich food because we’ve paid so much for it. Sometimes that payment is in the form of a hefty ‘shagun’ that you may have given at a wedding and your way of trying to vasool is to pack your body with 12 main course dishes, and then five kinds of dessert. How foolish can we be?
3 Don’t set goals: Unrealistic and vague, I mean. Impractical goals lead us to places that advertise with ‘before and after’ photos of clients. If only we could see the 'And after that?' picture, we would know that weight lost like this almost always comes back, unless you maintain a strict health and diet regime. If you were capable of doing that, why would you go to the clinic in the first place? Set smaller, achievable goals. And if possible, try that your goal is not ‘result oriented’ — I’ll lose ten kgs in the next two years, but instead ‘task oriented’ — I’ll not put sugar in my tea today.
Not being burdened with too much expectations of yourself is the key to calmness, my friend. Try it.
Sonal Kalra has just realized, like a fool, why the introspection about healthy lifestyle, over beer, didn’t produce any healthy thoughts. The beer wasn't chilled. Mail your calmness tricks to her.