60 Day Challenge: To take or Not to take?

Lose weight now

I’m not obsessed with weight loss, but with the hovering thought of being thirty, and the vague hazy dream of fitting into bridal wear making sure to conceal all struggling bulges, plus trying to look twenty-something in the pictures; I have no choice but to flush out the 15+ kgs that fret and whine to go away. It was heart breaking having to turn down the freshly prepared shawarma from a colleague, who only was too stunned at my refusal. Soon enough the aromas of the sandwich filled the room and had my face turn into an ogling masterpiece. Thankfully, I didn’t give in.

Surely, the mindset of a person on the verge of a diet is frustrating, and if you listen to your thoughts, it could indeed depress you. Every morning I wake up positive, chalk out the entire day’s schedule of workouts, food intake and work. Come evening, and I’m a nervous wreck – finishing the last bits of work in the office, and trying NOT to listen to the loud excuses in my head. If these get the better of me, I end up simply crying, and giving up by cancelling all that I planned since the break of day, and spending the rest of the night blaming myself, and even my relationship. Am I alone? Or is this a common phenomenon for most weight losers? My metabolism rate is comparatively lower owing to the numerous hours I spend at my work desk, so I try to push in the maximum fat burning workouts for atleast two hours. At the same time, I’ve tried to keep my calorie intake low…about 700 kcals or lower. Not sure if all this is a worthwhile decision. According to various health mags, this could keep my weight loss steady over the next few months.

Yesterday my thoughts finally fought back, and I was on the verge of a break-up. It kept reminding me that I’m ugly ball of wreck, and no amounts of hard work will change that. Vengeful words were slurred. Slept. Woke up with a guilty conscience, and checked my IM to see if I missed any lines from my patient friend on the other side. Anyways, for a thought: I am fathoming the idea of taking up a challenge. 8 kgs in 60 days, starting today, and having to record the ordeal / experience in this blog. Hopefully this works…Comments, suggestions are welcome.

Advertisements

The Catholic Hindu Link – Day 8: Seek, Ask and rid Ignorance

I was going through a number of interesting blogs today in my reader and (not surprised) read beautiful blogs that are so useful. Recipes, insights and a whole lot of interesting articles – unlike mine. All the same, I feel the urge to record what I am going through, as I am still in my spiritual journey. I am a big fan of St. Ignatius and his spiritual exercises, and his advise too was to keep a diary or a journal of insights, ‘signs’, visions, dreams or anything significant that moves the spiritual being into finding your sole purpose in life…or in catholic terms ‘finding your call’. His disciples – the so called Jesuit Priests also encourage us to think in this similar fashion. The ones in India have been particularly helpful, and I now have 2 priests of this order advising me in this relationship.

All this began ofcourse, only after I met Jaan. I still remember the night when he asked me what would happen if he wanted to marry me, and all I could say how impossible it was; not because of his personality, character, family or background but solely for his faith. “I can’t believe our faith could be that bad?” was his innocent response. I tried to tell him, its not your faith, but our faith that is downright mean in selecting potential life partners. Having said that, and not being able to digest the fact myself, it became the foundation for my search towards the spirituality of mankind. “There has to be a link, some connection” I thought. With it came several less-known facts that I will share over the course of these blogs. I know these blogs may not be useful to anyone, but perhaps someday down the line, this could give a ray of hope to someone who is struggling in a similar dilemma as myself.

For starters I would recommend people (catholics) to read A Jesuit’s Blog while doing Bible Study. This priest gives awesome insight into how the Gospels should be interpreted. Next, I would recommend avid readers to purchase or download the book: How Big is Your God? By Fr. Paul Coutinho SJ. This book encourages us to look into the other wider dimensions of God that we feared to look at, simply because we were conditioned to think that God existed within the dimensions of our knowledge of Him….within our box of thoughts. Thinking more than that was probably punishable by hell. Reading these books / blogs liberated my sense of faith and I began to meet God in the very realm of existence itself.

Coming back to what happened the other day, my mom has still not got over the 10 tier cake demand, and I have been equally stubborn. After much meditation, I realised that we both have a tremendous sense of insecurity behind our actions – my mom fears that I wont be carrying out any of our wedding traditions, and I fear that my mom may intimidate all of their wedding traditions! And hence the stubbornness from both of us. It was the weekly day off, and thankfully they all left to Dubai for the afternoon and left me to myself. They expected me to go out anyways, which I did. Jaan thought of cheering me up by taking me to the movies to see Man of Steel, but despite the multiple shows, all the best seats were taken. So I changed my mind and suggested he take his mom out grocery shopping. She mentioned to me earlier that her food stock had depleted at home, and she was looking for some kitchen gadgets to make her work easier, now that she has to cook by herself. I didn’t expect Jaan to take me along, and I fretted because I was dressed in Jeans which I thought his mom might not be too approving. Seems she didn’t bother at all, and quite immediately got immersed in the fruit market at Mina Street and purchased bulk food stocks – fruits, vegetables and herbs of all kinds. I assisted her in carrying, and moving around. I even learnt a few things about fresh fruit selection and yes – bargaining!

We watched the sunset at the Corniche, and then turned towards the Hypermarket at the Airport Road as I had suggested for the kitchen gadgets. For some reason however, she was not too impressed, and ended up buying only the apple slicer, and other groceries. I was afraid to turn home late, fearing that my folks had come before me and to avoid the awkward question of who I was with, so they hurried through everything and loaded the car. Jaan told me he’d drop me off first. While driving, the song ‘Om Jai Jagdish’ played in his music list both to his and his mom’s surprise. She was so happy to have heard it, and said that we should listen to it as the first thing every morning. This statement settled on my mind for a long time….much after I reached home, after my folks came, and during my meditation at night. I have known this ‘bhajan’ (hymn) to be only for Hindus, probably addressing a particular diety? I googled for its translation, and was surprised to find that not only were its words so beautiful, but this hymn addressed the God most High, the formless, omnipotent and Supreme Creator of the Universe. Its asking for the grace to remain protected, happy and blessed for the day. Sometimes ignorance can lead us to miss the most beautiful meanings to some actions. The translations have been posted below:

Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Mighty Lord of the wholeUniverse
All Thy devotees’ agonies
All Thy devotees’ sorrows
Instantly Thou banisheth
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
He who’s immersed in devotion
He reaps the fruits of Thy loveLord,
he reaps the fruits of Thylove
Floating in a cloud of comforts
Floating in a cloud of comforts
Free from all the worldlyproblems
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Thou art Mother and Father
At Thy feet I seek eternal truthLord,
at Thy feet I seek eternaltruth
There’s none other than Thee,Lord
There’s none other than Thee,Lord Guardian of all our hopes
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Thou art Godly perfection
Omnipotent Master of allLord,
omnipotent Master of all
My destiny’s in Thy Hand
My destiny’s in Thy Hand
Supreme Soul of all Creation
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Thou art an ocean of mercy
Gracious protector of allLord,
gracious protector of all
I’m Thy humble devotee
I’m Thy humble devotee
Grant me Thy divine grace
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Thou art beyond all perception
Formless and yet multiform Lord,
formless and yet multiform
Grant me a glimpse of Thyself
Grant me a glimpse of Thyself
Guide me along the path to Thee
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Friend of the helpless and feeble Benevolent saviour of allLord,
benevolent saviour of all
Offer me Thy hand ofcompassion
Offer me Thy hand ofcompassion
I seek refuge at Thy feet
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Surmounting the earthly desires
Free from the sins of this life Lord,
free from the sins of this life
Undivided faith and devotion
Undivided faith and devotion
In eternal service unto Thee
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Oh Lord of the whole Universe
Mighty Lord of the wholeUniverse
All Thy devotees’ agonies
All Thy devotees’ sorrows
Instantly Thou banisheth
Oh Lord of the whole Universe

The Hindu Catholic Link – Day 5: To Listen or Not to Listen

I am so Ms. Sulken the Supreme….had another day of silent treatment between me and Mom, and there goes my weekend – entirely at home ūüė¶ My fault all the way…I am a bad ice breaker…I always was.

Anyways, I didn’t entirely stay at home..I had to rush to work for an important task, and completed a few personal chores along the way back home. My weight is the same as I checked yesterday…not an ounce lost. This made me re-analyse the¬†diet again. It seems that I had miscalculated my food intake – instead of consuming 250 grams of cooked rice, I have been eating atleast¬†400g, so in reality I was consuming 838 calories and burning just 315 calories! No wonder my weight stills stays the same of 80.7 kg over the past one week. I still haven’t figured out what is the next course of action as no restaurant in the area¬†serves diet food unless I am willing to blow my budget. This would mean that I would have to cook some wraps or soups for myself…hmm, while this seems like a likely solution, after a while it would get nasty having to re-heat my food in a cockroach infested office microwave. My next alternative would be to have a large soup at Tim Hortons, followed by a salad wrap around 5pm to kill any possible hunger pangs. Along with some fruit juices in between meals so as to¬†feel full and stay hydrated. This would cost me a max AED 19 per day, which is not so bad. Hope this works…I have a week ahead to check.

I love blogging now…ever since I changed the theme it feels so new like my own personal diary, it doesn’t matter that not many even read my blog, but I do feel this journey important enough to record. A couple of weeks ago my sister complained that there was no guy like Jaan left in this world. She’s apparently going through a rough patch with her own relationships, but who doesn’t? It didn’t come easy for me either. I still remember the day I met Jaan for the first time, there were several people who advised me against getting close to him. Reason? His religion / faith was different from mine. His personality, goodness and honesty was simply bypassed. “It wouldn’t work out anyway” was the ultimate explanation. Unfortunately I come from an era and society where¬†religion lies the foundation for your choice of partner or risk having a failed marriage due to obvious irreconciliable¬†differences and remain the butt of everyone’s jokes. Our culture also demands deep respect to our families and especially parents, so going against them was a very ugly social suicide. I still thought a friendship shouldn’t be so harmless (no I really wasn’t thinking that way secretly), and waited for time to tell me where it all lead. I had to keep everything secret. But over the course of these last 4 years and 6 months, I realised I’d be a fool to have left him just due to religious prejudices. When you can’t leave the guy, then the prejudice has to be re-examined. When all religions define the world as united brothers and sisters, and when all human beings are to be respected, why do these sentences dissolve at the time of a cross-cultural marriage? What are these differences that ‘break up’ a marriage? Can they be worked upon or discussed? This relationship not only matured my jaan in several aspects, but opened by eyes into the real meaning of being a Catholic and even more into the Spiritual dimension of my faith.

Its good to¬†listen to others, as one may never know when the advice can save you from catastrophic¬†circumstances. But even more important is to listen to your heart and outweigh the reasons why you should or should not take a step / decision. I don’t believe in blind, infatuous love. But if the love you have for a person is purely and solely for what he is to you and how much he respects everything you do, then hold on to that love, and pray that the rest may be shown to you through faith.

 

The Catholic Hindu Link – Day 4: The Reflection

Its been 3 days of exercise, but I didn’t notice any notable change in my weight. I admit I haven’t lost a gram despite taking care of all the details and this was quite a sadist disappointment to face in the morning. I didn’t feel any lighter either, noting that my jeans still don’t need a belt to hang on. Do I need to wait for some more time? I am running out on¬† it actually.

I had a sit-in at home this weekend, mainly because of an argument that ensued between me and my mom in the evening (its regular, once in a while we’re bound to express some mild tantrums). When these things happen, I lose all mood to do anything outdoor – I am a born sulker. So besides watching a marathon of movies on the tube – Enemy of the State, Dhoom (Indian), Gladiator and This means War (all in parts ofcourse), I took some time to reflect on my current relationship, and if at all I was being realistic.

Looking at some of the notes I had printed a year ago from internet sources on Catholic – Hindu marriages, and its ongoing list of requirements I can’t help but think if me and jaan will ever be ready to go through it. Our kind of marriages require a special dispension from the bishop, due to ‘disparity of cult’, and my spouse is supposed to know that I will be vowing to do ‘everything in my power’ to raise my children as catholic. I don’t know if Christ was a ‘catholic’ as such, but if I stuck to just Christ’s teachings of just 2 commandments: Love of God and love of neighbor, I think I could do fairly well. Today’s catholic teachings however¬†¬†insist on¬†their obligations of the sacraments, the Sunday school classes and the devotions. Jaan doesn’t have a problem about how I raise my kids, but he told me that he wouldn’t want to offend his mom in anyway, so I’m expecting that they will grow up confused. I don’t even know why I need to think all this…I would be happy if God gave me the grace to have children, the grace to teach them about God will come in its time, I believe.

The best part I’ve noted being a Catholic is that we are so unwelcoming. Non- catholics cannot receive the Holy Eucharist . Why? because they are not sanctified enough, or unaware of its sacredness, so what if they were? Why was Judas Iscariot given the privilege to receive it?

I receive mentoring from time to time from an Indian Jesuit priest, who assured me that its not a problem at all to marry a Hindu, and told me to find God in everything and every circumstance. Even if my diocese apparently had problems conducting a marriage ceremony, he said I would be most welcome in his parish in India. I can only hope that he stays available until then. Even the Pope now has been very encouraging, that Christ died for the salvation of all despite all what his interpreters and representatives have to say.

My only concern is that I hope I aint being unrealistic and foolish in where this all has to end. My best friend (who doesn’t know about my relationship) keeps sharing with me the numerous misunderstandings she and her husband has had over religious beliefs despite both being Roman Catholics, and this keeps reminding me to re-think. Ego is definitely something I will have to let go.