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.

Gym Monsters

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Years ago after I graduated, I had a good figure…the ideal 36-28-36 type. No…I wasn’t popular nor sexy as I was in my very boyish punk phase. So people hardly remember the good ‘ol body I used to have. Plus it was a very brief period of my life. Soon work happened…sitting for hours in front of a PC happened…coffee breaks with cream donuts and chocolate croissants happened, and soon again I needed to buy new work trousers and baggy jeans. The punk phase was soon replaced by hide-your-curves-with-your-jacket phase, and I thanked God for winters. It took me years to discover that I had a weakness for suppressing ┬ástress with food, which explained the big water balloon in between while I walked. Four years of work changed me into something overtly huge, that I remember the receptionist once asking me if I could see my toes. Somehow, I refused to admit that I needed help. For my 24th birthday, a colleague gifted me with a black cotton buttoned jacket, which she explained I should wear often, as black had this ‘hypnotizing’ effect of concealing curves in women. Within few months, the buttons wouldn’t catch up with a good five inch gap. My colleague finally gave me a warning tap, “Its time”.

Gym wasn’t so bad actually. Just that I could barely afford it, so I took a basic bronze plan, and since it was conveniently located opposite my residence, attendance was regular. My trainer was thankfully a cool and motivating muscled dude, and made sure I got my exercise and diet regime right. Six months forward, I lost enough weight to wear a belt with my jeans and to ditch the jacket. I still wasn’t my ideal weight though. I stopped the gym, and walked atleast 2 hours after work to replace the mechanical reps.

5 years on, walking did not seem to help, so my best friend gave me a rather surprising birthday present – a year’s membership at the newly opened Gold’s Gym at Al Wahdah Mall. I was to join immediately, and the package included 4 free trainer ‘sessions’. The gym is a mega outlet located in the extension of the mall on the second floor. The reception desk divides the area into male and female sectors on each end. What impressed me most was its sheer size, and insane number of treadmills, cycles, dumbells, machines, mirrors, washrooms and shower rooms, lockers, and for the first time I had unlimited access to all kinds of classes: zumba, body pump, body tone, yoga, etc. What depressed me was the intimidation I received which took effect as soon as I entered. The reception was quiet hostile, and kept me waiting for atleast 30 minutes for a trainer. No one showed me around the locker room so I had to figure the locking system myself. Finally when the plump trainer showed up, she hurriedly took down notes and poured out a list of commandments: You shall not eat after 6 p.m., you shall not eat rice, you shall not…etc etc. She squealed at the weighing scale and nodded that I needed to lose a good 15 kgs, it was more like she was accusing me of a ghastly crime and I was sentenced to the treadmill at once. For the past 5 years, I enjoyed the outdoor exercises- the fresh air, sights, sounds, sweat. The treadmill felt so artificial – so mechanical, and most of all no sweat. I definitely did not want to see the trainer’s face again.

Next my best friend suggested I join the classes. I did. It was a huge class with more than 50 participants, surprisingly and intimidatingly all in shape. The instructor was blaring rep numbers on the microphone against the backdrop of already blaring high pitched music while the monkeys just followed their leader. Gosh, how can one expect to unwind from a stressful day’s work in such a mind-disturbing environment? No wonder so many expats suffer from high blood pressure. The workouts definitely brought out the worst in me: lack of concentration at work, stress, temper tantrums, mood swings and irritation. Plus after 3 months of exercises there has been no change in my weight. The negativity of the place has affected me so bad, I hate to go to the mall anymore. This is the first time I’ve had such a bad bout of aversion to something, it surprises my best friend, who isn’t too pleased about my appreciation for his birthday present. I’m reminded of the kid who’s afraid of the monsters under his bed. What should I do? There have been times when I have simply sat in the locker room and wept for 2 hours and then walked back home. Should I quit? What would my best friend feel if I did? Should I play along? Should I slap the loud mouthed instructor? Should I break a machine? Should I starve? I’d do anything for my share of sanity right now.

The Catholic Hindu Link – Day 3: Looking for roots

Such a sleepy day…

I really must work on my beauty sleep as these workouts drain the energy out of the next day. Yesterday’s training went particularly successful. I say so, because I intended to give up and take a cab / bus after every 20 mins, but pushed on. Had to force vision myself in my target weight, which seemed at that moment the only motivation factor.

The day went particularly eventful when I showed Mom the picture of a catholic classmate who finally tied the knot with her Hindu boyfriend. I must admit that I was looking for excuses to discuss the issue with my mom and this seemed liked an only, though rushed kind of way. Her reaction was quite upsetting, to my surprise. I had expected her by now, to be more open minded toward such events, but rather she came up with stomach-churning questions that I did not have convincing answers to. My classmate looked gorgeous in her Indian bridal wear and since there was no picture with her in a gown, mom assumed she did not solemnize her wedding vows in church. I asked her why that was so important to her, expecting her to signify the importance of a church or priestly blessing. But her response was however more focused upon the vows that the couple was required to make with regards to children upbringing, catholic rites & obligations. To her, the only reason why a mixed marriage should take place in a church was to ensure the Christian continuity. Even more was she visibly upset that I contested these obligations and reminded her that these were by now largely relaxed. The Catholic party in a mixed couple marriage is required to “do everything in his / her power” to raise the children as Catholic. She did not digest it too well and asked how I felt about it without any intention to get my explanation.

Unfortunately, our conversation was interrupted by my aunt’s consistent calls which took an hour of my mom’s time, leaving me disappointed and highly anxious.

I admit I am a tad too conscious about how this will turn out. But when I take time and meditate over the last 4 and half years, and how there’s been such a huge transition from where it all started both for mom as well as myself, I know I will be ok.

Fanaticism can be a dangerous education, as it can ruin your ability to think beyond horizons, creating a sense of fear if your wisdom blew off limits. Following any theology calls for looking at the roots from where it all started, the reasons for certain events or sayings, rather than the rules and obligations that were later created to organise it.