Warning 1 : Girl rant. Boys feel free to skip the post.
Warning 2: The ones-who-can-eat-all-they-want-and-remain-skinny or the fit-naturally types, DON’T READ THIS. This is not for you folks!
I recently took up this whole new project of getting back into shape. In fact, that is the only thing Ive been upto for the last three odd months spent in Pune. The tons of free time, the availability of good, non-greasy food and the most important motivating factor being the absolutely skinny people (girls mostly) in the whole of Pune drove me to doing something about myself. Shopping in India is a torture for not-skinny people especially if you are fond of dressing up! I was frankly sick of searching for the L sizes or the 30+ jean sizes where you never get choices, just the one colour and cut. It was almost like a punishment for eating food!
This is not a new project. In fact, those who have seen me in my 11th and 12th (the two very crucial, terrible and hectic years of my life.) would definitely gasp at the oodles of flab I’ve already lost. But its been a slow process. It took me 3 odd years to cut the flab I already have removed from my body. Those years I spent in Kota ( Oh yes…let me not go into further details of that horrid concentration camp), I ate very oily junkie unhealthy food and had almost nil physical activity. Sounds like the perfect recipe to obtain that rotund figure and I did! In college, the return of physical activity and some slight moderation in eating..(though events like opening of Monginis and Nescafe did nothing to help) did bring me down a bit. But it is nowhere close to what I was (fit as a fiddle, swimmer and tennis player) but it definitely was a start.
But losing weight has seldom been easy for food-lovers like me. All through my days in college, I was surrounded by people who either never put on weight after eating all they wanted. (I realized that I was not of this variety) or people who managed to fast themselves onto death and look skinny. ( I know a girl who survived on a single bread-pakoda for three days!). I never quite understood how people claimed to be full after eating half a roti or just plain tomatoes for the entire day! Although this is absolutely non-healthy, it did show effects. I know girls who live on mugs of black coffee or endless chai and eat morsels of food just to look hot in that size 26 or 24 jean. But everyone has a different body composition and requirements. It would be unfair to compare two individuals on any basis (the body especially) but that’s what we Indians love to do! Compare!
So coming back to me, I love food. In fact, my loving food perhaps has had nothing to do with my weight. It was unfortunate that I put on weight because of eating trash(no other option there!) and not having any exercise but I never over-eat. I have never been choosy about any type of food (though I wished I was…not anymore!) and I love experimenting with cuisines. I love to eat Missal-Pav, Bebinca, the all-time idli-chutney, the chole-bhature and the naans and the tandooris and the pasta, the thai food, the crepes, the wraps, the pizzas, the paneer, the cheese varieties, the Chinese noodles, the pastries, EVERYTHING! So it was an uphill task for me to actually lose weight since extreme diets were never an option. So what do I finally do?
Well, I don’t want to sound like one of the millions of dieticians posting their columns and writing books all around the planet but there is great news for all those unsuccessful-at-dieting plump people like me! You can lose weight just by applying common sense. Now that I wasn’t restricted to eating just mess-food or insti-cafeteria food, I had the freedom and I needed to use it wisely. Most of the principles of dieting are known to all through the numerous interviews of bollywood actresses or health mags. Drink loads of water, eat fruits and sleep well. I just followed that with a little help from Rujuta Diwekar author of “Don’t lose your mind, Lose Weight”. (It’s a fab book, I tell you).
The only art I had to learn was to eat in sync with your body. To not eat while watchng tv, or reading the paper or listening to music. To eat the food as a task in itself. Trust me, if you start doing that you will end up eating less than half of what you ate previously. The second thing is to follow a strict disciplined life. Tough I say for college goers and youngsters like us, but it helps a long way man! I have it easy since I don’t have any distractions here or hangout spots. Fitness is not a short-term investment but a life-long one I realized. Sleep early, wake up early, exercise ( running is the easiest and best thing to do…nothing like watching a city wake-up in the morning) and eat on time and sensibly is my only recipe and it has worked!
By eating sensibly, I mean that we should listen to our bodies. Never starve and never deprive. A very important point I realized was to check the nutrition value and not just the calories. As Rujuta says, a hot aloo-parantha is way better than cheese pizza. She also trashes the concept of fat-free foods.
There is this excerpt in the book which asks a choice between fresh peanuts and calorie and sugar free biscuit and she asks to choose peanuts. Processed food is deadly. It is like raping a girl ( read stripping a food item of all the nutrition) and then marrying her to justify the rape (the excessive fat-free publicity). An eye-opener of sorts!
She does tell a lot of other things too. Firstly, to feel good about yourself no matter what you are! To eat everything, but fresh and if possible home-made.( I try to compensate for the home-made part by eating minimal hotel food…one meal a day is unavoidable but the others can be taken care of!) To sync your body with the season (like sleeping early in winters and relatively late in summers) since our digestive cycles and capacities are affected by it and to eat seasonal veggies. My favorite part is the one where she clearly shows how we actually treat our cars better than we treat our bodies!
Okay, this post was not to promote her book but it is something which I have done for myself this year and I wanted to share it with those who have grudgingly read this post till here thinking ive gone bonkers or something. But I feel great. Those who see me might feel I haven’t lost any drastic weight and don’t show too much reduction right now, but most importantly I feel great man! I feel energetic and in control of myself. Im no bollywood actress or a home-maker with all the time in the world just for this task, Im just like any of you who has discovered the wonders of eating scientifically and correctly (early or late I don’t know). I don’t deprive myself of any type of food, no dieting and yet I managed to do this to myself. Losing weight permanently is a slow process (it takes half a year or so) but it has happened!
It’s a pity, we have all learnt the basics in school and none of us apply it to ourselves. Even I needed so much motivation to do this fundamental thing for myself! This truthfully is my PS Project. As I am typing my mid-sem report in another window, I thought I might as well write my real mid-sem report!
PS: Ironical it is, but I have written an old post where I have described how the world has no place for people who eat and don’t diet, like me of course. Little did I know then that diets (as most of us know) are not starvation or deprivation but just sensible eating!