Main aur mera weightloss part 2

So, about 5 years ago, I was seduced by the modern-day ‘health’ myth. ‘You are healthy only if you are thin, i.e, you look like what healthy people should look like’.

I was what you would call a moderate convert. So I didn’t get into fad diets, I didn’t obsess about food or exercised compulsively. I didn’t get any eating disorders.

But the attitude of looking at food as something to be approached with caution is still lingering. Or mentally judging fat people as unhealthy and flat stomach as fit. Honestly, my rational mind slams me for these thoughts, but I admit to having them more often than I would like to, i.e., NEVER.

Maybe it was all too much for my laid back brain and I got exhausted. Maybe I realized how it was an unending road with constant room for improvement. Maybe I was not up for taking yet another challenge in my already stressful life. Maybe I realized how this regimen was spoiling one truly innocent pleasure in my life: eating and walking. Maybe I realized that I wasn’t getting any healthier and was it worth all this mental calculation that had seemed to pour into my daily activities?

I quit the programme within a year. I retained only one learning: that as a vegetarian who was not fond of Daal, I should eat pulses. But I strove to look at the daal as something regular and not as ‘protein’.

I put on almost all my weight and inches back within another year and half. I realized there was virtually no change in how ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ I felt or really was.

This is a story of me. I have been reading and debating about body imagery ever since I was a teen. I have never consciously judged a person by their weight. I snigger at the fashion models’ ridiculously programmed bodies. I always thought I would be the last person to fall in this trap.

But I did and even now, I find myself being judgemental every now and then. Like a Pandora’s box, once I became aware of this amazing ‘scientific’ achievement, I was sold. I look around and see people obsessed with loosing weight in the name of health, and I recognize my own obsession. This over analysis of food and health and body was exhausting for me. It punctured the simple pleasures in my life and it took me a year to realize that there is really no need for it.

I don’t give shit about people who make these type health’ claims anymore, because nine out of ten times, health is just a politically correct word for ‘ looking thin in an approved way.

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Main aur mera weightloss..

I was cleaning up some old paperwork and found my ‘food diary’ from 5 years ago.

A friend of mine had lost some serious weight back then and was recommending me to go with her to a nutritionist, (who has become quite a celebrity with famous Bollywood clients these days). ‘Just come once and see what she says,’ this friend suggested. ‘ It is not dieting, it is healthy eating’.

Hmmm… health. That sounds good.

I went with her and was instantly seduced by talks of ‘healthy’ eating and ‘ lifestyle changes’. This is not dieting, that stupid trap to make women feel unhappy about their bodies. This is health. I was game for it.

Was I unhealthy? No. The annual medical tests done at my workplace showed me as fit as a fiddle. A vegetarian who liked cooking, I was never into junk food in any case. I was active and could manage even the rigorous treks. True, I had a slight paunch and I couldn’t stay awake for 48 hours as I used to when a teen, but that was all normal aging, wasn’t it? Did I need a nutritionist to tell me how to lead healthy life?

No.

The carrot was to lose weight. I could be healthy and still lose weight. Why not? It is ‘health’.

As I started my ‘lose wight the healthy way’ regimen, I never ever asked myself why would I want to lose weight in the first place. I was not as thin as I was in college years and had never thought about it till then. But the ‘healthy’ regimen started me thinking about calories, inches and a systematic way of eating.

Eat every two hours, count the calories you consume, which exercise is the most effective, what are the negative calorie foods, ratio of protein-carbs, how to use small plates instead of large ones to limit portions, olive oil vs. normal vegetable oil, allow yourself to indulge only once a week, choose between alcohol and a slice of pizza.

I kept the diary for almost 6 months, noting down everything I ate: from egg whites to salads to Rotis to curd. I had never thought of meals in such a scientific way.

I lost weight and it was a proof of the successful formula, wasn’t it? Now, to loose more, I would need to change the regimen. Shock my body with constant changes in my regimen. I lost some more and everyone commented how fit I looked.

Was I not fit before? I was. But I was so pleased and happy with the lost weight and inches, I found myself feeling ‘fit’ too. I conveniently forgot that none of the camp leaders and trekking gurus were thin, most had paunch befitting their late forties. They ate food like normal people and didn’t have a regimen for their obvious fitness. My notions of ‘health’ was looking healthy and fit, i.e., look thin.

About six months down the line, I caught myself using words like ‘cheating’ – when I ate a cheese-burst pizza with a glass of beer. I was mentally calculating all the calories of the festive meal. Virtually on every trip, I was spending five minutes worrying whether I will get egg-white omelette. I was rushing to eat food every two hours. I was assigning ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels to daily food items. I was disappointed that running doesn’t contribute that much to the calorie loss.

It was all done in the name of health. I was too ashamed to use the word ‘weight loss’, since I thought I was too smart for these sexist body image issues, wasn’t I ? But the yardstick to measure my ‘fitness’ and ‘health’ remained my weight and the inches I had lost.

Since I have limited access to net these days, let me take a break here and continue in a few days. Basically, as you may have guessed, I left this programme, gained all weight back and got wiser to new age health tamasha. But wait for the details and my thundering pearls of wisdom in my next post, ok?to be continued…