Come September 7th, I’d have completed 5 months at the gym. That is something, I assure you.
Okay, here is the story if you’d like to know my story. I got plump when I visited my uncle soon after I finished college more than 30 years ago. Uncle and his wife were very anxious to feed my sister and me with all kinds of lovely food. I will never forget the Lassi that uncle personally made. That and loads of lovely lovely food, such as the deep fired auberigines, those deep fried spicy berhempur appalams and many such mouth watering delicacies. I guess I would have put on something like 3 kilos in that single month that we stayed there. Now, although I did participate in a lot of games and sports in school and for a while I played cricket for my college cricket team, I didn’t really continue with sports and games. I was the book worm of the family. No singing, dancing and sports for me. It was all books, books and more books and newspapers,too. In those days, there was not much awareness about walking for health and all. So here I was, already at a period in my life where physical activity reduces, eating rises or stays the same and the end result is putting on a few kilos every now and then till suddenly, from a 48 kilo I am 'suddenly' 52, 55 and 58. The worst part of the whole thing is that I didn't even realise it. From being thin, to becoming slightly plump was highly welcomed in those days. People liked girls to be nice and curvy and rounded, and I guess I was that. Or became that. All my upsetness and heartburn that nobody-ever-told-me is really all in retrospect. Then came marriage. We were told there will be hormonal changes, and marriage will cause you to put on weight. I swallowed that whole. Believed that was the reason why the weight was creeping on. But wait; I wasn’t worried about that remember? Then came the children. Another phase in life when a woman will put on weight. And so I did. Grew to 67 kilos full term and was thrilled to come down to 62 soon after childbirth. That 62 became 69 with the second child, to come down again to 62. It was around this time that I consciously became conscious of the fact that there was a lot of fat on me. And I remember walking maniacally in the garden of my house in Guwahati and losing so much weight as to come down to a nice 56 kilos. Well. We are living and growing things, how did I ever think that I can take the body to a certain weight and leave it there and it will take care of itself and keep itself at that level without my having to work at it? And thus began a life of yo-yo dieting and obsessing about eating-food-exercising. God! I am so filled with mortification at my stupidity! Here I am more than averagely intelligent, well read, with access to any and every kind of information I would have needed to maintain good health, fitness and appear good too... and all I ever did was think about it and eat. Too bad.
How do they do it, these thin people, I have often asked myself. They eat all they like and look at them, not an ounce of extra fat on them. All I have to do is look at food and I bloat like a balloon filled with air. I could go on and on like this. There is no end to this kind of self flagellation.
I am a working woman and have always had an office of my own. From small cubicles to really large ‘chambers’. During the lunch hour I would go out to walk for a few minutes, and in the city where it got progressively polluted, I stopped going out and started walking inside my office room. Well, obviously the walk would neither be fast nor as good as it could have been out in the open on the road or in a park, but it certainly kept me moving , and made sure I did not sit all the time. That went well for a time and I managed to stay at 62.
Then came the Trichy posting. So stressful, so hard, that all I could do at the end of the day was fall asleep. My blood pressure started touching 130/80. The doctors told me its okay, that is consistent with age. My triglyceride levels went up. The doctors prescribed statins. Six months of statins, one night I got up with such a severe leg pain, that the next morning I told the doc, this is it, I am stopping statins and will take life as it comes. This is a bit extreme, I admit, but I felt that I'd rather die of a heart attack than live a life where I am unable to walk. For, walking is an activity which though I was not doing temporarily, I was sure would take me back to my good health. My knees were starting to pain. Like I was having arthritis or something. I went for a bone density test, and came out with flying colours Another doctor told me to take metformin, even though I had no diabetes as a preventive measure. Preventing what I don’t know, but I didn’t take that. The job had taken a toll on me and I just hoped that I was in a position to reverse the effects.
Transferred to Chennai, with a job of high responsibility but far less stressful, I just suddenly decided that I would go to the nearest gym to do some weight training during the lunch hour and walk in the beach every evening for half an hour. This would make me thinner and would maybe help the knee pain, which after stopping the statins had reduced considerably, but still existed. Watching what I am eating would complete the plan. Sounded good to me and I ran it by my husband and my son. The latter put his foot down to the gym I had selected. He insisted that I went to his gym, a high end one, which I thought was for sportspeople and not ordinary women like me. My son told me this. “Amma,”he said, “you have worked more on your weight loss than I have on my Cricket, why don’t you just stop thinking for some time, give this six months time and then, if things don’t work out, then we’ll see.” Well of course it was a manner of speaking, for, I cannot think of another person who has worked so hard and so earnestly as he has at his chosen profession. Be that as it may, what he said made sense to me. The cost of the gym bothered me a little, but he said he would take care of it. My husband has a knack of putting things in perspective for me. He said, “why are you worried about the cost? Think of it as a fraction of your monthly salary. Is that too much to pay for what you want?” And of course I was convinced. I so badly wanted to enroll in a gym, and there was no way I was going to a place my son said no to... so I wanted to be convinced, right. And thus I enrolled.
Possibly, the best thing the two men I love did for me.
Coming soon: The First Few Weeks At The Gym.