Sunday, August 3, 2014

Losing my mind, not my weight

HUGE! HUMONGOUS! ALMOST OBESE! Hands gesture holding a medicine ball

People have been demonstrating the subtlety of a monster truck in telling me how much weight I’ve gained and need to lose almost as immediately as football WAGs do post pregnancy. The feedback wouldn’t be unwarranted if my lifestyle had only consisted of excessive drinking, absolutely no exercise, a regular routine of late night snacking and exclusively living on take outs. I won’t deny some weekly highlights of this behavior yet I’m one of those unfortunate ones whose metabolism is slower than snail mail and these occasional indulgences with a lack of consistency in working out or a healthy diet has taken a toll on my body. Beyond body esteem issues, there are alarming problems with my stamina and level of energy as well, which has been more troubling for a former school athlete like myself, who never wasted even a single physical education period in school outside of the court or playground.

But I don’t want to crib about body esteem issues that women are faced with or recall the sweet memories of my relative childhood in repeat shuffle. There are 2 important realizations I’ve had since entering adulthood in more milestone (27th birthday, FTW) ways:

  •       Just like pulling an all nighter of drinking and going to work next day becomes less and less feasible as you spiral downward towards 30, it becomes more and more easy for your body to pack on pounds as your metabolism rate lowers. Yep, that innocent glazed or cream frosted donut costs you more heavily than it ever did before 25.
  •      With work and responsibilities that comes with adulthood, finding time and energy for physical exercise (that came as naturally as ‘playtime’ in childhood) is a management skill. Regardless, we need to work towards it and take our time to master something so well managed by our parents for so long.

I’m consciously not including anything about food, even as I have and am making more changes to my diet, because of the vast subjectivity there is to it. I believe there’s no such thing as a ‘bad food’, just excesses. Every food contains some nutrients in it, including that evil donut with its high glucose content. Even if you were to consume any food rich in nutrients, excess of that would consequentially mean a deficit of another.

Relationship with food is just as unique as any person’s relationship with God or his or her vibrator. Some of us eat to survive whilst the much cooler people you’ll love being around, LIVE TO EAT. Given the choice between living on a GM diet for Kate Moss’ body and a balanced diet that allows the occasional cheats for an average Kaley Cuocu-ish body, you know what I would pick. The point is neither should be subject to judgment, given respective individual priorities.

But the point of all this ramble is to drive the single most significant thing missing in all this talk of weight loss around me – where the fuck are the positive reinforcements?

Almost all weight loss regimes work on negative reinforcements, whether the emphasis on the kgs still to lose, the miles one needs to run, the hours you need to punish your body or the food you have to deprive yourself of. The post ab crunch body is supposedly the bait and the light at the end of the tunnel but lets face it – only the most strong willed see the light of this day! And surely for that, they must receive some reward, something superficial like your dream wedding or have a gallantry award in this category alone.

But fuck strong willed or semi-super humans. I’m not one of those and I humbly take pride in my mediocrity.

Positive reinforcements? How does that work? I’m likely not the first nor will be the last average Joe to ask this. But here are a few thoughts that sound legit enough to blog and maybe, try out.

Health vs Taste – Remember when I said that there's no such thing as bad food, I lied. There is badly cooked or prepared food. Thanks to a few good humans that still walk this earth, what is healthy for you doesn’t have to suck in taste. I used to hate eating my greens until I discovered Italian food and cooking, which has also moved me towards raw food to quite an extent. My current thing is to replace all my flour and sugar loaded snacks with these little green munchies with the right seasoning. Make boring food in more interesting ways rather than dwell on the fact that you can’t eat the sinful stuff.

Exercise vs Playtime – I talked about how we all loved (almost all of us) our evening or vacation playtime when we were little. Well, one of the many things that suck about adulthood is how everything turns into a task and anything associated with play is almost always a sexual euphemism. While sex is a great way (although much acrobatic) to shed those extras, I’m gonna focus on those exercises that you publically claim your membership for. You don’t have to do Zumba if you hate anything close to what resembles dancing. I actually hate the word ‘exercise’ for the nobility that is attached to it. Fuck, I need and miss my playtime. Not saying that if you engaged in what you naturally like will ensure you’d stick to it but it will help your attitude a lot more. Say, would you like going dancing everyday or prefer exercising in the dance studio? See what I mean.

Age vs Next Big Thing – From all my talks with girlfriends and ill advisors, age is quoted like the most damning thing to happen. I’m embracing age with all the wisdom, experience and the opportunities to look forward to. But hearing “Oh, it gets harder as you get older” for the nth time (factually true it maybe like gravity) is a dampner. As a late bloomer, I evolved in a lot of interesting ways that I never imagined in my early years. I don’t know about you but I get the most inspired not by obnoxious child prodigies but older and regular folks who achieve (and yes, surprisingly) something much later, in their journey of self discovery. Move over Mark Zuckerberg 'coz I’m digging that 50 year old who finished the ironman or climbed base camp at Mount Everest! Similarly, the chance of rejuvenating yourself (mentally or physically) for a new feat as opposed to the idea of saving whatever’s left of your withering being is a lot more tantalizing, no?

Let me caution you or put a disclaimer that this is mostly something that I’ve been ruminating much about, not a tried and tested formula. Maybe negative reinforcements do work better and I really don't know better right now since I'm still wading in the far dark swallows of the tunnel. 

Knowing that it is normal to find ourselves in this dilemma, as the fatty or the ‘concerned’ friend, I considered it worth sharing with others to get their thoughts and experiences. If I haven’t made it obvious till now, I’m very open to feedback J

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