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Tuesday 5 April 2022

Bulge Watch

From times immemorial, there has been a fight, nay war, being waged by mankind against an enemy that is rebellious, resilient, pervasive, persistent and above all one who knows he has a foothold or a way back in and thus can never be fully defeated. 
I am talking about the battle against the bulge, weight wars, fat loss, mahasangram or whatever else you may like to call it.

The Fat Devil

The strongest minds, the biggest egos have quailed and thrown up their hands before this foe. Of the scores of warriors only few make it through the course of the weight loss battle. These warriors are of course scarred for life with the curse of perpetual resentment and ill-temper. 
Why am I talking about this? Personal axe to grind and venting always helps.
For the longest time, I have been in denial of the existence of the "fat devil" in my life. Folks at home encouraged me to believe that chubby cheeks will always be cute. We Indians even have a fairly flattering term to describe an obese person, we call them ...err...healthy! The polite salesmen at the readymade clothes stores always assured you, "Madamji, yeh style aapko suit nahi hoga, aap healthy ho na, aap yahan aajao," he would say while surreptitiously directing you to the shapeless clothing section.

I am a person who firmly believes in eating to my heart's fill and for good measure always completing a meal with a neat dose of sweet treats. At parties and buffet spreads I am renown for first hitting the dessert bar while people are still discussing starters, soups and salads. Ahh, those days of glory and childish delight at the sight of creme brulee, eclair cake, moong dal halwa and patting myself on the back on managing to stow them all in.
I didn't let the tightening of clothes, the panting over stairs or huffing after a short walk deter me. The fat devil egged me on to keep at it, whispering sweet nothings on how this was all a transient phase and I could always get matters back to the starting point, whenever I decided to. The starting point which at this point, I'll have to admit was never really ideal. 

The Great Lockdown

The lockdown was the fat devil's...ding, ding, ding...jackpot! Countless sedentary Netflix hours, culinary skills unleashed, nowhere to go, a match made in hell! There started this tradition of raiding all sorts of treats, nick-nacks, munchies while going through endless episodes of whatever was the most mindless series at that the time. It is amazing to note how much snacking happens while you're rivetedly binge-watching. 
Pretty soon, friendly jibes on how my oval face had transformed to a moon-shaped one and being directed to the plus-sized apparel aisle started gnawing at me. No, I wasn't being fat-shamed, it was just a statement of facts. The weighing scales displayed numbers (which I could barely look at with the great-barrier-paunch in between) that made me gasp in horror. Digressing, what is this about really heavy peeps saying they have heavy bones and that they are actually not heavy? (snigger, snigger)

The Fight begins

A visit to the friendly neighbourhood GP called for immediate action to douse the surging weight. When a likely culprit like thyroid malfunction or anything hormonal was ruled out, I did feel a bit let down. So it was all on me, on what I ate and how much I exercised, sigh!
Never a fan of exercise of any kind, I started looking up ways to vanquish the fat devil, keeping in mind the always-lurking-around-the-corner pandemic! Attempts at online oh-so-exhausting zumba, oh-so-boring yoga and offline oh-so-sad walking, all ended pretty soon. No biggie, I'll just have to start eating healthy. I chowed down salads, fruits, healthy veggies with a vengeance, but the scales continued moving ahead industriously like an autorickshaw meter. 
You know they talk about the body's muscle memory which makes it possible for you to remember skills like swimming or cycling? Take into account the years of constant eating you've put your stomach muscles through, you think those muscles are simply gonna forget that? Loud growls from the said muscles when deprived of their regular workout made it all the more difficult.

The Diet Route

All diet commandments said to cut out the evil white trio  - sugar, salt, refined flour. Honestly, I didn't get too far on that because every meal time now had little or no appeal, I mean is there any point to living in a world deprived of taste?
I once again owe it to my upbringing that hard-wired me to eat only exceedingly tasty food and you have to know that tasty food = calorie-rich/unhealthy and yuck/meh food = healthy. Basically what your tongue and whole being approves of is not what you should be eating...boohoo!

Rujuta Diwekar is a messiah for people like me. She encourages you to eat all things native and tells you your grandma knew best. I like to read all she has to say about this while healthily munching on a peanut salad, so much so, I lose track of how many bowls I have refilled. Oh-oh, healthy eating is all about portion size, I realize! Tell that to the over-expanded bowel which doesn't comprehend that the meal it thinks is a starter is the main course and throw in the punch to the solar plexus that there ain't no dessert coming!

So, after many failed and half-hearted attempts, I went seeking a proper dietician. The dietician was rather sympathetic I thought as she took in my history of munching and crazy cravings in her stride. She dashed off a 15 day diet plan which was low in carbs, high on protein, of course sugar free and that included no fruits either, insisted on daily workouts, glugging apple cider vinegar water, to munch on salads to curb cravings, while I contemplated the deep meaning of, "doomed to fail"! 

The Realization

A slow realization had begun to dawn,

"What takes absolutely no effort or time and lots of pleasure building up, takes terrifying loads of effort, sweat and tears and infinite time to break down."

After pursuing different ways to beat the fat devil, I've decided to concede defeat or a truce I'd like to say. I let him take over whenever the urge is too strong instead of fighting him. I read somewhere that when you eat anything with the mindset of, "whatever I am eating will make me healthier" then that food will not go against you. This way, we are both happy! 
If everyone in this world was slim and trim where would be the fun in that? Hear that all you size S, XS, XXS's ? You are happy with way you look because of the multitude L, Xl, XXL's around you!
Coming to the bulge, oh, it's all in the mind! Free-flowing lines in your clothing are the way to flatter the curves! And come on, there are selfie features for face-slimming anyway, no worries, huh?!! There comes a certain kind of brash confidence being of matronly proportions that works wonders while haggling at street shopping, so a win there too! 
Lastly, never forget this, the rounder you are, the more cheerful you are and the leaner you get, the meaner you get! 

You could read some more of my food-ravings here: Click on tag/label #FoodRave

1) Common-place Curd-Rice
2) Ghar ki murgi daal barabar?
3) Sweet Temptations
4) Athithi Devo Bhavah, anybody?
5) Kaapi-Ready
6) Idli Seria Vanduda
7) Sweet Betrayals 
8) Bulge Watch


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