Trimm’s fairy tale
The quest to waste some waist seems to be a popular one. I have come across a whole bunch of people who say they are prepared to give an arm and a leg if only they could lose some weight. I must confess that logically, I can find no flaw in the reasoning. There is hardly any doubt that the fastest and surest method of weight loss is indeed amputation. However, personally, I would consider that extreme step rather ill advised. Human appendages find use in a variety of situations. Imagine you are driving along the highway, and rudely cut off by a big burly truck-driver. You lower your window, display a scowl and prepare to give the finger… and suddenly you realize you don’t have your arm. Embarrassing.
Amputations aside, it is important for people to maintain the ‘right’ weight. People may want to do this for a variety of reasons. Some may want to lose weight because they may have had a heart attack or two. Some may want to lose weight to reduce the resemblance to a hippopotamus. Some people may want to lose weight in order to fit in. Others may want it simply because the doctor said so.
Except for my thinning hair, I have seldom been conscious of appearances. But this self apathy has apparently given way to an exponential rise in girth, which, if properly documented, could have gotten my name in the Guinness books. To thwart the unrelenting progress towards morbid obesity, it was, hence necessary to jump aboard the weight-loss wagon.
It was with cold objectivity that I considered the various schemes to reach this end. I’ll share my experiences and attempts at both the popular and self styled approaches.
By far the most common knee jerk reaction to tipping scales, the diet has been suggested several times by concerned family members, and strangely, once by a random stranger. This meant I had to cut back on my regimen of fried rice, pizza, lasagna, burgers, cheese, cookies, chips, pies, cakes, french fries, doughnuts, milkshakes, roast beef, tiramisu and ice cream. Turn a blind eye… and a stuffed nose to Lemon Chicken, Filet de Boeuf au Poivre Vert, Foie de Veau à la Sauge, Filet de porc a la moutarde, Sing Hoi Chicken, Chicken Kung Pao, Lion’s Head Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Pork, and the rest of the gang… Not an easy task by any stretch of my infamous willpower.
However, like most people, I tricked myself into believing I can do it. Dip in heavily into fruits and vegetables, bid adieu to my fatty friends… To do this as a matter of routine for life would be quite impossible. But this would be just to get myself started, and then later on, I could just be slightly more careful about what I eat. “Hey, it’s only going to be for a short while… It’s a piece of cake. Hmmmm…. cake… Sigh”. So that’s the plan. Say no to the juicy morsels that makes life worth living, the sky blue, and the world a better place… for a month or two, and then ration out the ‘good’ food in small quantities for the rest of my life. Didn’t sound too bad.
I thought of this about three months back, and I resolved to start this program the very next day. But due to some pressing unanticipated issues, I was forced to postpone, but I still resolved to start the very day after. But then I had to catch up with some friends, and I couldn’t really start the diet when the rest of them were having the good food, now could I? Since this had to be postponed again, and the tomorrows kept piling up, you may be wondering if I have given up hope for this method altogether. On the contrary, I am more hopeful than ever that I can do this. Of course, I can only start from tomorrow, though.
2. Morning trickery
I’ve often noticed that when I wake up, my mind’s a blur. I hardly pay any attention to what I’m doing. I am on autopilot, doing things mechanically, until a shower yanks me sharply out of the calm reverie and into the boring reverie of reality. Every morning shower is like Morpheus greeting me : “Welcome to the real world”.
I started thinking “Why not use that to my advantage?” Everytime I start to exersice, my body inevitably throws in the towel after two seconds. “What? Pushups? With this body? You must be joking. Now be useful and go fetch a bag of chips, will ya?” Such subtly disheartening messages are roadblocks on the road to wellbeing. So the best bet, I reasoned, would be to do the exercises in autopilot mode. Simply start early and try to finish before the body realizes what it’s doing.
So I got up one morning, walking on tiptoe so that I didn’t wake myself up, and tried my hand at pushups. I was still half asleep… still thinking about random stray topics.. still groggy. Shit. This thing is going to work??
“Hmm… Work boring… punch work inda face… baah no movies to watch… Waitaminut…. whatabout Slums… Brr.. Stupid Oscars…. Wait till I get my… Ugh… Hey! Whatha… What am I doi… What’s the big IDEA???!!”
And with that abrupt wake up call, my experiment on this idea came to an end. My body turned out to be smarter than I expected. Who would have thought, eh? Good thing I had idea 3 to fall back on.
3. Join a club
This seems to be a popular suggestion for people seeking reduction. It seemed like an easy option, until I realized you actually have to show up for this to work. Now, you may have heard countless stories where people, with grim determination, go sign up with the state of the art equipments, attend with utmost discipline and willpower for a few weeks, and then finally just giving up. You may also have heard cliched accounts of how some people have visited their gym only ONCE a year, and that too just to renew their membership. This is NOT the case with me. No siree. I haven’t visited my gym even once.
Apparently, I am a surprised, if not proud, member of the Country Club. The club includes a gym, a healthclub, spa complete with the instructor. I have been a member for the past two years, and have always intended to pay a visit.
For those unfamiliar with the term, Yoga is a 5000 year old combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation that can, if properly done, twist your body into a pretzel without disabling it completely. While most postures are not that fun, it is indeed a powerful way of maintaining your health. My dad has been an active proponent for the cause for years, and was quite overjoyed to hear that I was going to give it a shot.
He showed me a few basic postures I could start with, along with the prescribed advice and instructions. He basically said that I should essentially start off slow… with some simple postures, so that I don’t overstrain myself and give up on yoga entirely. Sound advice, I reasoned. So I decided to start slow. But even he couldn’t have forseen exactly how slow I would eventually start off with.
I adopted the simplest posture possible, the savasana… and kept at that. I still do it. In fact, I do it almost every night. It’s a pet hobby of sorts. Just lie on the ground (or in my case, the bed) and free your mind and body completely until you reach a stage of utter relaxation (or in my case, sleep) But that’s about it. Savasana and nothing but savasana. Dad says that doesn’t count, but I’m going to be technical about this. Technically, I am doing yoga every night, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.
5. In-house gym
It seems that there are some people who feel that the real reason why people fork out money to join a gym, and then avoid the place as if it’s under quarantine, is because they get too lazy to commute to the gym and back. This, if indeed the case, can be resolved by bringing the gym home. My dad bought an electric treadmill a few years back, and takes a 45 minute run on it while watching a movie in the comfort of his own home. As a result, he’s fit as a fiddle. He may not be the best kept fiddle you can find, but as fiddles go, he’s one you’d have trouble finding faults with.
Considering my past, it seemed prudent to go in for a lower investment to start with. And presto, we come to the topic of my dumbbells. I got two dumbbells (one for each hand) and started off with great gusto. Lift up, lift down. Lift up. Lift down. Lift up… Hey, not that fast. Lift uuuup. and dooooown… Yeah. That’s it.
I was there! I was doing it. As far as going up and down went, the dumbells were accomplished. I was waking up muscles nobody knew I had, including the muscles themselves (“I feel a strange stiffness coming on me. Whathe… I’m a muscle? No shit!!”). I was on fire. Up. Down. Up. Down.
Lasted almost four days. The dumbbells are now down on a more permanent basis. The only reason it hasn’t gathered rust is because it has a rubber coating around it.
6. Drink plenty of liquids
This sagely advice also ranks among the top 10 phrases you can find on dietary tips and general well-being. This was definitely the method of preference, and I had little or no difficulty following this, and I was optimistic about seeing results soon… until it was revealed to me that tequila, vodka, wine, coke, coffee, and milkshakes do not count among the prescribed ‘liquids’ in this context. Being an engineer at heart, I protested vehemently, reciting the definition of liquids and pointing out that “Drink plenty of liquids” does not put any qualifier to delimit the types of liquids that are acceptable.
But in a world that isn’t really interested in making sense, I had to finally give up, drowning my righteous anger in beer, which, between you and me, I swear IS a liquid.
7. Climb the stairs to work
Since my office building does not have the facility of an escalator, and since my ability to scale walls using only my hands and feet is limited to some of my better dreams, this is one advice that I had NO trouble following.
But as far as helping me reduce weight is concerned, this method also had to be eventually classified under the ‘Utter Failure’ section. Perhaps it is because the old adage is wrong. Perhaps it is because the rule doesn’t apply to me. Perhaps it is because my office is only on the 2nd floor of a short building… whatever the reason, it was time to put this method to rest as well.
I had to concede defeat. I told my folks that losing weight was just a fairy tale. Not meant for all people, least of all lazy bums like me. Unfortunately, they refuse to see reason, and still egg me on for the colossal task (which seems to be getting even more so, every minute)
They complain that I haven’t put in any ‘REAL’ effort in battling the bulge. An unfair summation of my seven pronged strategy, you would agree with me. And no. They don’t approve of amputation either. So I’m back to square one.
Is it just me, or is square one a LOT smaller than it used to be?