Blabbing on flab
Friends and other acquaintances know some of the defining qualities of Hamish Joy. If you show them a photo of me hard at work, or of me passing by a buffet line, they would not waste an instant before proclaiming that it is a fake Photoshopped lie brought to you by the digital era. This would then immediately feel smug and proud of their abiility to spot obvious forgeries in seconds, fully expecting their other friends to shake their hands and pat their backs in a congratulatory manner. Of course, in this mental image I just built up, I am talking about just the small portion of my friends who are pretentious, easily amused, snobbish pricks. But even my regular friends would acknowledge that I am both lazy and a foodie, and would often recognize me just on these traits.
With sloth and gluttony, I am already two for seven on the Cardinal/ deadly sins lottery. But it also raises a poignant question on a more practical and less spiritual level. By itself, each of these sins are relatively harmless. Being a foodie is an awesome indulgence, with the world offering a wide range of options to satiate your taste buds. And laziness is a very sorely underrated virtue – it was the innate laziness of geniuses that built modern conveniences and advancements. Laziness is the mother of shortcuts and consequently of inventions. Necessity simply stole the credit because laziness just wasn’t bothered with fighting over it. So by themselves, laziness and gluttony are sort of cute and even helpful, but if you combine them, then the results aren’t pretty – like a cheap, fat version of Captain Planet.Yes, in the unholy intersection of laze and gluttony, sitting idly, chomping on fried chicken wings and subtly congesting traffic, is the unpleasant and villainous Mr. Fatt. He may sound like the cheesy sidekick of a Bond villain, but he is, in fact, very very fat as well. Ok, so maybe the metaphors have slipped out of control, like a bunch of circus monkeys lost in a playground maze. What I meant to say is that being simultaneously lazy and gluttonous is a slippery, greasy slope to fatsville. I was singularly gifted on both aspects, which basically guaranteed a flabulous life, which is not as fabulous as it sounds.
But in a surprising turn of events, last year, around the month of August, I had a one-on-one death-match with fat, and – this is the surprising part – won!! I was able to shave off 22 pounds in a period of 5 weeks. The only way I could have lost more pounds in a shorter period would have involved getting mugged in London. It was a singular feat that left friends agape. It also had positive side effects. I could, if I wanted, play see-saw again without asking an entire football team to balance it out on the other side, I could walk into any restaurant without the management trying to hide the buffet line. I could step into a zoo without zookeepers trying to lure me ‘back’ into a cage with bananas. I could step into an elevator without people starting to pray. And no more songs about “Fatty McFatman” – but of course, I guess I should have stopped singing that sooner.Ok, so maybe my mind exaggerates when it spurts stuff inside my head, but it’s only cos it’s bored and lonely in there. Anyway, the fact is that I had taken up the battle of the bulge with uncharacteristic rigor. How? What was my strategy? How did I, a confirmed lazy foodie, manage to thwart fat? The secret, of course, was to trick the fat into thinking that I was neither lazy nor a glutton. The strategy was to keep fat on the wrong scent. Misdirection. “Who, me?”, I would say, “Why, I only eat once a week, and I… errr… hardly have time for snacks anyway, what with my cross country races and high rise acrobatics”. Sometimes, just to make sure that fat doesn’t catch on, I would wear a fake mustache and say “Sacre bleu”, “Mamma Mia”, and “Itza nota me-ya”. You have to be sneaky when it comes to fat. Of course, that was just part of the strategy. To make the strategy complete, I had to put on a fake facade of someone who diets and exercises. The easiest way to do this, perhaps counter-intuitively, is to actually diet and exercise. It was a tough gig. But you know the saying – when the going gets tough, the tough starts starving and drooling over bakery window displays. I might have lost some of that in the translation, but lest you forget, in the end I also lost 22 pounds, so you’re going to allow the oversight.
What goes up, eventually comes down. That line is about gravity. And what goes down eventually comes up. This one is about my weight. After the five weeks that I was bragging about earlier, I started to get sloppy. A few breaks in my diet, some breaks in exercise, and eventually… fat started finding me. It started bumping into my abdomen and started hugging it tight like an old family reunion gathering. One could almost hear the tears of joy and the muffled cries of “Oh, tubby. I’m never gonna let go of you again.”
That simply won’t do. I need to get on this. I need to nip this in the bud. I need to recreate the magic of last year. I need to diet. I need to exercise. And God-darn it, I WILL. I’ll get back on the proverbial horse and start the battle once again. Just as soon as I finish this cheesecake.