As as kid I was a scrawny 2 dimensional being capable of disguising myself as a coat hanger and blending inconspicuously next to serially arranged poles. I had the congenital talent of looking as if my life revolved around jumping from one refugee camp to the other.
This state of being gave my mother the liberty to feed me food laced with oodles of butter/cheese with the hope of making me look less like a stick figure drawing.
Now there was a fundamental flaw in this approach since this gave me the false feeling of invincibility that I’ll forever be able to consume any and all tasty food items without putting on a gram. And as most things in life, the reality hit me later like a shoe hurled at a politician.
Now the newly found fat deposit was given a warm welcome at this stage like meeting an old classmate at a reunion party. But as all reunions go, you end up feeling disgusting and bathe yourself in regrets. And then you watch things slowly spiral out of control to a point where you just want to tap out and walk away not wearing the championship belt.
Now just to make it clear, I did not end up being obese. I was unhealthy. And later I realised I was something the Fitness Industry kindly labels ‘SKINNY FAT‘. An oxymoron that eventually led to low self esteem, shyness and a variation of being Tobias Fünke never nude around pool areas.
But I shrugged it off and moved on. Not quite give two shits about lifestyle choices or dietary constraints. Binges that started with “just-weekends” sneakily bled on to weekdays. Exercising meant lifting beer bottles, meanwhile cheese was cocaine (fortunately not the other way round). And hence due to my far from top notch metabolism, all the extra layers of me were getting wrapped around my mid section. Soon a vaguely familiar word started floating around: Gym.
My tryst/one-night-stand with some semblance of fitness probably started last year when I signed up for a 5k run with a couple of friends. I trained for a while but with little discipline and no actual goal apart from ‘just finish the bloody thing‘. So when the day finally arrived, I did manage to finish the run within a respectable time. But the thing was so overblown for me that I swear there was a mash up of Chariots of fire and the Rocky Theme playing in my head on crossing the finish line. Which further led to an unending after party to celebrate this achievement. And hence I went back to my old ways. And since Leo DiCaprio made the Dadbod a cool thing, it made me lose any guilt that was building up.
This year after quitting my job, I got a lot more time to stare in front of the mirror and literally reflect on what I had become. And so driven mostly by fear I started training for a half marathon and took up gymming. Now the thing about the Fitness Industry is, all the players involved want to offer you their “unique” methods. And so when you are out to find what you should do, you are bombarded with so many options that you might as well use an Ouija board to make decisions for you.
Ultimately it boils down to two main things :
Now there are many diets to follow, ranging from the clinically insane to just making a few tweaks to your daily McDonalds lunches. Like for example: The Paleo Diet, which relies on you to eat the same food our ancestors did during the Palaeolithic era. Yes…most of these diets do sound like your social life involves you and a volleyball you might lovingly call ‘Wilson‘. If extreme is your thing then go on ahead with a spear and a bow and make things work. But a lot of these diets require you to shape your life around it. So choosing the right one takes time, iterations, customisations and breaking up with Ronald McDonald.
- Type of workout:
Now I personally used to scoff at gym rats, with their whole “What day is it tomorrow?” “Leg day” and all. And as opposed to playing a competitive sport, gymming can be quite boring (unless listening to men grunting in an AC room is your thing). But the thing is the term ‘working out’ is not confined to gymming. It can be Calisthenics, Crossfit, Zumba, The Hunger Games…whatever you think can make you move like you’re about to be killed. Bonus points if you end up having fun doing it.
Now I have buried myself in all sorts of articles in the past few months including biochemistry, muscle group dynamics and optimum training methods. Mostly cause I feel the need to nerd it out before I commit to making life changes. So for the past 2 months I have been at it…running, gymming and counting calories.
And guess what. I have lost less than a kilo (suck it imperial system, i’m not gonna say pounds). And that’s what most fitness plans don’t cover. Cause each of them provides a sure shot way of getting you where you need to be. Mostly in the form of lose weight 87% faster, or get fit in 14 days with XYZ plan. And those high promises are how drop outs happen. Immediate results might seem like the sole motivation, but its more about habit formation.
And so although I don’t have strong results to back the amount of effort I’ve put in…I’ve had various changes including mood stabilisation, aversion to stuff my face with food to combat procrastination and a major cut down on self loathing. Most of these changes thus being internal.
As for the external changes I try to follow the 3 P’s approach: Persistence, Patience and Punch yourself in the fucking face like Ed Norton/Brad Pitt in Fight Club to do stuff.
To summarise, what you actually need is…