Tuesday, December 01, 2020

The journey from my last post to this

Last night on a whim I decided to write for my blog for this whole month. I am not sure if and how far I’ll go but I am gonna try for sure. It was mostly coming from a space of restlessness, of having accumulated so much inside me last two and a half years and not being able to put it in words. 

I came to the blog to just check when I had written last, and it was June 10, 2018. I nearly choked reading the date because it was a post I had written two days before mom went into coma. Two days before our lives changed forever. I nearly choked thinking of those two days and how casually I would have called momma two times a day, how I wish it never had happened, and that she had never left. But she is gone, and I have a lump in my throat as I type this, her beautiful framed photo on the bookshelf, watching over me with her loving eyes. 

Now it makes sense to me about why I didn’t get around writing from June 2018 to right now - I really just wasn’t ready. Writing may have been cathartic, as many recommended it to me, but I wasn’t in great mental health to form coherent sentences. I may have drowned myself in a lot of other things (mostly unproductive, not-so-healthy things) to process my grief but I simply couldn’t write. Probably the only long-form content I read during this time was on grief. My bookshelf is overflowing with all the unread books. I remember binge-watching content nights on nights, I remember installing dating apps and randomly chatting up with men I wouldn’t chat with normally, and most importantly I remember abusing my body by eating whatever junk I could lay my hands on. This is quite embarrassing to even write considering how in my last post, I wrote 800 words on my fitness journey. 

But honestly, I didn’t have a mechanism to deal with my grief and food seemed to be a familiar territory that could be my comfort zone. It took me a good one year after mom to understand that she would really not like what I was doing to myself. 

Nothing can prepare you for this, there’s no manual on how to deal with grief. I was functioning on extremely heightened sensitivity. I would be laughing one minute and would drop into a pool of tears the next minute. Whatever I did, wherever I went, there would come a point when I would mentally withdraw and go inward, where there was this huge void staring at me. Let me tell you this still happens, and I am sure it’s gonna stay. Every day there is a point when I stop in the middle of something, either work or cooking or listening to music or talking to my sister or just any unrelated thing, and realize that mom is no more with us. 

Grief is when you have had a perfect day at work and then you lay your head on the pillow at night, only to howl into a silent night and beg her to come back. Grief is when you have put on red lipstick and then another minute you burst into tears because red lipstick was her favorite. Grief is when you are doing Diwali pooja and in the middle of aarti you end up crying because she made Diwali the best festival for us. 

I continue to learn, fail, make wrong choices, have my overthinking overpower my life, cry at the drop of a hat, think I am weak but deep in my heart I now know that I am strong, I am healing and I am trying to bring some purpose to my existence, and that mom would be proud of me. 

The journey from June 10, 2018, to December 1, 2020, has been the longest, most painful journey I have undertaken, something I wish I could undo, but here we are. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

14 things my fitness journey taught me

I have been meaning to write this post for more than a couple of months now but something stopped me every time. Lack of time can perhaps be one of the plausible reasons. But the big reason was that I wasn’t mentally there yet to share what all I had learned, where all I faltered, what were my takeaways and everything in between.

Now, I have gathered courage, time and my share of learnings to share with the world. Please do note that this post is NOT about how to lose weight. Also my opinion is purely mine based on my journey, it may not resonate with you at all. But the idea of this post is to simply tell you my experiences and leave it for you to find out what part of it you can tweak and take in your journey.

Without further ado…

  1. It’s not the weight-loss. It indeed is fitness journey.
The moment you make that shift in your brain, your efforts and energy become more focused.

  1. That tipping point
A breakup? An upcoming summer trip? No. Not those kinds of tipping points I am talking about. Mine was that number on the weighing scale which I hadn’t ever seen in my life. I was scared of what was in store if I continued my lifestyle that way. And so I had to make a change there and then and onward.

  1. Start small
That is, if you are someone who can’t make a complete shift to her lifestyle. I went cold-turkey one morning on all things evil and junk and never quite looked back. However, you can start with one small yet significant change at a time.

  1. The Science is simple
You need to be in calorie deficit to be able to lose weight and this doesn’t mean you starve. Just eat less calories than the required calories.

  1. Fix your food and then fix how you are going to spend those calories
80% is food and 20% is exercise in getting fitter. Work on your food first and then choose the kind of exercise to expend that energy.

  1. Swap it right
Namkeens and biscuits with nuts. Sugar with coconut sugar, honey, jaggery. Desserts with dates. You get the idea.

  1. Moderation is THE bomb
Eat white rice or a chapati or drink a beer or two, but remember the portion size. Don’t stuff yourself. You are not going to die if your stomach is 80% full but you’ll definitely be uncomfortable with extra bites you downed in taste.

  1. The workout routine
Find something that doesn’t look like a huge task. I did 3 days bodyweight exercises and 3 days brisk walk and run sometimes. I am constantly looking to engage myself in a workout that I enjoy. Right now, I am doing an hour of yoga because of a hurt knee. Explore what all is there and start. Just start with a walk. Join a Zumba or Yoga class. Do bodyweight and functional class because it makes you stronger and increases your stamina. Just always keep pushing boundaries; your body will surprise you with amazing results.

  1. Remember it all adds up
Small changes in diet, an hour of physical activity, good 7 hours sleep and one rest day, it all adds up. No kidding on this part.

  1. The real enemy
No, potatoes and bananas are not the real enemy. That soft drink, that bag of chips, those fried goodies, those sugar loaded bakery delights, unsupervised amount of pasta, and the likes. Yeah, those are not your friend.

  1. The balancing act
I did a low-carb (can’t call it Keto because I did have lot of things that were non-keto) diet but I won’t recommend it anyone. You need to have a balance. Have complex carbs like oats or whole grains along with some source of protein for breakfast. Make your lunch whole with a tiny portion of complex carbs, lot of veggies, some form of protein, dahi and salad. Be free to skip carbs in the dinner completely. You get the drift, right? Stay in balance. Yo-yo or crash diets won’t help you long term.

  1. Cheat meal is ok, cheat day is not
By all means go ahead and have a cheat meal once a week or every two weeks but don’t make it the whole day. Having a cheat meal keeps you disciplined. I never had a cheat meal but then I never missed anything.

  1. It’s totally the journey
That process of losing inches and fitting into old clothes, that dread to head for a workout and then relishing that sweaty glow. Damn! I have not lost a kg in last few months, but I am enjoying this phase because I never set out with a target timeline in mind. It’s a journey and I intend to keep exploring and getting fitter, one day at a time.

  1. Do it for yourself
And for that feeling into old clothes, and for that post-workout sweaty glow. Don’t do it for the partner, spouse, parents, neighbours, colleagues and strangers. And yes, be kind to yourself. It’s your journey. Own every bit of it.

So, tell me what all worked for you, what have been your learnings.