The Day I Died a Little

To quite an extent, we all believe we’re infallible… We may not realize that we think this way but we do, and that’s why we eventually encounter “rude awakenings” or shocking moments of self-awareness … I had one such moment a few days ago.

To quite an extent, we all believe we’re infallible. No matter what may be said, as kids we all subconsciously think ourselves invulnerable. There is always an unconscious belief that we are not subject to the same diseases as others, that we are not warmed and cooled by the same summers and winters. We may not realize that we think this way but we do, and that’s why we eventually encounter “rude awakenings” or shocking moments of self-awareness. We realize that we’re as vulnerable to commonalities and problems as anyone else. I had one such moment a few days ago.

I’ve always felt that I’m in decent control of my body, specifically my weight. For those who don’t know, I’m all of 5’6″ (168cm) or as a friend calls me, a ‘manlet’. As such, my ideal weight is a paltry 61kg (135lb). I used to be around that much in high school, but towards the end, during the no-class times when I was studying for my board exams, I did gain a substantial amount of weight, weighing in at 68kg, a barrier I have never been able to break since then. I was still comfortable with myself, and the next three years were spent with mild abandon, my weight fluctuating between 68 and 70kg as I somewhat enjoyed the culinary delights of Bangalore, and explored a new hobby in cooking.

2014 has been a good year for me, touchwood, in many aspects, which I won’t detail here. But in the first week of April, my final examinations ended and then began a period of crippling apathy and ignorance. For two months, I went home to Kolkata, back to my parents. Several significant events happened during those two months, one of them being a significant increase in weight. I hadn’t weighed myself at all, but a horde of relatives had pointed out that I had widened significantly, and my mother and I had smilingly accepted it and replied that I would begin my weight loss process as soon as I get back to Bangalore to start my new job.

It’s in Bangalore that I was able to quantify my situation. The weight machine showed me at 74kg (163lb). That may not seem like a significant increase, because we hear about people who lose 60-100lbs over a difficult and inspiring journey, and my situation is nowhere as grave as others’. But this number mattered because it pushed my Body Mass Index to 26 – a full point into overweight zone. Strangely, the weight reading on the machine didn’t make me feel bad. Instead it felt like a weight off my shoulders (Even though I was hoping it would be 73 or less). I guess because I had a solid figure in hand, I felt a little more in control of the situation. I could now begin a countermeasure.

And I did. The plan was, and is, to ease into a good regimen involving regular exercise and diet control (well, duh I guess). I started with the diet control part, opting to eat the same things I was eating, just lesser portions than what I was consuming. I downloaded an app called MyFitnessPal, which is a calorie-counter. I started with a modest plan of losing half a pound per week, and that gave me a limit to the number of calories I was supposed to consume. I then simply had to enter the types and quantities of food I was consuming, and it gave me a rough estimate of the number of calories I was taking in. This is great for me, because I am a high-maintenance, lists-and-tables sort of guy, so I mostly do not mind feeding data to the app. The added advantage is that I get to see the nutritional content of any particular food, and then I know to avoid it or replace it with something else e.g. one slice of white bread has 60-90 calories. If I want to move to a stricter diet, I’d have to cut out bread in breakfast, because that leaves me lesser leeway in later meals.

Which brings me to a few days ago. Over the past three months, staring into the mirror invariably meant looking at my expanding torso. I had always promised myself that I would never compromise on what I am eating, with the rationale being that food is one of the invariable pleasures we have in life. However, that day my priorities finally shifted. I wanted to start looking good, something I had largely ignored until now. This meant everything from being well-groomed (had been doing so, on and off), wearing only good, well-fitting clothes, and of course, weight control. That day, I decided to start paying attention to what I’m putting into my body, and taking care of it. Lunch since then has been one single fruit bowl (about 250g total worth of a variety of fruit). It killed me to have to choose what to eat. Luckily, unlike most other people I really like fruits and find most of them tasty.

A couple of days ago, I moved to a stricter diet of 1200 calories, and today, I re-join a gym. Elaborating on the plan before executing it seems tacky to me somehow, so I’ll stop there. Right now, I feel ugly as f, but that’s okay. Beating myself up about it won’t help – at least I’ve been doing something about it.

If you’ve had experiences with weight loss regimens, I invite all your advice in the comments. Thank you (in advance) for helping. 🙂

I write essays and stories on this blog too. If you don’t want to check out the related posts, all my other work is available in my Library.

Thank you for reading!