Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fighting the Fat

I wasn’t a fat kid. Growing up, like most normal adolescents, I had my share of puppy fat, but that did its one year round and before I even noticed it, it dissolved and gave way to a slim body. I never had any reason to be slim--I never played a sport in my life and the gym was an alien concept. But slim I was, and boy, how I took it for granted.

I would eat whenever I wanted to and whatever I wanted to—as long as my budget-constrainted college-student wallet would allow it. I had many a boy’s eyes following me in my time and I would fit into any piece of clothing I liked. Even an XS sometimes.
And then I moved to the Biryani City. And the fat just crept up on me- I was totally unaware.

For the first few weeks, when I came back to visit my hometown, this is the first thing I’d hear from my friends and family: ‘Oh we’ve missed you.’

In the months that followed (and to date), the first thing that came out of their mouths was: ‘Oh My. What Happened To Youuuuuuu?’ As if I had met with a horrible accident and the skin on my face was half peeled off.  And they had the expression to match. Either that, or they’d just shake their head with pity and make cluck cluck sounds and tell me, ‘Oh, that’s just too bad.’ As if I had contracted a life threatening disease that had no cure.

And I’d wonder what was wrong with these people. Haven’t you heard of saying HELLO by way of a greeting?

You see, all of that first year, I truly did not see my gaining weight as significant. I didn’t think the weight itself was significant.

That was before my jeans started slipping down my fat indulged hips and before I made the kind acquaintance of the unkind weighing scale.

By this time my panicky mother wanted to send me to a physician to get my thyroid levels examined. I obliged. Only to be officially told by the doctor that my thyroid was perfectly fine. ‘You’re just obese,’ he said. Looking at my alarmed expression, he immediately tried to explain that he had said ‘obese’ as a medical term for anyone even slightly over the prescribed weight limit.

It didn’t matter, the damage was done. My heart sank through all that fat right into my stomach.

OBESE. Right. Since normal society hardly accepts ‘obese’ people, was there a Fatties Club I could join and eat myself to my death?

As life would have it, I did not give up. My roommate (she had a similar case of the ‘Fatsies’) and I decided to get on the Fight the Fat program.

We started with an aerobics class that came as a benefit for working for the company we were at. We got through the first day with much huffing and puffing, but the worst of it came 12 hours later. Our thighs, arms, tummy….everything HURT. We were in agonizing pain. That was the day we realized that not only were we fat, but we were also disgustingly unfit.

Again, I wondered how the hell this had happened. I was the girl that would go on a 20 km trek without skipping a heartbeat and now I couldn’t make it through a one hour aerobics class?

Anyway, this motivated us to keep going to the aerobics class and never miss a day. For allll of two weeks. Then, we got lazy.

‘These auto fellow just won’t go there’

‘It’s sooo exhausting to go after a whole day of work’

‘The class is too far.’

And so another few months went by before we had to buy a pair of bigger sized clothes. Fatter, but smarter now, we decided to seriously consider a kickboxing class. Excitedly, we paid an exorbitant fee for three months and went for less than one.

Then came the yoga class. That lasted an enthusiastic three weeks.

Then came the office gym. This poor one didn’t last even a fortnight.

Finally, we decided to go on this ‘fabbbbbulous diet’ that a friend had gone on and lost ‘5kgs in one week, can you imagine!’ Ooooo, nothing like a shortcut!

The great GM diet: 7 days long. 5kgs lighter.

Day one, two and three were STRICTLY veggies, fruits and clear soup. We promptly went to the market on the Sunday before the week of the diet and bought out the market. 2kgs of everything- beans, mushrooms, carrots…  what have you. We borrowed a hugggge vessel from a friend and spent an hour making the broth. And it was delicious.

For one day.

Day two, Tuesday, it tasted, um... not-so nice. Day three, Wednesday, we wanted to drown ourselves in the soup- it was disgusting.

Day Four was the worst though- No veggies, no fruits, no soup. ONLY bananas and MILK.

Would you believe we made it through that one? Kind of.

The truth is, to our credit, we made it through till 7pm. Then with a unanimous vote, we made a beeline to the nearest café and ate a big fat chocolate cake.

Just when we thought we had to give up on ever getting thin, we met this incredible lady who taught aerobics for some people at work. Our eyes sparkled and we instantly knew that she was The One. We made several pacts and kept at it. For FIVE whole months. A record was set.

And you wouldn’t believe it, but we started losing some. For the first time in years, people would look and say, ‘Hey, you’ve lost weight’.

Sadly, before any real, lasting progress was made, I had to move back to my hometown, where all efforts immediately ceased. My exercise buddy and I were separated, and with that my exercise, my motivation and me were separated.

We’re still individually at it today. Despite our crazy work schedules, we try. My now ex-roommate has joined another aerobics class (she had to move out of that city and start over too) and I have started a 3-5 km run in the mornings.

We’re not regular, and we sure as hell aren’t skinny. But one thing is clear, no matter what it takes, we aren’t going to give up Fighthing the Fat anytime soon.