I know it’s been way too long since my last post but if I say I have been busy getting acclimated to Dubai all over again, and sitting on my balcony gazing at sunsets in the ocean and getting all philosophical do I get away with it?
Anyway. Once, during one of those intense soul searching spell, I got around to asking myself what I really want from life, and before I could even come up with beautiful words that would encapsulate the evasive meaning of life for me, my subconscious threw the simple “to be happy” at me. Instead of ridiculing my subconscious for being so cliched I went along with it and listed everything that made me happy. Quite predictably, food made an appearance. As did being confident about the way I look. And that’s when I realised my conundrum. I mean, let’s face it. Food makes me happy. I have made the cardinal mistake of using food to elevate my mood, and many times deliberately turned to something I know is not good for me (I’m thinking about those sinfully delicious chocolate coated cookies the Husband had gotten me to keep hunger pangs away while breastfeeding Miss Munchkin in the early days) But then again, one look at the mirror that showed me the truth and I’d be down in the dumps again, and it took me some time and for the best friend to point out the simple solution: lots of exercise.
Now my relationship with exercise has been like my relationship with dieting. On, off, obsessively on, and then suddenly off again. I remember days during my graduation when I was living in a hostel, sharing a room with four other girls and I still made it a point to do some ab crunches and a little yoga before class. During my post graduation days, just before I got married, I was obsessed with belly dancing and danced by myself in a locked room everyday. After I got married, I even joined a belly dancing class in Vietnam that I gave up because I wasn’t learning anything new, and instead took to running in the streets with the Husband. The set up wasn’t convenient to keep up consistently. In Malaysia I got obsessed with Tiffany Rothe workouts (they actually do work by the way) and took it a notch further. I’d workout for almost forty five minutes at home and then hit the gym for another forty five minutes, three days a week. I had never been in better shape, and I was high on them endorphins.
Then we moved to Singapore, the land where you can’t walk on the pavements without coming across a runner or a jogger, regardless of the time you go out. I was all set to continue with my regimen, and to make full use of the beautiful waterway close to our place. And then I fell pregnant and everything changed.
In my defence, I tried. I tried to keep up with walking and some prenatal yoga but I either got too tired or towards the later months, too sluggish. I still kept doing all the housework right till the day I delivered so it wasn’t like I was sitting on my a** doing nothing at all but still I gained a lot of weight. After my delivery of course all focus shifted on taking care of wee Miss Munchkin, and between breastfeeding and sleepless nights I was worn thin. Diet was out of question and exercise was the last thing on my mind. But the months passed, I got a live-in helper who took a lot of load off my shoulders and I started reconsidering exercising. So one fine day, I went ahead and bought running gear, shoes and outfits and what not and the next day, early morning I went out for a jog. By the time I was done, which was half an hour later, I was red as a beetroot and my pulse rate was shooting at the 200s. Half an hour and a shower later I was still pink, and my heart rate hadn’t slowed much. Which is when I realised I was just not ready for hardcore cardio and had to do low impact exercises first. I got demotivated; just the realisation that I was terribly out of shape was enough to make me lose hope, after a few half hearted attempts at working out at home to exercise videos (the then crawling Miss Munchkin would love crawling between my legs no matter what I did) I gave up totally and thought maybe dieting would work.
Then we moved to Dubai and things changed again and between one thing and another I was never mentally ready to take up exercising again. I did make a conscious effort to cut down sugar and rice from my diet and include lots of fruits and veggies and that helped to some extent. We then went to India where two months of not eating any fast food or junk helped me trim down some more. But I still wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be, and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Until I saw a flyer for a yoga class that someone had slipped under our door, and something about the picture, a woman sitting on her yoga mat on the grass looking out to the ocean, made me pick the phone and give them a call. Which is how I ended up one fine Wednesday morning twisting and contorting my body into seemingly impossible poses, all the while thanking my father for teaching us yoga as kids and making us practice which is why I had retained my flexibility.
The one class made me realise just how much I needed workout in my life, just how much I loved it, and so yesterday, without any fanfare, without any pompous declaration, I went to the gym in our building and completed my first workout in years. While reed thin and ridiculously fit women around me were busy lifting weights and training on the elliptical without even breaking a sweat, I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill, and then on the cycle, but when I came home I couldn’t stop grinning. I was that happy. Thanks to the Apple Watch (seriously, I am not paid to say this but I will; it is an amazing workout companion, immensely motivating) and my iPod (again, an Apple ad I am not being paid for) I managed a longer session tonight. And I intend to go tomorrow and day after and the day after…. Until I reach my goal.
Which, in the end, is just to be happy honestly.