What is your relationship with health?

Every new year's eve, as the world prepares for the countdown excitedly and with exaggerated bonhomie, there are a few people everywhere who do the exact the same thing that they did the last year and the year before that. They make new year resolutions, and not just any new year resolutions but new year's resolution about, yes, you guessed it right, about staying fit and healthy.

If you speak to any gym or health club owner in your area of city, they will tell you this one common thing - their sale goes up by manyfold in the beginning of the year. Tonnes of people line up outside their gates to sign up for year-long health plans that promise to make them look like their dream idols from glamour magazines or sports fields depending on what they aspire to be. And this is not all, they will also tell you that the number of people who actually turn up after signing at their gyms by paying thousands of rupees is not even tiny fraction of it. People probable make it to the first joint aerobics class or the second group yoga class and then they get busy or lazy or impatient and stop showing up.

I know exactly why the state of affairs is such. This is because health and fitness, which was supposed to be an individual relationship that each person has with his or her own way of living has now become this fad that this governed by the media and peer pressure. Now, staying fit means achieving a certain body type which in turn means a lot of pressure and heartache. It also means eating food that is the current miracle food according to magazines and so-called health gurus on TV, of course everybody knowing all along that neither are these new-age foods healthy nor tasty, but either the speakers are being paid to say it or they want to sound cool. As an example, recently one of these herd mentality friends of mine got into the latest fad imported from the west - the keto diet. This diet is all about stuffing your body with fats and proteins and starving it of all carbs, with the underlying philosophy being that the body starts burning all the fat to release sugars and energy instead of letting the fat accumulate by using the carbs for the energy. While logically it makes sense, my doctor told me that he is worried about this trend because nobody knows the side effects of this diet, just like the many other dangerous crash diets that came into vogue over the last many decades.

As a culture and civilization, India has always been very blessed. We were the ones who ate 'static' food and practiced yoga. We were the ones who knew Ayurvedic remedies to all ailments. We were the ones who produced the yogis and saints who said that a human being needs to treat the body like a temple and keep it in a pristine condition with the purest food and best physical activity, and more than that they said that one needs to treat the soul as God that holds everything together not just for one person but by being connected to all other souls, it keeps the entire world together in state of harmony and compassion. I am not trying to be all spiritual here, but I am certainly saying that modern day man has of course totally ignored the compassionate capabilities of the soul leading to wars and strifes everywhere, and more than that individuals have made the pursuit of health, bodily and mentally, into a competitive, scary and negative experience.

In my own little ways, I try to do a few small things that have cemented my relationship with health. I have personalized my pursuit of health over the last few years in a way that now I do not look at what others are doing or saying but try to focus on what is good for me. By finding my own ways of staying fit and heart healthy, I have been able to sustain myself towards my journey to stay fit and have a healthy heart.  I am very happy to share some of these with you and would love to hear your own little ways as well as your feedback on mine :)

  • Each time I eat something healthy, I add a little reward point in a little journal. When I accumulate 10 points, I reward myself with something that I love, which the society may see as unhealthy, like an ice cream, a chocolate or milkshake! The reason I do this is two fold: Firstly, this rewards me for eating healthy and I do not resent it at all! Secondly, I firmly believe that a good diet is not about elimination of everything that is supposedly unhealthy or fatty! No, that is just plain wrong! By denying ourself something that we love to eat, we make ourselves crave for it even more and then end up binge-eating! I believe that everything can be eaten and the trick is just the moderation of the quality and frequency. So by making myself wait for the ten points, I make sure that I keep the intervals very spacious and yet always have something to look forward to, as soon as I accumulate enough points! Isn't this totally unique and special? :) 

  • Running for charity: This is something that perhaps is not my own unique way. IF you see around you, especially in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, there are many marathons being organized these days. Typically organized by a corporate house towards a charitable cause, they serve a double purpose. One pays a nominal amount towards the organizing and the mementoes, plus one has a solid objective to work towards. So a lot of people in my office form little running groups a few months before the marathon and then work out together to prepare themselves for the big day. This has many benefits: firstly, it supports a great cause, secondly, this gives a great motivation to work towards and finally, it can be made into a group activity that tends to be often fun and healthy emotionally too.

  • I use a smaller plate: Yes, this is a great little trick I learned somewhere! You can observe for yourself the amount of food you eat based on the size of your plate. Often we end up eating everything on our plate, even if our hunger was long satisfied. Scientists have even calculated that the calorie consumption goes down significantly by reducing the size of our plate!

  • Chewing slowly: this is something that perhaps I started because I am slow and lazy, but slowly I observed that it helped me, not just eat less but also digest the find really well too. Try it for yourself because now doctors recommend this too.


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