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The thing to know is that what works for someone else, needn’t necessarily work for you. Take the advice, and then decide how much of it makes sense in your life.
An over active metabolism was something I was never personally familiar with. Sure, I had a brush with the term several times, friends, acquaintances who would sit in front of me and polish off an entire pizza and then fit into size 24 jeans; but that’s all it ever was. A brush. I never went through that kind of heedless, reckless exhilaration myself. After all, my genetic makeup simply did not allow it.
One good that came out of this was that it made me “fitness conscious” at a very young age. In fact, I remember reading up every fitness and health related article I could get my hands on right from the time I officially entered my teens. And I tried them all. All the diets, all the tips, all the home workouts. They didn’t have the fancy names then that they do now, but the basics were the same. Then, when I turned 17, I asked my parents to gift me a gym membership and they did. That I have to say, was a sort of turning point.
The ups and downs continued through the years. There were times when I would squeal with delight in a trial room for having successfully gotten into a size 8 dress, and other times when I’d stare with utter loathing at the skinny girl in her skinny jeans eating butter chicken to her heart’s content. Then, there were the comparisons. If she can afford to miss a workout, why can’t I? If she can give up carbs, why can’t I? Admittedly, the whys bothered me, but I learnt to deal with them. I learnt to embrace my shortcomings and celebrate my strengths.
Along the way, I kept discovering things about myself, things that I hadn’t known before. For instance, portion control. I discovered that it works like a charm for me. Then, there was my terrible relationship with dieting. It took me several failed attempts but I eventually did realise that extreme dieting did not and would never work for someone like me.
A regular exercise regimen was another story though. I may not have been blessed with over active metabolism but it was active enough for me to be able to burn off most of my sins. The gym was consistently my best friend, it never failed. Of course, there were the odd moments of utter despair too when it all seemed like a wasted, futile effort. You know, the kind of days when everything looked and seemed hopeless and even the most flattering pair of jeans seemed to mock me and say, ‘Well, after the way you behaved last weekend, what did you expect? The Tiramisu had to show up somewhere right?’ But thankfully, the triumphs overawed the failures. Most of the time, I delighted in my discoveries, was satisfied with my success, pleased with my progress.
A new job, a serious break up, increased traveling, a change of career, marriage, a child, a change of decade, yes, I managed to see myself through all of that and more. And the learning continued. As I got older and might I add more mature, trends changed. The newspaper seemed to carry something new about fitness and health every week, astounding revelations were made. The basement gyms disappeared and swanky ones appeared where the music was cool and the instructors cooler. Yoga gave way to pilates and pilates to yogalates.
Dieting wasn’t the norm any longer, intermittent fasting was the way to go. Practically everyone was doing it! Then the world discovered Zumba and Zumba studios started mushrooming in every corner of the world. Within months, it had become a rage! And like a lot of you out there, I tried some, won some, lost some.
But the most important thing that I realised was that every gain, every loss (pun intended), was a part of my journey. These were my learnings, my experiences. And it was up to me to apply them any way I wanted. It was up to me and only me to make the decision whether I wanted to eat carbs at night or not, how many times a week I wanted to hit the gym, when and how I wanted to give myself a break.
Yes, I gave group CrossFit a shot, but realised how much more I preferred individual training. I tried intermittent fasting too, but realised that my body was the type that needed fuel at regular intervals. I did yoga for a while, but figured that I enjoyed strength training so much more. I got plenty of advice of course, from people who cared, from professionals who knew. Then again, it was up to me to apply that advice the way I wanted to. After all, who knew me better than me? And that applied to fitness as much as it did to other things.
Recently, a couple of friends asked me what my fitness mantra is and how I manage to keep myself fit. Well, I can safely say that I have been on this fitness journey for the last 25 years. I know, I understand how daunting and frightening it can be. I also realise how immensely rewarding it is at times. What I however have discovered, is that every fitness journey is a different one, a unique one.
My journey is unique to me, just like yours would be to you. Embrace your journey, enjoy it. Don’t compare it with anyone else’s, don’t pressurise yourself with goals that drive you to within an inch of your sanity.
Seriously, we see so much of that these days. The thing to know is that what works for someone else, needn’t necessarily work for you. Take the advice, and then decide how much of it makes sense in your life. Join the Zumba class and then decide whether you enjoy it enough to remain with it. Do the yoga and then ask yourself if it’s working for you.
But most importantly, ask yourself what fitness means to you because this is one thing that means very different things to different people. It could be weight loss, weight gain, enhanced abilities on the dance floor, that perfect summer body that you always aspired to get, or even simply being able to sleep better at night. You decide. Your body, your mind, your decision. Your fitness.
Image source: Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash
Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer, novelist and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in read more...
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