Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fitness V/s Indian-ness…

I lost 10 kgs in 5 months last year. I was never overweight; I gained all this weight in the year 2008 due to various factors and then didn’t bother to keep a check. One day suddenly I realized that I aint fit anymore and need to get in shape.

I started with my work outs that were a combination of Yoga, Pranayam, kickboxing, dancing and gyming. Kickboxing and dancing being thrice a week alternatively in the evenings and gyming and yoga in the morning. I would hit the gym at 5:30am sharp to start my work-outs that last 90 minutes. I have always believed in eating healthy, so I went back to my pre-marriage eating habits. A combination of all of this led to my weight loss. I really would rather call is size reduction, cause I don’t really believe in weight loss. During the process I initially gained weight, which means I gained muscles. And then I lost weight.

Now, something that I have noticed while I was back on my old eating habits and working out, I noticed that all my ‘Indian’ friends and family would discourage me and pull me down. Why? Because somehow I have noticed that it is very ‘Indian’ to demean someone who is supposedly watching what they eat (which is called ‘dieting’) or working out. The common comment that I would get is ‘you will wear yourself out’, ‘why do u want to loose weight?’, ‘why are you dieting’, ‘you aren’t living healthy’, ‘look at you!!’ etc… I never asked any of these people for comments, yet they will pass judgment on my face nonetheless. With a very incredulously pitched voice indicating that I am acting stupid. Well, people, I eat 7-8 meals a day and can run for 30 minutes (non-stop) and climb mountains easily and kick you butt at any form of dance (quite literally). I am fit and not skinny or anorexic. Yes, I don’t eat rice or chapattis or bread and biscuits everyday.   I do when I feel like. But that’s how I have always been. I don’t drink alcohol or aerated drinks cause I don’t enjoy them. All this put together are healthy eating choices.

I fail to understand what Indians have against ‘Fitness’. Fitness includes work-outs and healthy eating habits. And in general 80% people I know either looked at me with surprise, pulled me down or made fun of my endeavor to be fit.

We as a country need to understand that we are the heart attack AND Diabetes capital of the world. Fitness doesn’t necessarily mean only vanity (that ofcourse is an added benefit); fitness means Health and as well all know - Health is Wealth.

Indians in general have bad eating habits – they eat oily food, eat the wrong thing at the wrong time, have too many ‘empty calories’, heaviest meal is usually dinner which is post 10pm. It will take me another blog post to list all that is wrong choices and all that can be corrected to be fit and healthy for Indians.

Having said this, I still fail to understand why ‘Indians’ think that the idea of Fitness is simply vanity and influence of ‘Western’ or ‘Bollywood’ culture. Please realize that we don’t work in the farms anymore, we work in urban set-ups and to combat this basic shift in lifestyle why do we still follow a diet that is ‘High Calorie’ and designed for people who have heavy physical work. Indians its time for all of us to wake up and take stock of our health. And if anyone you know is striving to be fit, don’t pull them down, encourage them, you never know this positive outlook may just rub into you.