Whether you are a freelancer or a corporate employee; running your own business or running after a child; there is one thing common among all of us – the lifestyle diseases we are facing.
Women talk about cervical discomforts, back aches or breathlessness amongst others. These are not the usual diseases which require medications to heal or constant doctor’s involvement. These are lifestyle diseases which require mainly the constant involvement of the individual facing them. They are brought about by unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles we are absorbed in.
When questioned though, our defence to this common problem is instantly presented, almost as though we have been preparing for this exact moment.
It’s a genetic issue
This is our easiest defence to any problem actually. Though, if we had to be completely honest, it doesn’t fit lifestyle issues well.
Yeah, I do agree that it is the genes that define a person’s physique or issues known from birth. Not everyone is tall, not everyone is lean or even bald. But what it does not account for, is the fact that we are closer to being prone to lifestyle diseases today than most of our ancestors over the years. And this is not defined by your age, weight or size. For one, my granny can easily squat or sit cross-legged on the floor for hours, something I squirm at the thought of.
So, they were probably doing something right even though they didn’t follow special diets or vigorous fitness programs like we do.
They were more physically active in their daily routines than we could ever be today. They walked or cycled to work; we drive cars or bikes and sit all day at our desk. They climbed stairs, and we use lifts. They washed clothes with hands squatting for long hours, and the most we do is ask our help to sort clothes and put them in a washing machine. We have help for everything, which has added convenience but reduced our general physical fitness and our day to day focus on our lifestyle.
I am comfortable in my skin
That’s actually a wonderful state to be in. It motivates me to be body positive and not compare myself to the next person wearing well-toned abs. Media has had a big hand in ensuring all of us associate certain body types with health. We have started looking at diet pills and supplements as easy options to being fit especially when our favourite actor suggests it worked for him!
Honestly, it’s not scary if you don’t fit in your college clothes. But it should be scary, if even with a perfectly toned body you are breathless at the thought of climbing one flight of steps. You did nothing about it and defended the action as being comfortable in your skin. Now that you believe you have made such a claim, you feel like a hypocrite going back on your words, hence keep reducing your body’s flexibility which makes your health dangle by the hook.
So yes, I am comfortable in my skin. But this also means accepting where I lack and how I could make it better. So, I now like to motivate myself to be comfortable to reach out to a fitter version of myself as compared to my previous self. I need to be stronger and healthier than I was a month or a year ago. I need to merely be conscious of my health and focus on me alone.
Age and metabolism
I don’t dislike eating. And that has been my way of life, all my life. I am a foodie! But with age, it's turning out to be quite a task to maintain the same level of food burning ability which I had as a young child or even as a young adult!
A decade before, I could enjoy multiple butter parathas for breakfast, cakes for lunch, samosa for evening snacks and ice-creams for dinner, all in one day, every day. And it would never add lethargy to my body or reduce my ability to run around. But not today.
So with age I had to accept that metabolism does change, the levels of which of course varies from person to person. As we get ‘wise’ with age, our body expects us to be wise and mindful of our food choices we make as well. This of course, requires willpower to overcome the habits we have created for ourselves over the years! And that’s where the next excuse wriggles its way in…
I eat because I am bored
At my work desk, while my mind claims to be the most absorbed, my mouth finds it difficult to stay still. It wishes to constantly binge on anything the cafeteria has to offer. Now that’s where all my senses immediately divert themselves into the options I am about to approach. We do have a salad stall, but my temptation instantly gets locked down to that fried samosa or creamy cheesecake. Maybe it’s because I am constantly craving for the sugar-carb high to keep me going for the day. Or in reality, because I have spoilt my body to be tempted by exactly these kind of comfort foods.
It’s not easy to change your preferences overnight, if you have been indulging yourself for years. Now that with age I intended to get ‘wise’ with my food choices, I decided to limit the options in the pandora’s box of goodies I open in front of myself. It still took me weeks of strong willpower and dissatisfaction in depriving myself of all the creamy-fried goodness the world offered so promptly at every nook and corner.
I didn’t feel like randomly binging anymore if the options presented were a salad over a cookie. I ate only when I was actually hungry for food, and then I wasn’t really picky even if the menu included a salad. That was a moment of realisation for me –
I didn’t eat because I was hungry, I just ate because I was bored and craved for addictive junk food constantly!
After a few weeks, I was surprised that the sugar-fried delights didn’t enlighten my cravings as much as before.
My body had a reset moment, and all it needed was a reboot process of non-boredom eating for a little while.
With healthy eating, I started feeling more energetic during the day, but mostly I had finally gotten motivated to up my fitness game!
Fitness routines take time and patience
For a fact, my friends who see me practice fitness routines, wonder why I even need it?
To them fitness routines are meant for people to get slim and all it gives them is complex to even try with slim people around!
It took me a while to help them realise that we all actually have one fitness goal but different motivations that drive it. Some want to lose weight; some want to get a toned body; and some want to lash out at the gym after a stressful day at work. But mostly, all want to continue staying stronger and fitter as we grow older. We are just at different levels of fitness today because some realised sooner than others. We just need to give ourselves at least the same amount of time, if not more, to achieve our personal goals.
Our sedentary lifestyle at work and home, make it harder to achieve these goals without giving that extra time and effort on physical activities. Day to day chores are conveniently handled by machines or domestic help at home, so fitness routines are much needed to give us that boost our body needs!
When I started my journey to health, I picked up fitness routines that worked for my then physical situation, which meant to start slow and gradual, rather than at intensive levels. As my fitness levels increased, my body could willingly increase the level of intensive routines, and hence grow stronger than it was before. It took time and patience to slowly build it.
In the end, I was genuinely happy that I started doing justice to my health, by giving it the attention it needed whether it came to healthy eating or increased physical activities. My sedentary lifestyle had made me lazy and unfit. All I needed to do was accept the situation and find time as well as willpower to better it.
Before you seek out your next work opportunity, seek out your health first. It’s never too late to start, considering it can only get better from here.