It’s still early in the morning, a lazy Bangalore sun is yet to wake up. I have just finished my run and I am standing in front of the full-length mirror in my bedroom. “Look at this. Damn,” I mutter, pinching my abs. “Look at all this fat!” I wail. My friend looks up from the video game he has been absorbed in.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asks.
“I have this inch of fat,” I cry more.
“Are you crazy? You ran what just now? 10km?”
“12km,” I say.
“Right. 12km while I have been sleeping on my ass here. Any woman would be proud to have your body and here you are complaining about what? Fat? Where?” he says, looking incredulous.
Ah yes, we women. Like I wrote earlier, we are our worst enemies. I can run a marathon, do 300 push-ups and 500 squats, stretch myself into contorted poses and instead of being grateful that my body allows me this freedom, I can only think of fat percentages and numbers on a scale. Anything less than flat abs is a crime. Fitness is this image that has been fed through the glorified channels of social media. Lithe, svelte bodies. How did we think that is being fit?
I can’t tell you how many women have told me that they “want to lose weight.” No one comes to me saying, “SM, how can I get fit? Be fitter?” and think of that fitness as not just some weight loss goal but to think of encompassing true physical and emotional fitness. I am now 6 kgs heavier than my lowest weight ever (43 kgs, in case you are curious), and I know that I can’t be fitter or healthier than what I am now. Yet, we women become obsessed with our weight. Specifically, losing weight. If you are 70 kgs, you wish to be 65 kgs. If you are 65 kgs, you wish to be some other “ideal” weight.
I wish I can tell you ditch that weighing scale. Throw it somewhere. Or donate it to the nearest scrap center. I know of amazing women who weigh 80 kgs and can squat me to shame. It’s healthy to have goals. But not when the only goal you have is a number on a weighing machine. I have heard women who say, “I don’t want to bulk up,” instead of lifting heavy weights. I grit my teeth and you can hear my jaw grinding well into the night after I hear that.
So, think weights, woman, not weight. Let’s not put our bodies into an image that others have fitted us into over the centuries.
Let’s rather look at how well we move. How fast we run, walk, swim or cycle. How well we lift. How agile we are in our emotions. How kind we are. How much we stretch. How we use exercise to channel our inner strength. How we can move towards a little better version of ourselves. How can we constantly move upwards on that scale of life? That’s fitness to me.
So, go ahead and squat. I also have to learn to forget about that one inch of fat around my waist, don’t I? Let’s move and let‘s laugh and be proud of all the jiggling ends, crappy abs, onerous legs, and the flappy arms – we are beautiful…