Treading Tentatively On The Treadmill

Saturdays With Shivani

I had thought of writing something else last week and since my mind hasn’t processed it yet, it continues to stay on the back burner. Instead, I’m taking the liberty of using this space to journal one of my toughest journey that I have just begun— one towards my fitness.

For almost half of my life I have battled weight gain. I’ve been chided, coaxed and fat-shamed into losing, often unsuccessfully, until six weeks ago I decided it was about time that I did something about it. I had been telling this to myself since the day I turned forty and here I was, possibly at my heaviest, sixteen weeks away from celebrating my forty fourth.

Did something snap inside me and broke my reverie? Naah… nothing quite so dramatic but the possibility of a gradual build-up that finally hit the spot cannot be ruled out. Or maybe when everyone had just given up on me and walked out that I felt it was time for me to step in for myself. What was there to lose, except hopefully a few pounds?

There is another reason that might have tipped the scales in the favour of me willingly signing up for the torture; the trainer. I met her online under bizarre circumstances and the more I followed her, the more inspired I was. A disclaimer here — I am not easily inspired. Self-help books have never been of much help to me. I need more than just words to spark an interest and Mihika did that.

For someone who hasn’t used half her muscles in ages, she tries variations with my limited skill set. She pushes me, exhorts me to hold that plank just a little longer but when my hand doesn’t reach my toe, she kindly moves on too saying hota hai; it happens. I repeat that to myself and gear up for the next set.

One month later, the sweetest words I hear from my trainer still are- your workout is complete. The only thing that feels worse than doing the workout is not doing one. The weighing scale numbers may not have budged and I still have to experience the endorphin kick that she has promised me but for now I am content spending an hour huffing and puffing in a non-judgemental space that allows me to trip, fall and get up again at my pace. I feel lighter (more in my mind than the body may be) and I am no longer as reluctant to bend and pick up stuff strewn on the floor.

I know I have a long way to go. I am afraid that my past history will catch up and I shall just give it all up which is why I am writing this here. This column is a promissory note to myself; a journal that I shall try to update every month so I can share my journey with all its pitfalls and milestones.

To all those who are in my space, I’d say take your time. Be kind to yourself. Take the decision for the right reasons; not to fit in to a dress or in to societal norms. Your reasons are yours alone as would your journey be. Let no one push you or rush you through it.

Dr. Shivani Salil