Friday, May 23, 2014

Healthy v/s Skinny - My take on it

How do you define the so much talked about word “Healthy”? Does being healthy necessarily mean being skinny? Why is beauty most of the times tagged with Skinny bodies? Why does the media or society promote a culture where many girls feel the need to be like “VS” Models. Does healthy mean having a perfect or skinny body or is it a journey towards having a better quality of life, a better experience of your own existence. Do we understand the difference between these 2 words - Healthy and Skinny?

I don’t know why today I suddenly came up with this topic to think about. I think it’s a good one to discuss and put forth my thoughts on it because I am sure many people think they are the same, and so did I decade ago. Hopefully my words here trigger a different thinking in you. As a teenager I always thought and almost believed that healthy is skinny and you go to the gym to be skinny. When I was enrolled in a gym for the first time I totally did not understand how it will make me feel, or did I really wanted to do it, or would I enjoy it. It was initially a punishment I had to give to myself for social acceptance because I had seen people getting skinny when they joined the gym. Unwillingly, I joined, I worked out, I started eating betetr and as a teenager I lost over 40 pounds during my summer vacation. I felt amazing within. I was no way skinny even after losing 40 pounds, but my health & stamina had improved significantly, I felt better emotionally. There was a sence of social acceptance, but I dint care then on. Happily I fell in love with being “healthy” since then, what society think of me was none of my business. It was all about me. That is why multiple failures till date have not been a deterrent to me, to start all over even if I gain what I lose. But I never went back to where I started, ever.

Some questions i had then - Why are you always judged based on your size and looks? Why are overwieght people treated like aliens? Why do we keep staring in mirror criticizing extra bulges? Why dont I love myself? Why do I desire to be like someone else? Why is how we feel not important than how we look. Over years I got my answers.

Being skinny may not be necessarily mean that person is healthy. Health comes with wisdom of eating right n being active (probably I may get a little monotonous here). Trying to achieve good health should be the philosophy of life in general because its a enriching experience and for most people it can never end. There is always scope to do better. Health will come when you follow this; accept this from your heart. Realization is the first step to achieve what you want, and rest will fall in place. As I continued my journey towards finding the right answer over years I have finally reached a point where the significance of the mirror has gone down significantly, and has leveraged the thought of how I feel about myself. I feel great; I have been feeling great from over a few years now and it’s getting better. Full of energy most of the times. So much positivity emotionally. Isn’t overall health related to your body and emotions as well? It’s equally important to feel good about yourself, as looking good. Loving yourself counts. Beauty is not related to weight and some may disagree here. Though I do feel being fit or healthy (atleast trying to be there) does make u happier and reflects on your beauty, It’s like cherry on top of cake. Why does it make you happy? Because to me it is an sence of achievement. Confidence that comes from overcoming obstacles like physical hardships (workouts) and not falling in trap of junk addiction(good diet). I no longer have to practise self control, it comes naturally to me now. (There are moments when I fail, but I realise it in time now.)

I was asked once- Why do I work hard at gym it’s not giving any results visible to the world. I look pretty much the same since so many years, so what is the need to sweat it out so much. The reason is as simple as it can be. It’s because I feel good. It’s a very personal experience for me which guarantees pure satisfaction that the day was worth living. I did not even realize over years when being physical active turned into my hobby that I look forward to most days after work. After a just 30 min spin class I feel awesome. After an hour of relaxing yoga I feel totally in harmony with myself, calm n relaxed n happy. After a body fit class (kind of cross train) I feel on top of the world, a sense of achievement that I did better today than last time. After a Zumba class I feel like dancing to a couple more tunes even if I am tired physically. That is why I work out. It’s so important to love to be active and not do it because someone says so. It’s so important to understand physical movement should be a part of your routine just like eating, sleeping n brushing your teeth.
Why has the focus of something so natural gone to a level where we have to make special effort to be active and it seems so hard? I have seen numerous people at the gym who will be glued on the tread mill for over an hour walking as if someone is punishing them. If you are putting in 1 hour doing it even if thinking it is a punishment, why not get punished happily. I may sound a little silly here, but hey if you are doing it might as well be positive about it. Or Try a different form of punishment and it may turn out to be a reward.

If you don’t love to workout in a gym find a physical activity that you would love and enjoy and look forward to everyday. Try a new class, go hiking or biking or play with your dog in park. Go for a long walk or jog to the tunes of your favorite songs. It’s just a matter of finding something that you will enjoy from your heart. Don’t be scared to try what you feel like. Often I drag my friends in Zumba n most of them who don’t do it regularly are worried they won't be in sync. I reply "Who cares? Just have fun, make sure u feel good." Just try it once n learn to let go of fear that someone is watching. Enjoy an hour of music n dance n have a great workout. Is spin class too scary to try and I often jsut watch others do it? Just take the class a few times n try to enjoy the feeling of working out harder and pushing yourself to a level you thought you were not capable of reaching. Let the beats carry you away to a level where all u care is how amazing that sense of achievement is. Joy of overcoming not just physical but mental challenge as well and the confidene that you can do it will make u feel happy. Give a new idea a chance; you may end up liking it. Get over the thought of taking classes when u are in better shape. Just step in, and u will have a great workout. I am not a treadmill person n for years I forced myself to use those monotonous machines which bored me to the core. I almost did not want to go to the gym because it was so boring. Then I started exploring options and I am so glad I did. For me group fitness classes just kick the boredom n guarantees a feel good time with yourself. I discovered what I like because I tried it. I try to do different form of activity most days in a week depending on my schedule. You need to find out what will work for you.

Don’t work out aiming to see yourself thinner. Think healthier. Think better stamina. Think a disease free body. Health will come to you when you eat clean n workout (there I go again). Health will follow, you don’t even have to think about it. Understand that each hour of workout you are doing, is a favor to you mind and body. It’s a way to unwind and get good night’s sleep. Enjoy the experience of sweating. When you do it for enjoyment, you will not feel burdened to do it. In fact you will look forward to an hour of awesomeness. Don’t do it as a duty, do it as entertainment. Remember, your body is a temple, don’t abuse it by over eating and eating wrong constantly, It the only house where you reside. You cant buy a new one. If you don’t take care of it, it will fall apart, which can be a huge loss emotionally, financially and physically. Lot of people don’t appreciate good health until they lose it, why even get there. Weather skinny or not, everyone needs to take care of themselves. Everyone needs to be moderately active and eating good meals most of the times.

Learning to enjoy it, doing it does change your life for good. Try it!