I was suffering from cough, runny nose and a sore throat since last few days. Even after applying my own expertise on general medicines, I had failed to cure myself. My husband, Gaurav decided to fix an appointment with a doctor on Sunday morning and get me some professional help. The doctor diagnosed me with flu, not much serious in nature.He prescribed me to take some pills and a tonic. He also asked his assistant to measure my weight, which was a part of the check-up.
The figures on the weight scale displayed a disturbing two digit number for me.I didn’t realise that I have gained not 1 kilo or 2 kilos , but a whopping 8 kilos weight. It was indeed an alarming sign.
‘They checked my weight. It is reflecting as 62 kilos in weight scale,’ I felt choked up with cough.I had just come out of the doctor’s cabin with a gloomy face and stood in front of Gaurav. He was sitting in the reception lobby of the hospital.
‘So what?’ Gaurav’s shrugged his shoulder and replied in an indifferent tone.He was reading the Sunday edition of Times of India.
‘I weighed 54 kilos before our marriage.Can you imagine I have put on 8 kilos in last five months ?’ I was desperate to make my weight issues sound more important to Gaurav rather than the political conflicts reported in the newspaper.
‘Big deal Aheli.Weight is just a number,’ he was grinning behind the newspaper.
‘Don’t try to be funny. I am quite serious,’ I was certainly not pleased with Gaurav’s sense of humour at that moment.
‘What am I supposed to do then?’Gaurav gave me a confused look.
‘I am trying to figure it out,’ I replied.
‘Leave all this nonsense and tell me what did the doctor suggest about your flu?’he said sharply
‘I think I need to control my diet,’I was in an analytical mood.
I was waiting for Gaurav’s response as he was busy paying the hospital bills in cash counter.My eyes hovered on him lazily when something drew my attention.It was the paunch hiding behind his loose T-shirt.Though I was not seeing it for the first time, but I realised that both of us had gained a lot of weight in last few months.
‘Why don’t you check your weight too?’ I asked Gaurav when we were about to leave the hospital.
‘What do you mean? Why should I check my weight? I am perfectly fine,’ Gaurav took no time to reply this time.
‘Dear, there is no harm in checking your weight once, right?’ I insisted.
‘Why don’t you better concentrate on your own health Aheli? Let’s go and buy medicines the doctor has prescribed,’ this guy definitely knew the tricks to divert an important conversation to something trivial.It was really annoying.
‘I hope you don’t want me to make a scene here.I am not going anywhere without checking your weight,’ I preferred blackmailing him whenever I thought it as the best option.
‘Okay.Fine,’his tone got a little bit submissive finally.
‘Go there and stand on it. I will note down your weight,’I directed him towards a corner in the hospital occupying a weight scale. Gaurav stood on the weight scale in a reluctant mood.
‘Gaurav ! You weigh straight 90 kilos !’ I was in a state of shock. He was just 10 kilos away from hitting a century in the weight scale.
‘This weight scale is having some problem.I can’t weigh that much,’he thought blaming the weight scale was a good option to overlook his obesity.
‘Do you know the kind of health complications that arise from an overweight body? Enough.We are both going to be on diet from today,’ I announced spontaneously.
Our food preferences always started and ended in oily and spicy junk foods. Adapting a healthy food habit and lifestyle was also difficult for two other reasons:
- I had somehow learnt cooking so that I can survive by some means after my marriage.The subject of healthy cooking was totally Greek to me.
- After coming back home from work ,I didn’t have any energy left in me to enter the kitchen.I am a lazy person.Most of the time food ordered from restaurants acted as a saviour for me and Gaurav. (I am leaving Gaurav from the above two reasons because his sincerity towards his health is quite obvious by now.)
‘What is this Aheli? Where are my parathas?’Gaurav was looking disturbed at the breakfast table.
‘This is milk with oats,’I replied.
‘I can’t eat this horrible thing.’
‘This is good for health and it helps in weight loss.’
‘Do you want me to leave for office feeling irritated and hungry?’
‘I am also having the same thing for breakfast.Do you see me complaining about it?Besides, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.So we should choose it wisely.You will soon have a toned body.I am telling you,’I assured Gaurav.
‘Yeah of course, only if I survive till then.But you can at least add some sugar in it, right?’
‘Are you mad?Do you have any idea how much calories even a single spoon of sugar contains?’
‘Listen, I have a simple plan for us to lose weight.We must sacrifice our taste buds and listen to our conscience.Today onwards, we are not going to indulge ourselves in any sort of spicy food and sweets.There will be no frequent visits to ice-creams parlours.The habit of drinking chilled soft drinks should be replaced with water.No more snacking in the middle of night.Moreover we are going to workout at least for an hour daily in the morning.In this way, we will be back in shape within next two months,’I continued.
I was desperate to lose the extra kilos as soon as possible.
Gaurav was too shocked to react after my declaration. It was like someone had given him a death sentence.
‘Aheli ,I think you are going too fast.The process of weight loss is gradual.It doesn’t happen so easily,’ he managed to reply after few seconds of silence.
‘Don’t worry, I know what I am doing.However, two months mean a good amount of time,’I was in no mood to compromise.
‘Whatever ! I think you can choose some healthy as well as tasty meal options next time.Thank God ! I will have lunch at office,’ he insisted.
‘No,we will carry our lunch boxes from home today onwards.Home cooked food is a healthy choice.I have packed phulkas and sabji for lunch.We will have the same thing for dinner.’ I took the trouble of waking up early in that morning and packed our lunch.This was quite opposite to my nature.
Gaurav thought keeping quiet was the best policy at that moment.
’Wake up Gaurav,’I was trying hard to wake him up.
‘What happened?’he was still in his dreams.
‘We will go for jogging.Come on, wake up now.’
‘What is the time?’
‘It is 5:30 am.’
‘Are you nuts?I am not going to get out of bed this early.’
‘I have told you yesterday that we will work out in the mornings.’
‘Yeah, we will do it from tomorrow. Let me sleep now.’
Gaurav’s protest didn’t stand a chance in front of his troublesome wife who threatened him to serve a bowl of milk and oats without sugar again in breakfast.
We went to a park near our apartment.Everyday the park witnessed many young and old couples giving their best effort to reduce their waistline to some inches.
‘I am going to stop after this round,’ Gaurav told me after jogging around the park for the fifth time. He was finding it difficult to breathe. My situation was also not good either.We were also feeling very hungry after jogging.
‘Let’s go home and have some food,’I suggested.
‘I have no energy left now to go home.We will eat something and then return,’he replied.
Interestingly there was a big shop adjacent to the park. It was a renowned food chain,quite famous for it’s delicious sweets and mouth watering snacks all over the country. In short,it was a heaven for food lovers. Those who came to the park to exercise also visited the shop later religiously. I doubt if it was a sales strategy of the shop to build their branch just nearby the park.
I didn’t have much time in my hand to prepare breakfast and lunch after returning home.Naturally like many other health conscious people in the park ,that food chain appeared to be the perfect place to eat.
‘We will go for tea and a packet of biscuits,’I told Gaurav. I had to resist my urge after seeing all the enticing items inside the shop.
‘Aheli ,we have worked out for more than an hour.Besides,breakfast is the most important meal of the day.So we should choose it wisely,’Gaurav approached towards the food counter to give the breakfast order.I tried to remember where I had heard the very same lines before.
‘Let’s order for chhole bhature ,masala dosa and sweet lassi.We will have lunch today in office canteen,’ he suggested.
‘Fine,’ I wasn’t fine though thinking what we were up to. But my stomach was just demanding food at that point.Diet was the last thing that crossed my mind.
‘Gaurav ! what is this ? You are weighing 94 kilos ! 4 kilos more since we have last checked,’ I bought a small weight scale on my way back home from office and asked Gaurav to measure his weight. Both of us were fighting the battle against obesity for the past two months. So, I felt disappointed to see the results.
‘I don’t know what to say,’ he checked his weight again in disbelief.
‘What have you been eating all these days?’ I had some doubt.
‘I have been eating whatever you gave me to eat.’
‘Really?Tell me the truth.’ I stood firm.
‘Well, sometimes I had pizzas, pav bhaaji and kachoris in office canteen as snacks ,’he replied.
‘Then? What else?’
‘I occasionally had parathas and biriyani in lunch from the eatery near to my office building.I went there with my colleagues.How can I simply eat home packed lunch there? Do you understand my point?’
‘Chilled drinks or ice creams?’
‘Umm…let me think….well…,’ he was scratching his head to find an answer.
Honestly speaking , I lost interest to listen anymore explanations from Gaurav. The failure of last two month’s struggle left me almost in tears.
‘Aheli , don’t get upset. You gave a lot of effort to help us adapt a healthy lifestyle. I am sorry that I have spoilt everything,’ Gaurav sounded repentant.
‘Don’t apologise.You are not the only one here who has gained weight?’I replied.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I have checked my weight while coming back home.I weigh 65 kilos now.Exactly 3 kilos more than my last checked weight,’I had to reveal the fact.
‘What?’Gaurav couldn’t believe my words. I was the one who initiated all the effort to reduce weight.
‘Yeah.But I was hopeful that you will manage to shred few kilos at least.’
‘I can’t understand.How did you fail to lose weight?You were more serious in this matter than me.’
‘I had indulged in my favourite foodstuffs in office sometimes. As I was working out everyday, so that gave me an excuse to cheat on my diet. Every time I thought little bit of cheating will not effect my weight. I never missed a chance to eat junk food and desserts whenever I was outside with my friends or colleagues,’ I had a list longer than Gaurav.
‘The food intake limit set by us actually made us eat more.I now realise what you had told me earlier. We must sacrifice our taste buds and listen to our conscience,’ I didn’t know Gaurav could say these words.
‘So what should we do now?What is the plan?’I decided to turn the table towards Gaurav.
‘We will try another time until we get back to a healthy shape,’Gaurav was undoubtedly more optimistic than me.
‘What if we fail next time again?’I was not feeling much confident at that moment.
‘We must give an honest try,’ he replied.
We understood one thing from this incident.Will power plays the key role in the journey of a healthy living, much like in any other field of life.If one doesn’t have this essential element, then no master plan can help him/her to succeed.