Let me start with the morning walks. Recently, I started learning how to box. Box as in, the sport of boxing. Over a period of a month, I learnt two things:
1 – Left straight punch, right straight punch.
2 – I have tremendously crappy stamina.
So, like a good boy, I go running on alternate mornings. Alternate evenings, I have boxing training. Which essentially consists of exhausting us through skipping rope, pushups, jogging, and THEN the training. While most other training exhausts you, boxing training starts AFTER you are dying of fatigue.
So, every morning I go for my run, I see other people down for a walk/run. Almost everyone has headphones on. I do too sometimes. There are three kinds of people I have noticed getting down for the morning walk:
1 – Athletic people (5 year old kids to 70 year olds, men & women, thin and not, but everyone in great control of their bodies)
2 – Girls of marriageable age
3 – Girls of marriageable age with their moms
Now, India is not at a phase in her existence where people are health and exercise oriented. We have to wait till America thinks we are a good market for health oriented services and then we will take to it like fish to water. But, the point I want to make is altogether different.
Most women out to marry and who are overweight have a two year period in their ENTIRE lives when they are a little pally with exercise and especially The Walk. They have never done it before this and they will never again do it after marriage. Unless they have daughters too and they become category 3. If you think I am exaggerating, talk to me after 30 years and give me a sizeable number of exceptions and I will admit on this very blog that I was wrong. If you won’t bother with proving me wrong, don’t bother thinking and mentioning it.
Apart from how long they would indulge in exercise, I have spoken to this variety of women and most of them have the SAME complaint! “I have been walking for 6 months and I am barely half a kilo less :(” Anybody thinks they know why? I definitely do.
Because they are not doing enough. In fact, they are not doing even close to enough. What they are doing is, lying to themselves, telling themselves that they are exercising or walking or running, but the point is, they are only doing it for apparent evidence of having done the task.
To give a very simple analogy, remember in school during exams when you used to sit with a book for 2 hours? You never read more than a few lines and spent most time daydreaming. And when results came you cribbed because how could you have gotten such less marks when you had studied so much!
Because, by the time the results came, you had even convinced YOURSELF that you were actually studying.
So, just because you get up in the morning and get out of the house and LOOK like you are exercising, doesn’t mean you are. It only means you are allowing yourself to believe you are exercising. Unless you are walking for 10 kilometres a day, you are likely not going to lose much weight. I am not even getting into the diet part of it.
And seriously, why can’t you run? What is so impossible about running? Why do you have to walk? You are in your twenties, your knees are fine, just try and run! Run a 100 metres for the first week, try and increase it in the next! But you won’t! Why? Because again. You just want to feel like you did something without doing anything. If you start running, you will possibly lose 5 kgs in a month. But kaun faltu mein itna mehnat karega?
Which brings me to protests. Save water during Holi. Don’t create pollution during Diwali. Light a candle every time a woman gets raped. All symptoms of the same social syndrome of appearing to do something while not being part of any system of real and consistent change. Outrage and facebook events don’t lead to change. Years of consistent work leads to change.
“But we are at least doing something!” is it’s own failure. Exactly like we convinced ourselves that we were studying, after a while, the SOMETHING starts seeming enough. We are satisfied with having just touched the issue. We no longer need to do real work because the SOMETHING allows us to believe we mattered. Which is why it is so easy and dangerous to fall into the trap of, “But I did something!” Which is why it is essential to weed it out of our collective conscious. Because, essentially, you are living a lie which is in effect eroding the world’s ability to create true change.
It simply means that I am telling you that it is NOT called studying if you only sit with the book. Of course you can argue, “But at least I am sitting with the book!”
Which brings me to your dreams for yourself. Do you have them? Maybe travel to see the world? Maybe learn music? Maybe start your own business? Maybe do something for a social cause? Eh?
I am sure at the bottom of your heart there is something you want to do. I am sure you visit online forums, read stories of people who have achieved similar dreams, follow blogs and websites that teach you how to do it, watch youtube videos, all of that! But what do you do yourself to do what you really want to do?
Mostly, we do nothing. Some of us do, most of us don’t. We are not ready to run that extra mile, or even get up in the mornings to do that.
The marketing oriented capitalistic world gives you quick fixes for a lot of things. But for the more important things in life like having good health and a body you like, owning a community organisation, affecting real change – it takes the same old boring grit, hardwork, and running the last mile. It starts with the proverbial first step though. And the first step is to decide to do. The second step is to not allow yourself to fool yourself. My dad taught me that.
Just in case you want an inspirational video, this is a good one.
Every morning I remind myself of this line: “Remember why you set the alarm in the first place.” It has allowed me to get up and get running on more occasions than one.
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