I have a problem. That of a common yet serious kind. I constantly obsess about my weight and I can’t even recall since when. Even though I may have told myself that it has something to do with living in the U.S where everyone obsesses about their calorie intake (and paradoxically do very little about it), but as I have thought about it more, I know for a fact that the problem goes way back in time.
Although, I accept that the accessibility to calorie information for every tiny food product sold in the U.S., the availability of sugar-free and fat-free versions of ice-creams, jams, milk, eggs and what have you has sure exacerbated my situation. Before that, I had no way of knowing that one samosa accounts for at least ¼ of my day’s calorie intake or that my favorite Ras Malai was doing more damage to my arse than I was imagining. Ignorance was probably bliss, until I started to equate doughnuts, cookies and even harmless looking trail mixes and energy bars with the multiples of calories they were packing in. There was no escape now, since it was right there, the Twix mini wrapper blatantly staring at me from the office bin, confirming your fears- yes you just did a 230 calories straight, there goes half the margin for lunch!( and you would make the resolution for the nth time, to never ever walk to that vending machine again). Hence forth there was no respite in scones and muffins as apples, broccoli became my best friends while salad the most brilliant invention of mankind (only with fat-free dressing, of course).
I never acknowledged the problem even when it became a subject of mockery among friends, when they started warning me on how that mouthful of rice was aiming to deposit itself straight on my face, or when they christened me ‘Diet Coke’ for my constant refusal to consume any other kind of beverage. Or when I would calculate and run on the tread mill to burn off the occasional indulgence- an extra sandwich here or a latte there even. Or when my body tuned in with my mind to nag it about the extra pound, without even having to step the scale- Best at weight A, warning signs at weight B, Starve yourself beyond C- I set standard for self (no. I am not revealing these numbers!)
So as I chatted up with my girlfriends this weekend over tea who I have known close to a decade now, it dawned on me how our ‘weight problem’ has inevitably been a subject of contemplation (even when none of us needed to lose anything but our vanity and naivety) Back in college it was about diet fads in the likes of Atkins, SouthBeach and others now about aerobics, power yoga, Pilates and I suspect, the years ahead will only make it worse as waistlines grow and metabolisms ebb.
I am not sure how and if this will ever fade out with me and if I will ever let go the control or the illusion of it or abandon Meryl Streep’s chant “Zero is the new two!” from the bible.(The Devil wears Prada) . Till then there literally are miles to run before I sleep.