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What's your excuse?

So this one’s going to be short and sweet. Well, maybe not sweet. I am going to discuss three things, just like BCG or McKinsey would say it! Three things around fitness, or the lack thereof!

  1. What gives me the right to write this?

  2. What used to be my excuse for not being fit?

  3. Why was it all bullshit?


What gives me the right to write this?

You must have heard of the phrase – ‘He who suffers the tragedy, must tell the story’? If you haven’t, then it’s completely fine. I just coined it!

Having invested ten wholesome years in the journey from plump to morbidly obese, I think I’ve earnt my stripes in the war against healthy living! So, it follows without argument, that I’ve joked, lied, denied, and laughed my way through various excuses designed to specifically avoid the treadmill or the elliptical or shoes in general!

But, what really gives me the right to talk about it now is the fact that since the beginning of 2020, I’ve stopped those excuses. Yeah! And even as I write this post, we are already halfway through the year, and I’ve still not invented any new ones either! While I may not have transformed into a greek god yet, I am passionately cognizant of the stupidity that I’ve lived through these past years. I’m on my way to having healthier arteries, and I can already feel the slight difference that this decision has inspired! So THAT’S what gives me the right to write about this.


What used to be my excuse for not being fit?

For starters, if it was just one, then this would be a tweet instead of a blog post! Ten years of practice in evading exercise has allowed me to try almost every trick in the book.

Here are some of the memorable ones –


The Basic



Procrastination

Probably the most used ploy since the invention of the term ‘obesity’ itself. This one’s a very simple technique that can be used sparingly over your lifetime at a moment’s whim. And really, it needs no preparation! Bat those tired eyes, and just whine with complete conviction – “I’m just not feeling like it today, why don’t I start tomorrow?”

Very effective, but only works for a short run. Remember the boy who cried wolf? Same logic.


Blame it on something –

This one requires light to moderate research, and the right timing to pull the trick off. You could blame your shoes, and say that they slip on the pavement. You could blame the weather if it just happens to drizzle. You could blame the late-night meeting that your boss set up at short notice! You could also blame the sun if you really hit the sweet spot between 9.30 and 10.30 am (it gets unbearably sunny around that mark). But be advised, the sunscreen industry has already walked all over that one!


The Intermediate


Modified procrastination –

This is a slightly revised way to procrastinate, in which you just don’t postpone the activity, but present it in a way that actually showcases meticulous planning! Case in point – “My birthday is coming up in a few days. We’ll go out, drink, and party, and then all this effort will be wasted anyway. So instead, I’ll make it my birthday resolution! Immediately after that weekend, I’ll start head-on!”

Get it? Procrastination by spades! You could substitute the birthday with big events, exams, important meetings, year-end reviews, recent illness, lockdown restrictions, COVID fear… etc. Almost anything works, provided you have the right imagination!


Get technical –

You know how people tend to believe even the stupidest arguments if you just get technical on them? For instance, I can start a dialogue with people, and tell them that I weight so much that I can’t exercise too briskly. My knees are at risk of being damaged, so I can only take light walks. I have a wide foot, so walking gives me blisters. My past blisters haven’t healed yet, and I may run the risk of developing a fungal infection. All perfectly rubbish, except maybe the knee comment. But you see? Leave no room for a manoeuvre. Good long-term strategy!


The Advanced


I just thank my stars that I never graduated so far. The only two by-products at this stage are coronary diseases and custom-fit clothing.


Why was it all bullshit?

Because excuses are bullshit. That is the definition of an excuse. I mean literally, it is ‘a reason given to reduce the fault of an action’. But that’s it, a fault is a fault, right?

Before I go into details of why the excuses were bullshit, let me first explain in the simplest of terms, why I decided to quit running and hiding. Everyone has that one moment of revelation in life when they think – “Gosh, I’ve aged in these past years!”. It’s not great when this feeling hits you at the age of 28. Well, that’s when it hit me, and that’s when I decided to change.


For some, that revelation may never strike, because they surround themselves with a life that veils anything harsh. I did just that, for several years. I told myself that I’m living the life that I want and I don’t NEED to be fit. That bubble burst, probably just in time.


Now moving on to those excuses.


Procrastination? There is never a good time!Want to blame something? There’s always someone’s birthday!Weather? A light drizzle isn’t going to drown you!

The bottom line is this – getting fit is hard.


Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that it’s ever going to be easy. But once you accept that, and the fact that you took ten years to defile your health, it is an agreeable compromise to at least struggle for a few months before fitness starts becoming easy. It IS a small trade-off, right? A couple of years to undo a decade’s worth of unhealthy habits?

So, contrary to all my beliefs, I started exercising on a Thursday. Yes, not Monday because it would be the perfect start to the week!


I tried a cross-fit session at Cult that was way out of my league! Yes, I wondered if I could even do a jumping jack without breaking my ankles and knees. But I saw a 50-year-old uncle take the same class, and the excuse seemed astoundingly stupid.


I tried the same session for the second day in a row! It got better. I enjoyed it, contrary to my long-standing belief that group exercise is awkward! People motivated me. I thought my knees would give out, but the trainers made sure they didn’t! And the knees are fine. I enjoyed it so much that after six days, even a day without exercise made me lethargic! Still does. And after a fortnight, I had lost a kilo and a half! Tip of the iceberg.


But, despite all my myths being busted, there was that one moment between the expiration of my trial sessions and the decision to start a one-year membership when I self-exclaimed – “Let me just slack off for a few days. It’ll be fine!” That tingling sensation in my head, to just give-up and sleep-in for an extra hour, was strong.


But then the most miraculous thing happened.


I remembered the reason why I had started. I remembered the thought that had struck me when I was 28. But now, I was just a couple of months away from turning 29! Things don’t get easier with age, they only get harder. So I challenged myself with only one question –


Give me one reason why I should not continue?


I had no answer!… So I took a leap of faith and continued. In fact, I still have no answer, and hence I haven’t stopped!

All this may seem easy to read, but it is difficult to believe in, and even harder to follow. – True

You may end up trying something for a few days, and then still fall off the wagon. – Quite likely

This way of thinking obviously does not work for everyone, and especially may not work for you. – Something else will.

But only one thing won’t work, for sure.– Excuses.… and ridiculous diets that only include rabbit food.
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