Tuesday, 26 June 2012

When Cheating is OK

I am ruled by my stomach. I could say it correctly – my stomach rules me – but I want to be emphatic. I am completely ruled by my stomach. The first thing I say to myself in the morning is ‘coffee’. The first words I say to another human being are ‘what’s for breakfast?’.

My family have always been big foodies – rare is the week where a joint of meat is not sizzling in the oven, a new recipe has not been tried, and I am not covered in flour and sugar attempting to bake. Cheese, chocolate, pizza, spare ribs, lamb chops, sirloin, T-bone, filet, chateaubriand, rump steak, prawns, lobster, and crab. These were all very much part of my childhood and have been my constant companions since. No wonder I tend to lose my head completely when I have to diet. Headaches, irritation, extreme mood swings! All because I cant eat the meringues in the fridge.

Don't get me wrong- I see the necessity of a diet. If anyone loves food the way I do, you NEED to exercise and you need to practice some restraint. Restraint. I hate that word. I first learnt it when I was 15 and its been dogging my footsteps ever since.

Oops I did it again...
I came to the point 6 months ago where I was repeating the same bunch of shirts over and over again and even my favorite sari didn't fit. How you ask? The material draped around me fine, the choli i.e. bodice felt like it was slowly crushing my rib cage. That's when I decided I was being too lazy and completely irresponsible and I needed to start exercising and stop eating.

I have been successfully managing my food for four months now and have to say that between exercise and keeping my mouth shut I’ve managed to lose the weight I needed to. YAY! It hasn't been smooth sailing and I have said ‘No thank you aunty’ to more mothers than I can count. I’m resigned to the fact that all my friends’ mums think I am insufferably rude and assume I don't like their cooking. But - there are days when it gets too much. There are days when I don't care how good I have been; I need a handful of Maltesers. The waffle cones in Baskin Robbins call to me, Indigo Deli pizza has never looked better, dhokla, muthiya, khandvi and panki become manna and butter garlic crab dances in front of my eyes. And on those days, it’s ok to cheat.

It’s ok to eat the food you are so desperately craving as long as you do it the one time. There is no sense watching what you eat when you’re cheating every alternate day. You might as well not bother. My self-control gives up once every ten days and I don't try to stop it. I know enough to not give in every single day and I can stretch my willpower to ten days. Beyond that it gets difficult. So I eat on day 10, sometimes I eat on day 7 and day 10 and then kick myself for it.

Try and cheat when you’re around friends, someone who can stop you after a point. What happens with me is I start eating everything in sight that I shouldn't eat and I cant stop myself. I become like a tiny lab puppy that gobbles and gobbles till there’s no space for anything else to go in and then tries to gobble some more. You need to be able to stop yourself after a while or at least have someone who can reach out and say ‘Enough’. Hopefully you’ll listen!

What I force myself to do the day after I cheat is DOUBLE the amount of exercise I do. Which doesn't mean that if I do zero exercise it doubles to zero. It means that I get off my butt and do some yoga at the foot of my bed (this way I’m still in close proximity to my bed) or I go downstairs and run for 30 minutes or I take my highly excitable dog for a long long walk. It’s absolutely essential that you work off those cheating calories. They will naturally work themselves off but it’ll take ages and you won’t be happy about it. Get up and force the calories out of your system. Skip for 20 minutes, do some quick yoga (15 Surya Namaskars should do it – that is 15 on each side therefore 30 in total), squats-lunges-push ups-crunches, choose any of these stay at home options if you’re lazy but make sure you do it.

I’ve cut my exercising down by quite a bit since I started working and I know that I’m eating way too much for what I’m doing. Now I have to consciously change that and kick box my way into the next month. Boom.