Wednesday, November 1, 2017

To diet or not to diet?

Have you noticed how all conversation, irrespective of the people holding it, the place it is being held at, or the circumstance, revolves around food. Or more precisely the lack or abundance thereof. Food is the veneer, but the bulk underneath that everyone actually talks about is the weight ( no pun intended) - you are either underweight ( rarely) or over weight. If I look back in my week, I have not met a single person who is happy with the way their body is at present. They are working on reducing the inches, eliminating the fat, gaining muscle - basically doing anything and everything to not be the way they are today, including me.
I talk about pre pregnancy weight and post pregnancy weight, I talk about fat deposits and diets, about long term results and short term effects. We have given birth to a new industry - an industry whose occupation is to tell us the good food as against the bad. And who make it a point to never agree on something as basic as that. Ghee is good, ghee is fattening, cheese is good, avoid cheese like the plague, keto and paleo are fancy new names, GM is the old one. 

When did we become so obsessed with weight and not fitness?
When did we become so discontented with our bodies? And what has fuelled this depressing obsession?
We could point to the media that keeps feeding us the image of thin models as ideals, but the most gullible lot is probably over 30 years of age, an age at which you would think the power of common sense starts taking dominance over the power of glossy prints. 

Isn’t there some way we can learn to accept ourselves, work to improve our fitness levels, but not be completely depressed with the way we are? Wasn’t there a time when we were free of these concerns and had bigger ones to occupy our minds? 
There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to look better and fitter, there is absolutely nothing wrong in trying out a diet or two, a little weighing and some measuring, a little sighing and some wishful dreaming, a little jealousy and some admiring as long as we can shrug it off and move on. Move on with or day and our life.
I would love to lose some weight, and many more inches too. But I do not want to thinks do calculate  the calorie intake down to the last cup of tea that I have. The best advise I have received regarding this conundrum is to listen to your stomach - “ your tummy knows best”. If it is full and is sending you signals to that effect, respect it. Respect your body and it’s ability to function and keep you alive, to make you breathe and digest. 
Basically follow what babies do - eat exactly the amount you want and then say no to every single morsel of food presented your way - be it an ice cream or some doubtful looking vegetable soup. And then I think we can lay to rest this never ending conversation and finally start focusing in fitness - to being fit for yourself and for your loved ones. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fly like a kite, with a little string in my hand

The word "possessive" takes on a very strong and real meaning when your child starts interacting, and actually liking other people. And if this happens in the " i need to start disciplining my child" phase, you have had it. It is a mental roller coaster. You want to be the "good cop", always. You also know you cannot afford to be the good cop, because there is no "bad cop" around, other than you, not for many miles.

I am still trying to figure out what disciplining means.
I am trying hard to look into my past to see how, or even if, my sister and i were disciplined. For some reason, the word discipline brings forth a negative image. A picture of a cane and military style stand-in-attention, in a straight line, with ram rod straight backs. No laughing, no smiling, no giggling.

When Aria makes a mess on the floor with water and mud, am i supposed to discipline her or let the joy on her face overrule?
When Aria insists on eating on her own in the most messy way possible, am i supposed to discipline her or appreciate her streak of independence?
When on a few occasions, she refuses to go to sleep, am i supposed to put her to bed amid all the protests, or go ahead with her enthusiasm for not wanting the day to end, to be awake just a little while longer?
When she knowingly throws an object on the floor, am i supposed to sternly say "no", or let her marvel at how gravity works and help her understand the law of consequences - how an object once thrown does not return on its own?
When she refuses vehemently to go with / to some stranger, or even a loved one, am i supposed to discipline her and tell her, her feelings do not matter, or let her be her own person, and tell her it is ok to have different levels of comfort with different people?
When she lets out a resounding "NO" when an adult tries to grab her, lift her, tease her, or pull her cheeks - am i supposed to tell her to not say "no", or teach her at this early an age, that a no means a no, and only she is the master of her own body?
On rare occasions when Aria refuses to eat every thing i offer, am i supposed to get upset, and tell her its this or nothing, or am i supposed to think back on the many times I have not eaten either because i was not well or i just didn't feel like?
When she wants to throw a tantrum because something has been taken away from her, all for a valid reason, am i supposed to ignore her, or sit down and let her cry / yell it out because she is a toddler who is yet to learn what emotions means, let alone try and control them?
When she wants to hug me and be stuck to me, no matter what, am i supposed to listen to friendly advice and talk to her and ask her to leave me and go do her own thing or go to somebody else, or am i allowed to let her wear her heart on her sleeves before she learns to be an adult and masters the art of masking her true feelings?

I see her grow daily, and i wish there was some way i could halt time and not have her grow up. I see her make mistakes daily, i see her fall down and get up and smile goofy. I see her intelligence developing and i see her struggling with her emotions. And i wonder where does discipline fit in all this?
I really do not think we can ever discipline our children, not at least in the strictest sense of the word. We can only guide them, we can only tell them how to differentiate the right from the wrong. They need to learn from their mistakes and they need to be given the freedom to make those mistakes. That is how my sister and i were raised. Independent, aware of consequences, but also confident on the back of an unconditional, ever present support system.

This is especially difficult to remember in the daily race of life, when you just wish they would hurry up and eat, hurry up and sleep, hurry up and get through park time, and play time, hurry up and nap. And in all this we forget that we are acting as catalysts to the very thing we are trying to stop - their hurrying anything up. Just being tiny and cute, and totally dependent on us!

                                                                       Source of image

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A magical year

Aria is one, already!
She has a voice, a personality, opinions, feelings and extreme ways of expressing them. 
All this coming from someone, who just a while ago, was a little blob inside of me. 
Now she walks, shrugging our hand off, in the park.
Now she wails when its time to leave the park, or the bath tub. Not one for silent protest.
Now she points to stuff she wants and you are left wondering how you fed, bathe, clothe and played with her when she absolutely couldn't communicate with you.

She recognises and likes other people now, you become one of the people on her " favourites" list. The list no longer begins and ends with you, i consider myself lucky if on some days the list begins with me.
Her gestures and words for hunger, thirst and sleep are straight forward, but she doesnt understand as yet the feeling of boredom. She knows she is restless, but she needs mommy to figure out whats wrong. I wonder how long that will last.
She has her favourite books, and is the decision maker for which book to read, she can turn the pages of the book, but she needs me to sit by her and give her a word for every object on every page she points to. I wonder how long till we run out of such books.
She can eat with her hand, but needs me to spoon feed her. I wonder what else can i make that definitely needs a spoon to be eaten.
She can climb up on beds, sofas and chairs, but she needs me climb down. I wonder hoe long i can resist placing wooden blocks under the foots of the bed to increase their height, in proportion to the growth in her confidence. Crazy.
She knows where her toys are, and can take them out, but needs you to put the switch on for all the musical ones. I wonder how long till we run out of toys with complicated switches.
So many things she can do on her own, and yet so many things she needs me for. And the balance is tilting one way dangerously fast.

Its a cliche, time flies...but it does. You want it to slow down, you want your time with her to move in slow motion, to capture every movement, every flicker. But she wants to race ahead, reach milestones . Such a contradiction. And i have a feeling this tug of contradiction is going to last for the rest of time. With me holding on, and Aria breaking free.
You hope you will be dignified and mature about it, fingers crossed.