Nurture your body — #1000Speak on Compassion

Nurture your body — #1000Speak on Compassion

Nurture your body
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“Wow, you’ve lost weight! How did you do it?”

“Haven’t you gained a little weight? You need to diet.”

“How’s your gym/Yoga/Zumba/running/dieting coming along? I  feel so unhappy. I just can’t stick to a diet.”

“Why do you need to walk every day? Aren’t you thin enough?”

These are some among the many conversations that I have encountered regularly, and they are almost always by women. There is this frenzy that has taken over our society. Every woman (perhaps man too) wishes to fit that perfect dress. Curves are loathed. Washboard abs and lean forms are worshipped. Thin is beautiful. Plump is ugly.

Even women who have just had babies hate their excess weight gain. They want to slip back into their pre-pregnancy jeans just like celeb moms splashed in magazines do. When they are unable to do so they feel even more unhappy. I am increasingly saddened by this situation. While we need to applaud everyone who wishes to get more healthy and fit, sadly that is not what most people are doing. They are chasing a right weight (whatever that is) at any cost. So crazy diets, starvation, excessive exercising and surgeries all go in the name of getting thin. It is frightening. The harm done to bones and bodies in the bargain are often not known or really worried about.

Just recently I went on a trip to Rajasthan. The place is beautiful and alive with history. Seeing beautiful forts in various cities was charming. But what felt even better was that the husband and I had no trouble in prancing up and down steep inclines and steps. While younger adults were struggling, we middle-aged adults managed so well. Not that I needed to but I knew that all that brisk walking and sensible eating has been doing my body immense good.

This is a tweet I posted that day:

This is the thought that I express to my body very often. I am really proud of her. She has taken me smoothly through two pregnancies and deliveries. She has let me fight diseases and handle tough parenting schedules. She sticks by me even when sometimes I trouble her with less sleep and stressful situations. Yes, she stands by me. I love her. And, I promise to nurture her at all costs. I will feed her good, nutritious food, and I will always keep her well oiled by doing my regular exercise. No, I will not shame her or curse her for gaining extra inches or getting stretch marks. I don’t watch my weight. I haven’t weighed myself in years. What’s the need? I love how clothes look on me and how I feel about myself.

I don’t try to fit a dress. I dress to flatter my body!

Let us all pledge to respect what nature has given us – plump or thin, broad or slim. Remember, it is a work of art, and the best machine you will ever come across. Cherish it, treasure it, nurture it! Be kind to it.  You ain’t getting another one!


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37 thoughts on “Nurture your body — #1000Speak on Compassion

  1. Very well said, Rachna. Fitness must become a state of mind more than a way to lose weight to fit into an outfit that is two sizes too small. Body shapes are also responsible for each person’s different weight distribution. Given that, however, it is in our hands that the power of change lies. When I took up swimming regularly, I felt better, happier and full of stamina. I stopped thanks to travel and I regret it. Now, I am slowly bringing myself back to a routine that combines healthy eating, walking and low-impact exercise to nurture my body. May we all go forward with good health in our hands.

    1. Exactly, Shailaja. How much we weigh and where we gain weight is dependent on so many factors including heredity. Yet, there is a single-minded obsession to get a certain body shape. So many complain of losing weight and then piling it all back. I wish there were more awareness in this area, and that people would realize that staying healthy is a lifelong choice. I have been doing Yoga, brisk walking and strength training regularly for almost 14 years now. I have seen immense change in my stamina, energy and flexibility. Of course, my weight has stayed stable too. Luckily, I course corrected towards nurturing the body from punishing it a long time ago. That is a great wish for everyone. Thanks for reading and for your insightful comment as always!

  2. Wow , You very rightly said -“Remember, it is a work of art, and the best machine you will ever come across”
    Being healthy and happy is really essential. How we look, fat or slim, ugly or beautiful is just state of mind. Accept your looks put on a smile, follow healthy regime, eat well and exercise regularly.

    1. You hit the nail on the head by saying that being fat or ugly is a state of mind, Swati. I have seen perfectly beautiful women stressing over a non-visible half a kilo that they may have gained. Indeed, aspire to be healthy and happy. Thanks for reading!

    1. I do hope you find time in your busy schedule to devote to your body, doc. You are right it needs a strong will power to begin. But once you make it a part of your routine, it becomes as natural as brushing your teeth.

      1. Right Rachna. When I started my daily walks, even 1 Km was a stretch. I would huff and pant.. and took me many months and determination, to reach the 5km walk and I dont even break a breath.

        1. Such an inspiring tale, Lata. Same with me. I have been doing it slowly and steadily. And the way the body responds is so pleasurable. Keep up the good work.

  3. Fantastic post ! People for get that its fitness one must strive for and not that flat stomach or thin arms. An energetic body is what I am trying to aim at !

    1. I hope you get there, Ruch. As for myself, I feel very happy that I have better stamina and joint flexibility as compared to my younger days. Thanks a lot!

  4. You know I am the obverse of thin. Yet, I too find it to…not exactly prance…but, at least, huff and puff up mountains – as I am about to do from 25th, again. Fitness is certainly not about being any ‘right size’ 🙂

  5. Well said! Your body is with you for life – you might as well learn to love one another and treat each other well. It’s about being healthy and confident and happy in the body that you have.

  6. “I am really proud of her.” It is a different way by which we learn to become friends with our body. Thanks for writing this out. We often take it as a burden and as you have pointed out, obsessed with how the body does or undoes us. I have in last few months learnt this and it has finally turned into a joyful journey. We each ought to be happy and proud of our closest and intimate friend.

    1. Well said, Bhavana. I guess as women we all struggle with body issues. Making peace with our bodies and appreciating them for what they are makes us become happier, content and more beautiful. 🙂

  7. Yes, this body is your powerhouse that nature has given you. Don’t take it for granted. Like you perfectly said -“nurture it”. But why weight loss is given a bad connotation generally? Like she lost weight. Must not be eating anything. She is starving herself, dunno what she’ll get out of it.
    If I say Sorry, I don’t take sugar. Pat comes the reply. Oh! so you’re dieting. I feel like saying. No i am making a correct choice for my body. None of your business anyways. You gorge on your sugar laden muffin. If that’s your food choice! 🙂
    Of course a weighing scale doesn’t define a fit body. You can be fit, agile and toned even at 60 kgs. Thanks for putting forth some key points.

    1. Nancy, very valid points. If you see the 4th statement at the beginning of my post about why do you need to exercise. Aren’t you thin enough? That is the one that conveys my frustration with people who boil everything to body shape. I exercise to stay fit. Staying in shape is a good side benefit. Nowhere am I saying that one must let go of their bodies. It requires a lot of discipline to maintain a steady body weight and hopefully healthy habits. What I am against is wrong habits to get thin that end up harming the body. Yes, people make silly comments because most of the times they don’t know. Like you said, a weighing scale is never a measure of your health. No one is propagating obesity but we really need to stop fat shaming. Fat is not necessarily unfit and thin is not fit is my point. At the end of the day, we have to show compassion to our body and try to keep it in good condition.

  8. Very well said Rachna.
    It is always good to take it in the right way. There is a fine line between pleasing others and taking care of oneself without breaking bones and badly tearing muscles.
    I also recently realised that many health, diet programs across globe is mainly focused on women. I don’t know why this is so? I somehow feel this kind of program adds to the pressure women faces on daily basis. Even for me who do not bother much what people think of my body, many times I feel the pressure of losing it quick 🙂
    I know I have to become fit and lose weight and for some people it is more a struggle to make up one’s mind than doing the actual work out itself. 🙂 (for people like me!)
    Only now I have made up my mind to start with work outs, brisk walks, jog, no harsh regimes yet, just beginning phase programs and it is helping a lot.

    1. Thank you, Bhavana. The diet programs are targeted towards women because they are supposed to be a certain shape. Apparently they must try to fit conventional stereotypes of beauty. Men mostly are most comfortable in their skins. Just look around any swimming pool and you will see pot bellied men comfortably lounging around. I am glad that you have taken the first step which is most important. Eat sensibly. Don’t deprive your body. Exercise moderately. Go at your body’s pace. Don’t look for drastic results. Slow and steady is the right approach. To hell with what others think about what you should do. 🙂

  9. Very well said, Rachna. I think the tweet you shared conveys it perfectly – as long as I have enough stamina for an active holiday, I would definitely be happy about my fitness levels. I recently met someone who traveled to Everest Base Camp, and while I may never attempt that, I would love to aim at that degree of fitness for sure :).

    1. Oh yes, I also have so much respect for marathoners and adventure enthusiasts as well. I basically love people who take care of their bodies and invest in its wellbeing. 🙂

  10. I love your approach in this post – particularly the way you refer to your body in third person. That really reveals how we aren’t our bodies, and we do need to take care of them. As a young woman I was obsessed with weight and constantly trying to diet, and then various circumstances meant I gradually lost weight without trying and came to the conclusion that left to their own devices all bodies had a “natural” weight. I am very grateful for that realisation because it did help release my obsession.
    I also hugely admire your practice of expressing love for your body. I think I’ll try it! Thanks.

    1. Thanks a lot, Yvonne. I think all of us have gone through the anxiety of weight gain after child birth. I had wondered too if I would lose it all. Luckily I did in an year or so and just by breastfeeding and other parenting chores. Like you said, the body does gravitate towards its normal weight. It happens even faster when we do commonsense sensible things.
      I am glad you like the practice of expressing self love. When I turned 40 last year, I wrote a love letter to myself. 🙂 It helped me sit back, reflect and actually feel grateful for being me. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  11. You have made such excellent points in this one, Rachna. It is important to pursue a healthy, fit body instead of an “ideal” weight. I have always been on the leaner side, but after the birth of my son I gained a significant amount of weight (which I lost eventually). During the first few months of my son’s life, I remember some of my relatives telling me to focus on weight loss as I would not be able to lose it later. Some logic! Thank god I turned a deaf ear to them and focused on nurturing my child instead. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Shantala. I am also blessed with a leaner frame and a body weight that has remained stable. Yes, people are so silly and end up troubling a new mother even more. Nursing and normal parenting chores helped me lose my pregnancy weight too. Luckily my mil used to be very supportive urging me toeat well and catch ample sleep. The weight always goes away as she had reassured. Glad you were so sensible.

  12. So very sad that people think that taking shortcuts like starvation diets and liposuction will be okay! I too have the same issue with people commenting about my weight and asking me for tips for a quick solution! Glad you chose this topic; you’re the best person I know to write about this!

    1. It is true and it is widely prevalent. I see it among women around me. And when I try to tell them to take it easy or do it the right way, they think I am mad. They are in a mad rush to get thin. I know of women who are killing themselves exercising 2-3 hours daily as they have a ‘weight’ goal. I mean, seriously, how and why? It is annoying when people ask you how you stay slim? I don’t know what magical tricks they expect. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. Starvation and dieting lead to illness. Natural ways are best to reduce the flab. Actually eople who diet are at verge of never losing weight. Our body is programmed to store the potential energy in the belly area. When we starve, body doesn’t let go off the potential energy. It will make you ill and eat what you were resisiting from. Great article Rachna 🙂

    1. Absolutely true, Saurabh. But the sad part is that most people don’t care. They want some magical wand to make them thin at any cost. They don’t realize that starvation slows down their metabolism and also leaves them strapped for energy making them even more frustrated. Thanks for reading.

  14. Rachna, its so true. I have been fighting weighty issues since I had my second son. I have never even regained my pre-pregnancy shape which used to make me feel terrible. I would hate to go out, could never find clothes to look good on me. I tried diets, exercise, spent a large sum on the gym. Till I finally realised, my loved ones never cared about my shape or size. In fact, it was more important to be healthy than a particular shape. I changed my diet to put in healthier foods, also walk about 5km atleast 3-4 times a week (more if work permits). It has helped me a lot healthwise, and thankfully, no other medical issues.

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