Fear of death has now made me a compulsive health addict. My neck elongates like a giraffe when someone talks about topics such as Health, Diet, Exercise, Salads and Fruits. My wife says these words hold an erotic appeal to my senses.
My son asked me one day-'Daddy, Are you pregnant?' That is when I came to the realization that I love food more than fitness. When it came to dieting, I was never an optimist or a pessimist. I was just a Gastronomist! I saw life as a garnished garden of goods to eat, drink and be merry. An epicurean extrovert from womb to tomb-that has been my mantra.
I heard my first warning signal about my health at the age of thirty when a doctor examined me and told that my blood pressure was 140/90. I weighed a modest 85 kg. 'Mr. Nair', he said, 'If you want to live long, avoid smoking, drinking and women.' Will it help doctor? I eagerly asked him. 'Well, not exactly, but it makes you feel that your days are longer'. He then advised me to diet and exercise.
The following day was my third wedding anniversary and I had promised my wife to take her to the first Pizza shop in Cochin. I ordered two Pizzas for each of us. The Waiter looked at me and asked 'How would you like your pizza sliced- six or eight pieces? I thought about my diet and said, ' Six please, I wouldn't be able to eat eight?'
I had heard that if you eat slowly, you eat less. Having grown up taking meals with my three foodie sisters, I had no qualms on this maxim (as I was often left with less to eat). Somehow, my son's verbal abuse led me to make a policy decision ' 'Never eat more than you can lift'. I also decided to launch a mission-'Operation lean PGR'.
I thought of acquiring some ancient wisdom on this subject from books and bought a slim diet book to start with. Btw, the bestsellers in book stalls are cook books and the second biggest seller is diet books-how not to eat what you have learned how to cook. Dieting is the time when days seem longer and meals after meals seem shorter. A curious friend enquired of my strange diet. I replied I am on 'Sea food diet'. 'Come on PGR, you are a vegetarian and moreover seafood is fatty'- my friend cautioned. I clarified that what I meant was , 'I see food but I don't eat it'.
The toughest part of my diet wasn't watching what I eat. It's watching what other people eat. I realized that dieting is like public speaking; I have to keep my mouth shut at the right time- such as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The following day I met my fat friend Suresh who was running Physics Chamber Tutorials in Cochin. He said Vegetables are a must on a diet plan. He suggested carrot cake, Baingan Fry, and pumpkin pie. He advised me to eat standing up as what you eat standing up doesn't count. Another recommendation was to drink lot of water after eating Hyderabadi baingan bartha. The oil will just float making it light. His suggestion was to eat the kind of food that will fight it out inside (eat cat and dog meat together) reducing the calorie intake. I then saw him gobbling a giant plate of Chicken Biriyani in less than a minute. When I asked him why he ate in such haste, his reply was that doctor had told him 'Fast!'.
Well, the only thing that I lost after my dieting was my patience. Depressed with my dull diet I swiftly switched to my second Operation to look lean ' 'Operation Exercise'. The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier. My first exercise was horse riding. I found a coach and took it up for two weeks and it really worked. The coach later told me that the horse had lost 15 kg .
I then took up jogging The first day thrilled me. I was running along the Foreshore Road in Cochin early morning and I heard footsteps behind me. When I turned back I saw PT Usha running just behind me. I realized my true potential only then.
My last coaching in running came when I read an Ad in a hotel during a business trip. It said 'Reduce 5 Kg in a week'. I called the number. A sweet voice answered, 'Sir, deliver a Check for Rs 2000 at the Hotel counter and we will send a representative to your room in the morning."
The next morning someone knocked at my door. When I opened, there stood a beautiful damsel in a glamorous dress with a sign board hanging around her neck. It read- "If you catch me you can have me".
Well, I skipped my doctor's advice to avoid maidens to have this maiden offer in my exercise program. I chased her upstairs, downstairs and on to the hotel lawn. I could not catch her till evening. The chase ended by evening. Each day my hope and excitement touched a new peak. At the end of the week, I had lost exactly 5 Kg.
A month later I returned to the same hotel, rang up that fitness firm and asked them whether they had any better weight reduction program. They said there was a course, which guaranteed a weight reduction of 10 Kg in a week. I was more excited and straightaway made the deal.
As expected, the next morning someone knocked at my door. When I opened the door with great expectation I saw a man and a Gorilla. The gorilla had a signboard around its neck and it read- "If I catch you, I will have you."
Fear gripped my soul and I ran for my dear life and that was when I really listened to my heartbeat. Though this chase ended by evening, I could not eat even a morsel of food out of mortal fear. At the end of the week, I had become virtually weightless. For many days after that incident, my wife did not let me go out, afraid that I might be carried off by the wind. Now whenever I get the feeling to exercise, she asks me to lie down until the feeling passes.
I have now adopted some practical tips. I move in the company of my fat friends like Suresh and Ramanathan to look lean and light. And to look younger, I walk in the company of some senior citizens here in our India Forum.
If you are doing aerobic reading of this post (heheheing with your mouth), you may have lost a kg by now. You can send a thank you card and invite PGR for a Thanksgiving lean dinner.