Last fortnight we were soaking up the sun on the lush grounds of MB Club, in the cantonment, when my octogenarian dad boomed that I would need bariatric surgery to shed the flab if I expanded even an inch more, horizontally. Luckily, I could blame the smiling sun for my flaming cheeks and smarting eyes. An encore happened days later when the grand matriarch on his side of the family tree told me squarely that, well, I had become fat. Breathing in, seemingly cleverly dressed in black, I sidled away. But it is always a triple whammy. That very night in the elevator I met a garrulous, rather generous-hipped lady, a pest living a few apartments down in my high rise — who gargled that she couldn't recognise me as my girth had undergone a major expansion.
Forget the slim-boned, the ectomorphs, the blessed. I had it easy-peasy while growing up, slurping up honeyed mangoes for breakfast and lunch, gobbling parathas with melting globules of white butter, tucking in besan pakodas and eating mutton biryani at 2 am. All was cool. Of course, that feels like a lifetime ago. Then motherhood arrived and those impish hormones kicked me in the tummy and cackled wildly. I sweated it out and rebounded, survived PCOD, and the second tyke arrived at 35. The tendons were already shrieking, the energy levels were shrinking rapidly. It took double the effort, easily. But the LBD size just wouldn't drop below 14. Fuller, Rubenesque, he commented. I basked, shrugged and chugged along.
Eating everything in moderation and burning the calories dedicatedly has always been my anthem. (Representational photo: Reuters)
Over the years I have chalked out my own inch-loss ditty. I am generously endowed, never mind the kilos. Eating everything in moderation and burning the calories dedicatedly has always been my anthem. With my work schedules, two kids and social responsibilities, I just cannot take the time or carve out inclination to fluff up almond flour bread in the oven for a keto intake, or churn juices in the mixer for glugging ("Don't keep the juice standing, have it fresh!" repeat nutritionists). Honestly, I feel you can "go" on a diet and stick on there, only if you have minions around to toss up the celery, beet and avocado, and prep peanut butter sandwiches for you while making protein-rich homemade shakes. Where is the time for making the fancy stuff? First, rally ingredients; second, make; third, eat on time; fourth, remember to make use of the leftover ingredients; fifth, procure again. My sister, trying to shed ungainly pounds too, is on a virtual starvation diet, with green tea and husk galore figuring on her list. The bottom line: the bottom-heavy may perhaps need to go on a starvation diet. But then what about apples, like me?
Latent anaemia I zeroed in on last year left me lean and lanky. I pranced around in leather pants and skinny jeans. As my magnetism stabilised, the perimenopausal symptoms began to wing in and the Zara zipper on my favourite pair of black trousers refused to go up. Eh! "Mom, you need to take rest. You are old," my younger one tells me, genuine concern pooling up in his honest eyes as my joints snap crisply while I ease myself in and out of asanas during the early morning session of power yoga. I purse my lips, stifle my laughter. It isn't a nice feeling, experiencing the jiggle of the 'leftover' pregnancy lower ab roll when you laugh too loudly.
As women, it is a constant carousel in and out of the chub rut as we soar and dive. I have come up with my own silent saviours over the years: Forget the quips and quibs, desist from looking for validation, treat yourself like someone you love, nail the right flattering angles and your best profile for those pictures, always wear flattering silhouettes inside out, flaunt a fab haircut and ban the unwanted hair follicles all over. Remember who you want to be. And be the person you want to be. Nothing else matters.