So this whole trend of being ‘fitter-than-thou’, here’s my problem with it: It assumes that human health is a simple linear equation of calories consumed and gym hours sweated/miles run. If that were truly the case, our demigods would not be doctors prescribing medicines but engineers churning out equations. Fitness fanatics need a reality check.
The human body is far more complex than even professionals have been able to quantify. I have always been a lean person. I have not always been a fit person. I eat regardless of calories because I do not put on or lose weight. But I watch what I eat because I do not digest certain common foods (like corn, rawa and mutton) well.
I am also neither a gym fanatic nor a runner (since these are the two most popular fads in the so-called fitness space). But I have always been on the higher end among my peers, on stamina and energy. I have a high pain tolerance and I heal reasonably fast but I also have low immunity. I can’t cope without food for very long but I can manage without sleep for a longer than many others. I drink more water than average and not because I’m following some beauty editor’s advice on the number of bottles translates to clearer skin. See how ‘strength’ is far more complex than one single measure?
Fitness Freaks, Go Back To Your Own Insecure Bodies & Leave Mine Alone!
I had a terrible experience last month with a certain ‘fitness tracker’ that promises expert consultation. The expert would not stop guilting me on what I ate (despite the fact that I said weight loss was NOT my goal). She kept insisting that I stop eating bananas (though these are the one sure-fire cure I’ve found to shut down acidity) and make my dinners even lighter. When I told her that meant I woke up hungry in the night and with acidity the next morning, she suggested I eat biscuits. If you have acidity, eat a banana before going to gym, she added. So basically, cut out what already works, interrupt sleep to eat processed, baked food instead of a fruit. And in the daytime, eat and then go exercise. The company kept chasing me after I stopped using the product. I wrote them an email explaining why it didn’t seem like the product was the right fit for my lifestyle but if there was something additional they could think of, I’d be happy to listen. The lead trainer (presumably having neglected to read my email though it was sent to him) said “Ask me anything”. I repeated what I’d said on email and he wanted to know why I had bought the product then. Whew, insecure people really go on the offense when their brittle pretences are broken, don’t they?
It’s the oldest trick in the marketing book – to make people feel inadequate, drum up that doubt into sizable insecurity and offer yourself or your product as the only solution. How come highly educated, successful, intelligent professionals (some of whom do this very same thing in other industries) are falling for this?
Yet, I know more and more people are buying into this grand myth. I am surrounded by friends and peers who inadvertently guilt me or shame me about the things I eat/do or don’t. “How long has it been since you went to the gym? That long! Ah, you’ll pay for it. I never skip a session with my trainer.”, “Chocolate at night??” and so on it goes. Mercifully I’ve struggled with my own health issues and found ways to deal with them so it gives me the confidence to see their behaviour for what it is – fear & insecurity. I know that I know my body better than any other human being does and nobody should be given the right to make me feel less than that.
If you truly care about your health (and you should), stop letting commercial entities and other people’s insecurities abuse your body. And tell anyone who guilts you when you eat without counting calories or enjoy a day instead of going to the gym TO STFU AND GET OVER THEIR OWN INSECURITIES.