thewilltoholdon

As I breathe and think and dream


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Dieting With The Significant Other

You know how everyone says that exercising or dieting with a friend or partner is a lot more effective than doing it solo. You have someone to share notes with, someone to celebrate your wins with and someone to support you during the lows. You are more motivated to stick to your exercise routine or diet plan because you are accountable to someone else. If you are alone, you might try and get out of a run because it is too cloudy/sunny/windy/dark. However knowing that there is someone else who can surely spot the gaping holes in your flimsy story, you are more inclined to stay on the straight and narrow.
The above theory does not seem to apply to me. Recently my husband decided to join me on the 5:2 diet. I have been on this diet for the last three months now and have found it to be pretty good. It has not been a dramatic weight loss journey for me. Definitely I will not make it to the internet headlines like “Learn how his mother of one used a WEIRD tip to lose 15 kilos in 15 days … while having a chocolate bar each day!” . However I am happy to report that over the last three months I have been losing weight steadily, albeit slowly, and have managed to keep it off. I am just a few pounds shy of my target weight now. Dramatic though it might not be, my story has definitely inspired one individual. My husband.
When he first announced he wanted to join me in 5:2 dieting, of course, I made the appropriate encouraging noises. After all I have been trying to get him to eat healthier, exercise more and live better for a while now. So I was happy that he had taken a step in the right direction.
However having gone through a couple of diet days with him, I find that having him along on the diet is not as good or as encouraging as I would have thought. Trouble started even before D day. Right before commencing on the diet, he was all chuffed and went on continuously about how he planned on being a 100% committed to his diet plan. He peppered me with questions – ‘ Can I have a coffee on a diet day?’ “How many calories are there in spoonful of sugar?” “I can have unlimited vegetables, right?” “Are oranges low in calories?”. Next he drove me crazy by going through his planned dietary intake schedule for the next day about a million times – “salad for lunch, konjac rice with stir fry vegetables and chicken for dinner and an apple as a snack.”, “salad for lunch, konjac rice with stir fry vegetables and chicken for dinner and an apple as a snack.”, “salad for lunch,…”. It started sounding almost like a semi- religious chant.
On the actual day, it was worse. He kept calling me at work almost every hour with updates.
“I thought I would have had to have that apple by now. But no, I resisted all temptation.”
“It’s almost mid-day I am still holding good. This is easier than I thought!”
“That salad for lunch tasted vile. You know I hate rocket. Couldn’t you have chosen another one?”
“I am feeling really hungry now. Is it okay if I have a Diet Coke to help tide me over?”
” What’s for dinner today? Can we have a really early one? ”
“Why do diet days have to be alcohol free? I could really do with a stiff one right now!”
Now I appreciate the fact that in the beginning, diet days are unsettling. And it is but natural that my husband turns to me, the diet guru in his eyes. I know I am being uncharitable by becoming this irritated with him. However diet days have become a kind of meditation for me. Those are days when I stay below the radar. Spend time looking inwards and interacting as little with the world as possible. Plow through huge amounts of pending work without food distractions. Drink copious amount of green tea. Have a low key dinner. Head to bed early. Make it through the day as quickly as possible.
With my husband on board, there seems to be too much noise and too much emphasis on the fact that “WE ARE DIETING!”. All through the day I am reminded of how hard dieting actually is and that makes me feel those hunger pangs more keenly. These are precisely the last things I want to be thinking of. I want a diet day to be like a normal day. Just a day – any day. Only without much food. And no song and dance about it either.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband dearly. I hope he benefits a lot from this diet and that it works even better for him than it did for me. But I also sincerely hope that he settles down in this as soon as possible.

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My Life … In Books

I have always been a bookworm. I started devouring books from a very early age. Back then in India, reading books for pleasure, especially English books, was not common. However my family was an exception, as both my father and elder sister were big readers. The walls of our house were lined with books, something my mother did not really appreciate as she felt that the books cluttered up our place too much. And that was true to some extent, for in my house there were books on every available surface, on the bed stands, in the crockery cabinet, under the staircase, in the attic. However despite her protests, the books kept increasing.
Surrounded by so many books, I had a great time growing up. I did end up reading a lot of age inappropriate stuff. You can also say that probably I should have made more friends and spent more time outdoors. More than once, I was caught by my mom reading a novel when I should be revising for exams. However it was all tremendous fun and at least I was never ever bored.
English books were quite expensive in India and we belonged to the ordinary middle class with quite little disposable income. Though my sister and I saved up whatever little money was given to us, we never had enough to buy all the books we wanted. My sister was even known to walk miles to save her bus money in order to buy a desired book. Finally she found her book Mecca in New York where she moved to after her marriage. Her initial letters and emails to me used to be full of stories of how big the New York Central library was and how should she could take out thirty books at a time. Feeling envious, I would close my eyes and try to imagine such a place. But each time I failed. There were hardly any English libraries in India then. The few libraries that existed were extremely ill-stocked, despite having ludicrously high membership rates and they would only allow a person to check out a couple of books at a time. My sister used to send me books whenever she could. In order to avoid large postal packages being stolen by the Indian postmen (something that is very common in India), my sister would do something weird. She would tear up a paperback into maybe 4 or 5 sections and post each section in a normal letter sized envelope. Once I would receive the whole book, I would put all the sections together and send it for binding. Needless to say, some of those letters went missing (another very common thing in India) and I ended up with a number of books missing important chapters in the middle or the end!
Once I started working, things were much better on the money front. Each month I set aside a sizeable part of my salary for buying books. Also around that time, English books became more easily available in India. Large multi storied bookstores opened up and while we would not get all the books being released internationally, the popular ones would make an appearance. I truly enjoyed the time spent browsing through the bookstores on the weekends. However my job entailed quite a bit of travelling and that slowly curtailed my book buying. It is difficult to cart books around when you divide your time between different cities. Books become dead weight and eat up all your weight allowance on flights. When I did settle down for a little while with my first husband, he was not a book lover. He hated bookshelves or any sort of books on display. According to him, books had to stay hidden from sight. So I used a part of a walk-in closet to house my books. When we separated, I lost those books, for he kept the house and everything in it (save the suitcase of clothes I took away). I can imagine the glee with which he must have gotten rid of my books shortly after.
Post my first marriage, I started living in the UK where I came across a little something called the Kindle. Previously I had always held out against eBook readers with a reasoning that I liked to physically touch my books, flip the pages, breathe in the unique book-sy smell. However, one birthday I got a Kindle as a gift and the sheer convenience of the slim device blew me away. Now I no longer need to cart heavy books around on my commute. I did not have to wait for the book shop to open for I could shop 24X7 at the online store. eBooks were a lot cheaper than the print versions. So it was a win-win all around. Just one small disadvantage though and this could just have been me. I have always been one of those people who love to re-read books. I have read some favorite books thirty or more times. With the eBook reader, however, the pleasure of reading books seems somewhat diminished. Is it because the next book is just a few clicks away? I do not know.
Now I am settled in Australia and have been furniture shopping for my new house with my second husband. We have recently bought three enormously large book cases and now I need books to fill them up. Thanks to all the moving around and the extensive use of the Kindle for the last four years, I have just around half a dozen actual books with me here in Australia. So all the empty space on the shelves is just begging me to go book shopping. And yes, I belong to that group of people who believe books should be main component in bookshelves, rather than knick-knacks. I can feel the excitement building up in me at the thought of buying actual physical hold-me-close books after so long! Think of all the fun to be had in browsing, buying, reading and re-reading those gems! Besides, if I need another important reason to start a book buying spree (which I don’t), there is the fact that I need to provide as much encouragement by example to my 20 month old as possible so that she starts taking an active interest in books. I am picturing cozy winter evenings for us, snuggling on the couch with a book and hot chocolate. And frankly there is nothing better than living in a house full of well-loved books, is there?