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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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Birthday Wishes For An Ex

It has been 3 years.  Since I last saw you.  Since your number flashed across my cell phone  screen.  Since we walked apart, each in a different direction and ended up in opposite parts of the world. You have removed me from your friends’ list on Facebook. I did not realise this for quite some time – until a mutual friend posted a picture of the two of you and while I was notified about her post, FB was silent about your presence. Curiosity piqued, I checked my friends’ list. You did not feature there. I visited  LinkedIn. Nothing there as well. You have been thorough. Now there is nothing tying us together in cyber space just as there are no ties remaining in this flesh-and-bone world. Yet just three days ago, a popular ecard site sent me a reminder that your birthday was around the corner and that I should send you a card. Is this an omen? Does it mean that invisible threads still remain when all seems sundered? Or is it just canny marketing by an online company?

Time and distance have blurred the bitterness and negativity I had once felt about you and our relationship. I find that I have forgotten most of the bad stuff now or maybe I have become so far removed from the reality of those, that it no longer pinches me where it hurts. The good stuff does not bother me as well. Truth be told, I had been more worried about the happy memories than the bad ones. But now those memories seem as though they belong to a sepia-tinged vacation taken decades ago.

There are times, of course, when three years disappear in the blink of an eye. After all, three years is not much when you think of a lifetime – it is just a little over a thousand days.   I spy someone crossing the road from the other side and suddenly I think it is you. Even though my rational mind knows that there is perhaps a one in a million chance of us meeting accidentally, my heart clenches in a kind of terror.  I feel unprepared to face you again. Then I see that it is not you at all and my heart slowly resumes its steady beat.

Despite a few such occurrences, I have moved on. You have been replaced by others–as the nominee on my insurance policies and as the protagonist in my dreams. You are no longer the person I think of calling up the moment something out of the ordinary happens to me. I do not think obsessively about the past anymore. I remember for the first year apart, the fact that I found most disquieting was that when in a discussion with friends or colleagues, I would, out of force of habit, bring you up in conversations as though you were my present and not my past. All my thoughts and opinions appeared tinted by you-coloured glasses. I guess ten years of knowing someone can do that to you. Now I can voice my own opinions and it is only on a few rare occasions that I find what I have spoken are actually echoes of your voice from the past.

You have moved on as well. The mutual friend I had mentioned before posted some pictures last year’s festive season. A number of those photos featured you and your new wife. Well, perhaps not very new. I have no way of knowing. I looked at the girl. She was laughing and seemed happy. You looked happy as well. So I have been replaced too. It all felt a bit weird for the first couple of minutes when I gazed at the picture. But then I felt gladness that you have found happiness again. I want you to know that I am really happy for you.

In my mind, I imagine myself doing that which I will never do in real life any more. I give in to the urgings of the ecard website and send you a birthday greeting. I guess there is no  relationship specific card for an ex. So a generic one has to suffice. It has perhaps a bland picture of a cake, candles and flowers. The message is simple but heart-felt. “Wish you a very Happy Birthday. Enjoy this day and the rest of your life – A well-wisher. ”