Anyone who's reached a turning point in life will almost always tell you how it was triggered by a drastic incident.
One such incident occurred to me three months ago, and I decided to turn my life by sinking the cost of a small island into the services of a personal trainer.
To put things in perspective, drastic isn’t a word I use easily, especially in the context of fitness. When once, someone once congratulated me on my pregnancy (I wasn’t even close), I laughed with genuine mirth. For weeks afterwords, I used the statement as a legitimate excuse to pig out, because I believe even a perceived phantom pregnancy deserves a good round of cravings. Another time, when I was mistaken for a friend who hadn’t exercised since she swam around as an embryo, I explained (and believed) that the mix up was caused by the style of our exclusive shared hairdresser.
So when I say drastic, believe me, I do mean drastic. Since it’s too painful to get into details, I’ll just say that it had to do with a trial room lined with mirrors that reflect you from angles that should be outlawed in civilized society, and a scream that emanated from me because I thought I was being attacked by a mob of aliens from bulge-planet.
Realizing the futility of pawning my ad portfolio, I saved money for a fortnight by hooch mooching, and then hired a sadist who was to be my gym trainer.
Two and a half months later, I am a changed woman.
I have become a masochist. I feel that if something hurts, it's a good sign. There's furious fat burning going on there. When I meet people who have sprained their ankles or are recovering from a surgery, I struggle to keep the envy out of my eyes.
I have also become one of those squares I’ve always laughed at. When friends invite me out for a drink, I mumble silly cliches like early to bed, early to rise, and mean them. When I do go out, I embarrass my companions by conducting a mini Spanish inquisition with waiters about protein levels and carrot sticks.
Speaking of protein, I now possess spare tyres of useless knowledge, like how much protein a large egg has (6 grams). I cut chicken till it looks like a starfish with 6 amputations, because sites tell you that a palm sized piece is just right. I also twitch with excitement at the ingredient labels of cans, till salespeople rush in with onions, dirty socks and other well intentioned first aid for epileptic fits.
I no longer measure things in kilograms, but in inches. It’s logical, because muscle weighs more than fat, but try explaining that to a butcher or a veggie vendor…
Then, there’s my reaction to mirrors. From someone who would forget to notice her face during the toothbrush routine, I have become a monster who seeks out reflective surfaces. I scratch my chin while passing tinted car windows to see if my triceps are still there. When with people who wear sunglasses, I laugh with my head thrown back slightly to see if my double chin has reduced. I seriously regret having bought an LCD instead of a plasma, because I can’t see myself doing crunches.
The person I have turned into is drastic enough for me to consider an about-turning point. Sack the trainer, says the right brain impulsively. The left brain agrees with the logic of the suggestion.
Once I do that, I should be able to get back to who I was. I have a feeling it won't be too hard, because some things about me haven’t changed in spite of the 10 week detour.
My old clothes fit just as snugly, and while I love the inches vs kilograms theory, I haven’t lost either.
I still huff and puff up the stairs after step 7.
And I still hold my breath to hide my muffin top, when talking to a colleague who thinks the term belongs to bakeries.
I'll just have to work on my mind now...
3 months ago