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Drop the excuse and exercise

Bharat Savur
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It’s time to see excuses for what they are — weapons against good health that must be disarmed.

It’s amazing how easy it is to avoid exercising on one hand, and binge on food on the other. Yet, think about it: Excuses weaken and demoralise not just the mind but the body too. Excuses are weapons against good health. Let’s disarm them:

The weather is not an issue. It’s not too hot to skip exercise and slurp on icecream. It’s not too cold or wet to miss a month of workout sessions and gorge on bhajiyas and chai. Outwit excuses with three smart moves:

Exercise indoors: Equip yourself with a stationary bicycle, dumbbells, and a floor mat. Create a mood by switching on fast, foot-tapping, hip-swaying, head-jerking music — way to go!

Time is not an issue. If you’ve got time to eat, shop, watch TV, nap at noon, bathe twice, party at night, drop and pick up your kid from music lessons and so on, just carve a sweet half-hour from any of these activities. Or exercise alongside.

Walk briskly in the mall and then load your trolley. Use your stationary cycle while watching TV; do a few weighty bicep curls and abdominal crunches as a bonus. Before your bath, jog on the spot, then stretch. Run around the park while your kid is yodelling, or before dinner. Forget the elevator. Spare half your lunch hour to go stair-crazy, then eat. On the way home, pause to play ball or jump rope with the kids in your neighbourhood — it doesn’t just pep you up physically, it freshens you holistically.

Don’t make weight-loss an issue. You don’t bathe to lose weight but to keep yourself clean. Similarly, don’t exercise to lose weight but to keep yourself internally clean and strong. Faith makes everything possible, exercise makes many things possible. So, it’s worth your while to keep faith in your workouts. Learn to appreciate your exercise sessions — love them! A long-suffering attitude only ensures that you suffer through them instead of experiencing that magical “aha” after a beautiful session. There’s no distaste in your core, which is pure and untainted. Why then do you want to artificially simulate it? When you throw a child up in the air or whirl him around, he gurgles in delight; he doesn’t make a face, does he? His tender mind and heart are completely untouched by the negativities which we manufacture for no reason.

Keep exercising, and keep eating healthy through thick and thin. Only by getting into this habit can you draw closer to your pure core full of intelligent innocence.

Know that your body is like a beautiful pharmacy, well-stocked with natural medicines comprising of energy vibrations, all of which can be accessed by exercising, thinking positively and eating healthy.

Keep affirming in a strong and determined way: “I’m always going to be fit, healthy, youthful and optimistic.” Every day, follow up these verbal affirmations with assertive action. As Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Move away from excuses to experiments. Use the power of your intention. For example, if you say, “I am going to exercise to feel calm,” you’ll find a quietness stealing into you as you work out. Here, calm was the cue-word that used your exercise to alleviate anxiety. Similarly, use whichever cue-word you require: dynamic, ecstatic, soothed, active, alert, creative, relaxed, optimistic, liberated…

It’s like this: Your intention reaches your body through a cue-word. It’s like an ATM card being read when in its slot. Then, like you punch in the numbers, so you move your body as a follow-up. As the body acts out your intention, the subconscious memory absorbs it. Voila! Your mood, your attitude is transformed. Your day takes on the quality you’ve chosen. As you practise… practise… practise… your life gets transformed.

Intentions have power because they speak to your emotions. This translates into self-control and self-empowerment.

Don’t dodge dieting. Keep your self-motivation to eat less and live more with these three techniques:

Develop confidence in your low-fat diet and stick to it. Don’t think of “what else”. Past failures at dieting are convenient excuses to cop out now. Just keep affirming: “Low fat is best.” The mind picks this nugget and files it in the brain. This comes in handy when temptations crop up.

Focus for one year on your chosen low-fat diet. Don’t fear it won’t work — recognise the ‘fear’ as one more excuse to binge.

Speak about it and how good you feel to people who cheer you on without giving you telephone numbers of 10 more dieticians. Being listened to in the right way motivates your spirit more than being listed with 10 dieticians.

Take on a stern, uncompromising, no-excuse mental posture. Strengthen it with this rule: No eating even a morsel after my plate is in the sink; after brushing my teeth; with coffee/tea/any beverage; with visitors; while watching TV; between meals.

Finally, be different from the herd. Imagine yourself flooring your foodie-friends by rising from the chair, saying, “Excuse me, I have an exercise to catch…”

The writer is co-author of the book Fitness for Life.

(This article was published on August 9, 2012)
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