Having indulged in tons of sweets and snacks through the festival period, for many of us, this question becomes the dreaded one. We know we have been a little too indulgent and not particularly aware or conscious at the time, even having told us that it is okay to take a little holiday from Intermittent Fasting, or the Spin classes, or the thrice a week swimming lessons in a refurbished swimming pool that offers warm water and aqua aerobics, or whatever else we were doing to try and keep ourselves fit. It takes a certain kind of soul strength to have stayed fully committed to one’s health goals and the regimen required to maintain it through the festival periods when everything feels so special and “once in a year” occasion.
The question is: Is it easier to stay on those goals if one were single, or if one is in a relationship? Do relationships strengthen resolve or do they weaken it into a kind of settled feeling where one doesn’t really feel the need to be quite so careful? Relationships are meant to make individuals better for the most part. We want to feel more secure, more connected, more loved and cherished in a relationship. Sometimes, it feels like this very same secure loving connection that we so cherish, acts against our self-interest. It is quite the common story to hear of these hot, fit 20-somethings who get into a relationship that is the envy of their tribe, only to quite swiftly balloon out into these unkempt, unfit and slovenly sloths in their thirties, happy to wallow in their togetherness, snug as bugs in a rug, while their more single tribespeople are still slogging out in the gym and doing everything else to stay fit.
The “Have you put on weight?” question is rarely asked between the people in the relationship. They tend to be complicit in the putting on of the weight, and the shared guilt of it keeps them in silence over it. It often takes a health scare or some other such event to reverse the trend. An ominous declaration of the doctor that one or more people in the relationship is ‘pre-diabetic’ might do the trick. Maybe it would be a child who laughs at one’s inability to touch one’s toes. Or a friend who collapsed with a cardiac episode in the middle of watching yet another season of Bigg Boss in their family couch.
Then, the relationship might huddle together for fitness sake. It can then morph from the weighty questions to lighter ones, the surprise gifts change from special pastries to fitbits and joint yoga sessions. We ask each other whether they got our 8,000 steps, and try to motivate each other, setting up a cycle of positive returns. Relationships can set us off into vicious, unhealthy cycles or great virtuous, healthy spirals of growth. Whether we can be conscious of it is really the weighty question.
As written for the New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.