On January 11th, 2013 I had posted on Facebook about having completed 10000 kms on my cycle. I was thrilled and so happy that day in Bangalore … 100×100.
And then began the slide health wise .. I disliked Bangalore and used that as an excuse to not go riding, not walk or even do yoga at home ! Then we went to see Hanuman’s birthplace in Hampi and climbed some 600 steps. While coming down, my knees started paining and the doctor told me that I needed to lose weight and strengthen my thigh muscles. I still can’t forget his expression when I told him that we eat chocolate everyday :). We shifted back to my beloved Gurgaon in 2014 and nothing changed. I did some walking sporadically, continued eating pizzas, chocolates and other junk that I had totally given up on between 2009 and 2012 under Vijaya Mami’s influence. Having those lemon shots kept me going without any major ailments….
Then in Aug 2016 my shoulder got into trouble. I couldn’t move my arms back or lift them up. First we met with (late) Dr. Bharat Inder Singh, who diagnosed it as the “text neck” condition. He showed me exercises that relieved the pain to a large extent but the free movement of my arms didn’t happen. To pull my seat belt over in the car, I had to use my left arm as my right arm was nearly frozen. I couldn’t sleep turning to my right side even for a minute. I couldn’t put any weight on my right arm. The left arm was better but movement was still limited. Then we met Dr. Ramesh, another very dear friend, in Chennai when we stayed there for a few months from Jan 2017 till April 2017. He said I could either try physiotherapy or he could operate on my shoulder and relieve the pain ! I decided to try physiotherapy and boy, was it painful :(. My mother and mother-in-law were in tears seeing me struggle to raise my arms and the pain brought tears to my eyes.
Do read a few blogs from that time – I got a “Text” neck ! Are you next?
When we returned from Chennai, in June 2017, I re-started my yoga at home with Rupesh ji and then discontinued it after some time. I walked (ir)regularly, I cycled once a year and soon the weight piled on. I had fallen off the exercise and food wagon yet again.
On Feb 8th 2020, I woke up and realised that my head was spinning …. I have never experienced this in all my 50 years of existence. Just before my periods sometimes I would get a moment of dizziness once a year and it would be just a moment, never pronounced. On Feb 8th, it was continuous and I was totally out of sorts. Krishnan immediately took me to Dr. Devendra Taneja whom Neel had introduced to us. We had been to him just the day before for Krishnan’s cough. He took my BP reading and it was wild. He immediately gave me a medicine and took the reading again after some time. The reading was still high but not wild. He asked me about my history and told me to get a blood test done.
The blood test revealed a bacterial ear infection that had caused the dizziness and it also revealed the fact that I was borderline diabetic. No surprises, eh ? Dr. Taneja told me in his trademark style that either I could pay him some money now and join his weight reduction program that would fix my diet and exercise or I could exercise on my own or I could come back after two years and pay him a lot more to cure myself of diabetes if possible. I told him that I will exercise on my own… he was skeptical and rightfully so. According to his statistics (collected over a long career) just about 1% of his patients managed to exercise on their own and avoid the onset of diabetes.
I decided to attack the problem on both the fronts – food and exercise. Food was relatively easy to fix as none of us have any food fetishes, Mom and I have no sweet tooth, and Krishnan is disciplined enough not to eat anything sweet if he should not. The bigger challenge for me was exercising. I decided to start small – a goal of 10000 steps on average in the month of March. I did start walking in Feb itself but the dizziness and a second round of cough didn’t let me walk enough regularly. You think those are excuses ? You are right !! I have a self awarded PhD in excuses, my research paper will sail through without a hitch.
Come March, I got really serious about this. Most days I walked 10000 steps or more, but some days I walked less. The average stayed around 9000 steps. We met Dr. Taneja on March 13th for a very different reason and I showed him my step counter on the phone. He asked me to try and maintain an average of 7000+ for the first month. Then March 24th the lockdown got announced and we couldn’t go outside the house for a walk. I immediately started walking indoors. Took out a sling bag and put my phone into it as soon as I woke up and it kept adding the steps that I took as I did the chores around the house. My mother has been walking indoors since Oct 2019 because the pollution was so bad that she would fall sick if she stepped out. Krishnan and I mapped out a route within the house and kept walking one behind the other for ten or fifteen minute stretches throughout the day. I started pacing the room as I took calls … a habit of Krishnan’s that I never liked but have now adopted because it adds steps !!!
For a week now, I have been walking nearly 14000 steps a day to make up for the lost days in March. Last night at about 10.20 pm I saw the monthly tracker showing 10003 steps as the average for the month and we celebrated. After seven long years the number 10000 makes its way back into my life and this time, in an even more significant way.
My PhD on excuses is slowly going out of reach and am trying to lose it entirely. Will write about the changes that we have brought about in the food we eat, as a separate blog. For now, use this lockdown period as a way to renew your exercise habit and stop giving those excuses. If you aren’t able to do any glamorous exercise, atleast keep pacing the room… it keeps lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high BP away.
Starting April on a good note – My BP is stable and I have started walking wherever, whenever possible. Dr. Taneja had put me off the BP medication in three weeks. If I can, anyone can. So get going folks. Stop watching the dismal news and start pacing the room or balcony or your entire house. Emerge healthier from the lockdown.