Are you feeling a little stuffed? With parties and business meals galore, it’s so easy to pack on some weight and transform your once slender figure into a mound of dough.
Is there any wonder why many people fail their weight loss goals? You can be doing great all year and then BAM, you wonder what happened.
The good thing about our bodies is that we have a natural mechanism to stop eating when we get full. Otherwise, we’d all be unrecognizable in about a month. However, if we’re honest, we know we often can’t control ourselves and overeat anyways. I can’t control myself when it comes to eating buttery cookies and gobble two at a time. Yum, yum.
My weight used to fluctuate in a 10 pound upward band, which is a lot considering I’m 5′ 10″ and every pound counts on the tennis court. I could be a taut 160 pounds one month and a soft 170 pounds just a couple months later if I wasn’t careful.
At my prime, I used to be 10 pounds lighter given I ran track as well. Oh, to be that fit again. Nowadays, my weight only fluctuates by 3-4 pounds since a visit to New Delhi and Agra in 2001 that changed my outlook on eating forever.
Seeing The World Changes You
Each time I travel to a foreign country I learn something new. For example, there are some 22 languages recognized by the Indian constitution, and some 300+ spoken languages in India.
In New Delhi, all I saw were skinny people. And when I looked closely, all I could see on the streets was abject poverty. There are so many people in Delhi, you have to look past the layer of bustle to see the beggars on the street. You may choose to ignore, but I couldn’t. How could I when poverty surrounded me like a blanket of smoke in a dimly lit cigar room.
On the four hour drive to Agra where the Taj Mahal resides, the driver pulled over for a pitstop. No sooner had I got out, did both adults and children start tugging at my clothes asking for change.
The more rupees I gave, the more they begged. The more I tried to talk with them, the larger the swarm until my driver shrieked rudely for them to all go away. They didn’t budge and I had to force myself back in the car.
As we drove away, I could see one spiny young man chase after us. He was unique, because he was on all fours and moved like a spider. It was as if he was determined to leap on the roof of our car and extract one last coin from my wallet.
His look was of great determination, but he couldn’t keep up so I dropped some coins out the window. The car’s rear wheels scrambled up a dirt cloud and that’s the last I saw of him.
But, I was wrong. I see him always in my mind.
The Mental Shift To Eating Better
I have visited many impoverished nations before and so far never one as dire as India. There’s something really wrong with so much concentrated poverty. I often wonder how they will be able to improve their standard of living, if ever?
It’s just strange to have a $1 billion dollar, 27 story home in Mumbai owned by Mukesh Ambani, yet have so much despair on the streets. I’m afraid that unless the government does something drastic, their lives will never change.
The reason why my weight doesn’t fluctuate too much anymore is because I’ve become more conscience of how much I eat. Be mindful of the suffering of others. This is the weight loss tip to die for.
When I’m feeling slightly full and I have thoughts about getting a second helping of anything, I think of the malnourished and the man in this picture above on my way to Agra and stop.
I know that it takes about 20 minutes for the body to register food after eating, so in those 20 minutes I wait and reflect if I’m alone.
We’re not even being asked to help the poor and the hungry, just ourselves.
During reflection, I am appreciative of the abundance of food all around me. I wonder how one nation could be so rich, and another so poor.
How can we ever over eat when others are constantly starving? Is it right to gorge ourselves if millions of children around the world are malnourished and can’t even reach a healthy weight?
We can’t ever let ourselves go because to do so would mean that we ignore the suffering of others.
Maybe we are ignorant and have never seen poverty. Why else would Americans who go to private school and have nice jobs claim they’ve never experienced prosperity?
Or maybe we just choose to turn the other way. But, even if you have never left the country, if you look hard enough you will see suffering all around us.
Once you see it, you’ll be hard-pressed to ever take your body for granted again. Fight on!
Update April 2019: It’s been 18 years since the trip to India and I’m still 5’10”, 165 lbs +/- 5 lbs due to mindfulness. It’s been hard to keep the weight off after becoming a father in 2017, but I must. Minimizing sugar intake is a key.