I have told my story. One too many times. Now I want to learn and share stories of people who inspire me, and make me want to push the envelope day after day. On my recent trip to New York, I caught up with Tamanna over drinks. I hadn't seen her in person since 2010. And boy! was I surprised. She was looking absolutely stunning and so fit, quite a drastic difference from what I had remembered seeing her last. I could not resist asking her to share her story, not just with me but you all too. I am humbled that she obliged and took out time from her busy schedule. After talking to her, I was so motivated to start running. I hope her post will have a similar effect on you. Please welcome, Tamanna Sheikh ...
I saw two contrasting Running incidents today while on my morning run. An Indian dad wearing his pants and tee, with his wife fully dressed in salwar kurta and dupatta, running. Its always a little amusing no matter how cool, to see Indians in absolute non-exercise clothing, exercising. But they were running. Period. A little behind the couple was running a young (sorta cute) Indian guy, pushing them; yelling "Go go!" and "Nice!". I presumed he must be their son.
A little further on my run, I saw a Caucasian couple, a young one, (in proper exercise clothes, to add, although unnecessary), running, with the woman pushing the baby cram along as she ran. The baby in the crib was obviously unaware and playful without a care.
Such contrasts are beautiful. Here's a son pushing his parents and here are parents pushing the baby. Running. Exercising. It'd be beautiful if more and more people exercised. Did some sort of work out. No, you don't have to run. No, you don't have to swim. No, you don't have to lift weights alone. You can do whatever you like. You can do whatever you enjoy. But exercise. The feeling of fitness, healthfulness, is one that cannot be matched. It's only after you start working out, that you realize how underutilized the human body is, at any given time. Day one, you will be devastated to realize that your magnificent looking or feeling body is actually not capable of lifting 5lbs for ten reps or running a mile. And after a few days (of training), you will be amazed at how the body does exactly the same things with absolute ease. And such realization, is triumph. You've made your way towards signifying and prioritizing exercise in routine. You're building a healthier future. When the glamour days of youth will be over, when pumping it in the gym will no longer be an agenda to merely look good, all those years you did pump it, all those years you did jog, will be the years that the effects of exercise will be most prominent in. Your body will be beautiful from within. A beautiful heart, beautiful lungs, an absolutely stunning vascular system! And although your hair will grey and skin will wrinkle, your smile will be free of worries and your life, free of disease!
I was fat, unhealthy and unfit. One day, in Austin, in a moment of solitude as I watched my body in the full length mirror in front of me, I literally cringed. It was a sudden shock of horror. "What have you become? You're the girl who was such a fitness freak! You were the one who wouldn't want to miss a session at the gym! You're the one who had the perfect vital stats! What have you become, Tamanna?!" I had packed pounds of fat on my body everywhere. At that moment, I promised myself that I shall change this around the time I move to New York City. There is no way a so style-conscious me is going to have this in the city of my dreams. There is no way a beautiful body can be allowed to sediment like this.
I'm not at the top level as I write this. But I've come a long way. I've come down from a US 11 to US 4. As I write this, maybe even a 2. I've melted my adipose off by working off my butt and eating right. I feel healthy and fit. I feel slimmer. Most importantly, I feel proud of giving back; giving back to my marvelous body the care it provides to me every single day. And what to speak of the visible results?! Counting calories does not seem agonizing at all after hearing almost everyone you know say, "You've slimmed down and you look more gorgeous!" It's worth it. If it adds up to your confidence, it sure as hell is worth it.
And I ran no marathons or did not starve myself. I just incorporated regularity in my exercise schedule and a personal pledge to eat right. And now I love it! I'd have it no other way. Running is not a mere exercise; it's a fantastic stress-buster. I started off in Austin, with a mile. And that extracted the life out of me. Yes! Just a mile. But I persisted. That's half won right there. So at this point I'm also thankful to the AID Austin Chapter and my ex, for somewhere being an indirect support to persist. Before I could do better at running, I had to move to the fabulous New York. With the support systems shutting down, I was ironically even more determined to persist in my endeavour. I made it a point to run every other day, be it just a mile. Before I knew it, I was running two, and three, and four, and more, and comfortably. Weekly runs. Longer weekend runs. Cross training in the form of crash core workout sessions. Occasional Pilates. Sometimes a crappy game of tennis too. All of this augmented by a good diet plan—really, no plan as such; just cutting down on extremely bad-calorific food, like doughnuts, chips, etc. Much credit also to the NY lifestyle. Then one day, I stood in front of the mirror again. And watched. Every nook and cranny of my body. And smiled.
For me, it was running. It IS running.
What is it going to be for you?