I am not much of a fitness freak, but I do love a good workout, mostly because of the endorphin hit afterwards. I was fairly regular to the gym and Taekwon-do classes, when the pandemic was upon us and the nation went into lockdown. So naturally, the world of Instagram was divided into two halves. One half would post pictures of their home workouts and the other half- the ones who posted pictures of their home baked goodies, and whipped Dalgona coffees. And I was doing neither, I was waiting to hear back from the B-schools I had interviewed from.
Soon enough, I started putting on more fat around my tummy area, and having always struggled with weight fluctuation and body image issues, I slipped into this state of restlessness. Where I knew I really should do something to get out of this situation, but really did not want to do anything about it. So I would look into the mirror, feel bad about myself, and stuff my face with munchies. And yes, it took me longer than I’d care to admit, that what I was missing was motivation. So, I started consuming a lot of YouTube content about home-workouts and every attempt of mine was a failure, I just did not want to workout at home, I felt lazy. It was a classic- ‘home is a place of rest and relaxation and not sweaty workouts’ dilemma.
In the meantime, my brother’s birthday was coming up, and none of the local cake shops were open. So, it was time to bake! I bought baking supplies- yes, I did not have them before, we did not bake much before the pandemic hit. I watched YouTube videos, and baked a sponge cake with jam layers- inspired by those Enid Blyton stories I’d read as a kid. My entire family loved it, and I had a win on my hands! Now I did not feel left out when I scrolled through Instagram, at least I belonged to one half of it! And that is when it occurred to me, this was all happening because of the major ‘FOMO’ I was experiencing from all the social media posts my friends were making. So, I deleted Instagram, I deleted WhatsApp (yes, those WhatsApp statuses of perfectly baked cakes were bugging me!) and finally found the mental peace I was so desperately missing.
But, hey, I was still unable to get into a workout routine! A friend of mine had suggested following Chloe Ting’s free home workout videos on YouTube, but I still felt lazy. So what was happening now? I realized, it’s the environment at the gym that I was missing! So, I decided to buy a Yoga Mat, and lo and behold! I was working out again, I was experiencing the endorphin high again! So, I ended up actually belonging to both the halves on Instagram- but I didn’t post anything on Instagram, and I had never been happier!
Does the story end here though? No, it has been more than a year into this pandemic, and I still workout at home/dorm room. Due to a busy MBA schedule, some days I miss out on working out, and I feel lazy again. I have gone through cycles of binge-eating and purging, and have struggled with body image issues again. But, you know what, as long as I am living and healthy, nothing else really matters! So I guess my biggest learning from this pandemic has been to accept and love my body just the way it is. Body weight is temporary, you can lose it, gain it, keep it- it’s completely your choice!
Sayantani Paul, MBA student (IIM Udaipur)