Why you should listen to your body

Asian Openbill Storks are prehistoric-looking birds. A common sight in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, they wade around in wetlands. The conspicuous gap in its gigantic beak seems almost tragic. But the shape remains a very useful ally while preying on freshwater snails that comprise their staple diet.

By appearance at least, they remind me of people, who have given up. Their dour body language seems to imply that they might have seen things that they should not have. On bad days, they might have done stuff they would never want to talk about again. Not witnesses of gut-wrenching tragedies or anything like that. Just people who do not listen to their bodies.

I see a little of myself in them.

I have been unfit for a longer period of time than otherwise. Frustratingly, every time I kick and crawl my way out of being overweight, some accident leaves me bed-ridden. I am left to wallow in the filth of fatty food and zero exercise. Months go by, and I look like I may have devoured a scrawny child. And I had to eat a ton of ice cream to smother the guilt. Then, out of the blue, I feel inspired to work out. Listening to what my body requires, I get back into shape


The cycle started again a few months ago. After bloating up during the winter, I body-shamed myself into becoming fit. I have found body-shaming to be motivational. I recommend that you bully yourself into pursuing a regular workout routine. Using it against another is a different matter altogether.

Nowadays, I have three major objectives:

  • Do not die of heart-related problems
  • Gain enough physical strength to be a frequent trekker again
  • Do not look away, disgusted, while naked in front of the mirror

My human body is fragile. It fares poorly in the test of time. But it echoes details of the deterioration so that I can be proactive about slowing down the decay. Unless I pay attention to what it needs, I will end up giving up on it. The extent of its fragility is infuriating. Even though I work out twice a day, at my age – it may not be long before my body crumbles.

It is why I do not feel great about keeping fit. I just feel safe.

I have seen many in the 30-40 age group lose the plot. They ache for a second chance at true love. Another shot at a more fulfilling career. They want to go bungee-jumping. Travel from one exotic country to another. They ache for the reckless glories of those youthful years. The sweet victory they had once tasted before the passage of time gobbled up every morsel of hope. And they will stand their ground when asked to alter their newfound lifestyles or lower their expectations of life – in general.

But as far as their bodies are concerned, they do not care. Or they are erratic about maintenance and repair, like I am too.

As I turn older, I may lose the urge to emerge triumphant in the scowling face of the ageing process. I may become inactive and unhealthy. Accidents can happen. I hope that I set aside 15-30 minutes every day to ride the road to recovery. If I cannot find the strength to do so because the outcome seems far away, I will body-shame myself until the brightness in the horizon is no longer a blur.

Some Asian Openbill Storks are disoriented by distant lighthouses. Especially, those crossing the southeast Indian coast, at night, during the tough monsoon season. They lose sight of their goals, and change directions.

The storks I have spotted in my city, though, have shown no sign of doubt. A few months ago, I even photographed one doing a Riverdance routine in the skies. Its left leg was dangling in a weird way, which changed its flight patterns. Upon a closer look, the limb seemed to be broken. But, that never stopped the birdie from flying back and forth – collecting twigs for its nest.

To smoothly continue the journey you have already embarked upon, pay some attention to the only vehicle that can take you to the destination. Spare 15-30 minutes, and start your fitness regime today.

It is also important to discourage those we love from celebrating obesity. Biology notwithstanding, there is simply no excuse for anyone to overeat, under-exercise and bruise their chances of leading healthy lives. You can only cause harm by attributing their laziness and lack of willpower to social empowerment.

If you are truly concerned about their well-being, help them follow a diet and get some fresh air while burning a few calories. So that they will not die soon, make their partners lose interest in sex or wipe out South Sudan’s annual nutrition assistance budget.

Tell them it is not okay for them to be overweight when they do not have to be. It is a nobler act than enabling their addictions, and taking them one step closer to a life of lethargy or worse – the grave.

The government of Sudan will definitely thank you for it.

Stand on your own feet.
Even on one leg.
You are karma.

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5 thoughts on “Why you should listen to your body

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  1. You and the Asian Openbill Stork are wise birds. Come and talk to me when you hit 60. Then we can really examine physical decline from top to bottom. Mirror? What’s a mirror?


    1. Thanks, Susanne. I have a lot more to learn from these beauties!

      If I manage to hit 60, I’d imagine I’d hate working out even more than I do now. Sigh, mirrors should be so 90s. But I bet they’d outlive us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the mirrors will outlive us but what about the images of ourselves we leave behind both physical and emotional? Now there’s a thought.


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