Why do we do it?

Once – for nearly half an hour – I had my mother doing it as I stood in front the mirror. Our routine was zip, haul-guts-in, zip some more. Why, why oh why, do we do it?!

Why do we haul in our guts to fit into a certain dress? Why do we deny ourselves the pleasure of mouthwatering grub to get rid of a pot belly? Why do we suffer through aerobic classes and weight training sessions? Is it vanity; a strong need for approval and acceptance; evidence of our shallow materialistic nature or just a need to get and stay healthy?

Oh how I made my mother sweat that day. She even chipped a nail, pinched her finger and swore five times that she didn’t care if I went to my cousin’s wedding with my zipper undone. I just stood there silently cursing the seven-and-a-half slices of pizza – yummy thin-crusted Italian with three kinds of cheese – I’d had for dinner the night before.

Well, my mother is a strong woman. She learnt the meaning of perseverance the hard way. She got that zipper done and it left me breathless. Gosh, I never thought breathing could be such work and I never thought I’d have so much trouble figuring out when I needed a bathroom break.

Several years ago I was a weight training fanatic. I loved roughing it with the guys, I loved the feeling I got while lifting iron. Having sweat trickle down my face, feeling the exertion; these were some of the most satisfying moments in my life. So why am I slouching in my chair at work with at least an inch of belly bulging over the waist of my pants?

Well, I’ve always loved eating and besides I’m such a lazy dud these days. I’ve been working on the bulge though. I signed up for gym two weeks ago. I’ve made three sessions so far and the owner of the place talked me into one aerobic class. It was the last day I looked down my nose at the ladies in those classes.

Who knew that prancing around with a five pound dumbbell could knock the breath out of me? I walked into aerobics that day, looked around and grinned when I saw that all the women were more than 10 years older. Well, imagine how embarrassed I was when those older women wiped the floor with me? There I was sitting on the stairs panting for breath and there they were happily doing their reps and pumping their five pound dumbbells.

For a week after that moving certain body parts was sheer agony. Oh the pain it caused me. Are you a believer in that saying “No pain, no gain”? I am but I’m still waiting to see the gain. I’m really, really, really hoping that by this Christmas I would’ve gotten rid of my many tyres.

So why do we go through such agony to look good? I can only tell you why I try to do it. On my part it has a lot to do with vanity and a little bit do with being health conscious. I am driven by a need to be the best in every way that I can. Besides, can you honestly sit there and tell me that you wouldn’t relish looking at a well toned you in the mirror? (srh.midnight@gmail.com)

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