oh whachai saiy

Is it easy to stay fat?

The purpose of this post is to explore some thoughts and feelings I had firsthand and my reflections on them; I might be wrong in my conclusions. I do not intend to offend anyone.

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There was a time in my life when I hadn’t worked out for a long time, had long deviated far from my planned diet and even general eating guidelines. When once the thought of Mcdonald’s was nauseating, I was now looking forward to first an apple pie and eventually allowed more burgers (KFC and Burger King to be specific hahaha) into my life.

I guess a combination of my job, genetics and perhaps age kept me from becoming overweight, but I felt horrible. In fact I had been feeling horrible for a long time, but did nearly nothing to improve my situation.

And so one evening while eating an apple pie, I sort of realised a few things. They can be summarised to the following cycle:

You get too busy or tired with work/life/responsibilities and stop doing healthy things because you’re either exhausted, have no motivation, time, or a combination of the above.

You get out of shape and it bugs you, but it isn’t bad enough for you to take drastic action. Plus you’re barely surviving; fitness seems like a secondary goal now.

If you descent long enough you reach a stage where you are so far behind that it takes too much and too much out of you to climb out of this rut. This is when you don’t like your reflection, hide away clothes you can’t fit, feel like a weak loser in the gym, and maybe start despising ‘fit’ people and justifying your poor life choices. Food is more of a friend now.

If you’re just plain lazy or have never been fit and/or disciplined/strict with yourself, it’ll probably hurt a lot less. You just sink into this identity.

For busy and tired people especially, entertainment and food become a primary source of rest, relaxation and escapism from the grind. Food is special because it also meets a survival necessity. Good food is a bonus! You must eat to live and therefore have no reason not to enjoy it anyway.

For those who are upset with their state but can’t get out yet, food can become a consoling factor. You feel like crap about yourself and so eat delicious crap to get away from the crappy feelings.

That’s the beginning of the vicious food cycle: excessive (in relation to both activity levels and sheer survival need)/ unhealthy food soothes stress/bad feelings yet act as fuel for further negative feelings down the road.

You then either hide all the bad things away from your mind, or embrace it as your new identity.

But there are some who reach a rock bottom, and that’s actually their turning point: they figure they’ve had enough of the current state of things, and so they take control. Little by little they wrest back what was lost to lack of structure, pettiness, insufficient discipline, not enough guidance and perhaps the wrong crowd.

And the higher they climb they better they fare and so the faster they move. Then there will be that one moment when they look down and shudder at the thought that they let themselves fall so far down.

Ok that’s all.

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Reservist again

However my time here has shown me just how kilat a lot of the men are. They know their equipment, procedures, where what is kept, how many of each thing, can tell you how to do something and actually do it themselves.

I’m thoroughly impress and have so much respect for them. As a section commander i realise that most of a section’s success isn’t because of a great section commander, but because the men are plain good. They know their stuff. 

And i can also see how they are so ready and willing to give respect to those who look out for them or who at the very least show them respect too.

This is the feeling i’ve been yearning for, to work alongside such men. These people are teammates i’m willing to sacrifice for and people i can count on to do a good job.

Reservist 

It’s only at reservist training that I truly see how so many people, after years of being taken care of (willingly or otherwise), degrade into adults who are primarily sick and fat.

Add on to that dirty, lacking in self respect and an ego that gets in the way of compliance to regimentation.

I don’t get it, where’s our pride and sense of self? How hard is it to do something well cos you can, and should, and most importantly would only do you good?

Does life so often degrade to a cycle of work, pleasure, sleep, occasionally punctuated by some sort of tension or crisis.

Speaking of which, I think it’s easy to be fat and out of shape but I’ll elaborate later.

Perfection in Nature

I was looking at the sky this morning when i started thinking about how ‘perfect’ nature was and why that sort of perfection will not exist in a totally man-made construct or environment.

The important point in my head was the very definition of perfection. The idea of perfection differs between individuals and is heavily influenced by our biases. Perfection exists in form, function, systems and with regards to expectations and limitations.

  1. Form: when something looks it best and cannot be improved further. E.g. a computer-rendered image of a square; it is accurate to the pixel.
  2. Function: when something does what it is meant to do, and does so at the highest level. E.g. a compass that consistently points North
  3. Systems: when objects or parts of a system interact with one another seamlessly. E.g. the systems in a car that work together: engine, air-conditioning, radio, drivetrain, lock mechanism, brake system.
  4. Expectations and limitations: when something is not perfect in any of the above three ways but we regard it as so because the threshold must necessarily be lowered given circumstances, our expectations and naturally-occurring limitations which cannot be avoided or removed. E.g. when a row of uniformed men stand according to height, there is ‘perfection’ in the form even though the height increment between men is not constant and their body shapes are different along with their other physical features. Yet these are naturally occurring limitations so we disregard them.

To me nature is perfect in every sense because:

  1. Form: we are products of nature. We get our form and taste for good form from the world around us. Even our opinions are influenced by external stimuli. If the form of something affected its function, then in nature it is perfected.
  2. Function: things work, even when they don’t. Handicaps can still live, the laws of nature hold fast no matter the season, and no external hand is needed to get things functioning. They just do.
  3. Systems: Every single thing right down to the littlest detail is in harmony with the rest of the universe, and that is why it is still around. It was here way before us, and will continue to be here after us.
  4. Expectations and limitations: like form, our expectations and limitations are sometimes set by nature or based on it. And independent of all that, nature just is. Put simply it just doesn’t care what we think.

Perfection can be achieved, to a degree, in man-made constructs and environments, but what we lack is the ability to transfer the organic spirit to our creations. Even the most sophisticated of inventions rely upon some external force to keep itself alive. Take for example a highly advanced android:

  • Firstly the android has no real function in this world except to serve humans
  • Without humans its existence is meaningless
  • Should it live after us, it only needs to take from the environment what is needed to keep itself alive
  • It will likely cease to function one day, or reproduce if it was programmed to
  • But again, it will serve no real purpose except the preservation of its existence and the continuation of its kind. I should think it not part of any food web, but maybe time and science will prove me wrong

The biggest point for me is, to be honest, how nature just doesn’t care about anything. It will do and it will keep doing. Changing when it is time to change, things will die, new creatures born, and it will just go on. We too, are a part of nature, and will someday go, however fiercely we fight for autonomy, control and influence. We did not choose to be born yet we were brought here, that should be enough of proof that we are not the bosses.

And yet amidst all this mess and chaos, nature continues. There is no epic destruction to stop it in its tracks, except for the Divine, or any other Reason you might subscribe to or not.

This is something that needs more contemplation, and who knows what further revelations await.

Problems Are Openings 

When you’re caught in a terrible situation or phase of your life, ask:

1) how do you handle it / what is your response? 

Then reflect: 

2) What do I wish I was / who is it I want to be?

Then realize:

3) This is an opportunity for me to achieve that. I need to do know what I wish I could or would do, so that I can be the person I want to be.
Some say things don’t happen by chance, some people call it fate. Whatever you believe, it remains that the only thing you have full control over is what YOU do.

So control yourself and steer in the right direction, and not let circumstances and events push you around.

The clock isn’t lying if its standing

Once again i took a glimpse at my older posts and i was pretty embarrassed and a little shocked at what i saw.

As recent as two years ago, my writing sounded very angsty, immature and… roller-coasterish. I’d sound frustrated in one post and strangely sagelike in another. Those eye-opening five minutes have inspired me to make a list of how i will write better posts:

  1. Slow down
    When i get emotional i tend to get carried away. If i slow down i can express my thoughts in a neutral/well-thought out manner.
  2. Write with a purpose
    Whilst my blog has sometimes seen me vent and simply throw up words, i need to move to more structure writing. Journaling and Writing-writing will be two distinct categories, and this blog will be for Writing-writing. produkc.wordpress.com is for Writing-writing-writing 😀
  3. Re-read
    This is painful for me to do sometimes but a necessary step to ensure i don’t make typos, go off tangent, or get longwinded.
  4. Keep some things to myself
    In some posts i have said some prayers and used some religiousy words and phrases; i have decided these things can mostly stay in my head. Somehow they seem off-putting, pretentious and plain annoying when i go back to read them. I should say such writing will be very appropriate in a different context: like writing an article for a Muslim publication, when discussing matters related to Islaam, or when the voice of my blog is consistently such. Even my teachers do not use these words all the time when texting, which truly made me think.

And this is how i start on a brand new path to the same-old destination. I’m excited. You wouldn’t be able to tell if you saw my face right now but really i’m feeling it.

DRFWZ

Train of thought

A day’s lapse OOPS!

I’m back! To talk about the religious people i mentioned.

To put it shortly there’s a teacher and the people are his students, and if you trace his teacher, and his teacher’s teacher, and go all the way up, it reaches the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I did attend one class, and this is how i can describe what my teacher taught:

It is both factual, obvious, yet bewilderingly enough things i have not realised. It preaches good, makes it clear who are enemies are (for the record he explicitly said ‘you have only two enemies, Shaitan and your nafs (self). These two will always pull you towards bad things and so you must fight. The Jews and Christians are not our enemies, please be very clear of that. What they want to believe is between them and God, it is not our problem) and it was all very clear and good.

I saw how he treated the children there (one of his student’s nephews) and there was an older man, first timer, whose demeanour and questions got a bit heavy to bear at times but my teacher was patient, pleasant yet firm with him the whole time. He allowed the man to speak, to question, yet made it clear what he misunderstood or said wrongly, in a polite way.

And all the fine gentlemen who were there? You could see they were at peace. There was a stillness to them and a light on their faces. These were good men, who were in life situations not unlike mine, but who lived theirs with more grace and beauty that i do mine. They were welcoming, nice to me, and some familiar faces. The familiar ones were the people i went for Umrah with (a minor pilgrimage, the major one being the Hajj) and they were the same people who showed care and concern for me when i was down with chicken pox, miles away from home (some fellow pilgrims kept their distance from me, but i do not blame them).

So the big question is:

If i have nothing against these fine men and have found a teacher such as himself, why am i not walking the path with them? Why have i not gone back for a second class, meditation session, anything??

And this is where i find myself puzzled. It’s as if a precious gem is held in front of me to take and i’m just turning to walk away. Questions in my head are:

  • is it really a gem as my intellect says it is?
  • am i truly turning away or perhaps not ready to take it
  • are we ever ready
  • could this just be my nafs and shaitan whispering to me

With all these feelings i truly have gotten much closer to understanding how some people can be so exposed to Islam yet not embrace it, or know so much of what they should do yet neglect it; it’s just this… gap. A void of nothingness, there’s no pull to cross it yet there is nothing keeping us from standing at that cliff’s edge and just looking over, admiring the beauty of what’s beyond the chasm.

When i probe deeper, a curious view of me emerges: that the me who is to be isn’t a religious scholar or saint or anything of that sort, but more like their helper and assistant. I see myself more as the muscular right-hand-man ready to do their beckoning, first to step up to get any dirty work done. Maybe because i’m that much more crude than these pure people, or i am too noisy and excitable to be a totally calm and stately teacher. Either way i am intrigued by what my mind says.

So in the present, my way forward is to continue with the daily litanies prescribed, and to pray for guidance and for my path to be open. And then with every step i take i will know and believe that it is not truly me who chose to act in that way rather it was chosen for me and i have responded.

This path is a mysterious one and i don’t know where i will end up. But one thing i am sure of is my gratitude for having had the honour and pleasure of being in the company of so many great people, and that at least a few of them now know me. With their prayers and blessings, i am fine; i am looked out for. He brought them into my life, so i am thankful for His gift.

DRFWZ