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I hope you don’t mind me asking if you are over weight. If you are why don’t you answer my question in your head – there may be people around you who haven’t noticed yet.

Talk of weight passed me by until my late thirties when years of fried food and a sweet tooth began to catch up with me. It was slow at first, an ounce here, a pound there. Then as my forties caught hold a plate of chips guaranteed a thicker neck. ‘Just one more chocolate’ was my hopeful mantra as I put on two stone in two years.

My nephew, on my knee during a family reunion, snuggled against my chest, then sat bolt upright and announced to all and sundry that Uncle Shaunaka needs a bra. I was forced to face the truth – my nephew is evil. Well, of course he’s not but I knew the real truth to be that I was now officially fat.

Over the next few years as I tried the ‘lose-weight-without-any-change’ method, as I wore ever tighter clothes, and weighed myself to depression, I felt doomed. My lowest point was the day I weighed myself after a haircut.

Then a terrible sickness, loss of appetite and the weight fell off – a revelation. It betrayed a hard truth – my personal lack of discipline, and me a Hindu priest, the shame. It took time but I lowered my food intake, cut out the rubbish, and walked every day. At normal weight again I can say, “My name is Shaunaka. I’m an addict.” And its one day at a time.

Lord, simple truths are often as unpalatable as lack of chocolate. I am responsible to you for maintaining this body, which you have kindly supplied for my life’s journey. I will do so with discipline and gratitude for your gift. Hare Krishna.

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