Love comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. There is love for your parents, love for your partner, love for your friends, love for your colleagues and less common, but one that exists anyway, love for your boss and your mother-in-law. There is love for people we share a connection with and a close second, we have an enormous affinity and love for objects and things as well; love for your favorite novel, love for your brand new dress, and love for the experience created by a weekend getaway at a 7-star resort which cost a little less than a months salary.

But in giving all this love to other people and things, what we have realized is that somewhere along the road, we have forgotten to love ourselves. So the new kind of love we ought to learn or rather re-learn (one which earns me my whole-wheat bread and organic butter) is love for our body and our food. Loving people and things of course generates happiness, warmth, security and other fuzzy feelings but loving our body and our food does so much more. If you disagree, I urge that you read this article till its finish. It unlocks this magical, mystical world into good health where there’s fitness conscious unicorns riding bicycles and rainbows in the colors of so many exotic vegetables and not only do you look amazing, but you feel out of this world and productive and glorious. It’s this wave of energy that you’re continuously riding purely by eating the right foods and executing some other tiny tricks.

So for this anniversary edition of HealthBiz, we decided to do a cheesy, lovey roundup (tainted with imaginary, heart-shaped broccolis) just for you of 10 ways to romance your food and body to attain a health and fitness status which you at best dreamed of and at worse deemed unattainable. But hey, do not underestimate these tricks; they are the ones which will get you into the best shape of your life!

Statutory warning: As a side-effect, people may hate you for your constant optimism and happiness because all the non-fat, lifeless, nutrient deprived salads that they consume are making their minds foggy and are making them hate their lives.

  • Trick #1: Stop calling yourself fat, rotund, flabby, pig like and all the other creative names you’ve managed to come up with and for the love of kale, stop pinching your stomach and staring at it in disdain and wishing for it to magically go away.

    Romance analogy:
    Stating the obvious but it’s not a fun feeling when your partner is constantly trying to make you feel lesser than him/her. Neither is it fun when you finally accept that to be fact and start making self-deprecating jokes yourself. Instead, ensure your partner understands and acknowledges your strengths or in an ideal situation, work on strengthening what you’re weak at instead of giving up.

    Application to health: The time you’re spending calling yourself names and pinching your stomach could be put to significantly more productive use. So instead of name calling and pinching, take accountability and actually do something tangible to change what you dislike about your body. No good comes from just talking; its a cop-out and you know it too. Execute instead. That takes more work but is more rewarding in the end.

  • Trick #2: Stop being mean to other people and commenting on their body weight; especially if it’s unsolicited.

    Romance analogy: 
    Do you think super successful people are poking their noses in other peoples business? Do you think people in happy marriages/happy couples are looking at other couples to see how they do things or what their life is like? The answer to both of these is no because successful business owners and happy couples are too busy within their own lives doing what it takes to be successful and happy so much so that they really couldn’t be bothered with others.

    Application to health: 
    So if you often find yourself looking at other peoples bodies to see if they have gained weight or lost weight and what they eat and how they exercise, it’s taking you away from spending all that time on yourself! If you’re busy minding your health and secure in your own relationship with your body and your weight, you won’t care what other people eat or do. Your commentary is stemming from a deeper personal insecurity which we would need to address to get you on the right track.
  • Trick #3: Show up at the gym and exercise

    Romance analogy: 
    True romance isn’t calling your partner mean names and trying to pass it off as a joke or using it as a way to throw some subtle hint. True romance is showing up, being an equal, taking accountability and doing what it takes.

    Application to health: 
    This applies not just to your partner, but to your body as well. Show up at the gym, take accountability for that overeating binge and the endless rounds of weekend cocktails and the last 8 months of snoozing and skipping exercise and get ready to make a change. If you’ve ever been on the other side of a 50 minute workout, you know exactly how amazing it feels. If you have never completed a 50 minute exercise routine, then know that you’re seriously missing out! When a new restaurant, be it quaint or fancy, opens up, aren’t you first to jump the gun and try it out? Just like that, add this onto your list of glorious things to try ASAP too.
  • Trick #4: Think out of the box

    Romance analogy: Another element of romance is getting creative and doing new things with your partner as opposed to the same cliché stuff

    Application to health: 
    Be creative when it comes to rewarding your body too! Indulgence/reward doesn’t always have to be with food. Instead of rewarding yourself with a dessert, take yourself to the spa or lock in some extra sleep time for yourself. For one, it will save you from eating when you’re not hungry. Respond to physiological hunger-not to boredom or other external cues.

    Activities that lower your stress levels (spa, sleep, meditation) would lower the cortisol levels of your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that tends to collect fat in your abdominal area. So low stress=low cortisol=less abdominal fat. Bet that’s a fun excuse to get that much needed relaxation time for you, isn’t it?
  • Trick #5: Eliminate distractions (TV, laptop, phone) while both eating and exercising.

    Romance analogy: 
    How does your partner feel when he/she is trying to communicate with you but your attention is divided and you can hardly get yourself to look up from the TV/laptop/phone/latest gadget which your head is buried under? Exactly. And how do you think your body feels when you do the exact same thing? Successful romance requires undivided attention.

    Application to health: If you can easily chat on the phone while on the treadmill, your workout intensity isn’t high enough. A good workout needs to challenge you and requires you to focus and give it your 100% instead of some half-baked attempt. To optimally digest, absorb, assimilate and subsequently excrete your food, you need to pay attention to the eating process. Distracted eating disrupts digestion and increases your likelihood of overeating and we all know what overeating does. Boy, collects those little bulging ends which we detest so much.

    Side note: If you have collected bulging ends which you detest over the last few years of bad eating and a terrible lifestyle, go back and refer to Trick #1.
  • Trick #6: Cook the food you crave for as opposed to ordering in. Be one with the ingredients and the preparation process

    Romance analogy:
    Okay you got us here. This is a difficult correlation but hey, wouldn’t cooking with your partner be a wonderful bonding activity? You see it in the movies; maybe its time you try it out yourself

    Application to health: 
    Where should we even start when listing health benefits of eating at home? Less salt, less bad fat, less chemicals and preservatives and a heightened sense of awareness because you know exactly what’s gone into your food!
  • Trick #7: Try to trace the food you purchase to it’s source. Try and source your groceries from the same place consistently and speak to the vendor to understand where your fruits and vegetables are coming from

    Romance analogy: Don’t you want to find out EVERYTHING about your partner? Where they come from, what they are about, what makes them happy, what ticks them off, what stirs their soul-everything!

    Application to health: 
    Tracing your food would ensure that if their chemicals/preservatives/pesticides sprayed onto your food, you changes the source. Eating GMO free food is better for your intestinal and hormonal health, ensures you don’t develop any sudden allergies and lowers your likelihood of attaining cancer long-term.
  • Trick #8: Don’t allow yourself to get force fed by others; even if it momentarily offends them

    Romance analogy: Where do you land up if you listen to others, get influenced by the opinion of others and forget to listen to yourself and to each other? We don’t need to spell it out for you. You know yourself best and your partner and you know your relationship like no one else does.

    Application to health: 
    Your relationship with your body and your food is exactly like that. No one outside of you will know how much food you need at a given meal on a given day. Your mind and your stomach are the best judge of this. Eat till you feel comfortable as opposed to overly stuffed. Connect to your satiety signals and know when to stop. This will ensure you don’t overeat. If you don’t overeat, you will not fall sick or need to pop that antacid or find any unnecessary flab sticking out from places.
  • Trick #9: Savor and chew every single bite-don’t just bite your food, make love to it, devour it, allow your palette to experience every single taste and aroma

    Romance analogy: In the interest of keeping this PG-13, I won’t offer an explanation here. The analogy is self-explanatory and writes itself here, doesn’t it?

    Application to health: 
    Several studies have shown an inverse relationship between prolonged chewing and chances of attaining diabetes! Eating slowly and chewing your food also ensures better digestion and translates to weight-loss long-term (promise I didn’t make this up). Our brain takes a full 20 minutes to register that we are full so if you’re a fast eater, you may have well eaten past the point of fullness till the realization in your brain kicked in. So always take your time with your food just like you would with someone you love.
  • Trick #10: Give it time!

    Romance analogy: 
    Romance demands patience. You need to understand the needs of your partner and while this might take some trial and error, you would nail it eventually. The process to getting healthy and fit is exactly like that. Be patient with your body. It might take time to respond but you know why it’s taking all this time now? Because you have betrayed the trust your body laid in you several times before-with your detoxes and juice cleanses and pure starvation. In any relationship, rebuilding trust takes time but once you consistently prove that you won’t derail again, it’ll be the best relationship of your life!

    Application to health: Cliché but accurate, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So all the abuse you have put your body through over a year or a decade, you can’t expect it to melt away in a day or a week. Give yourself 7-12 weeks of clean eating and consistent exercise to see a difference in the sculpt and shape of your body.

That’s it! Happy Anniversary to us! Go out there and contaminate the world with two best possible things- love and health!