04/05/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

How To Be Kind To Your Body

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Happy successful sportswoman raising arms to the sky on golden back lighting sunset summer. Fitness athlete with arms up celebrating goals after sport exercising and working out outdoors. Copy space.

"Wow, you've lost weight! How did you do it?"

"Haven't you gained a little weight? You need to diet."

"How's your gym/yoga/Zumba/running/dieting coming along? I feel so unhappy. I just can't stick to a diet."

"Why do you need to walk every day? Aren't you thin enough?"

These are variations of the same theme I encounter in conversations every other day, and they are almost always by women. There is this frenzy that has taken over our society. Every woman (perhaps man too) wishes to fit that perfect dress. Curves are loathed. Washboard abs and lean forms are worshiped. Thin is beautiful. Plump is ugly.

"I will not shame her (my body) or curse her for gaining extra inches or getting stretch marks. I don't watch my weight. I haven't weighed myself in years. What's the need? "

Even women who have just had babies hate their weight gain. They want to slip back into their pre-pregnancy jeans just like celeb moms splashed in magazines do. When they are unable to do so they feel miserable. I am increasingly saddened by this situation. While we need to applaud everyone who wishes to get more healthy and fit, sadly that is not what most people are doing. They are chasing the "right" weight (whatever that is) at any cost. So, crazy diets, starvation, excessive exercising and surgeries all go in the name of getting thin. It is frightening. The harm done to bones and bodies in the bargain are often not known or really worried about.

Just recently I went on a trip to Rajasthan. The place is beautiful and alive with history. Seeing beautiful forts in various cities was charming. But what felt even better was that the husband and I had no trouble in prancing up and down steep inclines and steps. While younger adults were struggling, we middle-aged people managed so well. I was pleased that all that brisk walking and sensible eating has been doing my body immense good.

This is a tweet I posted that day:

This is the thought that I express to my body very often. I am really proud of her. She has taken me smoothly through two pregnancies and deliveries. She has let me fight diseases and handle tough parenting schedules. She sticks by me even when sometimes I trouble her with less sleep and stressful situations. Yes, she stands by me. I love her. And, I promise to nurture her at all costs. I will feed her good, nutritious food, and I will always keep her well oiled by doing my regular exercise. No, I will not shame her or curse her for gaining extra inches or getting stretch marks. I don't watch my weight. I haven't weighed myself in years. What's the need? I love how clothes look on me and how I feel about myself.

I don't try to fit a dress. I dress to flatter my body!

Let us all pledge to respect what nature has given us -- plump or thin, broad or slim. Remember, it is a work of art, and the best machine you will ever come across. Cherish it, treasure it, nurture it! Be kind to it. You ain't getting another one!

This post first appeared on Rachna Cooks.

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