Badly clutched by Octobes

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Read Oct-Obes. Plan to start (Part-1).

Hi friends. Last time I told that the planning to start is easier said than done. It’s actually a lot easier said than I had imagined. The easy part, just two questions. First, how does my enemy look like? Second, how is it entrenched? Just the start of the tough part, answering these.

FIRST. I had always imagined those layers of flabs adding, as large waves of enemy soldiers surging onto me one after another. But ever since I thought about a boon gene in the “by-default-leaner” “They” and decided to see my own cant-less state with a magnifying lens, I have realized that I have been made a fool by my enemy! Those are waves for sure, but not of soldiers, rather, waves in an ocean rising from the demonic dance of a highly intelligent, sly and an immortal being. I can see it better for the first time in all these years.

Obesity is a demonic Octopus hidden inside me and has had me badly clutched in its arms all these years! Intimidating to say the least. I am naming my enemy as Octobes! (The Octopus of Obesity)

SECOND. I am reminded of a few lines from Peter Godfrey-Smith’s book “Other Minds, The Octopus, the Sea and The Deep Origins of Consciousness”

…one Octopus arm slowly uncoils and comes out to touch you. The suckers grab your skin and the hold is disconcertingly tight…it tugs your finger, pulling you gently in… Behind the arm, large round eyes watch you the whole time.

I am now able to realize and feel the arms of Octobes entrenched inside me so slyly.

  • You are No Priority

Was “I” an option in my life besides work and family? Love-needs-sustenance-needs-love has been a vicious cycle in my real world of survival.

Octobes using its first arm has eliminated “I” as an option for myself in all these years. No significance. Even when my legs ache from running around from one business meeting to another or palpitations during those sleepless nights of preparing project reports. Even on a holiday when my head feels heavy and eyes droop during refilling my weekly supplies at home.

Never a priority.

  • “I will strike hardest when you are weakest”

“I just wish I could run away somewhere!!” Emotionally most volatile in the face of a likely failure in a professional or a personal battle, struggling with a presentation/spreadsheet/deliverable late in the night, cursing myself as to why I landed where I am!

And that’s when Octobes strikes its second arm. Pangs of desperation, those instincts of binging at 1, 2 o’clock in the night. And thus, the beginning of munching… peanuts, chips, dessert, dinner leftover and COFFEE. If nothing is available in the fridge, then kudos to 24X7 apps like Swiggy and Zomato!

Stress, feeding guilt, feeding stress, feeding guilt.

  • “My Poison in fireworks and celebrations”

Corporate dinners, family functions, festivals, marriages and of course those evening drinks with friends. Occasions to reinforce my presence, increase my social participation and acceptance. Occasions to celebrate or simply feel as if I am letting loose.

Octobes knows that I don’t have the boon gene. It knows I feel isolated due to those billows of flab. Slyly curling its third arm around me and like a slow poison it pushes a bit of its own adrenaline ink in my veins. “Stay longer, eat your snacks faster, take those extra slices and servings and keep laughing and clapping!”

Slow, Sweet Poison when I think I am high and happy!

  • “You deserve to be dominant my friend!”

Its Friday night and thank God there is no major urgent work pending for tomorrow! I think I will be free tomorrow!! My wife and father ask me to sleep early and have food on time as it is “good for me”. I know you are the ones who care for me but think of this; I have been forcing myself to stay awake, bunk good food, have junk food, wake up early to get ready for work, wearing, tearing, hammering myself throughout the week for you all only!

Subdued under the material requirements. I have very few levers to control a few things only. Why should I listen to them? Even if they care for me, they don’t seem to understand what I am going through. Octobes reads my mind and then lovingly caresses its fourth arm around my head and whispers, “You are right! No one understands you. It’s your time and only you have the right to spend it the way you want to!”

Pampering obstinacy when I think I can control my things!

  • You need to loosen up your belt. Have Coffee”

Food doesn’t order me. I order it! Eat when I want to, what I want to. All these years, I have been skipping breakfast and randomly having lunches on a working day. I know this is not healthy. Friends and family members have been advising me, diet experts have advised I agree. But remember the boon gene experiment I was talking about? If I and one of “They” have the same food, I’ll gain weight while the “They” will not!

A sense of full stomach accompanied by a sense of heavier belly does not feel good at the start of the day or in the afternoon, when you are pressed against time. Octobes’ fifth arm further supports my view, like a caring mother. “You are right dear, you will need to loosen up your belt. You are already on the first hole. Not a good way of starting the day. You can have coffee. A cup of stress reliever my dear!!”. 5-6 cups of coffee on a working day at the workplace!! Sure enough, the sugar does address the stress and hunger!

The fourth and the fifth arms working in tandem!

Honey trapping me while I dig my own trench.

  • You can’t. Keep day dreaming”

Whenever I see one of “they” in a gym video or listen to a motivational speaker that I can, I tell myself, “This weekend, I will also join the gym. I’ll start with a proper diet from tomorrow itself! Shouldn’t be that hard.”

Tomorrow, as if truth dawns on me, Octobes injects a poison through its sixth arm, “You don’t need to do it today. There will be a time when you will get ample time for this. Today, just finish your work. That’s your daily bread and butter.” Was I just day dreaming then till now?

The poison of procrastination.

My enemy Octobes’ six arms. Working with perfect synchrony and timing. Probably there are many more that I haven’t even realized, sitting. These will show up when I start the war on the battleground.

This was never only about diet and exercise damn it! This has always been about “I” at the core.

Octobes is immortal. This will be a tough war and for the rest of my life. And I am game for it! Are you?

Let’s plan for how to fight with Octobes!

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.


And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

William Blake

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