Disclaimer: This story is a personal experience and not sponsored by Netflix.
The human body is so sexy when it is fit — a treat for the eyes to look at when you’re at the beach or the pool. No matter what floats your boat, you have to admit — there is something so attractive in looking at fit bodies.
Mine is pretty much the complete opposite. I’ve been overweight ever since I started taking pills to treat Epilepsy back in high-school. They had some side-effects on me. And then, when it disappeared a few years later, and I stopped taking the pills gradually, being overweight had already become normal for me. My will was not strong enough to go through the agonizing process of exercising.
There is something to admire in fit people. Aside from their attractive body, they have a beautiful mind. A willful mind. The kind of mindset that knows what they want. The kind of mind that sets out to do something and achieves it even when it takes a lot of time, energy, or mental power.
Lately, as I began dating again, I got rejected a few times. If I’m honest with myself, women rejected me because deep down, I didn’t think I deserved a woman who will want to be with me.
“Will this fat body be attractive to her?”
Those thoughts roamed at the back of my mind on practically every date I went to and destroyed any possible good outcome. I didn’t like my body.
As the rejections came, so has the male bodies. I started noticing everywhere I went how many muscular men were surrounding me. It looked so easy for them. How the clothes fit on them and made the muscles look so much more defined; How their skin glowed and looked healthy; How they smiled and ate what they want without thinking about it. I got so frustrated with myself. But the answer has not eluded me. I knew it the whole time but denied it: I didn’t exercise, I didn't sleep, I didn't take care of myself.
My daily routine was to wake up, go to work, sit at a desk for nine hours, and do work tasks. Then I would come back home and sit at my computer for a couple more hours working on my personal projects before finally going to sleep.
I wasn’t even overeating junk food; I was not moving enough.
I told myself I had to do something about it — I never did.
Then, as I escaped my woes by scrolling on Social Media, someone famous I’m following on Twitter said they watched a fantasy TV show called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. I decided to watch an episode. I hoped it would take me away to a different world for a little while. It did.
The building I live in has a WhatsApp group. Every day there is a ton of junk messages in there. Some residents complain about the dogs; others complain about the Social Standing of the building, et cetera. I live with my parents in a neighborhood of wealthy people. My enormous debt keeps me humble even though I try to get rid of it.
Anyway, one of the group members complained that there was no Netflix installed on the gym’s TVs. Yes, I have a resident-owned gym on the -1 floor of the building. I can count on one hand the number of times I went there.
I had just finished watching this episode when I skimmed through the group’s messages, and something clicked: I’ll watch this new show while walking on the treadmill! So simple! If I want to watch an episode, I’ll do it there!
For the first time in a long time, I found the motivation to invest in my body. I decided to try it.
The first day was too simple. I put my treadmill on speed 4.5, and when I had finished the episode, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished some great exercise.
But I did walk for 50 minutes! I took the win but decided to do better tomorrow.
The next day, I put the treadmill to speed 5. I again watched the episode till the end and felt right about that. I saw some sweat on my shirt but not so much to declare this a good workout.
The next day, I had again come to see an episode. I work in high-tech, so I did all these watch-exercises around 7.30 AM before I went to work. That day was different.
I decided to put the treadmill speed to 6.0. I knew this could potentially damage my enjoyment of the episode if I had to pant. I didn’t know if I could take it. But I did. After a minute or two of adjustments, I enjoyed the episode while doing a brisk walk.
When I finished the episode, I felt so incredible. Not only The Dark Crystal is a fantastic show on Netflix, but I was also soaking wet. Disgusting, I know. I went home, took a shower, ate strawberry yogurt, and went to work refreshed. I felt so satisfied with that walk.
I got on the bus to work and had some time to think. I realized that I’ve been doing these watch-exercises for a few days without even complaining. I also adjusted the training to increase the difficulty. The irony that Netflix, of all things, got me back to exercise was not lost on me.
The only thing left to do is make a list of all those Netflix shows I wanted to watch but passed on because I wanted to do more meaningful things with my time, like writing.
Not only do I get to watch them now, but I also get to do it while investing energy in improving my body and mind and not feeling guilty about spending time watching Netflix.
Besides the joy that this combination had brought into my life, it also brought a daunting question:
Why haven’t I thought about that sooner?