My Adventures with Zumba- Kahor Raleng, Supervisor, Higher Secondary Section

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Nagas are great foodies! And yet, many of us find it difficult to maintain a healthy routine in our active lifestyle. Staying fit and healthy could be challenging with our busy schedules and we often come up with excuses to avoid working out. But it is just a matter of priority and our commitment towards healthy living.  It’s time we understood that the benefits of a healthy life go far beyond aesthetic satisfaction.

My Adventures with Zumba 

Over the past few days, there has been enough hullabaloo over the political scenario, clean elections, the flood situation, broken bridges, condition of roads, and the overall mess in Nagaland. It appears like there is nothing to be desired in Nagaland. I will not present you with another depressing scenario, neither will I give you my ‘know it all attitude’ answers, just for the simple fact that I don’t have any. In fact, I shall not dwell on this depressing topic but rather propose to take you on the interesting topic of ‘Life of a healthy (read that as overweight) person’.

I have always been on the heavier side, and have never exceeded a weight of 60 kilos. But one fine day when I weighed myself, the scale read 62 kilos. I did a double take and was totally shocked. I was on the verge of becoming obese! Overweight was okay….but obese? And at this age, the age when everybody around me wonders why I am still single! No way! I decided to take some drastic steps, and that something came in the form of Zumba classes, a dance fitness program, for a month. I joined immediately and felt so good about it. The classes were to be for an hour which would consist of dancing and some body combat. That sounded easy and simple enough.  I had dreams of losing several kilos by the end of the month and even imagined wearing those petite dresses I could not wear anymore. The future looked very bright and promising.

We were all excited and ready to go. Half way through the first session, I realised that I was so lost trying to catch up with the steps. I looked around to see whether the others were as disoriented as me, and was relieved to discover that they were also equally lost. That was a huge consolation. It will be an understatement to say that it takes time to get the steps. We came to the end of the first session and I was all sweaty, breathless, and dazed. That ‘feel good factor’ was so high and I ignored all the aches and pains. By the end of the week, my body was literally screaming out with pain. I felt like I had been beaten all over. My face looked thinner, and my skirt appeared looser at the waist.

My confidence level sky-rocketed and this feeling of confidence made me feel that it was okay to have the chowmein in the college cafe, whose aroma been tempting me as I passed by. I reasoned that it was just a plate of chow. Then it went on to become ‘just’ a plate of fried rice. When I finally realised that it was stuffed with oil, I opted for Galho (the healthier version). The galho was delicious and so within no time, a bowl of galho became two bowls of galho. My confidence level was still very much intact to remind me that I needed food to give me stamina for the Zumba & Body Combat sessions where I will be losing more weight. Our instructors had also told us to eat right and not to go on an extreme diet, so that justified it. Our Body Combat levels were upgraded and so I had to upgrade my food intake too.

The workout had become aggressively intensive with lots of squats and other tough moves by the third week. The pain in my body had also become extensive that I had to drag myself to Zumba classes. At the same time, I had to drag myself away from food because my appetite had grown. Even chapatti, which I normally hated and had just two pieces for dinner, was now upgraded to four within no time. And to top it all, this wonderful niece of mine was on her summer break and thus received me every evening with tea and all sorts of calorie filled cookies and cakes.
By the final week, I have gained a lot of insight into the way foods taste and had developed a fascination with the different flavours. I started experimenting and even had a bowl of sticky rice cooked in dollops of butter, sugar and milk with axone pickle. In normal circumstances, I would never have eaten a spoonful. But these were not normal times; I was supposed to be losing weight and my urge for food had heightened to an uncontrollable horizon. I have also developed a liking for Zumba, now that I can follow the steps to some extent.

Anyway, one whole month has gone by and now it’s time to see the results after all that hard work and so I weigh myself. Alas! I had lost 1 kilo.

This whole experience has made me realise several things. Firstly, that we give too much importance to size. My motivation for joining Zumba was because I wanted to become thin. The way we perceive an individual depends on their size, our definition of beauty is defined by size and our motive for exercising is inspired by size. The ultimate goal should not be to become thin, but to become healthy! The benefits of exercising are numerous. Exercise enhances our body posture, refreshes our mind and keeps us active and healthy. It doesn’t matter whether I achieve a size zero, what matters  is that I stay healthy and fit. We need to do away with the perceived notion that only thin people are healthy. One can be on the heavier side and be healthy as long as one eats right and exercises regularly. A balanced diet along with moderate exercising should be a part of our daily lifestyle.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:

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