Thursday, August 21, 2014

I lost weight! Ask me how

You may have seen this badge worn by folks and you may have fallen for the weight loss product that the badge wearer is selling.  Chances are that the product may have worked a little for you; chances are that it may not have but the person who sold it to you has definitely become a little richer off you.

I am no expert on these magic formulae that will guarantee that you lose weight but I do know that there is a way to lose weight and if you were to walk up to me ask me how just like the gentleman who has been noticing me for over a few months now and observing the changes in me over the past few months did today, I will be glad to share. (I guess I do look lighter than I did in March and so I guess I don’t need to wear a badge.)

Weight loss is not a rocket science. It comes down to a few simple things that everyone knows and yet they tend to look for the magic formula. Weight loss happens by burning fat and by responsible eating. I have shared posts on both but since people keep asking me the same question I understand that not many have read my blog! I will  therefore share my experiences again.

The first step in weight loss is to start. Start doing some physical activity that has been ignored for long. The challenge is to pick something that one will enjoy doing, be it walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing a sport like badminton, the list goes on. Boredom and fatigue can be great barriers to physical activity so if you can join some like-minded friends it gets a little easier and definitely more fun.

People tend to believe that they can starve themselves to weight loss; it may actually work for a little bit but consider this can a car run without fuel? The body requires fuel to function normally and if you are making your body do a new physical activity without the fuel then there will be a break down. The body will require nourishment and this nourishment should be healthy and measured. Some small changes like cutting down on sugar and oil make a big difference. I have noticed the surprised reactions when I tell people that diets need not be severe but smart. You will be surprised how much of weight loss starts from the mind

So here are some tips to better eating and NO it is not a diet plan:
  • Eat lesser, it may actually be enough. To make this easier let us say eat 75% of your normal helping, it can be easier when you break it down into the servings or pieces. For instance if the usual is 4 idlis, make it 3. It may seem insufficient but check it out it may just be enough

  • Avoid eating before the TV if you are not a conscious eater, by this I mean if you are not aware of what and how much is on your plate then eating before the TV can make you overdo it

  •  Cheat your mind by changing your cutlery, use a smaller plate and fill it up. Have you noticed that tiny serving of sambar rice heaped in a small bowl in many hotels satisfy you often for lunch when on other days you may eat full meals in the same place?

  •  Reduce sugar, salt, oil. Simple but very effective. The challenge is not to avoid but reduce, again if it is two spoons of sugar in coffee and you have 3 cups a day do the math. You can start with a spoon a cup and you are down 50% and the effect will gradually show on your scales. Dump the French fries when you eat out, they neither taste good nor are they useful. Ask the friendly tea shop man to serve you tea and not the usual payasam that he serves to make you return to him 

  •  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and reduce red meat. Switch to lean meats or fish. Grill the fish instead of frying it.  

  • Dump the mass produced biscuits. Many people these days tend to swap a meal with a pack of biscuits, not good! Biscuits have excess fats, sugar and salt. One or two can suffice with coffee or tea it cannot and will not be a meal. You can try the “lite” biscuits, they may taste like sawdust initially but over time they grow on you. : ) 

  • Eat slowly and savour the food. Chew each mouthful and avoid washing it down with water. Usually we tend to overeat by eating fast. There is no fast in food. What is fast food is the speed they take to serve you. The more you take time to savour and chew the food the brain will send signals of satiation comparatively earlier which will not get lost in the TV you are watching or the paper you are reading. 

  • Drink lots of water. Water cleans the system and also reduces hunger pangs. It is the elixir of life.

The list of things that are part of smart eating goes on. These are some I have discovered and they have worked for me. They may work for you they may not. The challenge then is to start on the journey of discovery.

This post was inspired by the responses I got to a Facebook status I put up some time ago “Today someone asked me the reason for my weight loss and if I was taking any of the weight loss solutions. I think he was genuinely disappointed when I told him how I did it. “

I look forward to your responses as I will learn from them too.

Best wishes and Bon Appetit!!

Friday, August 08, 2014

How do you identify a runner?

Runners are a weird breed, they do so many funny things and if you are not a runner you will find them a trifle difficult to understand. But here are some pointers to identify a runner

Their day begins when the rest of the world is still in bed or at least pressing the snooze option in their alarms for another few minutes. They wear bright neon colour clothes that others would not be caught dead in and lace up shoes that will cost nearly an arm or a leg, well not so much but enough for others to arch their eyebrows sky high. Then they set out from their homes to set the roads on fire. Look out for some folks wearing bright clothes and funky shoes running in the dark.

You will observe the hyperboles being thrown about quite frequently in this post but I will ask you to bear with me for with runners everything is above average. They run distances that will make others swoon in shock; distances like 21 kms, 30 kms, 50 kms are regular conversation staples and note that these distances are covered on foot. Runners take pride in their PB, personal best for newcomers; this is the time they took to cover their last landmark distance and runners always want to improve their PB. You will be forgiven when you hear the terms “half” or “full” and imagine that these are related to intoxicating spirits, these are referring to a half marathon or a full marathon, the completion of which usually results in something called “Runners High” which cannot be told but can only be experienced.

Injuries are par for the course and runners know that their sport can lead to often quite debilitating injuries but yet the joy of running makes them accept that injuries will be met when they occur. To remain injury free is an unspoken hidden desire for almost all runners. To achieve this injury free life runners usually push their bodies more by strength training or gym workouts in addition to their runs. An injured runner will work very hard to get better, to run again.

Camaraderie is another notable trait that is usually visible among runners. A nod of the head, a clap of the hand or a simple spoken “good run” to an unknown runner running on the other side is good manners and mutual back slapping is the tonic that pushes one another to run a little more a little faster or a little longer. Senior runners are usually available to share their knowledge and experience with a tip or two to every newcomer taking up the sport.

Pigheadedness or stubbornness is another thing you will find common about runners. They simply do not give up, a DNF or Do Not Finish in a race or even a regular run is almost unthinkable barring a major unavoidable reason. They do not take the easy way out and push till the end despite others around telling them STOP.

Runners can be illogical. Others may delight in the medal that they get after the race but runners treasure the journey more. For them the race is the culmination of days of training, blood sweat and tears and the medal is incidental, it is the journey that will be treasured.

Despite all this runners are normal people like you and me, they do abnormal things because they are in love with their sport and love is blind. Blind to sweat, pain and much more.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

CBC Tablog 2 - Madras Week Celebrations - One aspect I want to change about Chennai nee Madras

This post has been published as a part of 'The CBC Tablog - 2.' Read previous post by Lakshmi Venkatraman here ...

If you do not know about CBC, Chennai Bloggers Club is simply the Most Happening Blogging Community of namma Chennai. This tablog is a group blogging activity where each blogger posts on one topic and passes the tag to the next. So here goes...

One aspect I want to change in Chennai? The list of changes can be long but I will stop with one phrase that should cover a few, “civic sense”.

So what then is civic sense? It can be
  •   A sense of taking pride in Chennai  and keeping it clean
  •   A sense of awareness that spitting or defecating in public is a nuisance and can be extremely disrespectful to others
  •   A sense of community living where sweeping ones garbage into the neighbour’s courtyard is avoided
  •   A sense of ownership of the utilities provided for community good and protecting and preserving them including metal manhole covers that get stolen regularly
  •   A sense of awareness that walls are private property and defacing them for commercial or political or even obituaries is extremely annoying and completely unwelcome
  •  A sense of responsibility that throwing stones on MTC buses the lifeline of the city or damaging them for any grievance will not help anyone including themselves
  •  A sense of duty to mother nature in saving the scanty green cover from the preying anti-socials
  •  A sense of outrage when well laid storm water drains are converted to free drainage systems by unscrupulous individuals
  •  A sense of despair when the pride of Chennai the Marina is hijacked by vendors and anti- socials who under the guise of livelihood deny a clean beach to the common man
  • A sense of quiet understanding that traffic rules are as much for personal safety and for the safety of the others around

The list goes on…

Civic sense is therefore how we care for our living spaces and our work places, having said that Chennai is the birthplace, living place, working place or even the final resting place for many of us…

I am very happy to pass on the baton to Kalyani Vijay,  an IT graduate, intuitive, a chocolate addict/craver, voracious reader/bibliophile (recently), an amateur blogger. She loves looking into anything and everything from something jocular to non-nonsense stuff. She started blogging slapdash, but now it has become a part her life (thanks to her love for reading/writing)

Picture courtesy: Google Images - Madras war cemetry