Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Restoring wellness - some insights

Let this blog find you living healthy with high awareness.

Recently me & my wife Ruchi managed to reduce 12 kgs each in 15 weeks. Lot of friends asked “HOW???” Hence this mail. You may have already read part of it on a Facebook post.

1.  Strong intent & determination:
a)   We witnessed some illness in family and friends’ parents. We realized that the core reasons were that they ignored exercise, fitness, conscious eating for a long time.

b)   When I tried running as cardio exercise, to my horror, 5 minutes of running & I had severe pain in my knees. The next day I found I could not climb even one flight of stairs!!!!

c)   We travelled recently in a train and found that many people, even 45-50 year olds, preferred lower berth as they had knee issues to climb to mid or upper berth. Realizing that we are only few years away from this age group, we resolved to give priority to this ‘not Urgent but Important’ task of restoring fitness.

d)   Ruchi firmly believes that her internal belief & daily affirmations (“there is a thin person inside me”) helped her stay on track. Because of the strong intent, we kept looking & found appropriate physical trainer & dietician. Our favorite line is from Steve Jobs: “Keep looking. Don’t settle”.

2.   Physical training & healthy eating: 3 years of personal training (3 hours every week) increased our strength & stamina along with awareness of what kind of food we ate. I reduced/removed sweets, fried stuff, aerated drinks from my diet. We were overconfident about our healthy eating style. Yet the kgs and inches crept up slowly in this period.

3.   The turning point came with the new dietician (Dr. Falguni Shah) we consulted. Her medical knowledge was an added advantage as she gave us rationales that our mind could buy. She observed that we made a ‘khichdi’ (mixture) of so many advises. It is better to stick to one path and understand how it impacts your system. We released our arrogance of knowing everything about healthy eating. She was very assertive on her suggestions. We managed to follow her suggestions to 95% level.

I would suggest you consult & follow personalized advice of a good dietician: instead of just picking suggestions from various persons & books & even this note (and making a new khichdi)!!

Some things she suggested included:

a)   Drink warm/hot water before every meal. The water will compete with blood and take away some of the calories. Thus you will end up eating as usual but absorbing less calories.
b)   Do not mix grains in any meal. E.g. if eating wheat product – bread or chapati: then drop rice, or vice versa. So eat ONE grain based product in ONE meal.
c)   Take your weight and measurements ONLY once a week, neither earlier, nor later. Else you will get paranoid about it or lose track completely.
d)   The day you had a very heavy meal, under all circumstances, make sure your next meal is high in fibre – salad / fruits. NEVER SKIP next meal as that puts the body in a famine mode lowering metabolic rate & preserving all energy as fat.
e)   Other things such as mini meals with green tea (an anti-oxidant) between breakfast, lunch & dinner were also included.
She gave us base guidelines for hotel diets as well with options for all types of cuisines. Knowing what we could order in a restaurant while still maintaining our diet plan was very useful.
Biggest awareness was on the correct portion size for our required calorie intake. For example we believed nuts are healthy (many of them are). Since they are also tasty we ate lots and lots of them!!!
Another reassuring point was: she said this plan is only for 3-6 months and if you truly follow it, you will see results and then you move to maintenance diet, where you eat what you like in controlled proportions. In our maintenance diet she suggested NOT to mix sweet & fried stuff in the same meal (Either Samosa or Gulab jamun!! not both!!).

4.  Buddy system: Worked well. Me & Ruchi both were following the plans, we made weekly menus for each meal & mini meal, to comply with the diet plan. We encouraged each other to workout & specially do cardio.

5.  Increased awareness: I have become lot more aware of various foods, how they impact my body system. So the greed/desperation for sweets, fried items etc. has really taken a back seat.

In summary: loving yourself, positive intent, strong determination, buddy system, religiously following the diet plan & increased awareness worked for us. Also releasing arrogance “We already know everything about health & wellness” was critical.

The above may sound like a lot of work. But all I can say is the results are really worth it. The joy of realizing that you require 2 sizes lower clothes, far outweighs the temporary desire of sleeping 1 more hour or consuming one more junk food item.

Once you gain the momentum & rhythm, balance journey becomes simpler. With the raised awareness about food & my own body system, I am confident that we can maintain current level of fitness & health. Those of you who buy busy-ness / travel/ responsibilities as an excuse to delay wellness, remember as you have the expertise to manage complex work schedules, family & teams, you can very well manage diet (that same work, team & family also deserves your wellness)

Let this note inspire you to own up your wellness and be fit & agile so you can gift this world all the uniqueness you came here with. In case you are already a fitness & wellness enthusiast, then it may be time to encourage people around you.

Warm regards,


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