Thursday, December 30, 2010



Thursday, November 11, 2010

How I lost 20 plus kilos in a year, the healthy and fun way! Part Two

Losing weight is no Rocket Science. All it takes is strong will, a set of very strong reasons, some help from friends, steady exercising and sensible dieting :).
If you have read part 1 of the Weight loss article I have posted, this part will get into the details of moderate exercise and sensible dieting. I recommend going through Part 1-you might find something you like there. However, regardless of you being a highly motivated person with great will, a strong suite of reasons to lose the extra flab, and a great support system, this article will really help. Please read on.

You are all geared up. You have brought those new sneakers. You are literally surviving on beet root juice and prayers. You have set the alarm for 05:00 am. Nothing can stop you. Nothing does too, but just for two days. Then, fatigue and boredom creep in. Gyms and diets are not such a lucrative prospect anymore. You have, by now, established a GOOD set of reasons:

  • Who has the time?
  • I can’t compromise on work!
  • Xyz is a housewife, she can afford to go for her hourly walk, how can I?
  • This diet is leaving me famished!
  • What’s the use of earning so much, working so hard, when I can’t enjoy a meal?
  • Those people who get thin use steroids/supplements/thinning pills.
  • I don’t need exercise. I may be a little overweight, but I am fine!
  • This Kartik guy must have gotten a tummy tuck/lipo suction done and is just lying to get laid!

You have to stop justifying your actions and accept if you are being lazy. Set realistic targets, and approach weight loss practically. There are some questions I can answer just this instant.

Who has the time?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but do you seriously think you are busier than Anil Ambani or Shah Rukh Khan? The former wakes up at 04:00 am to go for a jog, while the latter hits the gym every day after work, even if it means it’s at 04:00 am!

I can’t compromise on work!
And you think Barrack Obama and Vladamir Putin, amongst many others, compromise on work?

What’s the use of earning so much, working so hard, when I can’t enjoy a meal?
Well, as the super sexy Kate Moss says, nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Enough said?

I don’t need exercise. I may be a little overweight, but I am fine!
Please go to your Doctor. He/she may BEG to differ.

For all these reasons that you have, I have just one answer, a phrase from someone great I cannot remember at the moment- If you want to do something, you will find many reasons to do it, while if you DON’T want to do something, you will find equally good reasons NOT to do it.

The mind plays tricks on us. It does not like us getting out of our comfort zone. We tend to do that, all of us. I don’t want to sound preachy, but in all spheres of life, whenever we slip into our comfort zone, we tend to slack off. We lose a kilo; we celebrate as if we have lost a 100. We lose an inch, and we skip gym for a month, thinking that it’s still all under control. The downward spiral begins, and we are worse off than we were before. We also justify all those quietly devoured pastries, discreetly gulped down extra pegs, etc. with GOOD reasons. The diet plan, the exercise regimen, EVERYTHING goes for a toss and not without good reason.

The mind is not to be blamed completely; you are too. You set unrealistic targets, pushed your body too hard, ate too little, etc. Which is why, I always maintain that moderate exercise and sensible dieting will slowly-and by slowly, I mean six month tops for 15 kilos weight loss- and steadily help you lose weight and keep it off you!

Come on people! Not having time is a lame excuse. Not needing to care for your body is lamer. And claiming that xyz got thin due to abc is the lamest excuse of not exercising ever. As our own Akshay Kumar says, “Our body is our temple. TEMPLE. Can’t we devote two hours for it?”

WHOA, you’ll say. He is a multi crore worth actor, I am not. He may be a religious man; I am not, so the temple analogy does not cut ice with me. Agreed. Completely. Two hours is too much. How about 30 mins? Can you give a total of 30 mins and that too in chunks of TEN mins three times a day? Come on now, you can do that, cant you? From 24 hours, you just need 30 mins a day to lose weight, stay healthy, and happy! Give 30 mins a day for moderate exercise, eat sensibly, keep your support system in the loop, and you WILL lose weight. Here’s how I did it. Here’s how you can do it too!

1.  30 mins exercise. How hard can it be?

This section is NOT FOR BODYBUILDERS. They have better resources, I assure you. It is for us fat, lazy, short of time people. No need to invest in a gym; buy expensive shoes and workout clothes. Just simple exercises and tips you can do or adopt at home, or in office.

Walk baby walk!

The best known secret. WALK! Walk briskly. If not at 30 mins a stretch, walk in 3 intervals of 10 mins. You can do it in the morning, at your lunch break, coming back from work. (No GOOD excuses boss!) Walk so that you are slightly out of breath, that’s brisk walking. In one second, you should complete two steps. You can also climb stairs, park your car farther, jog, invest in a treadmill, join a cardio exercise group, etc. Find whatever works for you, and stick to it. This walking business, which is called cardio vascular exercise (yeah, throw this jargon at your jealous colleague’s face!) will not only help you lose weight, but keep it off you! Make it a couple thing on weekends. Make exercising and staying fit a couple thing, a guy thing, a friend thing, and see how you get closer to those people. Not only does weight loss help you look and feel good, it helps you strengthen relationships too!

Pranayam. This breathing funny stuff works!

Now, I don’t get any commission from Mr. Ramdev, but I can safely say that Pranayam works wonders for weight loss, releasing the body’s toxins, and for feeling healthier AND happier! Start with a ten min morning ritual. Okay, even walk for ten less mins and use those ten here, you happy now?! But do Pranayam. Its best part- It helps in flattening the tummy. Ask people who know me ;).

P.S: If you really are very keen but can’t find the Pranayam CD, I can send you a CD copy, I am that confident it works. But you have to send me your mailing address, telephone number and a promise- that you will DO Pranayam. And if it’s not pushing too far, the 30 mins brisk walk routine.
For free, of course. I am THAT committed to spreading this wonderful thin feeling I have now J.

Hop, skip and Jump to melt that fat away, Superfast!

I have found skipping to be the greatest of exercises! Skipping for ten mins a day is good enough for a start, really good. And it can be done ANYWHERE. I used to do it in my office terrace, so please don’t start with the reasons of not skipping J. Do this for a change; try to find reasons TO skip, places TO skip and the time TO skip. The fastest instrument for weight loss and health, ever.

The first few days will be a pain. You won’t be able to skip properly, and fail bitterly. Those good old days, where you could skip fluently and with the poise of a doe will flash by you, but DON’T GIVE UP! I also strongly suggest starting any new regimen on the weekend, so as not to hamper your work schedule. But hey, there is bound to be a little bit of discomfort. No pain, no gain, remember?

Ever seen a fat fish?

Fishes are the leanest creatures on earth. Wonder why? Cuz they swim a lot! Swimming is one of the best exercises a person can do. And if you can swim twice a week for about a half hour-and no, lounging in the pool ogling at the opposite sex does not count as swimming- you can skip your walking routine for that day too! It will be the best investment for your health, I guarantee that again. Just slather on a good sun block, limber up before diving in, and take it slow. You’re good to go down weight loss central!

Walking is for wimps. Weights are for idiots. Ok, I get you.

So, you neither like walking, nor weight training. Cool. There must be SOME form of physical activity you like? Playing football? Badminton, Table Tennis, cycling, any other outdoor sport? If you like playing a sport, that’s half the battle won! Play that as much as you can, just FIND the time for it and you can stay away from boring fitness instructors and sleep inducing walks. The basic principle is to do some rigorous activity for at least 3.5 hours a week. When you look at it this way, it does not seem much, especially for the payoff it gives, right? 3.5 hours in 7 days, for a fitter you. Do you have any more excuses now?! J

I DONOT advice people to go against doctors restrictions and exercise anyway. I am also sure that in 9 cases out of 10, regardless of the problem, there may be some physical activity you can do to ensure that you lose and maintain weight. Ask your doc for it. If you want to, nothing much can come in your way J. A hereditary problem, two surgeries, and many other things couldn’t come in my way!

2.  Eat yourself fit

First up, let me bust this common myth. {You can eat as much as you want, just exercise and you will be fine!}I will get back to this in the Sensible dieting section. Only exercising will help you lose weight, but sensible dieting will help accelerate the process.

It’s pretty simple, this weight loss thing, and I know it for a fact because I understood it, and I am not the sharpest tool in the toolbox J.

You see, whatever we eat, gives us energy in the form of calories. Ah, these oft heard of calories! Well those critters are responsible for giving us energy to perform our daily activities. Even sleeping requires calories and an hour of sleeping burns about 75 calories. In short, whatever we do needs energy, which is calories, which we get from the food we eat.

The problem arises when we eat more and burn lesser calories. If we have food worth 2500 calories, and consume 1500, the additional calories go straight for your gut, your thighs and your hips J. Not a nice thought, eh? But the beauty of it is so simple! You just have to eat lesser calories, and burn more calories.  Don’t worry, I am not going to prescribe a calorie counting, maddeningly frustration 1500 calorie diet.

I am going to give you tips which you can follow to substitute those calorie rich burgers with healthier options, introduce you to the wonderful world of negative calories, tell you about foods which make you fuller quickly and for a longer time, etc. Just sit back, relax and be ready to be blown away by how simple, taste filled and exciting weight loss through sensible dieting is!

An ideal day of eating

Here, I describe the ideal day in the life of a sensible dieter.

  • Drink squeezed Lemon juice in lukewarm water as soon as you wake up
  • Have a handful of nuts ( Chana/Badam 4-5) within an hour of waking up

Breakfast- 08:00 am to 09:00 am

You must eat a heavy breakfast as it gets utilized during the day. I am sure you know that Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. DO NOT SKIP IT. Thin people are normally the ones who have their breakfast. This is a personal request; it is that important. Here are a few choices I used to eat.

What to have:
  • Milk with Oats ( kicks cholesterols ass, rich in fiber) and fruit ( Preferably an Apple)
  • Idli/Upma/Poha
  • Eggs, Brown Bread, Milk. Non vegetarians can start the day with eggs, prepared any way. Eggs help in keeping the stomach fuller for a longer period of time and are a good source of protein. Try to have multi grain or brown bread along with your eggs. Toned milk, if not available, can be replaced by normal milk which is strained off the cream that forms over its top after boiling it.
  • Tea is okay too, just limit the cuppas J

What NOT to have (At least till you start exercising regularly and get to your weight loss goal)

  • Oil Dipped Parathas
  • Single Roti with Tea, and in a hurry
  • Vada Pav, Misal Pav, Ragda Pav, etc
  • Other fried, oily, unhealthy foods.

You make breakfast a regular routine, and I guarantee you will lose weight faster. I did J.

Pre Lunch Snack 11:00 am to 11:30 am

We are used to munching something or the other throughout the day. We don’t even realize but we keep gorging on chips, sweets, chocolates, and other unhealthy food daily. Don’t keep any on your desk, and snarl at the person who offers you all of that.  The idea is to have 5-6 small meals a day. So you eat before you are hungry and this way, you eat less.

What to have:

Have these snacks instead:
  • Chana
  • Few almonds
  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Vegetable Sandwich
  • Fruit
  • Fresh Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Salad
  • Bhel, Kurmura or Mamra ( Whatever you call it)
  • Sprouted Moong
  • Tea, Coffee, Green Tea

Apart from your 3 major meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner, have 2-3 small meals. The above mentioned snack comprise of meals. That way, your major meal sizes get smaller, and you are assured of weight loss.

  • A special mention for Green Tea. It has great medicinal properties which help with releasing the toxins in the body, i.e. cleanse the body of all the bad accumulated stuff, boost your immunity, and also aid in weight loss! It has been found that having 4 cups of tea, without following any diet or exercise too will make you lose 2 kilos a year. Try to have at least 2 cups per day. Tetley’s Green Tea, when mixed with honey tastes pretty nice!

What not to snack on

  • Chips
  • Sweets
  • Chocolates
  • Donuts
  • Bagels
  • Wafers
  • Fried Food
  • Fast Food
  • Samosa, vada pav, etc.

I know this sounds tough and unrealistic. But it’s not that you have to this for the rest of your life. You can have things you like once in a while, say a week. It would be better if you could completely eliminate them from your diet for now.  I couldn’t imagine life without Rice once; now I go days without it. As you lose weight and feel healthier, an automatic transition happens. If it happened with me, it can happen to anyone!

Lunch 01:30 pm to 2:30 pm/ Dinner 08:30 to 09:30 pm

 If you have had your pre lunch snack properly, you won’t be hungry enough to wolf down a whole Biryani by this time. As you must have noticed, you have to keep eating something or the other within a gap of 3 hours. Here goes the lunch menu:

What to have

  • Always start with a salad course, and by salad, I don’t mean your Russian salad flush with mayo and stuff. You can and should add Kala Namak, Kali Miri, Lemon Juice, dip it in Green Chutney etc, to flavor your salad which comprises of:
    • Tomato, Cucumber, Carrot, Onion, Radish, Cabbage, Lettuce, Beet Root, Capsicum
Now the green chutney is spicy, and that too helps in weight loss. The salads fill  your stomach with the necessary nutrition and will leave less room for other fattening things.

TIP: Time to bust another myth. I feel as hungry after consuming salads. They don’t satiate my hunger, but increase it. I will feel hungry is no time again on this diet.

That is so not true. It is your mind playing tricks with you again. It is what you have been constantly telling yourself. Try this:

Try eating slowly, while savouring the taste and the texture of food, while saying to yourself how full you are feeling and how good this stuff is going to be for you. Imagine a thin you. It helped me immensely, so much so that I lost 10 kilos in a month, which is not advisable, not at all. Aim for 4 kilos a month, max!

  • After the salads, come the main meals. Now, like promised, you don’t have to survive on beet root juice or skip lunch. As a matter of fact, skipping meals only makes you either binge on either the nearest or the most readily available unhealthy food or messes up the next meal you have. You have a mountain of a portion, and put on weight. Remember:
    • NEVER skip a meal
    • Try to have your meals at the same times each day, plus or minus a half hour
    • Meals are not to be cut by 90 percent, they are to be slowly reduced to what  the body requires, NOT what the glutton in us yearns for
    • Eat slowly, feel your meal with your tongue and take at least ten mins to finish it. That is the amount of time it takes your brain to realize that you are full and that you don’t need any more
    • No drinking gallons of water during meals. Have a few sips. Replace water with chaas. DONOT drink water for 15 mins after lunch

  • Raita/chaas, two chapattis, lots of bhaji, one katori dal
  • Salad, raita/chaas, Chicken/ (Any protein) with roti, one fistful rice
  • The aim is to have less quantities of more things, not just rice and dal, but a little of all. Remember, weight loss is not our only goal; proper nutrition to make you healthier and stronger is equally important
  • The plate should be colourful and have a variety of vegetables and pulses in the whole week I have attached a weekly diet chart, with all the nutrients essential for proper nutrition at the end of the article. Follow that, and you are set for life!

A little about Negative calories:

Whatever we eat, we digest. The stomach needs energy to digest food too, so calories are burnt that way too. However, there are some foods that are low on calories, say x amount, but the stomach needs more calories to digest them, say x + 50. That means you burn more calories while stuffing yourself with these foods! Now isn’t that cool?! Here is a list of such foods:

  Negative calorie list for vegetables

Fennel *
Aubergine *
Gourd *
Cabbage *
Lettuce *
Marrow *
Celery *
Radish *
Chicory *
Cress *
Tomato *
Cucumber *


  Negative calorie list for fruits

Mandarin orange
Blackberry *
Melon Cantaloupe *
Raspberry *
Rhubarb **
Guava *
Honeydew Melon
Lemon *

Have these foods as much as you want! Of course, if you do have a medical condition like diabetes, you could ask your doctor. Also, if needed, visit a clinical Dietician, who can suggest many food varieties that suit your palate and budget too J.

Some other Tips:

  • Watch out for triggers. Maybe while watching movie, you eat more. Emotional eating after a stressful day. Eat more with friends. Be FIRM.
  •  Avoid keeping snacks at home. Stock on fruits.
  • Buy as many fresh veggies as possible. Stock piling does not mean the whole weeks worth, it means that you always have chane, badam, fruits and salads to stomp on at home.
  • Eat at least one fruit a day, and two glasses of green tea a day
  • Have at least two servings of salads a day
  • Don’t misunderstand thirst for hunger. Next time you feel hungry, chug some water, and then wait. You might not be hungry after all.
  • The trick is not to starve yourself. Have a balanced, colourful, nutritious diet, but in small intervals. Eat before you feel hungry
  • I don’t endorse the 8 glasses a day sermon. Let thirst determine your water intake. Besides, you do have tea, chaas, fruit juice. But yes, for serious weight loss, try to drink more water than you are drinking, especially if you are working out.
  • Nobody in the world is busy enough to not give their body 30 mins for exercise. Stop giving that excuse and accept your laziness. Acceptance helps.
  • Put up a photo of a slim you at a prominent place. It really acts as a motivator.
  • Get a friend to harangue you to follow a diet or exercise if you aren’t self motivated. To be honest, I was, none of my friends took me seriously J.
  • Decide on a goal- losing 10 kilos by May.
  • Cut loose once a week. Binge if you want. It actually helps to rev up the body metabolism
  • Control the friend food intake though. French women are nice, the French revolution was an interesting read; heck, French kissing is the greatest, but French fries are not. Baddest food on gods earth.
  • Pranayam is king. Learn it, practice it. You will thank me.
  • Need a harsh taskmaster? Enrol me as one, for free! This offer is only for colleagues and friends though (As if someone else cares what I write!)

Seasonal Fruit
Day 1

Green vegetable- Palak, Methi, Mooli

Daily twice
Day 2

Cabbage, Cauliflower
Udad Dal

Daily twice
Day 3

Daily twice
Day 4

Bhindi, Tendli

Daily twice
Day 5

Moong Dal

Daily twice
Day 6
Mix veg, Sprouted Moong

Kale Chane
Daily twice
Day 7

Green vegetable- Palak, Methi, Mooli
Tuvar Dal

Daily twice

Well mates, this is about it! As you climb up the weight loss, superior health ladder, you will find yourself happier, I assure you that, and this series of articles are more than enough to help you set course for that journey. However, if you have ANY QUERIES, please feel free to contact me, and I’d be happy to help! Good luck!