Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Fitness Racket- Part 4- Time Management and Tips

This post is the continuation of the three posts on the fitness racket. Post 1 explains the Fitness racket we play on ourselves, post 2 explains the mind over mind technique, while post 3 talks about prioritization. This post deals with Time Management. While all posts can be read independently, reading the whole series will be worth your while.

Time Management

We’ve read about it. We have craved for the secret to it. We all publicly want it, but secretly don’t want it. We loudly declare how bad we are with it, and how marvelous those awe inspiring beings are, the one good at it. I’m talking about time management.

While you may agree with most of the points mentioned above, this one might get your panties in a twist; we secretly don’t want it. We don’t want the most efficient and purposeful management of our time. We don’t? I think so.

Who would want to wake up at 5, exercise on time, sleep on time, eat on time, have time for family, be productive at work, and get to spend time with family? Everyone, right? Wrong. While many publicly crave for it, secretly, they are happy not to be efficient time managers. Why? Because Time Management is HARD WORK!

Become an efficient Time Manager will mean enough time to:

  • Exercise- Who wants that?! Except if you are being paid 10 crore for it?
  • Eat on time- Who wants that?! Isn’t eating late a sign of how devoted and busy I am?
  • Sleep adequately- Who wants that?! How can we then complain of how tired, and fascinating, and busy, and important we are because we have no time to sleep?
  • Spend time with family- Who wants that?! Busy professionals rearing for the top don’t spend time with family! It’s only after we become VP or CEO do we do all of the stuff mentioned above, while we live the good life of doing nothing!


  • Being healthy, fit and happy is not only an actor’s prerogative.
  • An optimally fed professional is a way better professional than one on 10 cups of Coffee and a prayer.
  • A well-rested professional is also a way better professional than the one downing 10 cups of coffee to beat hunger, sleep and exhaustion.
  • Those’ living it up’ CEO are ten times busier than one, but yet manage to fit in exercise, diet and family due to their excellent time management skills.

No, I ain’t no Time Management Guru. I am just a guy who is striving to find the time to do the things I love, and take care of my health by eating right, on time, sleeping right, and catching up on some exercise.

It does not require project management skills, nor does it require psychiatric help. All one has to do is:
  1. Acknowledge we are timewasters, and that we run a fitness racket on ourselves.
  2. Use the Mind over Mindtechnique to ensure we do the good stuff immediately and wait out the badstuff.
  3. Prioritize and proclaim; myhealth in my No.1 priority.

When we have step 1, 2 and 3 in place, finding the extra time to sneak in a brisk walk, or a half hour in the gym, time for a peaceful lunch or 7 hours of sleep without worry is possible.

As an ex-colleague used to talk teary eyed about a Project Management line:

Find the problem.
Solve the problem.

Problem found- We don’t accept we are neglecting our health and come up with reasons.
Solution- Accept the fitness racket we run on our family and ourselves, and many possibilities will arise out of that acceptance.

Problem- We want to start, and continue down our lifestyle alteration goal, but we are weak willed, lazy, distracted and scared.
Solution- Use the Mind over Mind technique; get over the road blocks.

Problem- No time to eat right, on time, sleep right, sleep enough.
Solution- Prioritize, and make health your no.1 priority.

Following these steps will ensure that you are sharp enough to find out lapses, accept them and find solutions. They will help you rule over your mind and come up on tops. They will help you in putting health before other not so important things, and will assure you always have the time, energy and conviction to pursue what’s really important; vibrant health!

Here is some of the stuff I do:

  • I keep a few packets of Green Tea with me. I strive to have two cups a day
  • I make it a point to rest for 5 mins after my lunch, and then go for a ten minute walk. The gossiping I was to do with my colleagues over lunch can also be done while taking a walk.
  • I get down about half a kilometer away from the Andheri Railway station to walk. It takes me and the bus the same time to reach the station due to the traffic, and I have found time to walk!
  • Whenever I call my wife or anyone else, I start the walk and talk routine made so famous by the idea- Abhishek Bacchan ad.
  • I don’t entertain any meetings at the lunch hour, and people are very understanding when I tell them that I am hungry and I have to eat. If it is really important, I ask them to tag along for lunch. I have always found out bugs, issues and other serious sounding things seem a little lighter during lunch.
  • I do a couple of sit ups, pushups and jumping jacks as soon as I get out of bed. It takes a minute, rids me of my sleep and sets the tone for my day.
  • I keep water handy, just beside my bed and gulp down half a litre on waking up.
  • I have accepted my shortcomings which inhibit my journey towards lifestyle alteration. I also stay away from people who are a discouragement towards this end.
  • I use the time I get in the train to do little pranayama or neck exercises, apart from listening to health e-books, or surfing the net for latest health information.
  • I keep my water bottle at office half full, and go for a refill every time the water finishes.
  • I have rounded off a few of my friends and convinced them to play badminton, or go swimming, or head out for football on the beach every alternate day or weekends.
  • To drink lesser and minimize the effects of alcohol, I have made it a rule to have a glass of water after every peg of alcohol I down.
  • I start my dinner with cucumber slices- that I love- or soup.
  • Whenever I feel a craving for anything, I first have a few sips of water. On most occasions, I realize I was just thirsty.
  • I take frequent breaks from the “routine” and not follow anything for a day.
  • I fast on fresh fruits and raw salads every once in a while.
  • Usually, I neither fast, nor feast.
  • I always, ALWAYS, read the food labels and strive to stay away from HFCS, Trans Fat, Added Sugar or MSG.
  • I keep experimenting with different foods and observe their effects on my body.
  • I have observed my schedule in detail, pin pointed times when I feel hungry, and always keep almonds, Soy Protein, Whey or other healthier stuff handy.
  • I religiously have home-made, Ajinomoto free, veggie loaded, at times egg/meat loaded, wheat based noodles. (And they taste absolutely delicious!) Lesson to be learnt- Have what you like; just find healthier places or ways to eat them.
  • I keep looking at my goals on a monthly basis, and keep a check on my progress.

 If you liked the series of these posts, if you hated them but read them anyway, if there is anything you learnt or anything you want to share, please feel free to comment. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fitness Racket Exposed Part 3- Prioritization

This post is the continuation of the two posts, the first one in which I discussed what the fitness racket is, how we run this racket, and on ourselves. It went on to discuss the foundation steps to start off with to understand, expose and finish this racket for long term physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.

The second post spoke about the mind over mind technique.

The fourth and the last post in this Fitness Racket series will talk about Time Management and will discuss practical tips to squeeze in ‘health time’ during our busy day.

This article is written in parts to enable you to read one part, reflect on it, implement it, and move ahead. This is the third part of the Fitness Racket series. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What is Prioritization?

This is one word most professionals of today are well versed with. With the competition at an all-time high, most of us are multi tasker’s handling multiple projects at a time. A sad but true fact is that the “one thing at a time” theory just doesn’t cut it nowadays.

However, as nothing is all bad or good, the phenomenon of multi-tasking has given impetus to prioritization. We have become past masters at prioritizing our daily professional tasks. We create a task list, and jot down the most important tasks to be finished within the day. We know which task takes precedence over the other. Don’t we? Don’t you?

So you think you can prioritize!

Do you?

  •          Do you think that working 12 hours a day, and travelling 4 another for the sake of a big raise is more important that your health?

What else are you going to do with that money but visit a Doctor and assist in the Doctor’s kid’s medical college education?
  •          Do you think skipping a meal to ensure project deadlines are met takes precedence over you not being able to keep up with your young one on those rarest of rare walks in the park?

Will twenty minutes really make that big of a difference, or is it that we want to portray ourselves as committed hard workers?

  •         Do you think smoking and drinking to combat stress after a hard day’s work will be ignored by your over used, high LDL cholesterol, high Diabetes, high triglyceride body?

Are we finding reasons to drink to temporarily numb our cranium to escape reality?

Wake up and smell the coffee.

  •          Work hard, yes, but work smart too. And a smart worker will always keep health before work. A healthy person is a more efficient professional.
  •          Fasting a day to rest the stomach, and skipping a meal to binge on the next meal is well, plain stupid, IMHO. EVERYONE’s got time for a 20 minute meal. We aren’t at war people, come on!
  •          Drink moderately, and you- actually your wife, if you’re a man- are the best judge to decide moderation for yourself.

The point I am trying to make here is that while we consider ourselves kick ass prioritizers, we prioritize our financial health over our physical, we prioritize LOOKING GOOD in front of others as the epitome of hard work and professionalism over a healthy lifestyle, and we keep giving excuses for doing so. Bad, no?

Who is this judgmental prick, you may ask!

I am no “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” kinda hermit (although I do enjoy relaxing at aIm Yoga’s Bodh Vilas from time to time) who has given all the worldly pleasure away to resort to a hermit-y lifestyle.

I am a juvenile Diabetic who was fed up of his bad health after two surgeries which went wrong. I am the guy who had gone up to 92 kgs from 60 kgs because of the surgical complications and antibiotics. 

I am the guy who binge drinks on Red Wine and gets stitches later in the day. I am the guy who has read and tried every diet known to man, who keeps experimenting between Yogasan, Weight Training, and sports to see its effect on my body. 

I am also the guy who lost 20 kilos (Don’t miss the real as rain before and after pic) and is now a Nutritionist whose passion is to assist people in living healthier.

I am not standing on a higher moral ground and judging you. I am one of you. I falter, I fail. But I accept, I acknowledge and I move on. This blog is all about my experiments, my experiences, my fears, my learning’s, and my life.

Please get that straight. I am not selling any health product, nor will you find a lot of advertising on my blog. No sir. I want US- you and I- to become healthier and happier. Period.

Having said that, let’s focus on Prioritization.

Ok, so let’s get Prioritization right!

Health, they say, is wealth. Well, I dunno about that, but lemme tell ya, good health is a great bitch to have on you. And for us to be in and maintain good health, we need to remember, repeat and follow this Mantra:

My health is my topmost priority!

Not my family, not money, not work. My health. I know it sounds selfish. Heck, maybe it is. But it’s true. You may not like me for being honest, but that’s not going to change the fact that a healthier you is going to be a more efficient professional, a better parent, a better spouse (wink, wink), and in short, a better EVERYTHING.

Okay, worst case (and completely unrealistic) scenario:

If someone kidnaps your kid and forces you to go on a French Fries diet, by all means, go ahead, break a leg!

But apart from that or any other equally life altering predicament, whenever you face a situation or dilemma, say this to yourself:

My health is my topmost priority.

  •          When you feel lunch hour is nearing, your stomach is rumbling but you feel your project needs you, tell yourself that your health is your topmost priority.

  •         When your colleague is waving potato chips on your face, tell yourself that your health is your topmost priority.

I cannot list down all the situations we face, but please understand the gist of it. By prioritizing your daily walk over watching TV, on time lunch over work, falling to peer pressure over refusing another glass, you have prioritized your health as no. 1.
And believe me, when you are healthier, that glass of beer, and other equally sinful things taste and feel ten times better!

Steel your mind, make it clear in your head, and grab life by the balls! And once you’re done with that, share your experiences with us.


Friday, May 4, 2012

New blog- Doggie Lovers Central!

Bike enthusiasts fall in many categories. Some Bike lovers like to ogle at the latest mean machines, and talk about their tech specs, and attend expos. Others seek thrill in riding those bad babies to their hilts.

Similarly, Dog lovers and their ilk too differ. Some people proclaim their love of Dogs if and when they meet them. There are also some who keep them as pets; as guards, as play-things. And there a few who adopt one, think of the Dog as a family member, from whom dogs are dearer than children.

We adopted Coco, our Labrador retriever about 10 months back, when he was 50 days old. He left the ‘months old’ moniker by turning a year old on the 22nd of April. His birthday party saw 15 people coming in, Anant (My younger brother) making Pizzas for them all, a cake, doggie treats, a tooth brush as a gift for Coco to chew on, and a lot of fun!

A year has passed by, and I can honestly say that I have graduated from a pet keeping, playmate seeking dog lover to a hard core, ‘Coco is family’ kind. I miss him the most when I am away; something that my wife agrees upon. While she and I can be in touch over the phone or the internet, if we are not at home, Coco is away. At work, I sometimes have the urge to ask Himani (My better half)to start the webcam and show me the critters goofy face!

Through this blog and this post we share our experiences in adopting and raising a Dog we love as dearly as our child, our brother and our friend. I’ll talk about what it takes; the sacrifices, the rewards, and the situations we’ve had to encounter. And let me tell you, while it may seem strange to others- and they are entitled to their opinion- we love our dog as much as we would love our own child (Also, I’m newly married, and give the ‘our own child’ phenomenon a few years).

My brother, the last kind of Dog lover, pointed out that in the UK, people don’t buy dogs; they adopt them. You need to be financially sound, and have to convince the Animal shelters that you would take care of the animal before you could get them. You’d also need to scoop up their poop from the road too.

We’re hoping that people who feel the same way would read, appreciate and share on this page.

A series of posts will cover the topics mentioned below:


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Fitness Racket exposed- Part Two

This post is the continuation of the first post where I discussed what the fitness racket it, how we run this racket, and on ourselves. It went on to discuss the foundation steps to start off with to understand, expose and finish this racket for long term physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.

The racket I am talking about is not run by poorly educated Fitness professionals. You are the perpetrators of this racket; you and your loved ones are the people affected by the scam. This post talks about how to bust that racket and start afresh. This is the second part of the previous post which explains the fitness racket we run on ourselves in detail.
This article deals not with the kind of equipment, the form of exercise, the best time in the day too eat what; all these come later. There are plenty of experts out there who have solid information on all of this.

What this article deals in is understanding our personal limitations which hinder our journey towards physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being, and applying certain principles and techniques to overcome them. (Read this again if you wish too, this is important)

I have written about how we need to acknowledge-this is step no 1- that we are running this racket within ourselves first to be able to move ahead with the racket busting in the previous post.  The acknowledgement section of the previous post basically describes the sense of denial we face when it comes to taking ownership of our own health and how we look to conform and relate to other unhealthy people by lying to and accepting each other’s justifications.

I want to stress again how important it is, because if you cannot identify and acknowledge the problem, the question of finding or striving to find the solution does not hold water.
How will you fight with an invisible enemy? Once you see it, once you acknowledge its presence and its effect on you, only then can you start analyzing it, observing its weak points and hitting it where it hurts most.  Right?

ACKNOWLEDGE this racket.

You can acknowledge that:
  •         Yes, I am running a fitness racket on myself and my family
  •         I find excuses NOT to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle rather than attempting to find excuses to do so
  •         I could squeeze in at least ten minutes a day of my time if I needed, but choose not to do so, and choose to lament about it with similar racketeers
  •        Yes, I am grossly unfit and unhealthy, and I would love not only to look better, but feel better

Now comes the easier- if not easy- part. These are a few steps that I have learnt from various people, self-help seminars and online research, and I am putting it all together in one page.

They are:
·         Mind over Mind
·         Time Management
·         Prioritization

Mind over Mind

Our mind is, and this word best describes it, fickle. Granted, that it is superior to other forms of life, capable of greatness, and other really cool things written about it. But, if I were to choose one word that I can relate to the most with respect to our mind, that’d be fickle.

Right about now, and especially if you have previously read my blog or the part 1 of this article, you must really be thinking that I’m a nut! What is this Mind over Mind bullshit now?!

Read me out. I’m sure it’ll add value.

We have close to 60000 thoughts per day. That’s a heck lot. But here comes the kicker. There are 86400 seconds per day (24 hours x60 minutes x 60 seconds). Most of our thoughts last just a few seconds. Then off we go on to a different thought.

This is a great tool that the mind uses to not feel guilty about leading a bad lifestyle; it starts concentrating on the hot girl visible in our peripheral vision, or starts checking out the latest sale on our favorite hand-bag store.

Once we understand this, we can devise ways to manipulate it to our advantage. How? Read on.

The Usual suspects, the usual problems

We are good people. We mean well. Not only for others, for ourselves too. We WANT to lead a healthy lifestyle. We WANT to go for the early morning walk. However, whenever there is a choice to make, our naughty mind barrages us with a plethora of options, and we are encouraged by the most sinful or easiest, or laziest one.

  •        I’ll sleep for another “snooze cycle”, and then go for the morning walk. By the time we realize we've overslept-after 15 snoozes, no less- we are late for work, disappointed with ourselves for having missed the walking session, miffed with our partners for not waking us up on time, and blaming work stress for lack of sleep.

  •        I’ll take this box full of cookies, but I’ll just have one a day. The next thing we know, we have a challenging assignment, or we are in the mood to bitch about our colleague, out comes the box. And in go the cookies. And then some. After having consumed the whole box, we are mildly sick, grossly guilty, disgusted over our weak will power, and run to our nearest “friend” with whom we can ruefully agree that those cookies are addictive, and it’s not our fault! Oh, of course, you also resolve not to buy the freaking box, or eat just one cookie the next time around. So does your “friend”.

Do these examples ring a bell? I bet they do. Now let’s find out how we can use the mind over mind technique

The Mind over Mind Technique explained

The Mind over Mind technique states that we have about a 5 second window between two thoughts.
For example,

  • Thought no.1- I should skip gym today; I am tired and have a long day tomorrow.
  • Thought no.2- I could go for a light Cardio session at least. It will actually help me relax, free those muscles and ogle at the chick that comes in at 9.

The thought sequence could have been vice versa. I am only elucidating an example. Now, for someone aiming to lead a healthier lifestyle thought 2 is a great thought. Thought 1, not so much. The trick is to wait out the negative thought, and act IMMEDIATELY on the positive thought. Some examples:

·         Alarm rings, I open half my eye, I need to walk today. GET UP INSTANTLY. Your 5 minute snooze is not going to help you any further. We need about 10 minutes to fall asleep. So yes, you might want to check your circadian rhythm, your sleep patterns and your sleeping hours, but the 5 mins snooze is just going to make you lazier. And unhealthier too.

·         Passing the pantry, donuts on display. Take a deep breath, wait for a few seconds. The mind will distract itself automatically.

That’s it. Remember to act on your positive thoughts immediately, and you will end up walking and leading a healthier lifestyle more often than not. Of course, you won’t be able to mind your mind all the time, but I can assure you that this quick action/wait it out technique will go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals, or with your healthy life styles ambitions.

Please apply this technique and let me know if it helped you. If this series of posts has helped you, or confused you even more, please do leave a comment!

The next installment will discuss time management and prioritization, with focus on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health and well being.

To read Part 1 of this article, click here.