Friday, November 2, 2012

Peeling off the Almond Cover

While fixing up a breakfast of homemade Usal Pav, Milk and Oats for me, my partner was also busy in peeling off almond covers. I inquired as to why she was doing that; she said the cover is what is used to make Cyanide!

As is in the case of most women I know, I knew not if this was in jest or in absolute belief, but I sure as hell knew that arguing about the nutritional/biological value or composition of an almond cover is not how I wanted to begin my weekend.

Hence, like the obedient and co-operative partner (read wimp) I am, I offered to help her in removing the cyanide off our food. However, peeling covers of an almond is no joy; something I realized in about 2 seconds. I declared I didn’t have the patience for it and gave up. I had better things to do than separating a micro layer of probable cyanide from the tastiness and healthiness inside. Besides, she was doing it anyway ;).

The one on the right is my wife :)

My wife persisted though. Peel off at least one, she said. Amongst my many obvious and not so obvious weaknesses, one is that I cannot say no to the cute in the morning, puppy-face of Himani. I relented. The peeling began. And before I knew it, I had peeled all of them and was happily feeding them to her, and vice versa.

That, like most things, got me thinking. In our daily life, there are so many things which we know are good for us. Well, the cyanide theory is still dubious, but take exercise for instance. We know it’s got to be done. We just don’t have the resolve to start or the patience to continue.

BUT, once you start, once you resolve, not a lot is unachievable! Sometimes, all you need is a push. Find that push, be it your wife, a friend, or your inner voice. Seek that, and the resolve, patience and motivation to achieve, improve and succeed will follow. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The No white diet one week trial

Iv'e failed to maintain my disciplined regime this Shravan, and hence have decided to punish myself. 

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of e-books and audio books on health, fitness and nutrition, and one book that really struck me was Timothy Ferris’, the Four Hour body. That guy is an experimenting freak who does all kinds of crazy stuff to find out what works and what doesn’t, at least for him.

Timothy Ferris's The Four Hour Body

He boasts of losing 20 pounds of body fat and gaining 10 pounds of muscle in a month, on this no white diet (or my interpretation of it), something he calls the Slow Carb diet. He simply puts it:

Don’t eat anything that was white, or is made from white. No roti, no rice, no sugar.  It also asks us to eat the same food, at the same time, for some time. While it is pretty similar to the super tough Ketogenic diet, this is doable, at least for a short period.

Bye Bye my loves! Sob Sob..

I keep pushing my body and hence keep experimenting with diets, exercise patterns, etc. I am currently looking to lose body fat by performing Yoga and Swimming, without any weight training. I'll do the Yoga and Swimming regime everyday. The regimen will include:

1. 15 Mins of Swimming. (Actual Swimming, not frolicking in the water is about a 150 cal burner)
2. Surya Namaskars- 25 Nos ( Roughly 250 cal burner)
3. Pranayam- Bhastrika, Anulom Vilom, Bhasya, Kapal Bhati, Udgati. 20 Mins ( Caloric burn not known to me)
4. Few basic Asana ( With great impetus on Shavasan!)- 30 mins ( about 90 cals burnt)

Oh yeah!
I will also follow the no white diet for about a fortnight, measure the results, gauge the diet effectiveness, and post my comments on it.  How much of muscle mass I lose even I keep my protein content up without weight training in a month, if not in a week needs to be logged too. 

My current Stats:

1. Weight- 75 kgs.

2. Approx Body Fat % ( US Navy Circumference Method)-25 %

3. Lean Body Weight- 55 kgs, approx. 

My diet:

12 glasses of water, 3 cups of green tea. No alcohol, no processed food. (one glass of red wine)


4 egg whites, two whole eggs.  Steamed veggies.


Chicken Breast/Whey, Kidney Beans/chickpeas/daal, steamed vegetable, salad.


Omelet/Almonds/ lemon juice


Chicken/Fish, Salad, steamed vegetables, Veggie-Chicken Soup/Daal.

Anyone else, who wants to or is following such a diet, but without the weight training, please holler at me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

HIIT- The latest in fast fat loss!

I love acronyms; it makes me look so smart! Actually, it helps my stupid brain remember better, and masks my inability to remember long names. HIIT is one of them!

Naw, it's not your usual mosquito repellent acronym. Notice the additional I? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests is training at a high intensity, and in intervals. Makes sense, no?

It didn't, to me. Hearing of HIIT as the latest buzz word in the fitness market got me confused. I then delved deeper, and hope that this article makes some sense to you!

This form of training is either a god gift for all the lazy people around, or a cool marketing gimmick to start off the lazy lards on SOME exercise at least.

High Intensity Interval Training suggests undergoing rigorous exercise for a short span, sometimes as short as 3-5 mins, and then rest for a minute.

Not to be confused with Circuit or Cross Fit training, whose repetitive, minimal rest exercises routines are different. By different, I mean, HIIT promoters like Timothy Ferriss encourage people to work out in high intensity for a short span of time, and not repeat it. Tim Ferris is a strong endorser of the 4 hour per month training (although he also recommends 22 odd supplements per day).

Different fitness Gurus like Chris Mohr, Sam Omedi, and our Good old Times of India's article describes this routine. The simplest way to go about it mentioned below:

For ten minutes daily, broken into two 5 minute routines, do some high intensity exercise which will bump up your heart rate and keep it elevated for those 5 minutes. Something like skipping, sprinting, swimming, climbing stairs, etc. 

Do this twice a day, that's all. I think this is a boon for our modern busy bees. While it may not lead to incredible Fat loss for some who don't care two hoots about what they insert in their stomach, I'm sure it will inculcate the exercising bug in us. I'm going to try it.

Are you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pursuit of happiness

I was speaking to a colleague during a water break. He is part of the hospitality division; the one that sweeps, cleans the toilets, does the dishes, takes out the trash, etc.

While in the conversation, he proudly mentioned that he had two daughters, and both were studying in English Medium schools. Most of my competitive acquaintances ask, “What are you doing nowadays”, or “where are you nowadays”, or “how much of a hike did you get”, or “what is your package”. I am at a loss to tell them about the plethora of things I am doing nowadays. I do not understand if the where are you question is meant to understand my geographical location of stay or work. It pains me to see that their friendliness depends on the amount of hike I have received, or the package I earn.

I ask people about their health, their family’s well-being, and their happiness with life, and work. I never ask people their salaries. At least I had never done that before. 

However, since my colleague mentioned that he stays at Santa Cruz, my curiosity was roused and I asked him the ever so delicate question about his remuneration. I was shocked to know it was 5000 INR per month.

His working wife could manage to earn about 7000 INR; a fact he was immensely proud of. What amazed me more was that they were raising two children, in the heart of Mumbai, had a flat in Nala Sopara, and was funding the education of his two girls which cost him 4000 INR a month!

Their net monthly income was 12000 INR. And yet they could do this much. While most of us earn ten times that amount, we are in neck deep loans, are forever worried, and seldom content.

Of course, our standard of living was better than the lowly hospitality guy, right?

What constitutes standard of living? The car we drive in the maddenning traffic? the cell phone we use to while away time? The boxed up house we live in, and pay sky high charges? The over-charging, unhealthy food serving malls we spend quality time in? 

Well, I know of a masseur who earns a bulk of his livelihood on weekends by tending to more than 8-10 clients at 200 a pop. By the end of the day, he is extremely tired. I’d imagine he earns about 15000 a month, and he works hard for his money.

I once remarked that it was a tiring profession, being a masseur, and he replied that he had vegetables and daal cooked in ghee, and all his exhaustion disappeared.

Most of us, the well to do people whose standards of living are oh so high can either ill afford ghee, or are cautioned not to consume it due to health considerations!

We don’t eat well, we don’t sleep well, and we don’t exercise. We rely on junk food and alcohol for entertainment and satiety. We have no free time, no health, and no peace of mind.

Who do you think is richer, actually truly richer? Who do you think is happier and more content? Who do you think leads a higher standard of living? The hospitality guy and the masseur, or us?

I think they are. And I think:

  • We need to prioritize our life. Our physical, mental, spiritual and emotion health and well-being should be our first priority.
  • We need to stop doing things to portray ourselves as better and bigger in front of others.
  • We need to be proud of what we have achieved, and strive to do more.
  • We need to draw a line between dedicated work and a false show of workaholism.
  • We need to realize that we must learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future, not feel guilty or rue the past, keep worrying about the future and rob our present of joy.
  • We must realize that most of the worries we have for the future do not transpire. We can plan and then leave the future to unravel itself.
  • We must acknowledge that we cannot control everything, we can just control ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our perspectives, and our life.
  • We must embrace change as it is the only constant in life. Look back into your life and do a double check on this.
  • We need to start doing whatever makes us happy!

Well, this is what I think. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 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.

Read More

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fitness Racket Part 3- Prioritization

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.

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.

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?

The Fitness Racket Part 2- Mind over Mind Technique

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)

The Fitness Racket Part 1

I've been in the fitness racket for a long time to know about how they work. And mind you, I am using the writer’s artistic license to make this article more interesting than it is! This racket, this scam, is the one we play out with ourselves, our minds.

Yes, we are no lesser racketeers than our glorified and political bigwigs. It is just that their shenanigans affect a major chunk of the populace- well, by affect, I mean people who are perturbed by it, not people who care about it. Another article J

Coming back to the point- Because it’s national news, and because a select few are perturbed by the scams going on around us, it becomes a big racket, mostly revolving around money. However, when we do this day in, day out, as long as we live, with our own body, nobody raises a finger. Nobody causes a stir. Nothing happens. Now the question that may come to your mind is, what the hell I am talking about, and if not that, how and what is this fitness racket?