Saturday, January 16, 2010

Before and After Pics

These are my before and after pics. The above one was taken in Jan, 2009 and the below picture was taken in November, 2009. I guess I came a long way in these months :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Training Regime - From Zero To Hero

I am a proud owner of a Jane Fonda book which I purchased in my college days. The main reasons for buying it were, it was a beautiful big book with great photos.
There were some really nice exercises.

OK I am cutting the crap, the truth is I bought it because I was getting it really cheap and thought it won't hurt to go through the exercises.

Now, I never did the Jane Fonda exercises though I frequently go through the book (I told you it has good pictures.)

But there is one thing what Jane Fonda said in that book that stayed with me always, not only in weight loss but in other fields of life too. She says 'if you are exercising then pretend that you are a model/actress whose life depends on looking good and being fit'. Basically, she tells us to act according to situation.

If you are exercising train like an athlete, if you are eating behave like a model with petite figure. When I am on a project I act like an achiever, this tip of Jane Fonda has always helped me in my professional life.

I applied the same principle to my exercise routine.

1. Walking - when I started my serious walks in a society in Delhi, I would try to walk faster than any other walker. I was possessed to beat them in my walking.

I behaved as a master walker beating everyone with my long fast strides. Women around will chit chat and walk slowly and I would really walk fast past them, I would make sure that I would complete my rounds twice when they were only at half (one round approximately 1.5 km). Come on, a master walker will not stop for small chats, master walker will walk and walk extremely fast beating everyone at the game.

Slowly women started smiling at me appreciatively, some would quietly compete. And I would just walk fast and fast with my life at stake in beating all of them. Then the compliments started pouring (now this is a great motivation to continue what you are doing). Women would sometimes come on balcony to check my pace or just stand and stare openly to see how fast I walk. The thing about exercise is that people will start admiring you, they will notice you and will silently salute. I have walked in that society at 11:00 pm at night if I was not able to do my evening walks. People knew that not only I am a fast walker but a committed one too. I created that image, I was living that Image. I was the master walker of the society.

That one hour walking competition would leave me drenched in sweat and with a sense of victory. The dents in my figure started appearing here.

Every thing was working fine until it started Raining.

2. Gym
- Now in monsoon I decided to go my home town to enjoy the rains and there I joined a gym. Now, with my previous experience with gym, this time it was not 'THE' necessity for loosing weight. If I get a chance to go to gym fine, if not I am still fine. I can work out anyplace in this world.

When I entered this gym, I noticed few women chit chatting while working out, you can either chat or workout, there is no possible way of doing them together.
Now, I entered here behaving as an athlete training hard. I slowly built my pace on the trade mill. Now women in that gym never ran on the trade mill only the men did. But I wanted to run, so what if I am fat and people stare at me. I want to train as an athlete. And I started running first for 3 min, then 5 and slowly increased my time.

It was really nice to see that with me other women would join to run on the machine even those well in their 50s. Women who walked on the machine really fast but never ran, ran with me.

My schedule in the gym was 1 hour cardio and half an hour weights. And I would do my routine as an athlete training to the core.

One day a guy walked up to me and asked if I am from an Army background or related to some sports because I was training like one. I had to control myself from hugging him.

I did played the role well as the results were amazing. The scale pointer was going down and my waist was shaped here.

Everything was working fine until I had to return back to Delhi

3. Power Walking
-Now once back, I had no way to train myself hard. It was not possible for me to go to a gym in Delhi. I was back to being the master walker but with a difference. I started walking with ankle weights. If you want to walk with ankle weights then make sure your legs are strong and you have achieved a certain training level.

I was back to competing with the weight strapped on. And believe me one hour of such walking would beat any cardio at gym. My legs and my hips were shaped here.

Everything was going fine until the time I moved to Muscat.

4. Workout at home - Now first 20 days were gone in unpacking the things and settling the place. Rest 10 days went in being happy to be reunited with hubby and celebrating the city of Muscat. So, for one month I did not exercise at all and my training stamina has gone.

But the hard fact is if I want to reduce more and maintain my weight I will have to exercise, no hiding from that. I once bought an elliptical trainer which was serving the purpose of cloth hanger. I decided it was time to make use of it.

I started my training at load 1 for half an hour and now gradually increased to load 10 for 45 minutes. My workout leaves me covered with sweat and a panting breath.

The secret of weight loss is that you have to keep bouncing between zero and hero. once you have attain the maximum in any exercise either start a new one or go back to minimum and start from that level again.

Here being a hero always doesn't pay. Zero is as important.

So if you are not exercising or have never exercised, you are infact a gold mine of potential. You are a zero preparing to be a hero.

Be it size zero or ground zero. Zero is always important.

Loosing Weight Against All Odds.

If you think that you have a busy life, commitments, illness that prevents you to start weight loss, I suggest you think again.

I had a slip disc and because of mistreatment I ended up on bed for 2 months which ended up weakening my right leg. Even the task of walking 5 minutes without my pain killers was killing.

I suffered from pain every single day from 2007 to 2009. The only house activity I did was to cook food and my husband did the rest. To go for my job I would take pain killers to sustain myself through the day and I used to walk limping on one leg.

So reducing weight without exercise was the only option for me but we all know how well it works??? right.

Anyways, I started walking in my backyard for 15 minutes and of course I ended up with having pain. Still I decided to walk at least 15 minutes daily. Exercise never kills anyone. Gradually my strength increased and I stopped painkiller all together. I would walk in my backyard for at least 30-40 minutes. Now walking in the backyard means lazy walking but it was a start and I lost few kgs in my backyard.

Icing on the Cake. This came when the company my husband and I used to work for went into loss (we all know what Dubai is going through right now.) and the best option was to make a change while we still had a job.

My husband got a job in Muscat and we decided to shift. Now shifting meant leaving my house, leaving the security and regime for weight loss. I was 79 kgs when I went to India and we all know what happens in India. Family feeds you, friends feeds you and there is food every where. Moreover, we were staying at my place, my in laws place, visiting relatives. This meant haywire eating schedule.

Before leaving my house in UAE, I thought I will at least maintain 79 kgs, if I won't loose anymore.

Once in India and surrounded by all that food, I stuck to my regime of walking but I used to walk on terrace because I was afraid of dogs on the street.

The real break through came when I went to my sister's place and stayed there for 2 months. She had a society, so I could go for a walk without any fears of traffic or dogs. I not only increased my walking pace, I also increased my walking time to 60 minutes.

As on the food front, I stuck to my papaya and soup for dinner.

People had all the advise to give me, to let me know that I have a big frame and would never loose much weight. They told me its my body structure that is huge, they told me I can do whatever I want to once I get back to my home, to at least eat and enjoy while on this vacation, but I still hung to my belief.

My slip disc is long gone, in fact I get emails from people suffering from this condition to know how to get back to normal life without operation.

So, if you think its easy for others to loose weight because of their life style, its not. My chances of loosing weight, with a back injury and traveling for 5 months, were as good as null.

Still I lost and I lost most of the weight in being in conditions which were supposedly my biggest obstacles.

Remember, bigger the obstacle greater the glory in overcoming it.

Shrink thy Stomach.

The art of having all the goodies and still not gaining weight lies int the secret of small stomach.

We all know that our stomachs are small and like so many people in this world we have expanded it to satisfy our hunger for food that tastes yummy (never mind even if it is cooked in lots of oil).

I never knew that when I decided to eat a little less than usual and eat sensibly I will end up shrinking my stomach. Today I do eat out, eat food that I love but believe me I cannot eat even half the quantity that I used to have in my old fat days. The other day we ate out and I could eat only 1/2 masala dosa and that too I felt that my stomach would burst.

This is how you can begin reducing your diet.
But before starting please keep in mind don't reduce your calorie intake too much. It won't help and you will simply skip the whole point of reducing weight and keeping it off for good.

1. Decide which of the 3 meals are important to you and don't touch that meal at all. For me my breakfast is most important and I never made changes to it. Having a good breakfast is important. I really have no idea how one can reduce breakfast.

2. Lets say for lunch if you have 2-3 chappaties + rice + daal + sabji. Now if you are super active then this meal won't add an inch to your waist and you will not be reading my article. But if you are fat and you know that your meals should be altered but you are worried about the hunger then read on.

Start by having half the meal, in the above case 2 chappaties at max +daal +sabji and no rice. Rice and chappaties should not mix at all. If you have to have rice with chappaties, then have little rice and skip one more roti.

Now wait for 2-3 hours for the next meal. Chances are you will be hungry initially, so keep cucumber, boiled sprouts, salads handy. If you are looking at the salad and saying I can't eat this, then lets face it YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY because in hunger you will eat these with absolute delight.

After 2-3 hours hungry or not eat a light snack, like puffed rice bhel or fruit etc. Wait for another 3 hours, keep the cucumber-salad-sprout stuff handy in case of hunger.

At this point of time its probably dinner time repeat what you did for lunch.

Its always a great idea to have lots of soup and salads for dinner. But you can start by gradually decreasing your meal.

You will notice a decrease in your appetite within 2-3 days. You can take help from a dietitian if you want.

I am not an expert but I did research and I studied my own self and it was clear to me that with the kind of life style I have I was eating way too much than required.

You can be a working person, a mom with active kids, a house wife, anyone but if you are over weight then some where something is wrong with your food habit.

To start your journey to weight loss make use of GOOGLE. See how much calories your lifestyle burns and decide for yourself. It is scientifically not possible until and unless you are suffering from rarest of rare disease where you eat less and still put on weight. You are overweight because you are over eating.

Check out my old fat days diet and present day diet here

Give Me Some Sunshine, Give Me Some Butter on My Bread.

I am a breakfast person and that too a bread person. I just love my toast of bread with egg or my buttered toast with tea.

Now, lets face it, its a dream to have butter and bread but I can't have it on daily basis. In fact at present there is no butter in my home.

This is a substitute I discovered that I can happily apply in good amount on my bread and enjoy my breakfast without missing the butter.

Its called hummus. It has a very delicate and subtle taste. I just love it on my bread. This is my breakfast 5 days a week, toast and hummus with tea. Its easy, delicious and healthy.

You can google for recipe, here I am giving how I make it. Don't forget to make adjustment as per your need.

Ingredients :

1. Chickpeas - 1 cup

2. Curd - 2-3 tsp. You can add more curd to make the consistency like a paste.

3. 1 green chili.

4. 2 tsp olive oil.

5. 1/4 (4-5 drops )of lemon. You can add more if you like.

6. 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional).

7. Salt to taste.

Method :

Soak chickpeas over night and then boil. In a grinder, add chickpeas, green chili, curd, garlic and salt. Grind to a paste.

Take it out in a air tight jar and add olive oil and lemon and mix well. Keep in fridge. This can be used for 4-5 days.


Diet Aaj Kal

When I was 20, I had this whole notion of writing dairy. It was not a food dairy, it was a romantic dairy. I did write to the dairy for a whole year. Now this dairy somehow always stayed with me and I never had the heart to tear it and I had never read it until few days back.

Almost all the pages of the dairy were filled with my desire to be 36-24-36, sorrow of being laughed at, sorrow of my friends being petite and beautiful, promise that from next day I will go on a liquid diet, remorse and sadness of being extremely hungry in middle of the diet and leaving it.

I am 31 now, and I want to reach out and hug that 20 year old young girl hidden in my dairy. I want to tell her that she is just as beautiful as anyone else around and there is no need for her to go on a liquid diet.

Now I have never been an active young person. My activity was watching TV and strolling on my terrace (if you count that as exercise). I was not in sports and never enrolled in activity classes.

Now one page in the dairy was my gold mine, it gave me a sneak peak of my diet back then and here it is.

22 Oct 1999

Breakfast - 2 dosas and tea

Lunch - 2 roties, brinjal bharta, rice khichadi.

Evening - 2 roties and brinjal bharta.

Dinner - 2 roties and egg curry.

Can you see that, I had 6 roties and 2 dosas in a day. Those were my non exercising days. Now I train hard, the least being 45 minutes of cardio and I still don't eat that much.

Now a typical entry of early 2009, before my weight loss started. No exercise involved here too. I am a software engineer and was working. So sitting at my desk the whole day was the only exercise I did.

7 January 2009

Breakfast - Veg sandwich + tea.

Lunch - Rice and daal.

Evening - Biscuits

Dinner - 3 Muli Paratha + 1 orange + 1 plate macaroni with cheese.

wow, eating habits really don't change much until and unless you decide to change them for good .

Now my present day diet.

I am a late riser, so my breakfast and lunch are combined.

9 January 2010

Breakfast- 2 breads + hummus + 1 cup tea

4:30 - 5 dried apricots.

Elliptical trainer for 45 minutes on load 8 and 10.

6:00 pm -Just after training - 1 slice tofu + 1 cheese slice coffee.

7:30 pm - 1 orange + 1/2 small papita

9:00 pm dinner - l bowl of soup + 2-3 small spoons rice + sabji + vegetable sambhar. I add little rice for my satisfaction, remember 2-3 tsp of rice is less and that too I am talking about starch less rice here.

If you ask me to eat the amount of food I used to eat I will simply burst. I eat frequently and I eat till I feel full but still I don't eat as much as I used to.

Learn the art of shrinking your stomach here

The Art of Non Negotiation.

What do you do when your baby howl in hunger and you want to sleep??? Do you just snuggle in the blanket while the baby cry.

What do you do when the first thing in morning you need to prepare breakfast for your hubby?? I am a late riser but still I get up on time to give my husband a decent breakfast because I don't like him to start a day on hungry stomach.

What do you do when someone in your family is sick??? Do you tell them I am very tired after work and I am in no mood to attend to you.

What do you do when your boss ask you to complete a project in 2 days when you hate the stuff like anything??? Do you ask the boss to give the project to someone else.

No we don't do this. These are some non negotiable situations. We will leave everything in this world to feed our husband, family, to attend to the need of our loved ones. At work we will give our 100%, we don't negotiate on showing our potential.

What do you do when at the end of the day you need to exercise??? What do you do when you need to give just 45 minutes in a day to achieve your dream of weighing less.....YOU NEGOTIATE. "Lets do it tomorrow, I am too tired to do it today", "Where is the time to exercise".

In my initial days of weight loss, walking was NON-Negotiable. The moment I use to start feeling I am not up to it, I would remind myself 'hey this is non negotiable'.

Exercise is the only NON-Negotiable thing in weight loss. Sorry the lift to reach weight loss is out of order, you will have to take the stairs.

Like everyone else I don't like exercise either but still it is non -negotiable to me. I stand on my elliptical trainer and say 'OK, I don't have to do this the whole day, only 45 minutes'. When the initial 10-15 minutes are gone and I feel bored I refuse to step down.

The trick is to keep moving in the time slot allotted to exercise. Even if you are damn bored you have to keep going. Once you learn this trick, you will happily stick to your exercise schedule.

Listen to music, think something, watch something but no matter what don't quit. Remember this is Non-Negotiable.

Starting Project Weight Loss

Do you remember the excitement as a child to start and finish a project. When we start and complete anything there is a sense of achievement.

At work I loved documenting my project, I always had my own progress tracking file, to know where I started, where I am going and where I will finish.

Project weight loss can be fun if you decide to start it. Basics are simple but you need to follow them to the T.

For this project you will need

1. Weighing Scale - If you hate to weigh yourself, this is a good place to start. I hated to weigh myself until I decided to loose for good. Most fat people don't weigh themselves. Just by ignoring something will not make it go away. Make it a point to weight yourself twice a week. This will help to prevent any further weight gain, so if you won't loose you will not gain either.

2. Food dairy - A very lethal tool. Before eating mindfully just write down whatever you eat and at the end of the day see how much went inside your stomach. This will also help you to see your weak timezones i.e the time of the day when you are extremely hungry and grabbed anything in sight and stuffed yourself. You can track this in the dairy and prepare yourself.
For me 6:00 pm was the time, when I was extremely hungry and would love to have a vada pav after office, now I have tofu slice and tea :). And no matter what, I am always prepared for my 6:00 pm hunger. Check out my dairy here The Tale of My 2009 dairy

3. Good pair of walking shoes - Walking is the best exercise, own a good pair of shoes and make walking your ME time. Let no one disturb you in your walking hour and walk away the pounds.

4. Pre Cooked Meals - I will write a whole article on this one but for now you should always be prepared. I always have something healthy in my fridge to grab and eat when the hunger hits home.

5. Weight Log - I had my weight log on If you log your weight when there is 1 KG change, you will be motivated in seeing the chart. Mine is attached below.

6. Believe - This is the most important thing. Believe you will loose weight and believe that you will start and finish this project.

The Tale of My 2009 Dairy

When 2009 started I bought myself a dairy to document the food I eat and I ended up not filling the dairy for first 4 months, I did earnestly fill it up for 1-2 days in initial excitement and forgot about it the next day.

Now, its no secret that if you write what you eat you will unconsciously evaluate your eating habit but how to write in the dairy every single day.

As the weight loss thingy was coming up good, I kept the dairy on my computer table where I was forced to see it every single day. And when it was just a hand away filling it up was not very hard. For 2-3 days I had to force myself to do it but then it came naturally to me.

Slowly the dairy became my companion, it was in my purse at office and practically everywhere I went.

If you do anything for 21 days it becomes a habit, writing to my dairy became a habit and man what a habit it is, I bought one for 2010 too.

The dairy of 2009 is now complete and I am not ever throwing it away because it hold my struggles and my success.

It is always a pleasure to just look back to pages and exclaim 'oh my god, I weighed this much and ate this much' OR 'hey this is where I started loosing more weight should I start eating what I ate those days'.

2009 dairy is a dairy of success, the dairy that shows my weight coming down and how my eating habit changed.

Track your weight loss. Be passionate about it and have an honest companion like a dairy. You can cheat everyone but not yourself. When you will write in a dairy you will be forced to see what has sneaked in and what has gone out.

A good dairy should at a glance tell you how much weight you lost in a month, you should be able to track it down in the annual planner.

One simple yet crucial secret of weight loss is maintaining a food dairy and all along we knew about this secret didn't we.

Eat to Loose and Loose to Eat

The foodie I am, I was thrilled to know that if I want to loose weight I have to eat. Thank god, thank my merciful god, I don't have to give up my lovely lovely food.

In my struggle to loose weight and with all the failed attempts I always used to wonder why can't I eat and loose. So this time around I wanted to do full research and approach my weight issue once and for all.

And this time around, if anything I was determined to EAT MYSELF to weight loss.

The smartest thing in this world is Google and if you google you will know that our body stores fat for times like starvation. That is why it will take really long for someone to die without food.

With the grace of god, I guess most of us will always get our three meals, so how to let the body know that hey no need to store, I will always be capable enough to feed myself.

The trick is to eat frequently and that to a small amount, it will keep you satisfied in the long run. In earlier fat days I had my heavy breakfast to keep me going till lunch, my heavy lunch to keep me going till dinner and my dinner and a snack in between.

Now, I have my breakfast, then after 2 hours I have something small like a banana to eat, then I have my light lunch, then again I have my evening snack with tea and because I have been eating through out, I have a light dinner.

See, I eat more frequently now but I eat far less what I used to eat and I am just as satisfied as I used to be in my fat old days.

The best part about weight loss is that you will have to eat, the best part of gaining weight is that you will loose and the best part about loosing your weight is that you can eat everything and anything on this earth without a pinch of guilt.

No Harm in Trying.

This tale is about my days of being huge. So, there I was in the party and in front of me there was this woman who was easily 120 + kgs and there she was standing looking so thin.

Now every time I had asked a person how they lost their weight I ended up thinking "What a LIAR". Now I had known this lady for sometime and she was really very sweet and simple and if anything she will never lie to a living soul. So I went up to her and asked her how she did it???

Her answer was simple, she said alternate days 'I eat only fruits and soups and on normal days I eat normal everyday food'. I was like thats it, giving up food only for alternate days, to add to this she was not into exercising. Well there was no reason to doubt this lady and the her method seemed simple to me.

But "the greedy hungry me" that I was, I decided to try this on one meal. I thought OK I am not spending any money on this and I will leave it if this arrangement will not suit me. SO I switched my dinner to fruits and soups, I ate till I was full. It was not an easy task initially because even when I was full I had a carving to eat something a paratha, but how much can u really eat when you have a stomach full of soup and yes I had to show all the courage in this world to say no to my cravings.

Slowly the dinner was satisfying and no more craving to fight. Morning I will get up hungry and have my usual breakfast, lunch as usual but dinner was different.

And guess what, the weight scale twitched, after so many years it went down instead of going up.

As long as something does not involve lots of money, will not kill you or harm you in any way...I guess there is no harm in trying. We might just say 'hey this can't be true, it can't be this simple to loose weight'. But before saying that just do a self check, "Have you tried the technique or not"??

So why not give something a try before rejecting it in your mind.

Sneaking Exercise in Your Daily Routine.

When I was in my teens I used to love listening to music and go for a stroll on my terrace. It was kind of my daily schedule then. I still enjoy listening to music and now it is my constant partner while I am exercising.

I am not a very big fan of exercise but nevertheless I set aside 45 -60 minutes for my workout schedule. For me music is a great boost that keeps me working on a machine.

If you find exercise boring then combine it with some fun activity. For me music works. Try thinking something you would love to do with your exercise.

Watching TV and exercising also works great. You can have cardio serials i.e exercise while watching your favorite program.

Few Suggestions:

1. If you have a big drawing room you can walk to and fro while watching TV i.e 30 -40 min of continuous moving.

2. Basic hands and legs exercises. Rotating your shoulder, moving you hands, rotating your waist. Very basic exercises, you can Google them. This might sound a bit over board but if you do this diligently you will see the difference yourself. Idea here is to sneak workout in your schedule no matter how busy it is.

3. If you can't go out for a walk, Google walk in home techniques. Start on some music and walk in place. This is a good cardio workout, you won't imagine how much sweat this generates because though your body is in continuous motion it works hard to keep you stay on one spot.

4. If you want to try something other than conventional exercises, then dancing, swimming, hula loop are some other great cardios.

You can make any boring exercise fun by doing it with some fun activity. So whenever you are sitting and just thinking how to start with a boring exercise routine why not do the thinking while taking 10 rounds in your room :).

Small Steps

There are no short cuts to weight loss. You have to slog and work hard. The good point is at the end you come out to be a stronger person even if u fail to keep up with a damn diet.

Any activity no matter small, which is done in addition to your everyday routine shows great results on the scale.

We often think that we need to join a gym or need to take some rigorous exercise routine to start weight loss. Not true.

In my initial days, for 2 months I walked in my veranda thats it. Instead of going for long walks, I used to do 15-20 minutes walks twice a day. In addition to this I also followed a balanced diet. The first 5 kgs came down with this schedule.

So if you are thinking of starting to exercise but just can't get yourself into it, why not start small. Even if it is walking in the room itself.

Start small to achieve something big.

Where is the glory in loosing weight???

Have you ever wondered, where is the glory in loosing weight??? Why one feels as if she is capable of achieving anything in this world if she has lost few kg (believe me this is the feeling that one has after loosing weight)??? SO why does loosing weight gets us compliments??? Is it because in these times one is rated only on her looks and no longer on her brains and behavior.

I guess the glory lies in fighting with self. We all can fight with others, with the world, family, enemies and friends but it is toughest to fight with one's own self. And the real strength comes in saying 'NO' when all you want to do is to eat another piece of cake when your stomach is ready to burst.

Glory lies in standing up against self to correct self and loving self no matter what??

/** Aaah my precious pearls of wisdom again **/

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Journey so far.

I never remember myself as thin. Was and always was fat. Now to think of it, there is nothing bad about being fat as long as you are happy with yourself and for that matter for a very long time I have been very happy with my (fat) self. But one fine day I guess I decided to loose weight, in fact I have always been on the quest to loose weight but always had given up as it was too difficult to make changes to my routine, my lifestyle and of course my eating habits.

So far I have reduced 19kgs. I started from being between 85-86 Kgs to now being 66 kgs. It feels great as if I have won the battle of my life but sadly I still have 9 more kgs to go down before I declare winning the war.

This blog is an attempt to help people who are caught in the rut of wanting to loose weight and not being able to do so.

So come join me in my journey to loose 9 more kilograms. I will let you know about the wisdom gained and the mistakes committed in the journey so far. How I lost weight and how I am going to do so further.

I sincerely hope that this blog helps you make peace with your body and weight.