Monday, March 21, 2011

Weight Loss at Work Place

When I was a frog in a well I thought this is how the world is and there is no way I can lose weight while trying to work, meet deadlines and being stressed. At the end of the day I was always exhausted. I would sit and dream in my well about the green grass that was on the other side, only if I could manage to jump out of the well. A life which was stress free, no work pressure. Such kind of life would give me the best opportunity to invest maximum time in weight loss.

Now I have seen what it is to be inside the well and what is it to be outside it and believe me life is not that much different. Working or not working the challenges are the same and there is always shortage of time and stamina.

Few of the challenges of workplace:

1. Breakfast/Lunch- While you are running to be on time you might not feel like having the breakfast. A quick on the run homemade take away is a good option. I used to take whole wheat bread sandwich and eat it on my desk, far better than oily canteen breakfast.

Sometimes when we look at the canteen food we think it does not look that oily (99% of time it looks obviously oily). In such cases just place a tissue and see if any oil come out. If you want to test the poha, just put one teaspoon of poha on tissue paper and see if it oozes oil.

No matter what health articles you read or weight experts you consult they will always advise you to take home made food to work because its always far less in calories.

Even if you have no time and dead tried just give it a thought. At least bombard the ideas of taking food to office, you never know what might click.

There is always something healthy dry and disposable that you can carry to the office.
One of my friend once told me that she has no time to cook so while she is traveling in local trains and when hunger hits she just eats a banana wrapped in roti (which I found weird) but if you think, its a far better option than eating a vada pav which is so easily available in mumbai. She made a choice and so can you.

There are endless possibilities that you can carry to office few of them are dhal paratha, multi grain roti, oats roti, litti, you just need to cook them store them in fridge and carry to office, eat and throw the paper.

Most of us are used to eating heavy lunch meals. After my lunch me and my ex colleagues would always felt drowsy, we hated after lunch meetings.

The real work would always start one hour after the lunch when we were back to our senses. A heavy meal will always make you feel a little drowsy because body is concentrating its efforts to digest the meal. Heavier the meal drowsier you are after it.

I had an opportunity to work with french people and guess what they had for lunch. Their lunch portion size was far smaller than Indians. Usually 1 small portion of any pasta and a bowl of salad, sometimes only salad. They would be drinking juices whole day long and running all over the place like super charged bunnies. Their energy level never dipped. Few of them went for a workout in the gym during the lunch hour. When I asked why, they said they do not need one hour to eat, they would grab a sandwich or a bottle of fresh juice or just fruits. The idea to have small meals clicked from there.

You can just have a roti wrap and go back to work and then again eat something after two hours and see if there is a difference in your energy levels.

2. The Smell of lovely food - There will always be someone who will order junk food and the smell will tempt. The thing will worsen if the whole team is ordering some goodies and you are trying not to eat. While on weight loss its best to stay clear of junk, once you lose the weight you can enjoy it once a week but not more.

In such delicious smelling and looking circumstances I found that black coffee worked. Its the same logic what we apply while testing perfumes, we smell the coffee beans in between. I am not a great black coffee fan but small sips during such times always helped me. They just kill the desire as well as the good tempting smell.

The change of sight also works, so if you can then just go for a small walk around the office to clear your head. Think about what is more important to you, food or weight loss and you will come back with the right answer (90% of chances are you will refuse to eat.)

Test your will power -
I always had a very weak will power where food was concerned. SO when I was met with situations where there was no escape but only lovely tasty food I used to tell myself that I have already tasted this dish so many times, will eat it whenever I want once I lose my weight, so this is not the last time I am seeing this particular dish so I am just going to test my will power and see if I die if I don't eat it.
This kind of thinking still helps me. Give it a try it might work for you as well.

3. Team Bonding - Somehow it happens only over food. It will either be sponsored by the manager or a contribution from all the members. Less money and lots of food (is always bad for health). It feels so sad to be the only one person who is trying to say NO to the junk stuff where as everyone else is having a blast, eating as much they want to and not even gaining weight.

The thing is if you want to lose weight than it will be only your effort and not anyone else.

In most cases you will know before hand when this team bonding is going to take place and so you have a chance to prepare yourself.

Either eat your homemade lunch before hand and when you go to the restaurant just taste everything in extreme small portion. This way you will not increase your calorie intake.

If its a buffet you can fill your plate with lots of salad and raita and take small portion of high cal food.

SO if you real think about it then its possible to get pass these bonding without ruining your diet.

Saying NO to them is not a great idea. You cannot lose weight in isolation and you cannot always escape. You have to face JUNK eating people and you have to deal with your inner temptations and desires and test your will power. There is no way out.

When I was working, our team used to have team lunch every Friday and I remember eating and stuffing myself and then going back and having dinner at home. In one day I used to consume calories of 2 -3 days.

If you think about it, then as far as eating in office is consider you know the pattern. You know what happens when someone has a birthday, you know the restaurants where the team goes for regular eating. Once you know the pattern you can design your ways through it so that your diet is not ruined.

4. No time to exercise - At the end of the day everyone feels tired. There are times when I have no stamina to push myself to exercise (and I am not working) but if its a commitment then its a commitment. No one else wants to be thin, ITS YOU who wants to lose weight so ITS YOU who have to exercise for yourself. No one can exercise for you.

If mornings are busy for you then think about night walks. If you do the planning then you will surely find 30 - 40 minutes in a day to devote to your exercise.

If weekdays are really busy then be regular on weekends and get in a walk for 2-3 days during the week. My BIL had a real crazy working schedule and this is what I told him. He was super regular for his weekend walks and got in exercise 2-3 times in the week and the weighing scale did show the downward trend.

Even for the health point of view movement of body is essential. Going to office, sitting whole day, coming back from work and then sitting again is not much of a movement.

A light amount of exercise combined with your proper diet will always get you started with weight loss. BUT more than exercise what really matters is what you put in your mouth. If you put aloo bonda every single day in your mouth thats how you gonna be. This is the best advise I ever got - You are what you eat.

So if you just sit back and plan your days then you will find that if not all days but most days in the week you will stick to your diet and exercise schedule.

There is a reason why people say nothing is impossible because if we take out time and plan than we can crawl ourselves out of any situation (we are humans with brains after all).

Working or not working the challenges will always remain the same. You will have to challenge your will power, you will have to challenge your eating habits, you will have to adopt new healthy habits even in the later stage of your life, you will have to put on the walking shoes and go for a walk even when you are dead tired, you will stand on the weighing scale and curse the damn machine, you will feel sad when the weight does not move and you will feel happy when people compliment on your weight loss.

Few things never change. If its your battle then only you will have to fight it, no one else can fight it for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lentil Crepe

Previously, I had done a post on Lentil Pancakes. Lots of people liked them but one query that is always asked was how many can they eat and they make them really thick. The thing is that excess of everything is bad. So, if you like Lentil pancakes and you want to make them thick then have 2 as your main meal.

Now, lentil crepes is a thinner version of the pancakes but it is made with only 2 types of lentil, the yellow mung and white urad.

Because they are thin in nature they are very delicate and soft and they make for a perfect post workout meal. You can have 2 or 3 of these as a snack/mini meal or post workout meal.

Ingredients :

1. Equal portion of yellow mung dal and white urad dal. Wash thoroughly and soak overnight. Drain and make a smooth paste. Add salt to taste in this mixture.

2. Coriander mint chutney.

3. Finely chopped carrots and french bean. Cut them into thin strips and then saute them in a pan with 1 tsp of oil. Don't over cook them, they need to me firm and crisp, crumble paneer on top of them and mix well. Add salt and black peeper to taste.

You can make this stuffing the way you want, you can add spices, tomato anything that suits your taste and imagination.


1. On a non stick pan, spread few drop of oil and with a stoop lighly spread them (this is how I cook my pancakes with real less oil), you can also use an oil spray.

2. Now, spread the lentil batter. Make sure to spread it thin. This batter is smooth so it will spread evenly.

3. Cook the crepe from both the side.

4. Now, on one side spread the chutney and then arrange the topping. Seal it like an envelope and flip.

5. Take it out in a plate and serve.

I like them cold, so they really behave themselves when kept in the fridge and taste nice too.

Come take a bite.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Suji Toast

Before I write anything about how tasty these toasts are let me tell you that all the credit and brownie points goes to a member who wrote to me with this recipe on IL.

I just loved it.

I have always looked for stuffs which can load my bread. Be it soya patties, eggs, tomatoes, cucumber. Anything, that can load my sandwich and makes me feel full and do not add more calories is always welcome. Infact its great way to start the day.

These toasts tastes fabulous and with each toast we use 1 tbsp of semolina (max) which is quiet acceptable.


1. 1/2 cup/katori suji/rava/semolina.

2. 2-3 tablespoon of curd. Make sure the curd is not sour. Keep in mind that you just require curd to make a thick paste.

3. Half finely cup capsicum.

4. 1 small onion finely chopped.

5. Green chillies to taste.

6. Coriander finely chopped.

7. Half tomato finely chopped.

8. Salt to taste.

9. Black pepper to taste.


1. In a bowl add semolina and curd and make a paste. Add rest of the ingredients. If the paste is extremely dry add little water. Add salt and pepper and let this paste rest for half an hour. You can also make this paste at night and use it in morning.

2. Apply a thin layer on bread.

3. Heat a pan and use little oil. I used oil spray. Now keep the toast on pan, the side which has the semolina layer should face up, put 2-3 drops of oil on the semolina layer.

Let the bread get crisp from down and then flip. Press a little so that the semolina gets cooked well. After 2 minutes flip back (you will see that the semolina is well cooked)

4. Serve hot.

5. You can do the same thing on a bun and enjoy with tea.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Frozen Section

As a god fearing fat person, eating is my birth right which I refuse to give up.

I am constantly hungry, I get hungry when I have nothing to do, I get hungry when I am depressed, I get hungry when I watch cookery shows, I get hungry when I read food blogs.

As a normal woman I also desire to lose weight, which becomes a bit tricky if you are in constant state of hunger and just love food.

The basic rule of weight loss is that you will have to eat. If you fail to eat and deprive yourself, your hunger and body and weight all will get back to you with vengeance.

When I started losing weight, being prepared with food was very important to me and it still is. There are times when I am in no mood to cook, I am out shopping and have no strength to come back and make a meal. There can be endless reasons. In such times freezing is a god sent blessing.

Before I started freezing my food my mind had few concerns like

Mind: Frozen food is not good for health.
Me: Says who. Its far better than oil filled meals in a restaurant. Far better than the frozen food we get from outside. And please do not forget its low cal.

Mind: Food will taste awful when you re heat it.
Me: No it won't. Infact it gets marinated well and taste much better.

Mind: But what are you gonna freeze for Christ sake.

For this question I surpassed my own expectations. In my house anything which is not living can be frozen. Once I discovered the fun of freezing I started freezing most of my food.

Freezing Boon or a Bane: Definitely a boon. When you are dead tired and do not want to cook and also want to lose weight, then all you have to do is take out home cooked food from the freezer and reheat and eat. Life can't get simpler than this.

Finding time to freeze: You can either cook on weekends and freeze the food OR you can cook a little extra everyday and freeze the food. Understand your need to freeze food.

For example for me I need frozen food mostly on weekends so 3-4 frozen dishes are good enough for 2 weekends and then I refill the freezer. When I was working, I had no time to cook. So, I would devote 2-3 hour on weekend, make everything for 5 days, keep in small containers and freeze. All I had to do is take my lunch box to office and keep in the office fridge.

Will the frozen food get spoiled : As long as its in the freezer it won't.

If you are reheating and consuming the food then its fine. But if you are taking the frozen food with you to office then its best to keep it in the office fridge.

Can I refreeze the left over : No you can't. Once you have defrosted a dish , do not
refreeze it.

Why should I opt for freezing:Everyone has different reason. Mine was to avoid outside food and have something special on weekends. SO, I always freeze a tasty low cal dish, which helps me to look forward to home cooked special meal when I am standing in the food court area of the mall.

A typical debate between me and my husband, contemplating about eating outside or eating at home, while standing and admiring the food court area goes as follow

Husband: I am hungry.
Me: So am I.

Husband: What will you have??
Me: I don't know. I want to eat but I feel guilty about eating outside.

Husband: Yes you should feel guilty, you are no longer losing weight. If you keep doing like this you will be fat again.
Me: Shut up and mind your own business.

Husband: I am hungry.
Me: There is daal makhni and rice in the freezer.

Husband: Lets eat at home. I love daal makhni.
Me: Fine, you will make raita. I will just
reheat the food.

**---------Things I Freeze--------**

1. Roti/Paratha/Breads: You need to cook them, let them cool , pile one on top of the other, keep them zip lock bags and freeze. And before you ask let me tell that they do not stick together.

2. Home made Pizza: Oh this makes for a lovely weekend breakfast when you are not in the mood to cook. As the pizza is made from wheat and oats and lots of veggies it does not upset your weight loss.

3. Gravy dishes: I have froze daal makhni, rajma, palak paneer, daal fry. In short almost everything.

4. Rice: Pulav, biryani, fried rice and even plain rice freeze beautifully.

The whole idea of weight loss is to have good food and enjoy life. So what if the food is low cal and homemade, you can still enjoy it. When you are tired and hungry and all you need is hot tasty food which does not upset your weight loss, just look for that food in your freezer.

Happy Freezing!!!