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.


  1. Hello Shiva!Such a nice,motivating post.My greatest weakness was/is junk from outside.At home,I eat healthy but just one outing and I am back to square one.I really love the logic of avoiding junk completely when trying to reduce.Of course,we are not going to die without it.

    PS:following you on twitter albeit with a different handle.

  2. Dear Gunjan,

    Thanks for liking the post. So you are one of my followers, I hope I can find out who. I am crawling my way around twitter, will figure it out soon.

    Have a great day ahead.



  3. I totally believe in everything you wrote. It's an ongoing battle for me!
    PS: what's litti?

  4. Dear Girl,

    Litti is a typical bihari dish. I like it because the stuffing is that of sattu which is a channa flour and I make it in microwave so it just takes 3 minutes to prepare, tastes good and is a complex carb.
    Once a reader commented that it looks like kachori, so you can think of it as a diet kachori.

    Here are the links.

    This is a real good typical recipe.

    And this is how I make. You need to scroll down a bit to see the pic.



  5. Dear Shiva i just read a few of ur posts and became ur fan. I found u very practical. I am a working lady and mother of 2. I was 89 kg and now i am 83. I had taken forever living course for 1 month but that is too heavy on my pocket. I went on a vacation and now again i m gaining weight as my routine was disturbed there. Please encourage me as my target is 68-70 kg (sounds impossible naa!!!) Navratras are approacing and I dont want to gain weight i'll follow ur recipes during navratas

  6. Replies
    1. Dear Kanta,

      Thanks for liking my blog. I started my weight loss at 86 kilos, you are three kilos lighter than what I used to be. Nothing is impossible, only our mind creates such limitations. Give yourself one year and I am sure you will see the weight melting away.

      Feel free to write to me, I will do my best to help you.


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