Fitness Plan: Adjust and Innovate (Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness-7)

I live in an apartment at the tenth floor of a high rise, in a city where jogging in the street may make you a victim of a rash car driver; and above all, I have a punishing work schedule in an office where I work for more than sixty hours a week. These were few of the excuses that had earlier stopped me from being more active physically. Now, when I have to do it, I found a way around all these ‘hurdles’. I had two options, to begin with- the first was to join an upmarket gym, and the other was to do free hand exercises. My first choice was to join a gym, which was located equidistant to my office and home. I paid significant money for a six-month subscription, hired a personal trainer- the ‘best’ available there, and started my gym journey which would consume my lunch hour or the post office hours during the working days and mornings on holidays. I couldn’t sustain the gym run and had to leave it before completing one full month. The deposits made for six months were of course not returned. The monetary loss apart, the adventure didn’t cause a lasting impact on my fitness, but it wasn’t without some positives-

  1. First time I knew that I was almost tipping 100 KGs at the scale.
  2. That my metabolism was very slow.
  3. That there are fit people all around me who run fast and lift weights.
  4. That how lucrative the fitness business is.
  5. That I must achieve fitness without putting any money in the fitness industry.

The biggest reason for quitting the gymming was the time it consumed. For a forty-five minutes session in the gym, I had to spare double of this time, if not more. The remaining time was consumed in commuting to and fro the gym, changing into gym gear, waiting for the trainer and the equipment to be free. But, there were other reasons as well that hastened my departure from the gym-

  1. The trainer didn’t understand different needs and kept prescribing the same schedule to everyone, and his prescriptions caused my severe backache and numerous sessions with the physiotherapist.
  2. The importance of diet and nutrition was underemphasized.
  3. It further reduced my time with the family.
  4. I thought I could do better without spending so much time and money.
  5. I wasn’t losing weight the way I had expected.

The Second Option: The Functional Fitness-

The few things I started doing were –

  1. Better macronutrient balance- In my case it was cutting down on carbs, increasing protein, and having good fats.
  2. While reducing calories, I made sure to take nutritionally dense food, full of vital vitamins, minerals, and good bacteria. The easiest thing to reduce calorie intake was to completely quit the added sugar, in all forms.
  3. Taking stairs to my office( sixth floor) and occasionally to my house ( tenth floor).
  4. Trying to sit as less as possible-  got a standing workstation
  5. Running – whenever and wherever possible
  6. Occasional weight training with free weight available with me in the house.

For running– I opted for three minute’s blast running sessions with a break of two-three minutes and repeating the same six to seven times, giving a total exercise of twenty-one minute. This I did indoor, in my apartment, by making a miniature track starting from the main door in the living room to the far wall of one of the bedrooms. The furniture was moved out of the way. The sprinting and turning, from wall to wall, for around twenty-five rounds completed one session of three minutes. Seven such sessions completed a full duration of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT, thrice a week and combined with few sessions of weight training with free weights did wonder to my metabolism. However, get your vital health parameters checked and take your doctor’s advice before starting HIIT.

……….to be continued.

(Forced by the inevitability of health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com for any advice on exercises, diet, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)


Continue reading “Fitness Plan: Adjust and Innovate (Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness-7)”
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Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness (Part-6): Cut the Carbs and Cut the Flab

“The sugar is gone….completely gone out of my life,” my Soul sobbed and cursed the ever so rational Mind, “ you jerk…You couldn’t see me have some happiness, some satisfaction. Don’t you know sugar is so vital for the soul food.”

“ May be…But your happiness put 70 pounds of extra weight on his thin skeleton. So you better find your happiness in something else,” the Mind replied.

Ok. I’ll seek my happiness in carbs,” the Soul said cheekily.

It is good that you mentioned carbs. He needs to cut on the excess carbs as well.”

“ You are such a killjoy. Why should he reduce carbs? Ha?”

“ Because excess carb turns into fat and gets deposited if not used. Around 50-55 percent of the calories should come from fat, around 20-25 percent from protein and the remaining from good fat.”

“ Fat! You know nothing Mindboy ; fat is bad.” The Soul uttered with a sense of superiority.

Hahaha…That was the myth of the 20th century. And, now it’s the new millennium- not all fats are bad. Google about good fats and know how fat is a vital macronutrient,” the Mind clarified.

But why less carbs?” the Soul questioned.

Because he has a sedantry life style and doesn’t need that many calories from the carbs and the sugar. One gram of protein and one gram of carbohydrate gives same 4 kcal, but the protein is first consumed in tissue repairs, so excess carb is as bad as excess fat. There has to be a balance.” The Mind said the final words, “ To increase his metabolism, he must do activities and reduce the time he spends while sitting in a chair or a couch, even in the office.”

Come on. How would he work then? He is a pen pusher in an office,” the Soul protested.

“ Ever heard of a Standing Workstation?” The Mind raised a question that was also an answer.

…..to be continued.

(Forced by the inevitability of the health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write, in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com, for any advice on exercises, diets, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)

Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness (Part-5): Sugar and You

Say no to the added sugar –

There is science, and there are gimmicks. The choice is entirely yours. If you are serious about weight loss, you must understand metabolism, diet, and nutrition.No serious effort of losing weight will count, if you do not give up on the added sugar. Sugar in either form- sucrose or fructose, if not found naturally in your food, then it’s not for us. Fructose, that is used commercially as added sugar is dangerous to your liver, pancreatic and heart health. So avoid it. Cultivate a taste for coffee and tea and not of the added sugar that goes in it. Quit it completely, not even one cube, not even in the cookies or biscuits, and definitely not in the chocolates. Studies say that if you completely quit all products with added sugar, you lose two to four pounds a month. I lost nineteen pounds in five months. Once, I hit a plateau then I started doing serious cardio and diet modifications to lose further 45 pounds but that is for the later. Weight loss by quitting added sugar is the lowest hanging fruit. Go get it guys.

My Experiences-

Now, before counting examples of healthy sugars, and Mr. X who eats sugar yet he is so athletic, please see the context. I have taken care to prefix ‘added’ before sugar. I should have perhaps also used words like ‘processed’ and ‘refined’.The suggestion here is not for high endurance athletes but to an obese person who has a sedentary lifestyle, as it was the case with me. So, what is the first thing that I could have removed from my diet- refined added sugar and excess salt. How do I do it? I stopped adding sugar to my coffee, avoid products like chocolate, cookies, biscuits, aerated drinks etc. It has been 26months, I still do not consume foods with processed sugar, and I do not crave for it. Why do I ask for its removal from the diet- because, for a person with a slow metabolism, the excess sugar turns into visceral fat, which is deposited over the organs, causing metabolic syndrome and its consequences. Moreover, if you are into calorie counting, you would like to have food with calorie and nutrition, and not the junk calories sans any other nutrition. Everyone will have to find what he or she is comfortable with. I enjoy my food without added processed sugar, and it has helped me in losing weight. Yes, you can give yourself occasional cheat treats, but you must know what you are taking inside your body. About fructose -it is a commercial sweetener and known to be one of the leading causes of NAFLD.

 And I rest My Case Now-

If you are overweight, and you manage to lose 10 percent of your body weight, your metabolism starts changing your parameters in many ways. For example, reduction in hypertension, blood glucose levels, and as it happened with me reversal of NAFLD or even Fibrosis. I am planning to share my experiences and knowledge, about physiology facts, like calorie intake, nutrition, sleep cycle, genetic predisposition, HIIT. i.e. high-intensity interval training, and of course the motivation, psychological, and motivational part of it. We have been told myths like fat are bad and added sugar and excess salt is ok, no, it is not.

…….to be continued.

(Forced by the inevitability of the health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write, in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com, for any advice on exercises, diets, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)

The Heroes of Rezang La : Veer Ahirs whose gallantry dwarves even that of the Spartans of the ‘300’ fame


“When Rezang La was later revisited dead jawans were found in the trenches still holding on to their weapons… every single man of this company was found dead in his trench with several bullet or splinter wounds. The 2-inch mortar man died with a bomb still in his hand. The medical orderly had a syringe and bandage in his hands when the Chinese bullet hit him… Of the thousand mortar bombs with the defenders, all but seven had been fired and the rest were ready to be fired when the (mortar) section was overrun.”.

               — Major-General Ian Cardozo, in his book ‘Param Vir, Our Heroes In Battle’ about the supreme sacrifice made by the Ahir Company( 13th Kumaon) of the Kumaon Regiment, led by Major Shaitan Singh, in the battle of Rezang La.

Out of the hundred and twenty brave hearts of the Ahir company of the Kumaun regiment, only six survived, and those too were heavily injured. It was the true battle till the last man and till the last bullet. The battle of Rezang La was fought in the extreme cold temperature at an altitude of over five thousands meters from sea level and when faced with extreme odds. The hundred and twenty brave hearts, led by Major Shaitan Singh Bhati, PVC entrenched themselves in a mountain pass of one kilometer by one kilometer. The enemy, already buoyant by easy victory in the eastern NEFA sector, arrived in a number which was no less than four thousand by conservative estimates. They were armed with automatic rifles, grenade launchers, and had artillery support, as compared to three LMGs and bolt action rifles held by these hundred and twenty hardy Ahirs of the Ahirwal region of South Haryana. But these braves didn’t blink and waves after waves of the enemy were killed in the heaps. The enemy counted their deads in thousands and tried to encircle their positions.
The battle finally came to hand to hand fighting. The Ahirs used their bayonets with ferocity, and when these got stuck in the heavy woolens of the Chinese, they had their tough farming hands and the mountain rocks to break open enemy’s skulls. One ex-wrestler soldier killed more than two dozen enemies with his bare hands before being shot in the head. Even the Chinese saluted this dead hero and put his helmet on his chest.
Eventually, all were dead, except for the six grievously injured. The CO dispatched his radio operator to take the message to Brigadier Raina, who initially didn’t believe that these hundred twenty had dispatched thousands of the Chinese to the heaven, if there was one for the non believer Chinese.
Major Bhati fought till his last breath and the great son of Rajputana died a hero’s death, along with the hundred fourteen of his Ahir soldiers. When their bodies were found, still holding the grenades and rifle butts, the heavens cried, and so did Brigadier Raina, and a nation that was still in shock. But, it disheartened the Chinese when they counted their deads, and the Laddakh was saved. More importantly, the nation got back it’s courage and the pride.
Why didn’t they leave their post even when asked for it by the headquarters? The enemy strength was overwhelming, and the mere hundred twenty men, ill equipped in terms of dressing, weapons and backup couldn’t be expected to hold thousands of the heavily armed enemy for long. A complete annihilation was a matter of time, but they still chose to fight till the last man, and the last bullet. Why?
They fought because they followed what their Lord, their ancestor, Lord Krishna had to say about a righteous war. They fought as fighting was their dharma as warriors. The slogans of Radha-Kishan ki jai, and Banshi wale ki jai will keep reverberating in this remote valley of Laddakh for eternity.
On the anniversary of this great battle, on November 18th, an indebted nation salutes these brave sons of the soil.

Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness (Part-4): Forming Habits

Three kilometers!” The Soul reacted as if given a heavy dose of electric shock, “Na, It’s not possible. This fat man is no athlete. He’ll die if you make him run three kilometers.”

“He will be fine. Let him run at his own pace.” The Mind replied, “He will put on good running shoes, kneecaps, carry a bottle of water, and will be happy at the end of it.”

The mind talked about increasing metabolism, and how good and simple running is as an aerobic activity. And so the soul agreed, and thus it began next day, an activity in my life, that would continue on and off for months continuously.

It was not easy, far from it. However, it was not herculean either. But, the best part was the elation and positivity that I felt after completing it.

So now, I had running and climbing the stairs as an integral part of my daily routine.

It was good that you pushed him for it,” the Soul finally thanked the Mind for it. But, the Mind in place of acknowledging it, started talking something else, “Even if he can’t run, he must take at least ten thousand steps a day.”

“Oh I know it, but it is difficult to make a count,” the Soul, as usual, was counting difficulties.

“Not in today’s times, with lots of health apps and smartwatches,” the Mind dismissed the objections, “And one more thing–”

“What now?”

“He must leave sugar,” the Mind said, “ In all forms- glucose, fructose, sucrose etc etc.”

“Oh no!” The Soul screamed in horror, “What will happen to the soul foods that I need?”

“Don’t throw tantrums,” the Mind scolded the Soul, “If he leaves processed sugar, he’ll lose up to 1.5 Kg a month.”

“You can’t be serious,” the Soul questioned.

“Yes, I am,” was the answer.

                                                                                                      …….to be continued.

(Forced by the inevitability of the health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write, in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com, for any advice on exercises, diets, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)

Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness (Part-3): Climbing up the Fitness Path

“Five floors!” The soul was still not convinced, but gave in to Mind’s ‘better judgment’. “Let’s see,” she sighed as the time arrived to put the first step on the stairs.

The first two floors went past like a breeze, but the third proved difficult, and the fourth almost impossible. I was sure that I didn’t have the ‘altitude sickness’ but I was still breathless at a height of twelve meters from the mean sea level.

“It’s not the altitude sickness,” the Mind confirmed.

Then why is he panting like a dog?” The soul protested.

“Because he has no stamina, is overweight and has lots of visceral fat over his organs and in the arteries,” the Mind settled the question.

I gathered courage and started my adventure journey to the fifth floor. Each step taken was like a milestone crossed. The muscles in the thighs and in the hips were burning, and the lungs were spreading to the limit of their elasticity. Drops of sweat had now gathered on the forehead and with gaping mouth and clutching the side railing, I climbed the last step and conquered the peak named ‘the fifth floor’.

Hurrah! What an adventure it was!” My soul was eclectic.

Really?” The mind gave it a belittling look.

The breathlessness soon went away, and the burning in the muscles got subsided, but the sense of achievement remained in the heart. A challenge, no matter how small, has been overcome. And, now it was time for a new one, a little bigger one this time.

“What about a run of three kilometers tomorrow?” The Mind proposed.

                                                                        …….to be continued.

(Forced by the inevitability of the health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write, in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com, for any advice on exercises, diets, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)

Journey to Weight Loss and Fitness (Part-2): Running Away to Fitness

“Start running now before I kick you”, the mind thundered, “run, run, run…”

It was easier to say than do this. There was no stamina to speak off, and every pound of extra weight would put that much more pressure on the wobbling knees. However, a pair of kneecaps was on hand to support the knees.

“No distance is a short distance for a beginning,” the Mind suggested.

Hundred Meters! This was the distance that I covered when I first made the beginning, and yet it felt like an achievement. A mental barrier had been broken, and the physical one was the easier one.

Next day, the distance covered increased to six hundred meters. And, on the third day, I ran a full one kilometer. However, there were consequences. I now knew that there were certain muscles in the thighs and the shins, which had become sore after the run.

I woke up with very stiff legs on the fourth day. Should I still run? My weak procrastinating soul was trying to dissuade.

“Why not? Just do some stretching and get on with today’s running.”  The Mind didn’t yield an inch to the discouraging soul, “And yes, from today onwards, you have to take stairs, no matter how many floors you have to climb.”

“Are you in your f****** mind?” The Soul protested, “This poor guy lives on the tenth floor.”

“Five floors then–,” Mind conceded, “He would take stairs for the first five floors before taking the elevator.”

                                                                                             ……to be continued.

 

(Forced by the inevitability of health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write, in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com, for any advice on exercises, diets, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)