Some truths

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I have been reading a lot about fitness… weight loss.. weight training and wanted to document what I have learned in the last few months… what works and what does not. I will divide the section into 2 parts- food and workout.

– Diet is 60-70% of the weight loss effort. You cannot eat junk if you are trying to get fit and lose weight. It is a fact… whether you like it or not. Some foods do not provide any nutrition and it is ok if you never eat them again… example, pizza… desserts… fried namkeen… chips
– The 1st step is planning… a week when I do not plan the menu I end up eating crap. Plan on Saturday… buy groceries on Sunday and follow the diet over the week. And it takes half an hour only.
– Never shop for groceries when you are hungry. This is a fact… I always, always end up buying crap when I am hungry.
– Don’t change your lifestyle overnight. It won’t work. Someone told me today it takes 21 days to form a habit. Every month change 3 things in your diet- example, stop having cold drinks… have a good breakfast every morning… drink more water… anything. Make 3 changes every month
– Patience… results which come overnight will disappear overnight. Give yourself a year. Slowly and steadily. When you see the results, you will want to continue what you are doing
– Stop eating when you are 80% full. This way you will never feel stuffed. I hate the stuffed feeling… its been so long since I have felt like that. Over time your appetite will reduce and you won’t even binge on your favourite foods
– I have researched healthy and tasty recipes which add variety to the menu… oats uttapam, oats poha, moong chilla, daal chilla, brown bread sandwich, nuggets pulao, soya upma etc. Even KC has started eating some of these things
– Rice/roti are not very nutritious… have either one during your meal instead of both.
– Some examples of foods that can be part of your routine- skimmed milk (regular milk has more calories), eggs, green tea (I still hate the taste), healthy snacks like khakhara, puffed rice, popcorn, nuts, dry fruits, peanuts; soya milk, fruits (try for 2 servings)
– If you indulge.. it is ok. Just like you won’t lose 1 kg in one day… you won’t gain 1 kg in 1 day/meal
– There are some people who believe dinner should be the lightest meal and others who believe the timing of a meal does not matter. I am not sure which one is correct… what works for me is a light dinner. I never skip breakfast and lunch is heavy (as heavy as I can eat… which isn’t much) but dinner is very light
This is what a perfect day looks like:
6 am: Apple/Banana
6.15-7 am: Workout
7 : Milk with bournvita
8.30 : Breakfast
9.30 : Lemon tea in office
11 : Boiled eggs
1 : Lunch
3 : Sofit soya milk
5 : Nuts
6.30 : Fruits/smoothie
7.30 : Gym
9 : Dinner

– Do what you like… dance, yoga, gym, running. But you should try it for a month before you quit. Don’t quit because you didn’t like it for a day or two
– But… below are the benefits of different workouts:
– Yoga: Improves flexibility… relieves stress
– Pilates : Builds the core… I have read that it helps build abs
– Weight training: Improves strength… builds muscles which increases metabolism and helps lose weight
– Running : Helps in fat loss… but it burns muscles… not recommended if you want to bulk up and build
– My schedule looks like this- 2 days weight training, 2 days running, 2 days Jazz, 1 day rest. Now I have added Zumba, yoga and pilates to the schedule. March onwards I will weight train 6 days a week
– Weight training really helps lose weight. Higher weights and lesser reps are the key. Example, the recommended is 3 sets of 10 reps each. By the 10th rep, you should be out of breath… if you are not, increase the weight.
– In Indian gyms, the instructors know workouts but not the science behind it. And so they make people do exercises they think are good for them without researching further. Here are some myths:
– Do cardio (on treadmill) to warm up before doing weights. This will only tire you out without being able to push yourself while lifting weights. Warm up with exercises but not cardio.
– My instructor would make me do 150 reps of an exercise… I would be able to do only 3 exercises in 30 mins. My new plan is to do more exercises with lower reps and higher weights
– Spot reduction of fat does not happen. Example, doing crunches for losing fat around the tummy. Fat loss happens throughout the body… exercising one body part will not reduce fat from that area
– Isolation exercises are useless. They are exercises done on machines in a gym. Don’t spend more than 15 mins out of 45 mins on them.
– You don’t need protein shakes… your diet can provide enough protein… you don’t need the shakes. In fact, they harm the kidneys.

– As you lose weight, you will have to change your food and workout routine to challenge your body. This is an effective way to avoid plateau (when your body gets used to the current lifestyle and stops losing weight).
– You will have to eat lesser as you lose weight
– Don’t think of this as a diet… it is a lifestyle. It never ends. You have to workout your entire life… it has to be as important as spending time with your kids (maybe even more) … or going to work or watching TV
– I have worked out even while travelling… even when I don’t have a car (take an auto at 8.30/9 pm in Gurgaon when I need to)… even when I didn’t want to pay for a gym… everything is possible… you just have to want it bad enough
– Excuses like ‘I am busy’ will not fly… everyone has atleast an hour everyday. Make the time… I know some people who work out during their lunch hour… these days gyms are open till 11 pm… I go to the gym after the cook makes dinner… I know people who live in Bhandup, work at Lower Parel… reach office at 9 am… leave work at 8/9 pm… and yet have time to train for a marathon. Anything is possible. Hell, if my lazy hubby can go the gym for 30 mins everyday… anyone can 🙂
– Stay away from people who make you indulge. Earlier, I wouldn’t let KC order Pizza because I didn’t think its worth it. Its ok if he does not get to eat it… Nowadays, I have enough will power to not take a bite when he is eating it. Thankfully, everyone is into fitness these days… or atleast wants to be. In fact, people who eat junk are the ones looked down upon. It reminds of a lady I know who had desserts for lunch at a buffet… and I was shocked. I mean… she is fat and was eating DESSERTS as a meal. I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop doing this to herself
– It is ok to indulge… as long as you follow the diet 80% of the time
– You can weigh yourself as often as you like… or not. It is the inches that ultimately matter. I measure inches once every month and have lost 16-17 inches in 4-5 months. I have started weighing myself daily since it helps me follow the diet. Any junk immediately reflects on the scale. But this method can be faulty if you are gaining muscles… your weight will increase but you will lose inches. The best method is Body Mass Analysis… a lot of gyms/fitness centers have these machines. I get the BMA done at VLCC (which is also my gym) every 15 days.

A few apps which have really helped me:
– Runtastic pro… it tracks my runs… love it…
– Gym pocket guide… just downloaded it and showed my instructor the exercises I want to do today… he was quite impressed
– Workout scheduler… same as gym pocket guide…
– Just weight… I enter my daily weight here and it gives me a graph showing the trend

Thats enough gyaan for now. In case, I remember something else will come back and add it.

5 thoughts on “Some truths

  1. Very impressive. Everything you have stated is true and knowing the science behind everything is important. That being said, there are two errors that I wish to correct

    “You don’t need protein shakes… your diet can provide enough protein… you don’t need the shakes. In fact, they harm the kidneys.”
    True, you don’t need protein shakes. False that you can get all that from your food. Yes, you can get everything from greens and lean meat, but do you know how much you would have to consume of the latter to get the amount for protein you need? Again, this depends on who you are and where you want to go. I speak for bodybuilders where they need at least 1gm of protein per lb of body weight (or roughly 2gms per kg). Consuming enough meat to get that much protein everyday, is unfathomable and ridiculously expensive in the long run.

    Also false that it harms your kidneys. Whey protein (not the cheap soy stuff) is created from dairy products. The myth that it harms your kidneys exists because one of the by-products of protein synthesis is urea. Consume enough protein and you get intolerable build-up of urea in your kidneys resulting in, apparently, renal failure – which is true in theory but you already do what needs to be done to remedy it. You guessed right – drink loads of water. The urea gets dispelled as urine.

    Everything else is not just true but also accurate – how motivation and food are the governing factors to losing weight and the actual training itself is almost secondary. Brilliant work.

  2. Just an addendum: I have consumed anywhere from 2- 4 scoops of protein everyday for the past 4 years. I have also consumed a minimum of 2 ltrs of water a day for the past 4 years. No kidney failure yet!

  3. Hi… I should have added a disclaimer… this is only for people trying to lose weight. The rules are different for those who want to bulk up. You are right… protein shakes in bulking up… but for gaining muscles protein from food is enough. I guess I was wrong about their effect on the kidneys.

  4. Ylovely post Bulbul.

    I have been on this fitness track for years now and it has been a fun ride. In between the pregnancy and post pregnancy pushed me off the track a bit but now am back in my element. Your tips make perfect sense esp the grocery shopping bit where you shouldn’t when you are hungry.
    i have an opinion about meal timngs and they matter like hell. If you finish the last bit of your meal before 7 ;30, and then don’t eat anything until next morning, that really shows results.
    Also, I have tried to come off processed foods – all foods that come off a packet. Though I cannot manage it 100% percent but I try to create everything from the scratch which also shows its effects on my bloating. I have little or no bloating because of this.
    Rice and roti are nutritious but their moderate consumption is advisable.
    I have a regular protein shake drinker and for all the reasons mentioned by the commentor above, I think it is necessary if you are doing weights. I have no intention of participating in a body building contest but the protein shake helps repair my muscles and gives them a boost as well. It constitutes one snack meal ( usually 4 pm one)

  5. Hey… sounds good. I agree with the dinner wala suggestion. The only problem is I workout in the evening and need to have dinner post that. Otherwise early dinner really helps in losing weight.

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