Why should you go “No sugar”?

 

No_sugar_challenge

No Sugar challenge

 

The5ammommies are always up for the challenge. This month I take #NosugarNovember challenge. No! I don’t have diabetes, neither type I nor type II. Then why strain yourself? Relax and enjoy that ice cream, those leftovers sweets from Diwali, Gear up for Xmas cakes and yes forgot about the Halloween treats!  I differ to opine here. It is always said,” Make hay till the sun shines”! Though in Chennai, Mr. Sun shines all through the year, sometimes even more scorching, I prepare myself to take up a challenge before any doctor imposes it  on me.This  is something which I feel doable.

I am self confessed sweet lover. I “love” sweets. I love my cup of tea with sugar and also those filter cappis. Then why should I part my ways with something I love? The gains? Oh Wait! Weight loss? Well, this could be one of the reasons. But let us list some of the heftier other reasons for taking up this “insurmountable challenge”. Also, make a note that I couldn’t go beyond 4th-5th day in the month of September when I attempted the challenge.

  1. Taking sugar in the cup of tea/coffee the first thing in the morning is pouring “empty” calories, spiking your energy levels for the moment and then drain of the energy later. As a mom to a toddler I want constant energy levels throughout the day.
  2. White/ brown sugar increases the risk of heart diseases by increasing triglycerides and arteriosclerosis.
  3. Sugar causes obesity and exposes you to the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. Sugar causes inflammation in body and also leads to insulin resistance.
  5. Consuming sugar has been associated with increased instances of the dreadful disease called Cancer.

Well, I am not here to list more than what looked really scary to me.

What my father says? Dad comes from a humble agricultural/farming family. He narrates his fond memories of childhood. He doesn’t forget to emphasize that it was only during the festivals or some grand celebrations that the SWEET was consumed. And sugar wasn’t available in such huge quantities, in every household like it is found today. Jaggery was more in fashion then. And manual work was harder.

Sugar was never the norm of Indians before probably the fifties and of course the obese population was less. With no availability to over availability of sugar we Indians have become addicted to the early morning teas and coffees with tablespoons of sugars. Remember that our ancestors worked harder and didn’t need sugar to”kick start” their mornings. Why kick start? The reasons of consuming have more to do with our inner selves than the outer environment.

At a point now in my life, I don’t feel the urge to pour that sugary coffee/tea to start my day. I wake up to the challenge mindfully. Ask myself, “Why do you need this”? Pass 5 minutes and grab a tea without sugar/banana/coffee without sugar and look at the other sweet things life has to offer. For me the necessary cup of sweet sanity became an addiction. I wanted it and wanted it badly. I generally hate to be dependent on anything and anyone to bring me comfort and happiness. I give my body a chance to fight its battles now even more fiercely without that cup. I may fail. But I am happy I am trying my level best. Also add to it my insane workout which makes me think twice before I fall for that silly cup of tea with sugar.

Try a challenge. More reasons in detail will follow in the posts to come. I have adapted a healthier lifestyle. I think addiction to sugar is more harmful than addiction to alcohol. I do and strongly believe. Are you ready for a change? Are you up to give up your temptations? Trust me, ”It builds self confidence like no other”! If I can , you too can. Try with small baby steps and one day you will find your newer self.

You may also read the post from Snehal Sham http://www.the5ammommy.com/failed-no-sugar-challenge/.

How To Calculate Daily Calorie Intake?

How To Calculate Daily Calorie Intake?

Me and Shrilekha have been working out and following our food regime since last 10 years. We both were obese throughout our childhood and when we grew up and started being on various diets, we lost a lot of weight but were under nourished. It is through that undernourishment that we had to suffer through issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Thyroid Malfunction. We learnt a big lesson, that weight loss does not mean undernourishment. It means better nutrition. So here we are sharing some important snippets of these important lessons. Understanding some aspects would help you keep things in perspective regarding weight loss or even maintenance.

What Are Calories?

Calories are a unit of energy. They are nothing but the energy which people get from the food and energy they consume throughout the day, which is used as a fuel for physical activity. The nutrition world always talks about calories consumed by a person.

Weight loss, Maintenance or Weight gain

Whether you got to maintain your weight, whether you want to lose, or you want to gain, it all depends upon your calorie consumption. But is it possible to check calories of each food item that we eat? And is it not too much? The answer is yes, we can check calories of everything that we eat, and we can log it too. Nothing is too much if you want to achieve optimum health. As you keep logging in your food intake in food diary (online or hard copy) you will come to know how much you need everyday and whether you are overeating or under eating on a day.

How to Calculate Calories Required?

Before monitoring calories, we need to identify how many calories we need per day. The calorie calculator is based on many equations like the following:

For men:        BMR = 13.397W + 4.799H – 5.677A + 88.362

For women:    BMR = 9.247W + 3.098H – 4.330A + 447.593

BMR means Basal Metabolic Rate: If you add values to the above equation you can arrive at a value which is the number of calories your body would need even when you are at rest. (You can also identify your BMR using body composition monitor in any of the gyms)

For example, if my BMR is 2039 calories a day the my maintenance calories at 2000 calories per day. I can lose weight at a slow pace at 1700 calories per day, at 1300 calories per day I can lose weight at a pace of 0.5 kg per week approximately.

It is said that to lose weight effectively, one should have a calorie deficit of 500 calories.

How to Monitor Calorie Intake?

This is the easiest part and very rewarding. My favorite apps for monitoring my food intake is my fitness pal. It is easy to operate and tracks your daily weight if you are monitoring on daily basis. It has all Indian food listed so that you can quickly add it to your diary.

I haven’t used any other app. But you can also check out other apps available. Apart from that just to check out your calorie consumption on fitness bands like fitbit, Apple watch, MI bands and so on.

Keeping 500 calories deficit is the mantra for weight loss. You can also keep it under maintenance by watching what you are eating.

If you have questions kindly comment below.

 

 

 

Food Resolution 2019 – The 5 AM Mommy

Food Resolution 2019 – The 5 AM Mommy

Hello everyone, here! Happy New Year 2019 to all of you. A fresh year starts and one can see 365 opportunities on 31st of December every year. A New year often ushers in a lot of positivity and  endless possibilities.Bidding goodbye to the last year and welcoming the new year has always been a moment of nostalgia. The year or years which are never going to come back. I get retrospective when the countdown to the new year starts. I suddenly realise the time which is passing by and which can’t be brought back. Time for me is more than a resource. It is a fourth dimension to my living existence. I have always been a time-conscious child and now a careful mother. Whiling away time or doing nothing given a lot of time  hurts me like nothing else. I respect people who spend their time meticulously.

About Planning And Time Management

The 5 AM Mommies believe in the miracle called planning and time management. It is an art as much as it is a science. Thus, new year is of immense importance to us. I am of the firm belief that not only a new year can change your life, but any fresh moment can transform your life and you will be like never before, only if you allow yourself the same.

I am a huge fan of resolutions. Getting new journals, life size planners at the beginning of any new year and planning the day, week and months has been a favourite affair of The 5 AM Mommies and now slowly the children also seen to imbibe it.

You can read our love for this all the time through our blogs. We second the thought that ,”If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Planning doesn’t assure success, but if we don’t plan we are left in a bewilderment which only few can relate to.

The 5 AM Mommies are health conscious. We are fitness freaks. We are marathon mommies and wish to handover/pass on  the torch of healthy eating to the coming generations.

This year I have made a few small improvisations when it comes to my food habits. Even if they are small changes they require 200 percent willpower to bring into practice.Please note that I am a vegetarian.

Here we go:-

Mindful eating:–  

Yes, we eat as per plan. But, the most important habit I want to cultivate this year is to sit calm while eating, recite a prayer and then eat every bite consciously. I have a habit of planning my food quantity as well,pre-hand. But sometimes when I need more energy, by eating consciously, I am going to listen to the need of my body and give it the fuel and the amount of fuel which is required at that point of time. It sounds simple but is a big task in itself.

Intermittent fasting:-

This is a growing and upcoming fad diet as you may call. I have followed  it in the month of December and found it very much useful to keep my mind away from food(which is the only comfort for me). So, when my body doesn’t need food, I am not going to load the calories just because I planned or because I am on a high or my mood is real low. Basically, I am not going to be an emotional eater.

Amp up my Hb, Calcium and Vit D levels:-  

As a mother, we often tend to ignore ourselves, grab whatever is available to eat. We mostly operate on low battery levels, thanks to running errands at our home. I have a resolution to have a tab on my daily intake of iron rich sources,( dates, spinach, pomegranate, apples, and beetroot) and also have a rich serving of calcium( ragi, tomatoes and many others).I take an oath to bring in the goodness of nuts and fruits to my plate. Dairy shall be given its due importance and it will find a way to my diet through a bowl of yogurt, curd or paneer.As I hate drinking milk. I am also going to bask in the Sun every 10 minutes  of the day.

Swap Green tea with the regular sugar tea or the masala chai:

Basking in the early morning rays of the Sun while sipping on fresh green tea, charges you for the day like anything. I am slowly getting into this habit and mind it, I have started to cultivate some harder ones from the last year.The purpose is to skip the empty calories the very thing in the morning.

Eating sweets and desserts guilt-free:-  

I have been brought up in a household where sweets (homemade) formed a meal at least twice a week. Celebrations meant sweets from Mom’s Kitchen. If I scored well in any exam, I could see the lovely bowl of Rasgoollas in the fridge the very next day. Growing up, every sweet bite felt criminal. But, indeed, sweets played a big role in making us feel loved, and also served a much needed pat. I have decided to incorporate 2 servings of sweet to my diet plan. And if someone offers me sweet, I will accept wholeheartedly without giving my diet excuses.

Good thoughts, Good relationships and good Times:-

Good food also means good time.Good time with family and friends. Good food also means good thoughts. I am going to nurture quality thoughts while preparing food for the family. Strong relationships bond over great food. Thus, I resolve to put more than 100 % while cooking thus, welcoming new times. Please note that we also run a food catering businessFood is medicine. I am going to stick to these resolutions at least for an year. I wish it becomes a habit by this 21st January, itself. I dare to make a wish! Do you?

This post is written for Ultimate Blogging Challenge 2019

#blogboost

 

Freedom from Unhealthy Habit – Hum Fit to India Fit

Freedom is subjective in every aspect of our life. As we go ahead and make vows to make ourselves fit along with many celebrities on the eve of Independence Day, we need to really identify what is that one unhealthy habit which is taking toll on our body. Identifying that first will help us take further steps towards fitness. What is the definition of unhealthy? Well, anything which is not in coordination with your body is unhealthy. Today, we are going to emphasize on sitting. As per the new norms “Sitting is the new smoking”. Knowingly or unknowingly we sit a lot throughout the day. While commuting in the car or the bus, while at the office, while dining at the restaurant, while at home watching TV and so on.

An average human being spends around 7 hours of sitting during the day which is way above the guidelines specified by World Health Organization.

Sedentary lifestyle has been told to be the root cause of many health related problems. Sitting is considered as bad, but sitting with bad posture makes it even worse. I have seen people in mid 30s having severe back problems. This is primarily due to prolonged and wrong sitting posture.

What can you do about it?

Move every thirty minutes from your place to another place if you are working at the office. Take short breaks in between work so that you have necessary break from prolonged sitting posture. You can also have fitbit telling you to complete 250 steps every hour so that you don’t remain sedentary throughout the day.

Bad sitting posture can be improved by getting a proper ergonomic chair. If that is not possible, see to that your back is straight while sitting and you are not exerting pressure on your tailbone. Generally, prolonged sitting makes us spread our legs on a stool or a chair. This changes the sitting posture exerting pressure on the vertebral column.

If you are working from home, sitting on the floor with back straight helps. Sitting on the floor and getting up every hour for short breaks may also help strengthen the joints. We sit on tables, chairs, sofas, car and most of us have completely forgotten how it is to sit down and get up without holding any object for support. There was a challenge on internet sometime before which prompted many people to get up from floor without any support.

Get a standing desk. This is my absolutely favourite. Getting standing desk is very comfortable solution to prolonged sitting. Get a desk with proper height so that you can effortlessly carry on your workday with it.

Instead of doing all these workarounds it is always better to move often and reduce the risks related to sedentary lifestyle. Freedom from something as unnatural as sitting ( on sofa, in the car, on a chair) is necessary today. We are born to be active and we should be throughout our lives. That is the real definition of freedom for the human body.

This blog post is for the independence blog train by UK and Sarah

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.

No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.

He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.

I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.

Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.

She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.

Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.

I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.

Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:

  • I was more alert
  • Slept well through the night
  • I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
  • No sluggishness throughout the day
  • My overall energy was constant without a slump.

It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.

Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.  

I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

I have been obese all my life. The brief duration that I was my ideal weight lasted around 2 years during my hostel stay and the other time when I was suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS).

In the hostel, I was super malnourished and was homesick. I never quite liked food made in a mess and a couple of times I had to rush back home with gastritis during 4-year tenure.

After marriage and delivery and 2.5 years of breastfeeding, I wanted to shed some weight and landed myself in trouble because of the foolish diet food which was sold by a famous gym in the city. I followed that diet for around 1 year and lost a right amount of weight, only to find that I was in this vicious cycle of stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomits. Here again, I would like to say that I was my ideal weight

( weight loss can also happen with diseases, and you can lose those last 10 pounds to diarrhoea too) but in an acutely malnourished body which used to give up often.

I have written a lot about sustainable food habits and lifestyle, and I can not emphasize the importance more. After IBS, I was on medication for the whole year to the point that putting a tablet in my mouth would give a gag. But then, one day, I decided against it. I decided that if it pains I will bear it all and I did..slowly changed my food habits..brought myself back to regular food eating routine. I did not avoid anything but did not overeat. Started training myself with cardio, strength training, and HIIT.

A bit of more HIIT and you may injure your knee, heels and so on.

For a brief period again I was THIN (literally), this time it was no diet, it was workout which would go on injuring my body slowly…By this time I had already run the Wipro Chennai Marathon. It was a 10km distance. How did I do it? Well, it wasn’t easy. I was running for the first time. So I did not know how it would work. I completed it successfully.

The second 10k I ran, at a whim, registered just 2 days before and no practice.

But Pinkathon was different!

I was already doing 100 days of running.

100 days of running is an initiative taken by runners around the world, where one should run 100 days.

It does not have to be a 5km run, it can be 2km, 3km or the bare minimum that you can run every day. One can log in the information on their portal to assess the progress. This was a kick start. I had already started walking 10k every day and knew that it should progress to jog or run. Slowly, with 100 days of running, I could run 2km every day.

Body is a wonderful machine. Slowly, it got used to the 2km, and I felt nothing. Initially, there were many changes, but as I got used to it, it was more of a routine. I had to break the plateau, and I decided that I should run a 10k and see whether I am really capable of it. There were around 15 days for Pinkathon, luckily and we (Shrilekha and I) registered. Most of you have seen the journey of preparation. We were running every day (2-3-5 km) and slowly, we were ok with 5 km distance. Shri was covering it for around 45 mins and me about 50 mins. The day of Pinkathon arrived. Had a Chevazhai ( Red Banana) before going, we got ourselves dropped near Napier Bridge and walked around 2 km. There was a lot of buzz with Zumba and all happening around.

Milind Soman is a brand ambassador of Pinkathon, he came on the stage, and I could just say “ Wow.” Such an inspired morning it was.

Milind flagged the race, and we were on our own ( Shrilekha and I ). Yeah, we don’t run together because she is much faster than me.

After running two, 10km races, I knew that

I do not have to rush and run with other people that are the biggest mistake anybody would do while they are running.

When the race started everybody started running, I was the last person to leave Napier Bridge of all 10k participants. But that did not bother me.

First 1 km of the run is building my ammunition, I have a severe issue of breathlessness. So,   I have to make my lungs and body ready for the long run.

As I crossed 2km mark, it was good, I was leaving behind most of the junta who were walking. Till 5k it was easy. I did have some water at 5k.

The km marks were very haphazard, I never saw 6k, 7k mark.

8k was tough because there were two bridges, which were tough to climb especially when I was running out of my ammunition.

What did I learn yet again?

Running is a mind game, you quit in your mind, your body stops

Never compete or compare your performance with anybody. Everybody prepares; differently, everybody has a different lifestyle.

While running, get your lungs to work first which would later fuel your performance, if you are running on the breaths which you are taking on the go, it will deplete your energy ( Too technical but I felt it so..)

Never ever gulp a lot of water at the water stations, SIP it.

And celebrate your effort and pace whatever it is. 🙂

I am proud of Shrilekha who completed the race in 90 mins which is a great feat. I have learned from this race and would undoubtedly work hard to perform at my best.

Thank you all for constant encouragement. For those who are thinking, we did this for weight loss, I only have a thing to say, we are way past weight losses.. 🙂

It was a great journey, more so because all of you were a part of it. Let’s gear up for The Wipro Chennai Marathon in Jan 2019. See you at the start of the preparations. Speaking of doubters..I am one of my biggest doubter..so I believed in my capacity of running this time..hope the streak continues.