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.

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

GM Diet (General Motors diet)

GM Diet, while some of you might be knowing about this, some may be totally unaware. Many people must be even wondering,” Wow, that sounds great! When did General Motor (An automotive giant) venture into the food industry”? Some may be frowning on the very mention of the diet (as expected)! And many must be really patient enough to read now further about it!

Diet, exercise, weight loss are some of the trending words of today’s generation.

Despite its name, GM diet is nowhere related to the General Motors as confirmed by its spokesperson.

But this is the real story when I tried out this diet in the year, yes 2009! My weight loss journey started on 24 Februar,2009. I remember the day, date and the situation, then, because this was more than DO-or-DIE situation for me. Quiet understandable for a person who has always been fat!

That time it was a craze to follow this diet which ensured a loss of 5-10 kgs in a week’s time.

Wow! Doesn’t that sound great? Did I follow it meticulously and the results? Well, after this diet plan.

The diet plan for 7 days!

Day 1:- The first day is all about “Fruits”.  Yes! Only fruits and lot of fruits except bananas and high sugar fruits which include Mangoes, Strawberries, Lychee etc.

We have to understand that the diet plan is aimed to reduce weight so avoiding certain fruits could be beneficial.

Include watermelon, musk melon for their hydrating properties.

Day 2:- Having successfully consumed a variety of vitamins and minerals only through fruits on day 1, if you are committed this day will be easy for you.

Yes! Day 2 means you can consume all vegetables only! Raw or cooked vegetables can be eaten on this day. Make you platter as much colorful as possible.

Leafy greens, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Ensure that you keep hydrating throughout the day.

You can add a baked potato to it if you really crave for carbs in breakfast. Make sure to limit the potatoes though.

Day 3:- Bingo! Welcome to the day where you can consume together all the vegetables and fruits (except the potatoes, mangoes, etc). Yes! You are midway and so don’t even think of opening that fridge for that cake/chocolate!

Day 4:– If you have reached till here, then success is just a few days away! On this day you can eat 6 bananas and 6 glasses of milk. Space it at your eating hours and you will be filled throughout the day.

Day 5:Beef (284 grams)& 6 tomatoes or Brown Rice (One cup uncooked)& 6 Tomatoes:– You can have 6 tomatoes equally spaced as 6 meals and make 3 servings of cooked brown rice. Make sure you keep drinking lots of water.

Day 6:- Beef/Chicken/Fish(284 grams) or  Brown rice and vegetables:- Meat eaters can eat any combination of the specified meat while the vegetarians can take up any vegetables and brown rice.

Day 7:- Brown rice, fruits, vegetables (No potatoes) :- Yay! You are finally here. You have done a good job at cultivating a disciplined attitude for eating!

You can additionally have green tea and black coffee and yes whenever low you can always go on for the GM diet soup which can be prepared from six large onions, three medium-sized tomatoes, one cabbage,two green peppers,a bunch of celery,half a liter of water.

Whenever you have a hunger pang ensure you take a bowlful of the soup. Prepare it and refrigerate it or cook it whenever you feel hungry.

Advantages of GM diet:-

  1. If the soup mentioned is consumed before every meal,then you tend to eat fewer calories at the meal which follows. Facts also state that subjects eat 20% less at lunch when they take the soup before the meal.
  2. The GM soup also aids the weight loss.
  3. Consumption of fruits adds to the necessary fibrage which you don’t eat otherwise.
  4. Vegetables are power packed with vitamins and minerals. This diet ensures that a person consumes all the other vegetables. Especially, the ones who like only potatoes are the best fit for this diet.
  5. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate with low fat.
  6. Chicken, Fish,beef ensure you consume good amount of protein.
  7. Eating bananas means you take your intake of sodium and potassium.

Many people get successful in reducing their weight and many find it hard to follow the diet itself. It also doesn’t advocate any exercise.

Writer’s and GM Dieter’s perspective:-

At that time, when the “health and fitness industry” had just started this diet was relatively new and looked very lucrative.

I felt this diet will flush out the toxins and cleanse your system.

Yes, I could overcome my plateau then. For me it was mind over matter. It meant I can keep a check on my mind and tongue. In addition to this diet, I could exercise as per my plan.

Thanks to Talwalkars Nagpur!I feel for a person who is stationery for the whole day and has no control over his tongue, this diet can be useful.

This diet if followed by the same bad food habits can lead to weight gain.  You may even lose only water content as weight. Always consult a doctor/ nutritionist before starting this so called fad-diet. Yes, it is rightly a fad diet , so what if I gained results?

But the other side of this diet is quite scary. This diet plan has no research to back it up!

Though it causes calorie deficit in a way, it also makes you dehydrated, lose muscle mass, makes you feel low on energy and nutrient deprived.

Today after 8 -9 years of religiously following up on a healthy balanced diet, if I look back, I feel,” What made me take up such a quick fix”? What made me fall for this “5kgs in 7 days package”? There is indeed no such thing called a “quick fix”! It is never about weight loss. It is always about your dedication, discipline and most important your religion. That is fitness!

Note:- I had undertaken this diet under the counselling of my nutritionist.

 

List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

Food that causes aggravation of doshas, which is the main reason for disease , is called viruddharam (incompatible food). The effect of this gets accumulated in the body and gives rise to diseases. It should be considered similar to poison and artificial poisoning (Gara Visha). Here are some of the examples, which so many of us take as regular food.

In our Sastras eating food is just like performing the yagna into the fire in the belly.  Now the aahuti which we put in the yagna has a lot to do with the well being of the body. There are some rules which should be followed while cooking and eating food.

Do sizzlers,  brownie Ice creams,  Milk Shakes invite you? Well, here is what you should know about it.

Milkshakes and Smoothies:

All sour substances are incompatible with milk.So are all the fruits.

Now a day most of the people are taking milkshakes, thinking that it is very nutritious, but in contrary it is a causative factor for many ailments like skin diseases.

Packaged Cereals With Milk

Milk and salt are incompatible with each other and yet we add milk to the packaged cereals. In case you are wondering about the ingredients of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Here they are: Corn (88%), sugar, salt, barley malt extract, vitamins(vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide).

Green Leafy Vegetables and Milk

After consuming leafy vegetable drinking of milk should be avoided. Many fitness enthusiasts swear by the green smoothies. But

Green Smoothies is an example of blending incompatible food.

Horse gram with milk

Horse gram is the next superfood. Drinking horse gram porridge with milk is not advisable.

Mixture of hot & cold things

We all love sizzling brownies. Mixture of hot and cold things should be avoided as they are incompatible with each other by nature. Even adding cold water to hot water to make it drinkable should be avoided.

Heating of curd.

For many recipes, curd is the important ingredient.  For example, to prepare morkuzhambu, people use curd instead of using buttermilk. It is always better to use buttermilk instead of curd for preparing curd based food.

Banana with curd or buttermilk.

Overnight oats are the greatest example of combining incompatible foods.

Soaking oats in curd or milk and topping it with banana and fruit of your choice is something people love to eat as a breakfast in the morning. It is easy to make and ready to eat but it should be avoided given the ill effects of incompatibility of these ingredients.

Wheat + Sesame oil, Wheat + Hot water.

Wheat with hot water and with sesame oil should not be used.

Fish with Dairy, Sprouts, Black Gram, Honey, and Jaggery.

Those people who have been non-vegetarians and have been eating fish all their life would always say that fish with dairy is not a favorable combination. So if you are eating your fish with curd rice, please eat it with rasam rice going forth. 🙂

Radish with soup of black gram.

Radish with black gram is a bad combination and should be avoided.

Ghee kept in a bronze vessel more than 10 days.

Ghee if kept in the bronze vessel gets poisonous, so it is better to avoid it.

A mixture of the equal quantity of ghee & honey.

We should not only avoid consuming processed & packed foods but also food with a bad combination because it is one of the main reason for all lifestyle diseases like BP, DIABETES OBESITY & also CANCER.

Author Bio:

Dr.Prabhakantham

About me – I have been practicing Ayurveda for the past 18 yrs in a traditional way, I have experience in all Panchakarmas, I’m part of an NGO – AVAS, where I’m educating & treating underprivileged children.

 

How to Create a Nightly Self Care Routine To Avoid Stress.

How to Create a Nightly Self Care Routine To Avoid Stress.

This post is for moms, all moms who are stressed, tired, fatigued almost all the time. Some have found ways to deal with it and some are yet to reach that point. Some are struggling with their day to day hustle, while some are unable to cope up with the daily grind. Stay at home, working, working from home or any of them, moms have a lot to tackle throughout the day. Whether they get up as early as 4 am or they get up by 7 to 7.30, every mom sleeps as her babies fall asleep, it may give her minimal sleep at times but at the end of the day it is all worth it. Days go by and we all start to cope up with these unusual timings. By the time we are used to it, the kids grow and they have their own timetable. I feel as parents we never settle with one time. My day ends with half of the next day in its lap already. Some days before I used to struggle winding up and putting myself to sleep but no more. I was determined to make a change that is one part but the other part that helped me significantly is that I started my “Nightly Self Care Routine”. At first, people at home were astonished but slowly they understood that it is my process of winding up the day and to welcome the next one without being too stressed.

So here is the Nightly Self Care Routine for busy moms:

  • Mentally and physically switching off from any gadgets 30 mins prior to bedtime
    • We are so taken up by the social media updates that we often forget the time that we are checking out the phone. A lot has been said about the mobile radiation and its harmful effects but as I put my mobile on airplane mode, it gives me a lot of peace. This has helped me reduce a lot of stress. 30 mins before bed switching off all the gadgets is the first key to self-care.
  • A hot water bath or soaking your feet in Epsom salt
    • In a city like Chennai, where humidity is at its peak, a warm water bath is so soothing after a long day. If you don’t have time for that then soaking your feet in warm water having Epsom salt in it is the perfect solution for achy feet and calf muscles. This is an age-old remedy to reduce muscle spasms. You can also add some essential oil like lavender to the water to get the calming effect.
  • Rub your feet with a little bit of ghee.
    • Rubbing the feet with a bit of ghee is a time-tested method to relieve symptoms like fatigue and soreness of feet. Additionally, say bye to cracked heels with the goodness of ghee.
  • Switching to low lighting
    • Our bodies are tuned in such a way that as the sun sets, the body releases sleep hormones. As we are in the city and there are ample lights, the body gets tricked into feeling that it is still a day. Switching to low lighting before going to bed helps me a lot to slow down and wind up.
  • Reading
    • Reading a book ( not kindle) gives a calming effect. I usually read my favorite poems or stories to my kid.
  • Brain Dump
    • This is something I swear by. Throughout the day we carry many feelings. Some happy, some sad, some frustrating, you can actually dump all that in a journal or a paper. If you do not want to see it again, you can as well tear it off. Clearing your mind helps to rejuvenate
  • Slipping into comfortable clothing
    • Each one of us slips into comfortable clothing at the end of the day. But as a part of self-care, next time, buy ultra comfy, soothing cloths and remind yourself that you deserve every bit of that comfort.

The purpose of this self care routine is to reduce stress. All moms out there, please try and let me know if it works. Well, it does work for me 🙂