Friday, May 23, 2014

Healthy v/s Skinny - My take on it

How do you define the so much talked about word “Healthy”? Does being healthy necessarily mean being skinny? Why is beauty most of the times tagged with Skinny bodies? Why does the media or society promote a culture where many girls feel the need to be like “VS” Models. Does healthy mean having a perfect or skinny body or is it a journey towards having a better quality of life, a better experience of your own existence. Do we understand the difference between these 2 words - Healthy and Skinny?

I don’t know why today I suddenly came up with this topic to think about. I think it’s a good one to discuss and put forth my thoughts on it because I am sure many people think they are the same, and so did I decade ago. Hopefully my words here trigger a different thinking in you. As a teenager I always thought and almost believed that healthy is skinny and you go to the gym to be skinny. When I was enrolled in a gym for the first time I totally did not understand how it will make me feel, or did I really wanted to do it, or would I enjoy it. It was initially a punishment I had to give to myself for social acceptance because I had seen people getting skinny when they joined the gym. Unwillingly, I joined, I worked out, I started eating betetr and as a teenager I lost over 40 pounds during my summer vacation. I felt amazing within. I was no way skinny even after losing 40 pounds, but my health & stamina had improved significantly, I felt better emotionally. There was a sence of social acceptance, but I dint care then on. Happily I fell in love with being “healthy” since then, what society think of me was none of my business. It was all about me. That is why multiple failures till date have not been a deterrent to me, to start all over even if I gain what I lose. But I never went back to where I started, ever.

Some questions i had then - Why are you always judged based on your size and looks? Why are overwieght people treated like aliens? Why do we keep staring in mirror criticizing extra bulges? Why dont I love myself? Why do I desire to be like someone else? Why is how we feel not important than how we look. Over years I got my answers.

Being skinny may not be necessarily mean that person is healthy. Health comes with wisdom of eating right n being active (probably I may get a little monotonous here). Trying to achieve good health should be the philosophy of life in general because its a enriching experience and for most people it can never end. There is always scope to do better. Health will come when you follow this; accept this from your heart. Realization is the first step to achieve what you want, and rest will fall in place. As I continued my journey towards finding the right answer over years I have finally reached a point where the significance of the mirror has gone down significantly, and has leveraged the thought of how I feel about myself. I feel great; I have been feeling great from over a few years now and it’s getting better. Full of energy most of the times. So much positivity emotionally. Isn’t overall health related to your body and emotions as well? It’s equally important to feel good about yourself, as looking good. Loving yourself counts. Beauty is not related to weight and some may disagree here. Though I do feel being fit or healthy (atleast trying to be there) does make u happier and reflects on your beauty, It’s like cherry on top of cake. Why does it make you happy? Because to me it is an sence of achievement. Confidence that comes from overcoming obstacles like physical hardships (workouts) and not falling in trap of junk addiction(good diet). I no longer have to practise self control, it comes naturally to me now. (There are moments when I fail, but I realise it in time now.)

I was asked once- Why do I work hard at gym it’s not giving any results visible to the world. I look pretty much the same since so many years, so what is the need to sweat it out so much. The reason is as simple as it can be. It’s because I feel good. It’s a very personal experience for me which guarantees pure satisfaction that the day was worth living. I did not even realize over years when being physical active turned into my hobby that I look forward to most days after work. After a just 30 min spin class I feel awesome. After an hour of relaxing yoga I feel totally in harmony with myself, calm n relaxed n happy. After a body fit class (kind of cross train) I feel on top of the world, a sense of achievement that I did better today than last time. After a Zumba class I feel like dancing to a couple more tunes even if I am tired physically. That is why I work out. It’s so important to love to be active and not do it because someone says so. It’s so important to understand physical movement should be a part of your routine just like eating, sleeping n brushing your teeth.
Why has the focus of something so natural gone to a level where we have to make special effort to be active and it seems so hard? I have seen numerous people at the gym who will be glued on the tread mill for over an hour walking as if someone is punishing them. If you are putting in 1 hour doing it even if thinking it is a punishment, why not get punished happily. I may sound a little silly here, but hey if you are doing it might as well be positive about it. Or Try a different form of punishment and it may turn out to be a reward.

If you don’t love to workout in a gym find a physical activity that you would love and enjoy and look forward to everyday. Try a new class, go hiking or biking or play with your dog in park. Go for a long walk or jog to the tunes of your favorite songs. It’s just a matter of finding something that you will enjoy from your heart. Don’t be scared to try what you feel like. Often I drag my friends in Zumba n most of them who don’t do it regularly are worried they won't be in sync. I reply "Who cares? Just have fun, make sure u feel good." Just try it once n learn to let go of fear that someone is watching. Enjoy an hour of music n dance n have a great workout. Is spin class too scary to try and I often jsut watch others do it? Just take the class a few times n try to enjoy the feeling of working out harder and pushing yourself to a level you thought you were not capable of reaching. Let the beats carry you away to a level where all u care is how amazing that sense of achievement is. Joy of overcoming not just physical but mental challenge as well and the confidene that you can do it will make u feel happy. Give a new idea a chance; you may end up liking it. Get over the thought of taking classes when u are in better shape. Just step in, and u will have a great workout. I am not a treadmill person n for years I forced myself to use those monotonous machines which bored me to the core. I almost did not want to go to the gym because it was so boring. Then I started exploring options and I am so glad I did. For me group fitness classes just kick the boredom n guarantees a feel good time with yourself. I discovered what I like because I tried it. I try to do different form of activity most days in a week depending on my schedule. You need to find out what will work for you.

Don’t work out aiming to see yourself thinner. Think healthier. Think better stamina. Think a disease free body. Health will come to you when you eat clean n workout (there I go again). Health will follow, you don’t even have to think about it. Understand that each hour of workout you are doing, is a favor to you mind and body. It’s a way to unwind and get good night’s sleep. Enjoy the experience of sweating. When you do it for enjoyment, you will not feel burdened to do it. In fact you will look forward to an hour of awesomeness. Don’t do it as a duty, do it as entertainment. Remember, your body is a temple, don’t abuse it by over eating and eating wrong constantly, It the only house where you reside. You cant buy a new one. If you don’t take care of it, it will fall apart, which can be a huge loss emotionally, financially and physically. Lot of people don’t appreciate good health until they lose it, why even get there. Weather skinny or not, everyone needs to take care of themselves. Everyone needs to be moderately active and eating good meals most of the times.

Learning to enjoy it, doing it does change your life for good. Try it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Eating Clean is not dieting, Its a way of life.

What is eating clean?

I have hard time understanding the statement that I hear so many times - “I am dieting”. I use it so many times myself and then bite my tongue because I have been trying to avoid its use. I have started to believe in eating right at all times with occasional indulgences if at all (if you are on a mission), ideally none. I slip often, but realize my fall sooner than later with years of experience. Shouldn’t we be eating right for the majority of time not just when we put on weight? So by default “dieting” should be the way of life, not just a temporary phase. This makes that word not so special, because that means we are eating good meals at all times. This is the way of life. Good way of life….

Trying to eat right or diet on temporary basis is like throwing water on all your efforts you took to have a better body during the temporary phase. Why do we want to return to old eating habits, if that is what has gotten you to a point which makes you go on a diet or which pushed you to think you need to lose weight? Why do we want to face frustration by trying to adopt temporary solutions. Frustration to such a level that we never want to adopt healthy eating habits again and we begin to accept our self the way we are – no matter what medical complications it can create. I would say we begin to accept ourself not whole heartedly because somewhere inside we are unhappy about the way we feel, but we dont want to change. Change is so hard, isnt it? We want wait to a point where the doctor tells us we need to lose weight; else we are going to have serious health issues. List of diseases due to obesity is endless. Why are we walking on a road towards that list? We want to believe that once we lose weight, no matter what we eat it should not creep in. Sadly, we are not in a dream land. Facing the truth, accepting bad habits need a change for your own good is the only way to be happy and healthy. There is absolutely no other way to be in good health at all times. If you don’t believe it, try and see and let me know if you find a short cut because I haven’t in 21 yrs. Some people are blessed with body that can process whatever they eat, some are not. So those who are not need to work towards it. In my experience its totally worth it. Yes, adopting good eating habits is hard. It is not impossible. All that is needed is you wanting to do it, help & motivation will follow.

What has eased my journey to be in good health is acceptance of this fact and working towards it without getting frustrated (occasionaly yes, but it improves over time as you start to work on it), eating responsibly (knowing consequences of eating junk, and prepared to compensate for it while enjoying at that moment), and managing my indulgences ASAP. After all a stitch in time saves nine. Why wait till clothes no longer fit us, or we no longer can walk a mile without panting , or run around with kids, or till the doctor says so? Why do we wait forever till there is no option. It just makes it harder with time. Why do we not want to act in time? Are we waiting for an auspicious occasion to start accepting that we need to eat better? The moment you decide and accept is in itself auspicious, because it is starting your journey to a more enjoyable life full of energy, enthusiasm and positivity. Having goals and accomplishing them makes you feel good about yourself while you reap the benefits of eating better.

I have tried all kinds of diets in these years and yes I have had results each time but I could not stick to any one because it made me feel deprived of sugar (not just processed sugar in deserts but all processed food in general). I needed my varierty of Breads and Rice and my chocolate (still my sweetheart). Life seemed to be too hard without these goodies. And portion control did not exist. Eat till your body says “Stop, I am stuffed.” but I would still put the last bite in my mouth because.... hey you can’t waste food. That’s what we are taught –to not waste. Why did I help myslef to a bigger serving ? Did I need that kind of food and in that quantity? Heck NO…...My body did not need it, my mind did. It’s all mind games people, don’t listen to it. Its Evil when it comes to comfort food. Learn to listen to your body. Learn to listen if you are hungry or thirsty. You need nutritious food and water, not vending machine goodies and Soda.

I think it’s the matter of discipline to overcome this barrier of “needing certain foods”. We want an convenient excuse to eat what we desire which is not necessarily needed. We are lying to our self that we need it (we call it craving), we are cheating ourself. Our body does not need chips and soda and cookies every single day, it needs nutrition. Nutrition from Fruits, Veggies, Whole grains, good lean protein, water and tons of water. It needs enough to function and get you through your day feeling energetic, satisfied and not lethargic.

So my friends, no more dieting, it will always be eating right at all times. Don’t feel deprived, because occasional indulgences are okay, we are humans after all. Mind is going to wander intermittently.Besides in todays world enjoyment and food are siblings. There is no celebration without food that I call wrong. But its us who decide the occasion and its frequency. If Occasion is every other day, then ask yourself if its right or wrong, and you will have the answer, weather you accept it or not. Doesn’t help to lie to yourself. Never will.

Eat Clean. Be honest to yourself. Work Hard. Dont give up. You will get what you desire if you do so. Dont just dream, make things happen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Being ready to change yourself for better .....

Weightloss is a very hot topic, especialy in todays age where we are glued to our chair for 8+ hours daily. Sure everyone wishes to have a perfect body (definition of "perfect" is personal), but there is a huge difference in just wishing magic would happen one day and really being ready for the change, Rolling up sleeves and saying “I am ready to work on it”.

When someone says “I Wish”, I question it in my mind, “Then why don’t you?”… (Just in my mind because not all are ready to work for it.Dont want to be rude because people can be really sensitive and probably they are not even ready for the chaneg yet, which is perfectly fine. It is a personal choice after all).I now get surprised with people comming with so many excuses to not doing it rather than finding 1 good reason to do it. Why are we so lazy (thats what I feel)?

Below are a few common chats I have been into with family, friends and in general people who I know. Into parenthesis is what I think then.
  • “I got a tub of ice-cream from Costco for my kids; they won’t eat it so I have to finish it now”. (Ahhhhh…No you don’t….is it worth eating that much of ice-cream loaded with sugar n cream to save 10-15$? Rather why get it home if you cant keep your hands off it? Go out and enjoy a scoop instead)
  • I went for a party and my friend made this desert, she forced me to eat it. (Really? You can be forced to eat? You can’t say No? Or you can’t eat just a little to keep the friend happy? You had to eat the whole bowl? )
  • I made this Pizza for my kids; only 1 slice was remaining, so I finished it. (Nothing wrong with eating a slice of Pizza, but eating it to finish it…that’s what I call wrong choice. Especially when it tops your dinner.)
  • I have been working long hours. (Sure- I respect that. We all do at times. But can’t we prioritize our health and spare 30 min out of 24 hours, 4 times a week, is that too hard? It could be hard, but have you tried harder? May be you can squeeze in that time if you want.)

And the excuse list can go on.

I just feel like mentioning here that starting to have a good life style and better eating habits is not an exam or race that you need to top. It’s an experience that you want to have purely by choice because you seek better quality of life. Be responsible for your choices instead of blaming it on friends and kids and everything around you, but you. Only you and you choose to eat what you do, so why not be responsible for it. Accept that you need to change because you made poor choices and not how circumstances forced you to make poor choices for the length of the time you did. After all that is why you feel the need to change, dont you?Sometimes sure you need to adjust, but when sometimes becomes every time, that is when you need to catch yourself and say, “Not this time”.

Is it that important to you to give in each time you crave something? Can’t you give up some time and say “No” because I have a goal?

Do you think before you eat, or do you just eat because you smell it or its in front of you?

Most importantly, Is it worth it?

I have lost pounds and inches numerous times, probably more than 100 pounds till now and the reason for it to be multiple times is that I had poor lifestyle and it was extremely challenging to get on a better regime without failing. I have failed and learned from it and tried again and failed again, but every time I failed, I was nearer to my goal. Isn’t life all about failing and learning anyways? This summer I am completing 21 yrs. of my constant battle against obesity and I sure have come a long way. I have found friends online for encouragement, I have invested in training with trainers, in buying good food, Spend hours in researching and trying out what suits me, how can it be easier so I can stick to it forever and more. It was well worth it because now I feel much more better about myself, I am energetic and positive than before. Eating good and being moderately active is encouraged not only so one can lose weight, but also because it improves your mood and quality of life like nothing else. It’s the BEST thing you can do for yourself. 
One of major influences in my life has been my trainer Lisa who has tons of motivation and I love her for that. She says it’s simple To lose weight calories in should be less than calories out ....yes friends, it indeed is that simple.
Not everyone can afford to invest in trainer or gym membership but you dont need one to be active. 
All it takes is “Being ready for the change, Being ready to a new YOU”. You will know a way out and what works for you when you are ready from your heart. After all where there is a will there is a way. Feeling lucky to be born in the age os technology....Google will find the way for you. You just need to ask.