Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Oye fat people out there, you have nothing to lose other than your weight (with apologies to Marx)

I have been meaning to write this  post right from the day I read this post of  Sugar's. Thank you Sugar for spurring my thoughts.  I just noticed that It has taken me over a month to put this up.
 I have always been fat except for a few months more than ten years ago. I have been called nicknames in school and college, teased mercilessly by sundry uncles who knew no better and shouted at by family members for taking that extra portion of ice cream/gulab jamun/biriyani/mysore pak.Sometimes the reprimands have been totally out of the blue, after one of them read an online article on the dangers associated with obesity (as if I am clueless about that).  I used to love acting, but  felt that I was almost always cast in  older lady roles in school plays because I could easily turn into an older lady with some chalk powder on my hair and a white saree.   I stopped going for college/school reunions because the over-weight me has turned into an obese me. Sometime ago when my self-esteem was at its lowest, I stopped posing for photos. Suffice to say, I have always felt terribly guilty for being overweight. Weight is not just the extra kilos I am (physically) carrying, but also the heavy mental burden that weighs me down. That is why I strongly believe that weight loss is also about hard mental work.

Most over-weight people know they have a problem. THEY DO NOT NEED UNSOLICITED ADVICE/COMMENTS ON THEIR WEIGHT. When I was a little girl, one of the things a wise aunt told me was this - if you can't say something good, keep your mouth shut. Of course, this is not an absolute rule, but it is squarely applicable in this case.

One of the things this journey with the extra weight has helped me achieve is a thicker skin. I used to be terribly sensitive, breaking into tears at cruel comments/'jokes".  Now, the older wiser me is able to shrug away such comments and move on. Over the years, I have learned to distinguish between genuine concern and pure malice.  I have come to understand that my immediate family members are genuinely concerned about my booming waistline, especially given the history of diabetics and hypertension in our family and this concern is reflected in angry remarks. But I also know when there is no concern, but only viciousness. Why would uncle "X"  (who has no investment in my well-being) make that snarky comment about my weight in public? Whoever said "God gave us our relatives, thank God we can choose our friends" is so bloody right:-)))
None of us are perfect.  For us fat people, the extra weight hanging out makes this simple truth all the more evident. But, this is not to mean that we give up attempting to be perfect (in our case, losing that weight, becoming fit, reducing chances of lifestyle diseases etc). On that note, I should perhaps say that my weight loss is going well. I am now 78.3 kgs. I consider this an achievement, given that I gained weight after moving here. But I shall not rest on my laurels. I totally mean to keep going.....

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Something is better than nothing

On Sunday I checked my weight again and it showed a measly 200 gm loss. My weight stands at 80.3 kgs.  But I want to remind myself that


I think I know why there was no dramatic weight loss despite being good with exercise and eating carefully during the week. I had a heavy dinner on Thursday night (the last day of the work week here) because I did not have healthy snacks in the evening. On Saturday morning, I saw  delicious looking  uzhunnu vadas in the supermarket and they were singing my name, so of course, moi had to buy them and eat not just one, but the half of a second one as well. Lunch was ghee rice (neyychoru) and chicken curry with a greasy gravy  on Friday and Saturday. I know very well  I should not be eating rice cooked in fat, especially when I did not measure it. On my good days, I eat only 1/2 a cup of rice with salad and sambhar cooked in minimal oil for lunch. Again, it was poor planning that led me to eat the ghee rice. If I had planned healthy lunch options, this would not have happened. 

I have also realised that the 30 minute Leslie Sansone indoor sessions are not intensive enough for me, especially when I do not perform the kicks, kickbacks and knee lifts, though I have to add that the 45 minutes version helped me lose weight.  The realisation came when I started walking in the park at a reasonably fast pace. I love listening to music while walking. I find my walk at the park a lot more intensive than the Leslie Sansone tapes. I also find myself thinking and planning my day during my walk and feel so good and energized after the walk. So, I thank God for this park with its excellent jogging track (with even measurements laid down in 50 meter intervals to track the distance, how good is that?). I also try to walk in the evening, but sometimes other commitments can come in the way of this walk, so I have decided that my morning walk is non-negotiable, just like brushing my teeth or taking a bath or having coffee.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Life post-Eid

 I have been eating relatively well after an Eid-al-Adha related food overdose. Instead of fasting (a lot of devout people fast) on Arafat day (the day before Eid), I happily overdosed on falafel for lunch and dinner.

As an aside, I have seen online articles that claim falafel is good for you. Folks it is FRIED, moreover these online articles focus on the calories in one falafel (50-60 calories depending on what you are eating). But I am yet to see someone who eats just one falafel! People typically eat  5-6 of them and if it is a sandwich, it is on refined flour bread and slathered with mayo and comes with salty pickle (enough sodium intake for a month) that will put desi achars to shame. The basic premise of these articles is that since peas are good for you, so falafel must be good. Peas are good for you, but have them steamed with a dash of lemon and a bit of salt rather than deep fried.

So after eating loads of falafel, on the day of Eid, my weight hit 80.5 kgs, which is an all-time high. I made amends. I did not have Biriyani for lunch. Yeah, it was Eid and I did not eat Biriyani. We decided to have eid lunch outside and I firmly told myself that there shall be no treats for Eid lunch. I ate-guess what? the humble dry chapathi with a vegetable curry. I ate at a South Indian restaurant where the chapathi dough is made by adding warm/hot water to the atta.  I dislike the texture of such chapathis (in fact, I love the North Indian chapathis made this way). But I told myself that I had to eat them. I also ate S......L......O......W......L.....Y which meant that I could eat only 2 chapathis rather than the three that was on the table. The vegetable curry was some kind of Korma. I should have got the menu and carefully looked for healthy options, rather than let the waiter to suggest curries. Ok, point to be remembered.

After Eid, I have been eating mostly properly, except for a day when we got frozen parottas (refined flour alert, but what to do yaar? they are so good:-( ) for dinner. I have also incorporated more salads and now even have fruit and veg salads before eating carbs.In my last post, I wrote about the doc's instructions not to do moves that have an impact on my knees. Leslie Sansone's tapes  are boring without the knee lifts, kickbacks and kicks. I tried doing them without these moves and I was getting bored. So, I went to the Park today. Alhamdulillah (=Praise the Lord), the weather is much better these days.  We have an excellent park nearby with a super-good jogging track. I was  and I am still thanking God for this park. So, I will walk in the morning and evening, a daily total of  70-85 minutes  for at least 5 days a week.

It is the periods period, so I do not know if these changes have made any difference. As a  matter of policy, I do not weigh myself during these days. My body retains water like crazy and the weight shoots up. So I am waiting (looking forward  but with some dread, what if there is no change???) to see if there is any change a few days after menstruation  stops.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Dealing with injury and a steadily climbing weight:-((

I have bad knees. I can only blame this on the spurt of over-exercising I indulged in a few months back (before I started blogging) without expert supervision.  Rather than going in for medical treatment earlier, I hoped it would go away. But things reached such a pass that I have to pray salat sitting, something I always associated with people in their 60s and above. So I finally went to the doctor last week.

 The doctor has told me to avoid knee lifts, kickbacks and kicks which make the Leslie Sansone tapes interesting. It is such a bummer. She said the best exercise is walking. But it is too hot to walk during the day here and I am too busy in the early morning. My plans to walk in the evening are more often than not torpedoed due to other things coming up (guests for instance, I love having people over, but my exercise goes for a toss). But I do not plan to quit exercising. I am continuing with the Sansone tape minus all the problematic (to my knees) exercises. I also found some other moves that I can incorporate. I shall report back on how that is going.

Now if that was not enough, there is bad news on the weight loss front. Rather than losing, I am now 80.4, which if you will remember is higher than my weight (80.2) when I started blogging.

I know what is wrong.

FRIED FOOD, specifically chicken that is coated in a maida batter and then fried. Me, who knows very well that maida is not good, who in her good days refuses to eat Khuboos, goes ahead and eats this. hmmm. I think the issue is: H**A***L**T (an acronym for Hungry**Angry**Lonely***Tired that triggers my over-eating.

EATING CARB & FAT INTENSIVE DINNERS. When i started on this journey, I was eating light dinners and these have been replaced now with heavy carb and fat intensive stuff.


Also, as you age the body's metabolism slows, making it harder to lose weight than before. But I am not losing hope. No. Not Now. Not ever.

Hope springs eternal that one day I will be comfortable with my weight, rather than politey listen to every aunty (and uncle) give  advice (some of it spurious, "do this magic remedy, the weight will come off"), because they think you are oblivious to your weight problem and/or that you don't know what is to be done about it.   No buddy, I know very well. What I need is mental work (with myself) which the aforementioned aunties and uncles cannot provide!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Back at 80.2

I did not adhere to the  lofty resolutions in my last post to measure my food. I have not completely fallen off the exercise wagon, but food intake has been up. But because weight loss is 90% food intake and only 10% exercise, the weight has climbed up to 80.2 kgs, where I started this journey. Sigh. sigh. sigh.

 This requires some reflection, but reflection and making lofty proclamations is not enough. I should also act (or in the case of eating large portions, not act).

On to the first part, reflection

(1) not measuring my food

In Malayalam there is a proverb which says even amrith is poision if you eat too much (adhikamayal amrithum visham). I think a major reason for my eating issues is the huge portions I consume on the go. I have the VERY BAD habit of tasting the food I cook multiple times when I am done with cooking even when I know what is missing from it or even when it is good. I have measuring spoons and cups. What prevents me from measuring food? Am I too hungry to measure food which would take only 1/2 a second. Surely, hunger can wait for 1/2 a second??

(2) "outside" food
Shiva has said numerous times on her blog about the pitfalls of eating outside food. The deal is this: you have no idea what goes into it. Also companies want to protect their bottom line, so they are going to use to the cheapest raw materials to come up with the tastiest stuff, which need not be good for you from a heath and wellness point of view.

Over here, vegetarian options are not much and everywhere I look there is chicken on the menu (I usually don't eat mutton or beef, so I don't even look for those items on the menu).I know that chicken  per se is not bad and , but the issue is how it is cooked (yes veggie food can be cooked in a unhealthy way too - read falafel). For instance, grilled chicken in  most restaurants is cooked with the skin for enhanced taste, but the skin is what contains most of the fat in the chicken. Do not even get me started on the processed (sausages for instance), breaded and fried chicken that seems to be a staple food here!  Then there is the issue of refined flour. Almost all the breads available outside is made of refined flour. In my case, over the weekend, we eat from food courts or restaurants (especially this weekend). I cannot avoid eating from outside completely, but I can make smart decisions - like veggie subs on non-refined flour bread. It is also important that unlike when I was growing up when "outside" food was an occasional treat, having it every weekend means it is no longer a treat, so there really is no excuse for eating crap every weekend.

Come to think of it, all food  that I we eat here (since we are not farmers)  is "outside" food. I cannot in my current situation start farming (and even if given a choice I am not very farming inclined either), but we can surely make intelligent choices, right?

(3) Planning
This is closely related to  the above. Sometimes we eat outside because of bad planning. We are outside shopping or meeting friends, there is no cooked food at home and I am too tired to go home and cook. Yesterday I was away from home the whole day for a series of lectures which started at 8 in the morning and lasted until 5.30 in the evening with short breaks. The night before that I was too tired because we were outside (see next point). So I did not plan my breakfast. I ended up eating a sweet bun (refined flour) for breakfast at the cafetaria,  one malabar parotta (refined flour) and daal (ok, good choice) for lunch. At the end of the lecture, I was exhausted (it did not help that we were given uncomfortable small chairs to sit, with little leg space) and very hungry.  What did I eat? fastfood - a chicken burger. Then as if that was not enough, I shared a chicken shawarma and as if even that was not enough, I had a big naan (refined flour), palak paneer (with some cream on top to boot), daal and channa (the curries were in small portions).  The binge began because I was too hungry. If I had planned proper meals and snacks, I would not have been in a situation which led to binge eating in the evening.

(4) Climate
The heat gets to me really badly. I am told that I am lucky I did not arrive at the height of the summer in May/June.  We go out in the sun during the noon  in car that is a/c from a house that is a/c to a restaurant/mall friend's/home that is a/c.  But I feel exhausted and pukish at the end of the journey even though I am not the one driving.  I usually end up with a headache and general exhaustion with the result that I am too tired to cook and that leads to ordering unhealthy food in.  My complaints in this regards may seem silly when there are lot of people here who work outside in the heat. But since this is my blog (smile!), let me indulge in myself. Unless absolutely necessary, I am not venturing outside in this heat.....

(5) Overeating at night
I don't have any scientific proof for this and this is mostly my observation. I have noticed that my weight shoots up when I eat a lot of carbs at night.  I have been eating big carb-intensive portions (connected to the point (1) above) during most nights. This is something I should tackle immediately. Even when I am careful during the day, because I have not had a healthy snack in the evening, I am famished by night and eat as if famine and food shortage has been predicted.

So enough of reflection, now on to action... and non-action in the over-eating department.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Congrats to Shiva and a chinna update

First of all,  I want to  congratulate Shiva of fatchicgoesslim who has been blessed with a baby boy. May the God almighty bless baby P with health, intelligence and character. Let him be the source of much happiness and pride to Shiva, her husband and other family members. Shiva, you have touched great many lives with your helpful and positive attitude and I am sure God has taken note of all that:-)) Here is wishing the very best to you and your family.

Now for an update from me....

After moving to Dubai and getting settled  trying to get settled, I am struggling to keep weight maintenance (hopefully loss) within focus. I have tried ice-creams, chicken lasgna that was full of cheese followed by baked beef lasgna (and I don't even like beef, so I have no idea what happened to me when I ate that), eating fried goodies such as banana chips, sharkkara varatti and  kuzhalappams. My excuse - Onam, the festival that is celebrated around this time of the year when many Malayalees go bonkers shopping for clothes, making pookkalams and slurping payasams (my favourite is the rich and supremely unhealthy palada pradhaman, closely followed by cherupayar payasam).Onam excess was followed by the let-me-experience-Dubai excess,  which meant behaving as if I have never laid my eyes on icecream or gelato or caramel custard or chocolate. AAArgh.

So not surprisingly, my weight hovered between 78.3-78.9, the last four weeks (which I realize is an improvement over 79.2, 79.7 and 80.2, which was what I weighed previously).  Yesterday it was back to 78.3. Yes ji, that is an improvement from 80.2 but dil maange more.  I am trying to eat more vegetables and fruits. I have to get used to the idea that I cannot have watermelon when it costs the equivalent of 260 INR  and that papaya from Thailand does not come anywhere near the Indian one and do not even get me started on the topic of mangoes. Do I sound like a xenophobic food-snob?

During Ramadan, I did not exercise. I have now started exercising. It is too hot to exercise outside during the day, but I go on a walk (at moderate pace) for around 45 minutes in the evening/night at the nearby park and manage to do that 4 times a week.  I have also re-started the leslie sansone tapes – 30 mins, 5 days a week. I think I will be good (for the time being) if I keep up with this exercise routine.

I have stopped measuring and logging food intake. I will do that from tomorrow onward.
So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I have not given up on the weight loss regimen or this blog. So please do come, read and comment

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back here

I have been away from the blog for a while, since I moved to Dubai immediately after Eid. Yeah... you read that right.

I am keeping up with the weight loss regimen.  Since coming here, I have incorporated lots of vegetables and fruits in my diet. I have also re-started exercise by walking in the evening.Though it is too hot to exercise outside now, I can always do my Leslie Sansone tapes in the comfort of my home. I refuse to let the change of environment affect my plan.

Onward and forward....:-)