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....:-)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Phipty Phipty: Update on previous post

The writer Ramachandra Guha recently said his verdict would be phiphty-phiphty (which he in turn borrowed from  the comedian Johnny Walker) about the state of Indian democracy. Phipty-Phipty is my verdict on the previous three days of weight loss effort.

 To recap, this was my plan

1) Stay COMPLETELY off fried stuff
2) No salted cashew nuts
3) Go back to my exercise regimen - now that is not going to be easy. I want to sleep in (already, even as I write this, a part of me wants to delete the doing exercise part, yeah the dreaded AeD or Anti-exercise demon has begun his rampage). I have not exercised in nearly a month now, so I will start with the 20 mins programme by Leslie Sansone.
4) When you fry, remind yourself that these things are meant for people who have spent the day in Ibadah, by fasting and praying
5) Do not eat with others at Iftaar. Set up the table and move away, so I am not tempted. If fried stuff is left over, put it out of sight immediately (act on autopilot here - do not wait for the  OeD or Overeating demon to raise her head)
6) Pray, pray, pray that all the above works and you don't mess up whatever benefits (that light ooh la la feeling in the stomach) you have gained.


1) I managed not to eat fried stuff most of the time, barring one veg cutlet and one baked patty (though it was baked, it was very greasy, so it was as bad as being fried) yesterday.
2) 1.5 salted cashew nuts. Today I even broke a cashew nut into half because I told myself it would simply not do to make lofty proclamations here and then not follow up.
3)  On Monday, I had stomach cramps which is very unusual, so could not exercise. But I did walk 4 kms at moderate pace yesterday. Unfortunately, I was wearing bad shoes. For breakfast, I ate a cutlet, a patty and drank a sharjah shake and for lunch I had 2 tandoori roties, a katori of rice, a katori of palak and a katori of daal at a north Indian restaurant so I decided I am going to burn the calories by walking everywhere rather than take any form of transport. I was so tired at the end of day. Today, I was too lazy (how I wish I could switch of the laziness button)
4) I did not have to fry anything for iftaar. There was stuff that people sent over. So one source of temptation was thereby avoided.
5)No mindless eating at Iftaar. I left the iftaar table to people who are fasting.
6) Yes, I prayed but not so much as I should to enlist God's blessings in this endeavour.

Yesterday I was out from early morning till almost sunset. I left home without eating and so by 11 am I was famished. The bakery I went to did not have any healthy options. They do a half-decent veg sandwich (half-decent because it has a bit of mayo and it is white bread), but they did not have that:-(. I should have opted for a coffee rather than the calorie loaded sharjah shake, but I convinced myself that I needed sharjah shake since I was thirsty. Guess what? I continued to be thirsty even after drinking that calorie-laden sharjah shake. Note to self: Plain old H20 is your best bet when you are thirsty. Yesterday, in the evening, I ate more carbs than I should. Second note to self: Do not eat mindlessly while you are doing other things, grab a plate, sit down and concentrate on eating

 Today was better. I met an old friend for breakfast in the morning at a restaurant nearby. I had idlies instead of dosas and poori which were also on the menu.  For lunch, I had three small pieces of bread (it is the faux-whole wheat we get here) and an egg omlette along with 1 cup of papaya. For dinner I am going to have 1/2 cup of papaya, since I have already had an extra cup of coffee, a piece of steamed tapioca with coconut chutney and 3 small pieces of mangoes (we get mangoes here in Kerala even in late August,  Delhites  please turn green with envy:-))

All in all, it has really been phipty=phipty:-) 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Being aware is the first step and not the final one

Got periods today... so no fasting for a few days.  I remember from previous years that when others are fasting and I am not, I tend to eat much more than the people who are fasting.  Yeah, that is funny and weird. But I am was like that only ji! Awareness that I tend to overeat is of course only the first step. Boy, do I not know about being aware.

 As I tell myself all the friggin' time, knowing is not everything it is doing (or not doing, such as not over eating) that matters. A close parallel  is the super-intelligent or super-talented guy who cannot get down and get his hands dirty. Some people are very intelligent or very talented but actually accomplish very little in life because they cannot be bothered to do the hard work. As a kid, one lesson that was drilled into me was it is more important to work hard rather than be intelligent and lazy. I cannot help thinking that this lesson is applicable to the weight loss process also. It is not enough to simply know that eating less and moving more leads to weight loss, it is important to actually practice it.

The next step is this:

what can I do better today and the next couple of days? Some mini-resolutions.

1) Stay COMPLETELY off fried stuff
2) No salted cashew nuts
3) Go back to my exercise regimen - now that is not going to be easy. I want to sleep in (already, even as I write this, a part of me wants to delete the doing exercise part, yeah the dreaded AeD or Anti-exercise demon has begun his rampage). I have not exercised in nearly a month now, so I will start with the 20 mins programme by Leslie Sansone.
4) When you fry, remind yourself that these things are meant for people who have spent the day in Ibadah, by fasting and praying
5) Do not eat with others at Iftaar. Set up the table and move away, so I am not tempted. If fried stuff is left over, put it out of sight immediately (act on autopilot here - do not wait for the  OeD or Overeating demon to raise her head)
6) Pray, pray, pray that all the above works and you don't mess up whatever benefits (that light ooh la la feeling in the stomach) you have gained.

I will try to be accountable and come back and post here about my success in following the above. I can be very disciplined and I am not going to let a few days of P get in the way of my journey towards good health.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Health and fitness: An Islamic perspective

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Quran 2:183)

Muslims are called up on to follow the example set by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). There is a hadith attributed to the beloved Prophet (PBUH), which is highly relevant for weight loss and health.

"The Prophet (s) also said that one third of the stomach is for food, the second third is for water, and the last third is for air."

My previous posts have shown that I am woefully behind in following the above. I fill up my stomach to the point where I feel almost ill as I am so very full. If I can restrain myself from eating and drinking during the day, surely I can restrain myself from going on an eating spree. But somehow, old habits die hard. There have been days when I consider fasting a licence to anything and everything in front of me. Though I have (Alhamdulillah = praise be to Allah) been good 80% of the time with my eating this Ramadan, it is still a struggle. I pray for discipline in eating (and not just in eating, but since this is a weight loss blog, I will focus on that here).

Thursday, 9 August 2012

4 days of being good: But how long will it last?

 I have been quite good the last four days. Barring a small piece of parippu vada and bonda, I have managed to avoid fried food the last four days. I have managed to break my fasts with lots of fruits and water. After praying Maghrib I typically have a bread sandwich. My indulgence is my sugar free coffee and 4 salted cashews.

 But before anyone thinks I have got into the groove of weight loss, let me add that on *normal days* I am fine. *Normal days* are when I fry just one item for others in my house to break the fast and when I can keep myself from not eating that. It is when the dining table is creaking under the weight of bonda, samosas, vada, spring rolls, athishaya pathiri, egg curry, appams, stuffed parathas, etc ( three days last week.... aaargh) because we have guests over that I had a VERY HARD time avoiding them.

Except for one more iftaar party later next week, we don't have any other parties planned. These are out of town guests and they said they will confirm in the beginning of next week. Guess what, a selfish part of me hopes that  we don't have to host them, as it will mean throwing my careful eating out of gear.

So I do wonder how long is the good bout going to last?

Monday, 6 August 2012

much better today

feeling much better today. I did not eat any fried items. Ate watermelon, grapes, 2 dates and 2.5 chicken toasted sandwich. Just hoping not to mess up again.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


have been on an eating spree. working on controlling it. Forward and onward....

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

that light feeling.....

Just broke my fast with a big bowl of fruits (pear, njali poovan plantain and watermelon), a piece of toast with peanut butter, small portion of chicken and cabbage sandwich filling.

Prayed Maghrib and then had 2 toasted sandwiches, a coffee, 1/4 glass of jeeraka kanji and wee bit of parippuvada.

Later tonight, I will have a cup of coffee and also cut up some veggies for idayathazham.

My stomach is singing. Ok, I am kidding. But I feel very light and so good. I hope to remember this when I have the urge to stuff myself with fried food. In the morning for Idayathazham, I had a wonderful erissery with pumpkin and red beans  and, small portion of moru koottan with 1/2 cup rice after eating raw carrot and cucumber.

I have lots of pear, so I will make it into a pear, cucumber and carrot salad. I have to confess that I do not look forward to eating veggies first thing in the morning, but I tell myself that it is something that I just have to do, there may be other benefits too, like better skin for instance. I also tell myself that having rice is a treat for having the veggies. Having rice as a treat - in a previous avatar moi would have balked at it. Treats meant sugar-laden or fried (or better still sugar laden and fried -gulab jamun or jalebi anyone?).

Eat light to feel light - I know that sounds corny, but it is true.  Now if only I will remember this when I am tempted to go an eating rampage.....

Monday, 30 July 2012

sunday recap

I got up on Sunday morning with not much time left for fajr adhan which is when we begin fasting. I quickly had some rice, rasam and mung beans mezhukkuparatti and managed to have one coffee without sugar. Felt quite full and chided myself for not eating veggies.

 In the evening to break the fast,  I had a cup and half of papaya and plantain. 2 dates and 1 piece of bread toast with peanut butter and onion and tomato masala sandwich filling that was leftover along  with 4-5 glasses of water. After the Maghrib prayer I had 2 toasted bread sandwiches with onion and tomato masala filling and another date and 2 coffees without sugar. I also cut up some cucumber and carrot for edayathazham.

 I have sort of figured out that what my body needs when I break the fast is no a carb overload, but hydration - in the form of water. I also need a light pick-me-up which the fruit bowl provides. For that carb kick, if I eat a piece of toast, I am done for the time until I finish maghrib. Lets see how long this "good me" lasts.

I realise  that the bread is made with maida, which is not a healthy choice. I cannot find whole wheat bread in my area and I have my doubts whether the whole wheat bread we get here is really whole wheat. It tastes too soft and smooth to be the full-of-fibre whole wheat. But, when I am faced with eating fried items and sugary items, I think to eat three pieces of bread is ok, at least for this month of fasting.

Today morning for edayathazham I had 1 cup of raw veggies and 1/2 of rice with mung (cherupayar) mezhukkuparatti and rasam along with a tiny portion of coconut chutney.

Yesterday I went out to buy some groceries and this being Ramadan, so many bakeries have set up makeshift counters where they sell samosas, unnakkaya, tharikanji and cutlets. It surprised me that I was put off by them. All I could think of was on these lines , "it is probably cooked in reheated oil", "why do all these samosas have that over-burnt look?", "I am sorry for people who cannot eat home-cooked food" etc etc. I used to hog bakery-bought food like there was no tomorrow, so I am kind of surprised at the change in attitude.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Okay day diet-wise

Last night despite all the whining and kickng myself, I went ahead and ate my nemesis - salted cashew nuts, at least 15 of them. Yeah... I can be crazy like that.  But hey, today I have been a good girl.  I ate carefully. I am not a fan of raw vegetables but still had them and managed to keep carb intake under control. I am really praying that this continues...

edayathazham/sehri: cucumber and carrot salad (~1 cup), 1/2 cup rice, pineapple moru koottan, Vanpayar (red beans) mezhukkupuratti (stir fried in oil), rasam, 1/4 glass mango shake

Nombu thura/Iftaar: 3 piece of bread toast, 1 cup of chick pea masala, 1/2 of a steamed kerala banana, 4 dates, 2 coffee without sugar

No fried stuff.  I think what worked in my favour was others ate non-fried stuff. It is when others are eating fried stuff and I am denying refusing to eat it, the eat-crazy inner demon stirs up and kicks up a fuss (like yesterday). One of the reasons why I eat toasted bread is because it is slightly crispy, giving me that pseudo-crunchy feeling when I pop it in my mouth. I have read countless articles that say you should eat fruits for iftaar. But I am a carbs girl. I need my carbs though I tell myself that I should split my carbs between iftaar and post-iftaar dinner and have more fruits at Iftaar along with a small side dish of carbs.  Tomorrow I will have papaya and small plantains. Today, the only fruits I had were citrus fruits, which is not recommended  for iftaar. Since the stomach is in has already secreted acid  apparently it is not good to eat citrus fruits when you break the fast. But I will have them later tonight for dinner.

I should also drink more water at Sehri.

dinner: I will eat 1/2 cup of citrus fruits.

Friday, 27 July 2012

pazham pori for edayathazham

sehri:  1 pazham pori (fried Kerala banana), 1 glass mango juice ~1/2 cup rice, red bean thoran, theeyal, pineapple moru kuttan (pineapple in yoghut gravy) 1 coffee w/o sugar.

Yesterday evening I bought delicious pazham pori. Usually  I am not a big fan of reztaurant/thattukada/dhaba-bought pazham pori and prefer to fry it at home. Instead of using my former BFF maida I use rice flour to increase the nutrient quotient when I make it at home.

 But there is a place near my house where the pazham pori is delicious. Even if the pazham (banana) is not the delicious Keralite nenthrapazham which is soft but the thicker and denser version from Tamil Nadu, there is something about this batter which makes this particular pazham pori delicious. I have not yet figured out what it is about the batter that makes it so delicious. The pazham pori is completely covered in batter and the covering once it is fried has a smooth silk-like appearance,. So, anyway I told myself that I could have one for sehri/edayathazham.  It tasted yum. This is one treat for which it is worth allocating some calories. I find it very difficult to avoid fried food completely when others are eating it at nombuthura/iftaar. So, maybe I will allow myself to have  2 pieces of fried stuff?? Today I am going to bake samosas. I used to have baked samosas last year during ramadan and they turned out quite good. Of course, they are not like the fried ones, but at least the calories are lesser.

UPDATE: after all the resolutions to restrict my fried item intake, I had 3 fried items tonight. I think it was a question of "if it is around on the table, I will eat" and the "last one syndrome". There was one pazham pori, one bonda and one samosa left over and what did I do? I ate them all.... aaaargh. Btw, the baked samosas were not that good. The samosas skin had a very dry texture which I didn't like.

1 potato bonda, 1 fried beef samosa, 1 pazham pori, 2 bread toasts, 3 cabbage and egg samosas baked,  1njali poovan plantain, less than a handful of grapes, 10 SALTED CAHSEW NUTS, 4 DATES 

what do I want to do now? Go and bang my head against a wall. Do I feel like a hopeless, sill and stupid? You bet. Seriously, I am going to try again and again..(note to self: don't even utter word pazham pori again until semblance of normalcy in eating is restored for a while!)


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ramadan and weight loss

For us Muslims, Ramadan is a time for spiritual cleansing through abstinence from the body's physical needs from dawn to dusk and by sharing material goods with the haves not among us.

For me, during this Ramadan, secondary to my goal of spiritual cleansing and well-being, but nevertheless  important is my goal of weight loss and good health. As long as I live in this world, I want to be healthy and I pray to God that I can continue on this journey towards good health.

I have been eating the edayathazham/Sehri between 4am-5am in the morning. I break my fast (nombu thurakkal/iftaar) at 6.50 ish in the evening. For the benefit of people not in the know, fasting means we abstain from all food and drink including water. I am not very sure that I will able to exercise this month, in any case even when I was eating 3-4 meals, I was such a lazy bum when it came to exercise as my earlier posts testify.  My weight loss goal this month is maintenance. I just hope to eat healthy this month, especially to try and avoid fried food which is eaten at Iftaar.  I am going to focus on eating fruits for Iftaar.

 It is very tempting when others are eating fried items to gorge on them myself. Surely, if I can give up on food and water for more than 12 hours, then I can skip eating fried stuff also? Let me see.. this is going to be a test of my will power:-) Alawys trying to look at the positive side - my family members do not insist on more than one fried item for iftaar (it is either samosas or bonda or uzhunnu vada, not everything together!) 

Edayathazham/Sehri: carrot and cucumber salad, 1/2 cup matta rice, sambhar, raw papaya thoran and 1 coffee w/o sugar

Iftar: 2 dates, 4-5 salted cashewnuts, 3 handfuls grapes, mango (around 6 small pieces), 2 musambi slices, 2 spoons of pomegranate, 2 njali poovan plantain and 2 bread sandwiches toasted with cabbage and onion filling. 1 coffee without sugar, 1/2 glass tharikanji

dinner:  I shall eat 1 appam with 1/2 cup of chickpea masala. I ate 2 more toasted sandwiches and 3 salted cashewnuts.

Monday, 23 July 2012

the law of gradual progress

busy day with Ramadan (ate one fried bonda but did not gorge on uzhunnu vada and beef samosa, so at least that is good, right?)....

Today I was our shopping in the evening and felt really upset looking at my reflection in the mirrors at the supermarket.  I had a "when will this end" moment.  Now I am trying to feel better about the SLOW weight loss issue... with this post by Kate on the law of gradual progress. I JUST HAVE TO REMIND MYSELF THAT THERE IS NO OVERNIGHT WEIGHT LOSS MAGIC. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

to exercise or not, that is the question....

Today: weight is 79.2 kgs, I have managed to lose 1 kilo. Feeling good about achievement and trying not to feel bad that even after three weeks my weight loss is only 1 kilo but I should remind myself that my eating is a lot better these days and that there have been days when I have eaten unhealthy stuff. At least I am below the 80s. Welcome 70s, hopefully I will  also say good bye to you 70s as my weight loss journey continues.

2 appams, egg curry gravy (~1.5 tbsp), papaya and watermelon, 1 date, 1 njalipoovan plantain
1 njali poovan plantain, 1/2 cup cucumber and tomato salad, just over 1/2 cup rava upma
 1 appam, 1 nenthrapazham (Kerala banana) steamed, egg curry 3 tbsp with 1 boiled egg, 1 njalipoovan

Today is my rest day. But considering that I did not exercise yesterday, I should sneak in at least 20 mins of exercise, if not more, especially since I will be fasting from tomorrow onwards and will not be able to exercise for 45 mins for 5-6 days a week. Let me see if I have the will....

Update: I did not exercise.  There is no excuse. Yeah, I was a lazy bum

Saturday, 21 July 2012

just about staying afloat

Saturday 21 July 2012

3 appams 2 coffee w/o sugar, 2 marie biscuit
¾ cup upma, fruit and veg salad,
(tasted potatoes in the potato bonda mix and the potato curry)
4 marie biscuits, 1 tsp peanut butter, 1 coffee w/o sugar, 5 salted cashewnuts
2 appams, 1 egg and egg curry gravy, fruits (watermelon, papaya and njalipoovan)
I really have to find the measuring spoons. I did not have the fried stuff that my family ate for iftaar. But in the morning I got busy and did not exercise. I planned to exercise in the evening, but got busy running some errands. Not feeling good about that. But at least no humongous portions (except my nemesis - salted cashew nuts that I need to stop eating - I retain water)

Friday, 20 July 2012

and tomorrow is another day......

Leslie Sansone’s 45 mins 3 mile walk, 95 air cycling and 40 crunches
1 coffee w/o sugar, 1 piece of cake cut in biscotti style
½ cup upma, 1 small plantain, 2 tiny dried prawns panfried, 1 coffee w/o sugar
1 cup papaya
½ cup rice, 1 tbsp cherupayar mezhukuparatti, 3 tbsp sambhar,
 1 coffee w/o sugar, 1.5 marie biscuit, 13 salted cashew nuts, 1 murukku, ½ small cupcake and 1 cashew macaroni
1 dosa with potato masala 1 coffee w/o sugar, 2 njalipoovan plantains

 I got up feeling hungry, so had a piece of cake with my coffee.  Anti-exercise demon which was lying low yesterday, acted crazy today. It took me all my fortitude and will power to exercise today.  I did not do that well eating wise. The silver lining is that the portions are not that big. 13 salted cashew nuts comes to around 18 gms. But the culprit is salt. The easy way out is not to buy salted cashew nuts or murukku or cup cake. But when other people in your family enjoy these things, you cannot surely stop them from buying and eating it just because you are on a mission to lose weight.
 If I were to look at the positive side, I did not go on a binge. I still managed to keep things fairly under control for dinner.  I find yet again that the moment I eat unhealthy, my body is triggered to eat more unhealthy food.  It is not as bad as before.  A lot of my eating is under control. Change is gradual and even people who have lost weight and are in maintenance mode go off the rail sometimes. So I am going to take a deep breath and commit myself again to eating healthy and exercising tomorrow.

Tomorrow Ramadan begins here. I am not fasting until my M stops. I plan to fast and be spiritually and physically healthy during this Ramadan. Ramadan Kareem to all of my Muslim readers out there:-))

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Baked Ullivadas to fight hunger

Leslie sansone’s  45 mins 3 mile walk, 90 air cycling &  40 crunches
2 coffees w/o sugar
2 handfuls of grapes
2 dosas, ~ 3 tbsp potato masala, ~1 tbsp sambhar
2 chapathis, 1 piece of curried chicken and ~1/4 cup chicken curry gravy, few chicken sausages pan fried, ¼ papaya and ½ apple
3 marie biscuits, 1 coffee w/o sugar, 2 handful of grapes
3 baked ullivadas, 1 omlette, ¼ papayas and ½ apple

I did not weigh myself today.  My body is prolly still retaining water. Maybe, I will weigh myself again tomorrow.  But boy I was HUNGRY in the evening after having coffee and marie biscuits.  Having 2 handful of grapes and drinking water did not help. So I baked ullivadas (recipe from this blog, in fact I had posted about her recipe before) it turned out to be quite ok. I mean, it is not as tasty as the fried ullivadas, but hey I can have them without the guilt. It required only around ½-3/4 tsp oil and that was for 7 ullivadas. I will try to bake masala vada and lets see how that will turn out to be.  I am so glad that I did not launch an invasion of the Murukku packet when the humungous hunger pangs struck!
The anti-exercise demon (AeD) was silenced quickly today.  But as I remind myself again and again this is life baby, there are no happily ever afters, AeD will strike again tomorrow and I should learn to deal with it.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Squelching my naysayer and night time eating

Leslie sansone’s  45 mins 3 mile walk, 85 air cycling & 36 crunches
2 coffees w/o sugar
2 dosas, ~ 2 tbsp potato masala, ~1 tbsp sambhar,  ~1 tbsp tomato chutney
~3/4 cup cucumber and carrot salad, 4 small pieces of chicken sausages pan fried,  ~4tbsp matta rice~1 tbsp Padavalanga and parippu curry, ~1 tbsp cherupayar thoran,  2 small pieces of  curried chicken,~1 tsp garlic pickle
4 marie biscuits, one coffee w/o sugar, 1 tsp peanut butter
¼ of a small Papaya,  4 dates, 2 small pieces of curried chicken, small piece of chicken liver and 1 chapathi

In the evenings,  I eat more than I planned for. I did not plan on eating the dates or the Peanut  butter or the 4th marie biscuit or that piece of chicken liver but ended up eating them all. I used to have a bad case of night snacking and used to eat way too much carbs (4 appams with egg roast and a dessert for instance), so I consider this an improvement. We all want to turn over a new leaf in microseconds don’t we? But change is slow and progress incremental. I have still not found my measuring spoons, so all measurements are approximate.

Wt:  is 79.7 kgs .  It is that time of the month, so very likely my  body is retaining water.  I am so grateful that I do not suffer pains and aches during menstruation which prevents many women from being active . I have cramps, but they last only an hour or so and I have become used to it. But not surprisingly, the nay-sayer inside me wanted to skip exercise because of menstruation and I reached a deal with the naysayer - if I feel uncomfortable, I will stop. I did not feel uncomfortable and did not stop.  Another friend who is also on a weight loss mission told me that she refuses to listen to her body whenever the alarm goes off at 5.15 am and like a machine that is switched on, gets up and starts her day with her 45 min walk. I have a feeling I will not be a sporty person, but if I can build my will power to my friend’s level, I will be very happy

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Just another day

Leslie sansone’s  45 mins 3 mile walk, 80 air cycling & 36 crunches
1 coffee without sugar
2 dosas with sambhar,  ~1tbsp tomato chutney, ~1/2 cup sambhar
1 coffee w/o sugar
~1 cup fruit and veg salad, ~3/4 cup pasta with tuna
  1 cofee w/o  sugar,  1 bread roll sandwich

There are always challenges in  your path, right? I have misplaced my measuring spoons. I looked around for them but could not find them. Oh my trusted allies where are you? Annoyed with myself for misplacing them.

Wt: 79.4 kgs . I am addicted to the scale. I have been checking every single day the last two weeks.  In the weight loss community, this is not considered advisable. But boy, I am addicted, at least it is not a harmful addiction! Fortunately,  I am mostly not affected by the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome that Bryan Ganey talks about. When the scale “behaves unusually” I usually make a note of it and move on. But sometimes contemplation can help. I was eating a high sodium diet and despite not over-eating and exercising, the scale did not budge though I did lose inches. Some research on the net led me to the conclusion that salt and water retention may be the culprit here. Once I reduced my salt intake (and not even that much) I found that my scale had moved.
I did not want to exercise today but I knew that if I stopped bargaining with myself and just got on with exercising, then most likely I would stick to exercise. That is what I did. I just exercised without listening to the naysayers or the half-naysayers (that part of me which wanted to exercise only for 30 mins today).

Monday, 16 July 2012

plodding on

Weekly weigh-in:  79.7 kgs.

I don’t feel upset about this weight especially since I ate crap in the last two days.  I am in my pre-M  period, so my body may also be retaining water. So no worries  that the scale has not movied. I am going to plod on.

1 coffee w/o sugar
2.5 dosa with sambhar 1 coffee w/o sugar
Papaya and grapes, rice with fish curry and moru koottan,
4 marie biscuits with 2.5 tsp peanut butter, approx ½ a handful of peanuts
1 coffee w/o sugar
watermelon (approx 1 cup), 1 chapathi and approx. 1/2 cup daal

45 mins leslie sansone 3 mile walk
75 air cycling, 35 crunches

Just when I thought that I had things under control, I slipped again. That is ok, I have got to accept that this is not going to be easy and there will be moments when I slip. It is how quickly I get back on to the regimen,  that will make the difference. I felt very very hungry in the evening (with a headache coming on) and ate peanut butter which helped ease the hunger.

I am glad that I have more or less got back on to my regimen. I didn't measure carefully today. So I have to restart that. The eyeballed rice was definitely more than the 4tbsp rice I eat usually. I am surprised that I still felt hungry by evening. My body is so funny:-)

Btw,  If you have any kind of goals, this video can inspire you to keep going despite what everyone, including the so-called experts say.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Horrible day

I had a horrible day. We had guests visit us unexpectedly and on top of that I had not planned my eats carefully, so I ended up eating a whole lot of crap. didn't keep control of portion size and engaged in more eating even after they left. It is embarrassing even to think of what I ate.

Trying not to be too upset. 2 weeks of hard work cannot be so badly affected by what I did today and yesterday. 

Right from this moment onwards, I am going to try harder. This battle is tough, but I am tougher:-)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Weight loss: One day at a time

Yesterday night I had a “oh when will all this end?” moment even though I have just about re-started my journey towards permanent weight loss! I wanted to eat cake and vada and potato bonda and murukku and macaroons, just about all the unhealthy stuff in the pantry.  Instead, I had a bottle of water and ¼ piece of a marie biscuit. I repeatedly told myself it was thirst rather than hunger which was the driving force behind the “eat all you can” feeling.  I also told myself “a moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips”.

I do not know when I will be at a weight I am at peace with.  There have been so many times in the past when I have calculated that I should lose 3 kilos a month and reach my goal in about 7 months, since I have about 20 kilos to lose. That day never came, because the path was full of self-created and other obstacles.  My new motto these days is to focus on each day – plan my meals, motivate myself to exercise, overcome cravings and give myself treats when I deserve them.  Rather than the destination, I shall focus on each step. As the Chinese say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.  I hope that each step that I take will be in the correct direction and that if I lose my way, I will be led back to the path of weight loss. For others, having a set date when they should lose weight may work, but my experience is to the contrary.

I have a function to attend today where the food will be predominantly vegetarian. Hopefully there will be healthy options. I am certain that there will be dessert. I am planning to have a big salad before I leave. No dessert today. My resolutions shall not be broken by the mere sight of Gulab Jamun and ice-cream!   Come on, I am stronger than that. Again and again I have to remind myself that a moment on the lips, is in fact  a lifetime on the hips.

one coffee w/o sugar
3/4 cup poha, 1/2 cup watermelon, 1.5 marie biscuit w/t 1tsp peanut butter, one coffee w/o sugar

salad with apple and cucumber

1 chapathi, 1 spoon fried rice, 1 idiappam, 2 spoons chili gobi, 1 big spoon veg stew, 1 spoon paneer masala

2 murukku, 1 piece cake cut in biscotti style, 4 chickpea size masala balls

45 mins leslie sansone, 65 air cycling, 34 crunches

There were no healthy curries at the function. I didn't have icecream or cake at the function though I ate more portions at lunch than I am used to.  Perhaps this triggered the cake and murukku eating in the evening. I am irritated with myself. It looks like I can work only on auto-pilot at functions like this - since I had told myself I won't have dessert, I managed to avoid eating it, even though a piece of cake was handed to me. I held it in my hand for 15 mins but did not touch it, I gave it away to someone else. I think if I had vowed to have only small portions, perhaps I may not have eaten the huge portions and then slipping up leads to more slipping up - in the form of cake and murukku and masala balls in the evening. Why can't I have a normal relationship with food? Aaaargh... throwing up my hands in despair.  WHat is the purpose of eating if you feel guilty later on?

I refuse to compare

In one of the earlier posts, I wrote about the friend who lost 46 kilos in a year. At the time my own weight was steadily going north. I am sorry to admit that there were times when I felt jealous.  To me, it seemed like her fat was melting.  I am not her and she is not me.   I could not put myself through the strict regimen that she had gone through, which included nearly 3 hours of exercise every single day. Fortunately she had the time to spare to exercise and prepare separate meals for herself. It was amazing that she never experienced a weight loss plateau and also maintained her weight loss.  She had extremely difficult personal challenges which she surmounted with faith and good humour. I thought of her challenges and  I would remind myself of those factors that were different in my case every time I felt jealous of my friend and not only did I immediately feel better, I also felt proud  of her. I made a conscious decision not to compare, instead I tried to be inspired and learn from her.

I think a crucial lesson in weight loss is to love your body with all its “imperfections”. Love the body you have in the here and the now.  It is cliched to say that each one of us is unique, but it is true. Our weight loss process is also different.  Sure, we can take help from others (and I take the help of other people all the time) but do not expect our bodies to lose weight in the exact same fashion as someone else.   When we are so focused on comparison, very likely we also  lose sight of looking carefully at our own selves. For instance, my body retains water and it shows up on the scale, so even if I have exercised and ate low-calorie foods, if I ate foods with high sodium content, the scale would not move even a bit.  When I brought down the sodium intake, the scale “magically” moved.  Had I been busy moaning and whining about someone else’s dramatic weight loss, I would not have examined the reasons why the scale did not move in my case.

These days, I see stories of amazing weight loss stories in the net (I love success stories and do watch out for them) and because I have consciously trained myself not to compare, my first reaction is that of good feeling for the “losers”.   My body is different, my challenges are different and in the end it is what I take away from the success stories (jealousy or useful lessons) that matters. I am inspired by other’s success, learn tips on motivation, craving control, exercising etc and assess whether I can apply it and then use them if they fit within my plan.  Ultimately, my competition is with myself, with the self that wants to lounge around and not exercise and eat unhealthy food.

Now comparison can work in the opposite direction also, to feel superior to other people. I knew this woman who was very health conscious.  Of course, there is nothing wrong about that. She always made it a point to eat salad and clear soups when we all ate out. But she made derisive remarks behind people’s back about their weight, lack of exercise and food choices. I was certain that she made comments about me to other people! She once made a highly judgemental comment, “if someone has a tummy, it means they are lazy”.  My first reaction was shock. We do not know what other people are going through.  But looking back, I think it is easy to say that we should not sit in judgement over other people.  But all of us judge others all the frigging time. In fact, by pointing out her superiority complex, I have just judged her! Perhaps what was wrong in her tummy comment was that there was no leeway or space for life’s complexity and the unforeseen challenges that we encounter that leads to weight gain, including that paunch. Her comment was a bit too black and white for my liking.

So quit comparison either way I say!

Today's journal

1 coffee w/o sugar
1 elayada, 1/2 cup poha,  1 plantain, 1 coffee w/o sugar

1 cup fruit and veg salad, 4 tbsp rice, 1/2 cup sambhar, 1 tbsp potato curry

1 coffee w/o sugar, 1 bread roll, 1/4 elayada

1 chapathi, 1 omlette, 1 marie biscuit with 1 tsp peanut butter

66 air cycling, 31crunches and 45 mins of Leslie Sansone

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Something is better than nothing and its mirror image

 Morning: 1 coffee without sugar

Exercise:  20  mins of leslie sansone 1 mile walk,
60 air cycling and 31 crunches

Breakfast:  3/4 cup puttu, ½ cup chicken curry, 1 coffee without sugar

Lunch: 1 cup veg noodles, ½ cup crab roast

1 coffee w/o sugar,  ½ cup papaya,  handful of unsalted peanuts and 10 raisins

dinner: 1/2 cup daal, 1 chapathi, 2 njali poovan plantains, 1 chick pea size masala ball

 Today, I got up feeling hungry and light headed. I wanted to exercise for 45 minutes and even had the video running but I felt very tired, almost dizzy.  So I opted for Sansone’s 20 min walk. I have to get my exercise in the morning, as I get busy in the evenings.  I knew that if I postponed my exercise to the evening, it would most likely not happen.  So I firmly told myself that something is better than nothing.  The 20 min walk is not as intensive as the 45 min one that I try to do six days a week.  Do note though that if (unlike me) you are a seasoned exerciser, even the 45 min one would not be intensive enough.  I know that in 2-3 months or less, I have to raise the intensity of my exercise, but that is another story.  I am glad that I got motivated to exercise, even if it was only for 20 minutes.

As regards food intake, the mirror image of “something is better than nothing” rule is the “there any many things between all or nothing” rule. I have written before about my bad habit of thinking “I have messed up by eating two vadas, might as well order in biriyani and icecream”.  For the longest time, this was the prime reason for my not losing weight – the all or nothing attitude. When I controlled my food intake, I would be very careful, allowing for no indulgences at all and then when I did not control my food intake, I would go to the other extreme, eating all kinds of crap. Depending on how often I ate crap and the quantity, I would either gain weight or not lose even a gram.  The term moderation did not exist in my dictionary. 

 What has shifted in the last week or so is jotting my food down including the amount with the help of measuring cups and spoons. This has set me on a journey towards overcoming the all or nothing attitude. It has made me a lot more accountable. I now keep track of even my unhealthy eats, so I know exactly how much I am eating. Even when I eat unhealthy stuff (like yesterday), I keep track of what I am eating.  I have become more mindful of what exactly I am feeding myself, which is a good start.  When I put down my unhealthy eats, I know that I have to make amends or at the very least not make the same mistake. If I had not written down last week that I had four fried chicken burger patties,  I would have no idea how much I ate,  just a sense of being upset and angry – feelings that have triggered over eating in the past.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

try try and try again till you succeed

Morning: 1 coffee without sugar, 1 cup papaya and 4 raisins

Exercise:  45 mins of leslie sansone 3 mile walk,
55 air cycling and 30 crunches

Breakfast: 1/3 cup noodles, ¾ cup poha,  ½ cup papaya, 1 coffee w/o sugar

Lunch: 1 cup noodles (with fried chicken), 2 tbsp rice, 4 tbsp fish thoran, ½ cup papaya

3 slices of cake (cut in biscotti style) and 1 murukku, 1 tsp semiya payasam

1 coffee w/o sugar, 3/4 pathiri with fish thoran

 dinner: ½ cup water melon, 1 cup daal, handful of roasted unsalted peanuts and10 raisins

I slipped up at lunch and tea. I had noodles with fried chicken.  I am still struggling with the “if you eat one, it is a licence to eat all” attitude where a bit of unhealthy food triggers more unhealthy eating.  I think I will incorporate shiva’s rule about cravings and wait till I lose 1.5 kilos before indulging in cravings. Also, when I do indulge in craving, I will do it in style, which means have my murukku/cake/samosa slowly with my coffee, savouring every bite, without chomping through it.

As Churchill (the colonial era British PM is not my fav of political personalities) said long ago, "try, try and try again till you succeed"

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Food and exercise journal and no happily ever afters

Morning: 1 coffee without sugar and 3 boiled chick peas

BF: ½ cup puttu and 1 egg omelette and 1 cup of coffee without sugar

Lunch: one prawn and 2 pieces of potato from prawn biriyani masala (to check the taste), 3 pathiris, 2 tbsp chilly chicken gravy, ½ cup cucumber, watermelon and apple salad

 1.5 marie biscuit with 2 tsp peanut butter,4 marie biscuits, 1 coffee without sugar

dinner: 3 slices of mango, 1/3 cup noodles, 1/2 chick pea masala, 1 chapathi

 Exercise:  45 mins of leslie sansone 3 mile walk,
52 air cycling and 27 crunches

I had a mini craving today  after I had my coffee  and 4 marie biscuits. My mind was fixated on the cake slices (cut in biscotti style) that some guests had brought to our place. I reasoned with myself that I can settle for a low calorie alternative  So, I had 2 tsp peanut butter (approximately 70 calories) with 1.5 marie biscuits (30 calories).

90% of  weight loss happens at the dining table  and 10% at the gym.  I heard this from my friend  who lost 46 kgs  in the space of a year. The trainer at her gym told her this when she started exercising. Her start weight was 116 Kgs  and her  end weight is 70 Kgs. She has also maintained the weight loss for over a year, which is in itself a achievement.

 I had lost 10 kgs in 4 years by exercising 4-5 times a week for 1.5 hours. I used to burn upto 550 calories in one session. But my food intake was not under control all the time. There would be spurts when I ate carefully and then eat unhealthy food and then eat carefully and so the cycle went on and on. It took me forever to lose 10 kgs and then within a year, I gained it all back, because I stopped exercising and my food intake was completely out of control.

During this period, I used to write a food journal once in a while when I ate healthy and felt happy and proud of myself. I would quit writing the food journal when I ate unhealthy food, so I only knew that I had gone on an eating binge without any idea of how much I ate and the frequency of my eating. My principle these days is “if you bite it, write it”, a motto I have read several times in other weight loss blogs and forums.  In the last week, I have written down everything I have fed my body and fully intend to continue doing that.  I am very glad that I kept track of my eating even when I slipped up and also analysed why I slipped up. It has made me more conscious of my food choices.  I REALLY hope to continue logging my food and tracking my weight.

Because life has a way of throwing up challenges, I am sure there will be obstacles and today I am a little more equipped to deal with the challenges.  As you grow older you realise that in life there is “no happily ever after”. Even if we think we have mastered all that it takes to lose weight, there is no guarantee that we will lose the weight or that we will maintain the weight loss. Sometimes factors that are totally out of our control can torpedo weight loss and weight loss maintenance. So, I tell myself to be aware of that possibility even as I remain optimistic and keep trying every single day to lose weight and get fit.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Instant noodle pot as breakfast?

Today’s weight: 79.7 kgs (overall 0.5 kgs down) Yay! Yay! Yay! I am so proud of myself and so thankful to my body.  Despite slipping up, it did not let me down.

 Morning: 1 cup of coffee without sugar and 1.25 kaipathiri, 1  steamed banana (nenthrapazham)

Lunch: 1 cup salad (watermelon, cucumber and pear), 2 njalipoovan (plantain) and I cup of pasta and tuna with onion cooked in 2tsp olive oil

1 coffee w/o sugar, 1 marie biscuit and 20 unsalted roasted peanuts, 2 slivers of nenthrapazham

Dinner: 1 dry chapathi and 1/2 cup chana cooked in 3 tsp oil, 1/2 cup watermelon and pear salad, 1 small piece of chicken from chilli chicken dish.

Exercise:  45 mins of leslie sansone 3 mile walk, 3 mins of  ski step workout
50 air cycling and 25 crunches

I resisted pazham pori. I made pazham pori in the evening but did not have it <GOOD JOB>

I am one person who cannot skip breakfast. I feel FAMISHED by 11 am if I have not eaten anything in the morning.   A few years back, I used to eat instant noodles for breakfast every single day for 7 months. I lived in a paying guest accommodation (PG).   As the only appliance I was allowed to have in my room was a small kettle, I used to buy  instant pot noodles that I could cook just by adding boiling water.  For dinner, I used to buy tawa roti and subji  from the dhaba nearby and have it in my room. The rotis were dry roasted, so no oil there and the subji was almost never too greasy.  Importantly for me, it tasted pretty decent.  As much as I would have loved to eat this in the morning also, it was not an option as the dhaba opened late in the morning when I would have already left for work.  I usually had a masala dosa or thali for lunch.  At least twice a week, I would eat samosas, jalebis, pie slices, ice creams, cakes and croissants with sweet chai or cafe latte in the evening   By the time I moved out of the PG, I had gained 5 kilos.  The only silver lining was that I used to walk to and from work, a distance of 3 kms at a slow-moderate pace.

I knew very well that I was sabotaging my health with this diet (yeah... knowing is rarely enough on its own...).  Almost every day I would vow to myself to start dieting and exercising from the next day, even buy health magazines to help aid me.  But come morning, I would dig into my instant noodles and all the resolutions would be happily forgotten only to be revived by night.  Thankfully, I left that PG in 7 months and moved to an apartment where I could cook my own meals.

Looking back I think I was very unhappy in that PG and should have moved out at the first opportunity. I had started work at this new place, did not know many people in the city and was trying hard to adjust. So, I let things slide on the food front, rather than addressing other issues.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Knowing is not everything.....

Morning: 1 cup of coffee without sugar and 3-4 grapes

Breakfast: 4 pathiris and ½ cup chicken curry
Handful of grapes, 1 cup of coffee without sugar

Lunch:  2 chapathis with stir fried vegetables in 2 tsp oil, 2 oranges, 10-12 grapes,  2 njali poovan (plantain)
20 peanuts with 10 raisins, 3 tsp mango mousse

Tea:  5 small ullivadas and 1 small cupcake

dinner: 2 pathiris, 2 pieces of chicken and 1 uzhunnu vada, 1/4 piece of a cake (cut in biscotti style), 2 tbsp veg noodles

 Lessons learnt: (1) No more dessert making until the scale makes a substantial change (maybe 5 kilos). I made the mango mousse because there was an over-ripe mango that was on the verge of rotting. I think I would not have had the mango on its own, but when I I was the one making mango mousse I wanted to taste it before 'inflicting' it on others, but yes, I restricted my intake <GOOD JOB>

 I made the ullivadas in the evening when some guests came over. After eating the ullivadas and the cupcake I even opened the fridge to eat the rest of the mango mousse but thankfully good sense prevailed. <GOOD JOB>

 (2)  I should not let trivialities affect me and upset my regimen  I was a little stressed. We had guests in the evening and in between I went to the kitchen to make ullivadas and it took me a while to incorporate the ingredients and get the batter ready, then I stepped out of hte kitchen and asked the guests if they wanted coffee or tea. The aunty who was visiting half-jokingly said "Oh you mean, it is not ready yet..." and that made me a bit stressed though I am sure she did not mean it maliciously (she is like that, pulls her husband's leg all the time). I wonder if the pressure to perform made me eat those five ullivadas and the cupcake.  On a positive note, I was looking for calories in ullivada and came across this recipe for baked ullivadas - a recipe for iftaars during Ramadan, perhaps? I see that apart from the frying aspect, the ingredients of ulli vada, good ole' rice flour, besan flour and onion and other spices are quite healthy for you.  It does not require my former BFF maida.

(3) If you fail to plan, you plan to fail: I should plan my meals. If I had planned my dinner in advance and had eaten it at the right time, I would not have ended up having what I did.  But I was so busy with guests that I did not have the time to even consider what my options were. Better luck next time.

Exercise: Today is my rest day. I felt relieved today morning when I realised that I did not have to exercise today. I don't think I have reached the stage where I like exercise. I was never a sporty person. So, this is something I have to work on.
So yesterday, I wrote about education about food and listening to your body. But education is not everything. As my experience today testifies, 'knowing is rarely enough.. it is the doing (or not doing) that matters".  I knew even as a kid that fried stuff and sweets are not good for someone working towards losing weight. But I had exactly that -- fried ullivada and sweet cupcake and sweet mango mousse. I also did not listen to my body, I was not hungry when I ate these items.

I also find that when I cook tasty (read unhealthy) food, it is very difficult for me to resist. Last night, as I mentioned before we had guests and dinner was pathiri, chicken curry and chicken noodles. The chicken was deep fried and I managed to eat 2 tbsps before the fried chicken was added to the noodles.I then went on to have 2 pathiris and 2 pieces of chicken along with an uzhunnu vada (it was in the fridge and without thinking, I grabbed it and ate it) . I just don't know what to do about that. Over at fat chic goes slim, Shiva has published an interview with Pman16, who advises women not to depend on their husbands for weight loss. I would tweak that to say, do not depend on anyone else for your health goals. If others help well and good, if not, work your way around it. In my case, I have not yet figured out a fool-proof plan to resist when I cook unhealthy food. The easy answer might be, "oh do not cook unhealthy food. period". That might work, if I lived on my own and cooked  meals only for myself. It is not as if I fry stuff on a daily basis, but how can I resist when I do?

I have come to realize that my family is not big on desserts because of a history of diabetics among older generations, in fact, I am the one who gets motivated to try out new desserts. Now that I have incorporated this new rule of no dessert making, at least some of the havoc can be avoided.

 I think I will incorporate a few more rules in my weight loss strategies. They have not worked all the time. But no harm in trying, right? Count till sixty when I am tempted to eat unhealthy food. As I count till sixty, I will try to visualise myself at a healthy weight without spilling out of blouses and shirts. The other thing is to remind myself of this saying "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips".

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Changing my lifestyle: Step by step

If you read a lot of weight loss blogs these days like I do, it will not be long before you come across a word - lifestyle.  These days saying you are on a lifestyle change rather than a diet is almost de rigueur in the weight loss community.  I like this new approach towards weight loss, health and fitness which focuses on sustainable and life long change. It is unhealthy lifestyle which got me here in the first place, so let me work  towards changing my lifestyle.

In my book a lifestyle change begins with education. For the longest time, I thought only fried food and sweets were to be avoided and you were on the path towards weight loss. All purpose flour  (maida) was my best friend.  At tea time I ate buns made of maida. Even though it contained sugar, I categorized it as a bread, because the predominant content was flour.  In a similar vein, I would rationalize cinnamon swirls, puff /patties, croissants and parottas. Any Keralite worth her salt knows Kerala's fascination with  flaky and soft Parotta, a bread made of maida to which oil/ghee is added at every stage of cooking.  Combined with beef fry, it is almost a state dish. I loved  parottas (still do), though thankfully I am not a big fan of beef. In the last couple of years, there has been a concerted campaign against parotta in the media and I recently read about an anti-parotta association  (a quick aside - what is a Keralite without a union?). Many restaurants here now offer atta parotta. I confess that I have not been successful in eliminating maida completely, I eat pasta for lunch at least once a week though I have managed to drastically reduce the quantity. Whole wheat pasta available here is not exactly budget friendly. 

 Another BFF was refined white sugar. I don't think anyone made or drank  sugar laden chai like I did. It was a whole ritual for me and all my friends were offered  forced to drink it. :-)  I once offered chai to a Slovenian friend who had never heard of chai before (this was before Starbucks made chai-tea famous abroad). After sipping it, her first question to me was "Is it a dessert?"!!!  Around two years back, I switched to coffee and also reduced the amount of sugar (but I used to add around a tsp of sugar), as I could not bear to drink chai with less sugar. Last year, I came across this article in the NYT, which gave me pause. I did not quit cold turkey but over six months I brought down the sugar intake in my coffee and in November last year stopped adding sugar to my coffee. However, I  continued to eat cakes, cookies and other sweets without keeping an eye on the amount and frequency, prompting a friend's father  to comment (and rightly so) that my sugar-less coffee drinking was not going to give me any health benefits as long as I ate other sugar-laden stuff. I was baking cookies until two weeks back on a regular basis and I would invariably eat at least two-three a week. Definitely not a good idea if you have weight loss goals. But will I be able to give up sweets completely? My philosophy as I mentioned before is that one should not have to give up completely, (maybe I will find natural alternatives to refined white sugar ). Of course, different rules apply if you have a health condition.

Another aspect of education is not external but internal, as in listening to your body and your mind. Long ago, I learnt this acronym H*A*L*T.  HALT stands for Hungy*Angry*Lonely*Tired. Any of these feelings on their own or in combination can trigger over eating and it definitely did in my case. I also watch out my eating patterns. I am an all-or-nothing eater. It is difficult for me to control eating at 1 piece. I have to finish the damn packet. When unhealthy food is near my vicinity, I find it HARD to resist. I once made puri-baaji for my uncle and family and had a chapathi or two instead of puri -baaji. After serving them, I removed myself from the dining room, so I would not be tempted to have a carb and fat rich second dinner. I have also realized that if I do not eat at the right time, my body goes overboard and it acts like Kumbhakarnan/Kumbhakarna!

My food and exercise journal:

I went to bed feeling hungry and got up feeling hungry and had to eat something in the morning before exercise. So ate a whole pomegranate after my coffee.

Morning: 1 cup of coffee without sugar and 1 pomegranate

Breakfast: 1 kaipathiri dunked in 1 tbsp coconut milk and 2 katoris poha and 1 cup of coffee w/o sugar

Lunch:  1/2 cucumber, 10 grapes, ½ apple,  1 medium carrot
4 tbsp matta rice, ¾ cup sambhar, 1 tbsp cherupayar thoran,  1 tsp potato ularthi
A tiny piece of chicken – to see if it was well cooked and little gravy

1 cup of coffee w/o sugar and 3 marie biscuits

dinner: 4 bite sized pieces of chicken, 1 tbsp chilli chicken gravy, 1 chapathi, 1 pathiri, stir fried cabbage, carrot, capsicum and onion.
a handful of grapes

45 mins of Leslie sansone, 47 air cycling, 20 crunches. I also walked 3.5 kilometers today shopping. My legs are ready to give away!

I was hoping to eat an early dinner. But dang, we had  unexpected guests and by the time I served them, they ate and left, I was very hungry. In the evening, I made vadas but I am so proud I did not have uzhunnu vada or parippu vada. I restricted my pathiri intake to just 1. I would not have had the chicken, gravy or the pathiri if I was not hungry. But my stomach feels light, so hopefully not much damage (?)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hits and misses

So today was a long day. I exercised and felt so good after that But I did not have my dinner planned. So slipped up a bit there. But managed to keep things fairly controlled under the circumstances. But boy, even though I ate more than I should, I  feel hungry even as I write this. I am going to drink a bottle of water. NO MORE FOOD TONIGHT.

Food and Exercise
Morning: 2 cups of coffee without sugar

Breakfast: puttu (steamed rice flour dough with coconut flakes) with egg curry, handful of grapes, ¼ pomegranate,  1 small plantain (njali poovan)

Lunch:  Salad with handful of grapes, ¼ pomegranate,  ½ pear, ¼ cucumber
4 tbsp matta rice, sambhar,  2 tbsp cherupayar (mung dal) thoran, 1 tbsp cherupayar ularthi, rasam

1 Coffee without sugar, 2 marie biscuits

Dinner:  2.25 kaipathiri ( roasted bread made with rice flour and coconut flakes), 1 omlette, 1 njalipoovan plantain and a handful of dry roasted unsalted peanuts

45 mins of Leslie sansone, 45 air cycling, 12 crunches

I came back later than usual in the evening and could not even have my coffee and marie biscuits until  7.15 pm in the evening. I was ravenous.

Lesson of the day: Try my best not to eat until I am famished. I find that portions that should satisfy me otherwise don't when I am extremely hungry and even after I have finished eating (the correct portion) a part of me says, "order pizza and chicken manchurian and fried rice and biriyani...." In the morning I did not even bother to measure the puttu since I was very hungry. Puttu is steamed in cylindrical contrainers, so comes out looking like a cylinder, I broke of a portion from it with a spoon, but did not measure it.  Today's experience also carries the lesson that even if you have the best of intentions, there will  still be difficult situations, what matters is your attitude. I am not going to let one dinner ruin my plans. Also, on the whole, today was pretty decent. I got my exercise and ate fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Getting back on track

Today I have got back on track. In the past, there have been times when I have been very  good with diet and exercise for a week or two and a minor slip-up (say, 2 uzhunnu vadas in the evening) I would berate myself ("you will never lose weight, you are a wimp, you are fat and ugly blah blah blah"), feel really upset, not exercise and gorge myself silly for days together and feel more and more upset. If ever there was a vicious circle, this was one. The silver lining yesterday was that I kept track of my eats, though I was so ashamed and embarrassed about what I ate and I did not even want to post here. I am so glad that I managed to get back on to my regimen almost immediately.

Today, I squashed all the negative thoughts and managed to eat carefully, even kept an eye on the portion size of rice (rather than merely eyeballing the quantity).  I ate a mixed fruit and vegetable salad before lunch and that really filled me up. So I ate only 4 tbsp of rice and did not feel hungry until 3.5 hrs later.Then I had coffee and marie biscuits, a couple of grapes and 2 cashewnuts. I was so tempted to eat the salted cashew nuts, but managed to stop at 2.. In the past three days, I have been eating several salted cashew nuts and it has been on my mind to reduce the quantity.

My immediate and extended family members sometimes  make comments like "oh you are eating so little, but why are you not losing weight?" The problem is this: I binge eat in isolation from other people. So, they see me mostly in my "good eating" avatar. I have told myself that I shall not engage in food "inhalation" while hiding from the world.  Even if the world does not see me on a binge eating marathon, I cannot hide that fat, can I? Henceforth no more of eating in hiding, at least I would feel embarrassed about it when I eat in front of others and that may be a disincentive for the future. 

On a different note, a lot of people cut things out completely from their diet. A friend of mine cut out fried items completely from her diet for ever. She says she has not eaten papadams for three years and once when I offered mixture (chivda) to her when she came home, she said point blank “I do not eat fried food”. Since I am also conscious of health issues, I did not have the heart to say “a little will not do you any harm”. That said, I like fried food, and I will be resentful if told to cut them out completely for the rest of my life. So, I tell myself that I can have them in MODERATION, once I have managed to lose.  I have not figured out what moderation amounts to (is it 2 samosas or 3? once a month or twice a month? etc).  Figuring out that is the least of my worries right now when I am trying to lose weight. But I have a feeling that  I have to be committed throughout my life to keeping track of my food and my weight and exercising if I want to remain healthy and fit. I think I can live with that (but not giving up completely on cheese cake and samosas!).

So, here is my food and exercise journal:

Morning: 1 cup of coffee without sugar

2 dosas and 2 katori sambhar, 1 cup of coffee without sugar
Handful of grapes, 1 small plantain (njalipoovan)

1 njalipoovan, handful of grapes,
 Salad made of ½ cucumber, 1 small carrot,  1 pear
4 tbspn matta rice, 1 katori sambhar, 1 katori cherupayar (mung daal) ularthi

Early Evening:
I cup of coffee without sugar,  2  salted cashewnuts, 3 grapes and  3.5 marie biscuits

1 chapathi with chickpea masala, 1/2 pomegranate and handful of grapes

45 mins of Leslie sansone, 40 air cycling, 10 crunches
5 mins fast walking with Leslie Sansone