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.