Hello there people. This is perhaps going to be my closing article for 2014. Whoa!! what a year it has been. Very eventful from start to finish with several ups & downs. While I had to deal with a few injuries, and some chronic dental issues, but overall, it was a pleasant year. 2014, also marked the completion of a decade of my marriage. One that we celebrated with our lovely kiddos (Thanks to them, this whole sitting down to write a blog has quite literally taken a backseat. But then this is a platform that I naturally gravitate to and try to write as much as I can).
As I learn and improve myself, I also want to be able to inspire and motivate, not only, those close to me, as also the world at large. Motivation to get moving and get fit, in this over connected, inter-networked life of ours. If you have a family, work and social commitments, I can understand that it is indeed a great challenge, to try and include fitness into your life. And I’d love to share my own experiences, that one might relate to. And who knows, one just might set out on the path to fitness and well being.
Being parents to 2 lovely kids is a rewarding experience and as much as I’d like to say that, the fact remains that it is also extremely challenging physically and emotionally. And as the kids grow, their needs change and it has pretty much kept us on our feet, trying to adapt as quickly as possible.
This year our second kid officially entered the “terrible twos” bringing along its own set of challenges. Getting him to adapt a set pattern of sleep/wake cycle itself has been a big deal. Countless nights of disturbed sleep and cranky mornings did take their toll. But, I was still able to stick to my fitness and health goals and that is something I am particularly proud of.
I use pushups loosely to cover the whole gamut of workouts. It sorta’ fits nicely with the “P” themed title (LOL). It has been a little uphill, this year, trying to maintain my fitness routine. Most of it is because of disturbed sleep (thanks to the toddler in the house) and not being able to control my diet (more on that later). Somewhere in the middle of the year, I also had a several lower back spasm, that threw everything out of gear for me. While recovering from that I suffered a small knee injury and was limping for a few weeks. But none of this deterred me from keeping fit (Warning: This must not be read as being careless. I did take adequate rest and time out when needed.)
August was a significant month for me. I finally decided to do something about the cardio element of my workout. Regular readers of my blog would know that I am not a big fan of running and also don’t like treadmills (unless that is the only option available). Keeping that in mind, this August, I decided to get myself a bicycle. And I will admit that it was the best fitness decision I have taken in a very long time. Here was a simple piece of equipment that I was able to ride out on the road and also enjoy myself. The last time I rode a bicycle with gay abandon, was when I was in the 5th or 6th grade, in school. Now at age 38, it was indeed akin to revisiting childhood. I love riding the bike every morning and I have seen a consistent improvement in my fitness levels and also, gradually my weight started to reduce. This was the real motivational punch that I was missing for quite a while. The enthusiasm was so infectious that within a few weeks, my wife also asked for a bike of her own and she is also now enjoying morning rides to fitness.
Once I saw that I was enjoying the cardio on the bicycle, I modified my weight training routine as well, and now I have a very effective cardio+strength training routine. This is helping me stay strong and lose fat without losing muscle or skin tone. When I purchased the bike in August, my weight was 104.6 kgs (230.12 lbs.) and now it is at 100.2 kgs (220.44 lbs.) and counting.
They say that the most ‘difficult to learn’ life lessons are also the most obvious and simple. For instance, the whole world knows the benefit of exercising but how many actually get off their asses and get around doing it? Getting my drift? On the matter of diet, (embarrassing as it may be to admit) I was sailing on the same boat!
I think the most popular and most common fitness advise on the internet is “You cannot out workout a bad diet!”. Simple as it may sound, it is one of the most significant elements to overall fitness and well being. If I had a rupee for every time I read “Abs are made in the kitchen”, I would’ve foreclosed my home loan by now. As of today, I have been working out for more than 2 decades. So, exercise has never been my problem. But here I was toiling away every single day, with a lot of pride, sweat and enthusiasm. And I was still not getting into the smouldering shape, that I should have gotten into long ago.
The problem? Most often I used to eat, because “it was lunch time” OR “it was dinnertime”, regardless of whether I was really hungry. And it showed. The reading on the weighing scale wouldn’t budge. Once In the past, I had lost about 10 kgs using similar principles. But I now realize that there were a few impractical elements to that approach, that led me right back to where I started. For starters, I am not a “salad only” type of person. I need real food on my plate. Salad’s are great, but they must be accompanied by something else.
This time around, I pretty much stumbled upon this philosophy and had my “profound light bulb moment”! And it is no rocket science. All that I did was did control my portion size and I am seeing slow, steady and consistent weight loss, with no tiredness or paleness of skin. What I found extremely interesting about this is that I absolutely DID NOT eliminate any foods that I used to consume (chocolate & scotch included). The only highlight of this method is that I now eat fixed and reduced portions of whatever I eat. This lends a degree of predictability to my eating habits.
There are some very common pitfalls to our eating and if we are able to navigate around those, I believe most of us can achieve/stay at an ideal healthy weight (also assuming some amount of exercise is present in our routines). Here I list some of mine, that I have learned to manage:
- Eating because “it’s time” instead of feeling hunger.
- Finishing off food, because it is “not enough”, to keep in the fridge.
- Not being able to stop, when eating some favorite foods and eventually overeating.
- Sweet tooth (Oh this is a big one).
In the end, it all boils down to some discipline and a decision to change. The first few weeks are the most risky as one tends to fall back into old habits. But once you cross that hurdle, it is smooth sailing after that. I am on month 5 and already feel like a million bucks! Although I still have some ground to cover, yet, I have reached the point, where people around me have started to notice the change – that feels real good. I do have one or two bad days now and then. But just like one day of exercise will not make you fit, one bad meal will not make you fat either.
Well, there it is. This time, with the lesson’s learned from my previous attempt, I have the confidence that it is now second nature and not a flash in the pan. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and hopefully found that missing clue, to your own personal fitness/weight management puzzle. Do take a moment to share your wonderful thoughts in the comments section.
I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2015.