A Few Good Things

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A Few Good Things

Tag: Weight Loss

Losing Weight when you are 40+ : Part 2

A quick summary of what we  discussed in Part – 1 of the blog.  1. Set Goals  2. Join a good Gym 3. Get a good Trainer 4. Try a variety of activities  (Not just running on treadmill) 5. Be Regular – 6 days a week 7. Be patient and finally 8. The Importance of Diet – and how it could contribute as much as 50% in your weight loss program. Given the importance of the last point this section is dedicated to diet and finally  a few  importantly things that you need to be careful about.

The Stomach is like a balloon. The more you eat the more it bloats up. With festivals like Onam round the corner – take care , your body does not need even a fraction of this sumptuous spread from a nutrition point.

Losing weight

Thanks to our eating habits, lifestyle and maybe our genes the Indian mans  belly  (and women’s butt)  are world beaters. You just have to walk into a water park to see the amazing shapes and sizes – they are all big, bigger, massive chunks of flesh. With so many important organs and miles of intestine inside your abdominal cavity – spare a thought before you dump it with food like in a  dustbin.

Reduce belly

The body just needs food that is equal to both your palms put together. So the importance when it comes to diet is Quantity & Quality. Less Quantity and the right Quality.

Step 1 : Have light meals at regular intervals. A good breakfast (Body digests faster in the morning) , a mid day snack (An Apple, a few nuts , some sprouts etc ) + Green Tea , a very light lunch (Subway sandwich OR 2 Rotis + Subji + Dal, OR  a small serving of Pasta ), Green Tea + a light snack 2 hrs before workout, something high in protein after a busy workout ( 2 – 3 egg whites) and  a very light dinner (Soup + Salad + Upma etc) two hours before sleep.

Most of us do the exact opposite – we hardly have time for breakfast as we rush to office and we have a very heavy dinner with dessert late at night when the body metabolic activities are the lowest.

Step 2 : Take help from a dietician for a few months. 

You need to customize a diet from the food that you regularly eat every day. Following a crash diet , protein shake diet or only fruit diet is not sustainable. Every indian food can be eaten in moderation at the right time. The word moderation is key – Green Tea is good – but 6 cups a day is not. Nuts are good – but again mix it in variety in limited quantities. The body needs a large variety of carbohydrates , proteins , minerals etc – which can only come from a wide variety of food.  Sadly the way food is grown , transported, cooked and stored  today – it loses most of its nutrition and you have no choice but to take some nutritional supplements (Especially when you are a vegetarian,  its true that horses & elephants are vegetarians – but they eat in enormous quantity fresh food from the jungles packed with nutrients). Its good to be a vegetarian (humans were meant to be ) but in todays world you need help with supplements –  thats the reason  you need the services of a dietician who can customise a schedule for you.

Dietery Supplement

I would suggest the following – 1 Becosule , 1 Neurobin , 1 Cal Mag D daily and a sachet of granules to supplement Vitamin D every Sunday. (but again check with a doctor or your dietician, also be careful that the supplements do not come from any Baba’s ashram – they may be laced with steroids). You need 80 grams of protein every day – our normal diet does not have that, if you are doing regular exercises,  all that I talked about in Part – 1 ,  you need to have have 4 – 6 egg whites every day. (1 Egg White has 4 grams of protein) . The muscles need the protein.

Cut your Carbs. I have cut my rice intake by 80 %. When I eat rice its red rice. And the vegetables are boiled with less oil.

Diet foods

Best diet foods

Step 3 : Fill yourself with fresh food 

Salads & fruits. Most people think that salads are just cucumber, carrots & tomatoes. But there is a lot more than that ( Your next birthday or Anniversary gift to your wife could be a great Salad Book) .

Fresh vegetable salads

Try some partially cooked salads – they taste great and help create a variety. Some salad  ideas – Sprout Salad, Banana Flower Salad , Betroot salad, Pumpkin Salad (White & Golden)

veg foods for diet

And eat a lot of  fruits. Here again be careful of the fleshy fruits which help you gain weight. Mangoes, Chickoos, Bananas are Ok immediately before or after a workout  but a lot of  Apple, Pomegranate , Papaya , Guava, All the colored fruits (Berries, Plums ) , Pineapple etc. at breakfast and for short snacks are highly recommended.

Step 4 : Drink lots of water 

You can start and your day with a glass of lukewarm warm water with 1/2 a lemon . Keep drinking through the day , at least 8 – 10 glasses . (Avoid fruit juices as they have only sugar and are less on fibre & nutrients and definitely stay away from carbonated drinks). Even when you are gymming keep drinking water preferable with some lemon squeezed in it. Initially when you cut your food quantity you will feel hungry – fill your stomach with water after a light meal. There are myths associated with drinking water when eating food – but they continue to be myths.

Step 5 : Nuts & Seeds are healthy 

Again take in moderation because many of them can be very fatty. Avoid roasted nuts with salt.

Diet chart

Step 6 : Sweets & Oily food. 

Lets face it we are not Yogis & cannot stay without eating Puri, Aloo Parathas, Sweets …. Don’t ban them from your diet. Restrict their frequency to once a month or once a fortnight. Always try and eat such food items in the morning rather than at night. Eat them at home rather than outside – the oil at home is healthier. Talking of oil stick to Olive Oil.

Step 7 : Some More Important Points 

Must Do 

1. Substitute white bread with whole wheat  Bread and Maida with Whole Wheat flour.

2. Switch to skimmed milk.

3. Minimal Oil, Butter, Cheese usage.

4. Reduce Sugar consumption to 2-3 teaspoon a day.

5. Have maximum of 2-3 cups of Coffee or Tea a day ( Never start your day with Coffee or Tea on an empty stomach)

6. Restrict vegetables like Aloo(Potato) , Carrots and Matar (Peas).

7. For non-vegetarians-opt for chicken breast, fish and egg whites.Red meat, Organ meats ( liver, brain, kidney) should  be  restricted. Go for grilled, baked, barbecued, boiled, roasted and tandoori options always.

8. Restrict animal foods, foods high in proteins like paneer,pulses and daals for dinner.

Nice To Do

1. Make it a point to have one glass of warm water  with ½ lemon after every meal and one in the morning.

2. Add melons- Musk melons, Cucumber, Watermelon to your diet

3. Have 100% pure fruits and vegetable juices or coconut water as beverage substitutes.

4. Have at least one cup of Green Tea everyday

5. Wash vegetables before cutting them, not after cutting.


1. Avoid Fasting or Feasting. Don’t starve. Don’t overeat.

2. Avoid Late dinners and skipping breakfasts.

3. Avoid Fried Foods and bakery products- Samosa, Burger, Pakoras etc.

4. Avoid Sweets and Confectionery.

5. Avoid Fruit juices (like mazaa and fruity), Ice creams and Milk Shakes.

6. Avoid eating sour things like Sambhar/Kadhi in the night.  Avoid too much of salt in the night. They both cause water retention.

7. Avoid being empty stomach for long durations.

8. Avoid Liquor

Step 7 : Read the book ” Dont’ lose your mind  – Lose your weight” by Rujuta Diwekar.  This is a simple practical book that tells you what is the best way to lose your weight (The author is the lady who helped Kareena Kapoor get to size Zero)

Lose your weight

And finally a few points of precaution

1. Take it easy step by step – don’t overdo anything. Whether its exercise or diet – the body will slowly respond. (Thats why crash diets and military regimens at the gym fail). The idea is to enjoy what you are doing – see the results and sustain it as a way of life.

2. Before & after exercise stretch – your knees and joins and muscles need the stretching to avoid injuries.

3. Be careful of excessive cardio.  Running when you are overweight can hurt your knees. DO NOT run on concrete surface.  Cardio exercise have minimal effect beyond 15 min ( + 5 min cool down)

4. Which is why a good mix of Yoga helps. Best done in the morning , Yoga is a great way to de-stress and strengthen your muscles. As you enter the world of trainers and classes you will hear the word ” Core” a lot.  Basically a lot of what you do is controlled by your muscles around the stomach & abdomen. Yoga helps you strengthen your Core. Also using your body weight is the best way of exercising Vs external weights. Yoga is a good companion to regular gymming.

5. Pre workout – If you are working out after having breakfast and lunch then take a gap of atleast 1 hour till you start with the workout. Post a strenuous workout eat something rich in proteins ( Boiled egg whites-2/buttermilk-200 ml/low fat curd/yogurt-1 med bowl/skimmed milk-150 ml/roasted chana-50-75 gms)

6. Take a days rest every week. This is a must. And join a good Spa. There will be a lot of aches & pains as you start on this journey and a fortnightly massage will feel like bliss.

Best spa

Losing Weight when you are 40+

The mind has amazing powers. As I start writing this blog I recollect a few lines from an elocution piece I narrated in Class 8 (1984). The topic was a humorous piece from Readers Digest titled “Confessions of an Obese woman”. Here goes

I cant bear to watch the spectacle of that sister of mine tucking in cakes, scones, pastries and what not …. and washing it all down with hot creamy tea while I had to make do with black coffee” . 

This kind of summarizes the situation for most of us. Some folks are born lucky to not put on weight while others struggle to lose a few inches. Unfortunately I fall in the second category. (How times change – many years back, 35 to be precise I struggled to gain weight and was on a special diet to add few pounds)

Losing weight at 40

REC Surat University Champions Badminton 1990 (I am the tallest guy behind the Coach) 

20 years of long hours at work, lots of travel , hotel & plane food, stress, an addiction to sweets and junk food , predominant rice diet, a hereditary fatty liver, connoisseur  of good food, and a recent Saturday night club ( thanks to 3 friends in the building) that converted me from a teetotaler to a social drinker to beyond   – all added to the problem. And when the weighing machine creaked past 105 Kgs and my daughter started calling me fatso- I realized it was time to act.

Diet for weight losing

What I am going to list down here are some points that can help you get fit & lose weight after 40. We all make New Year resolutions and forget them very soon. But if you treat this as a project with goals & targets chances of success are brighter. Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going and targets help you achieve your goals 

Step – 1

Take stock of where you are. Here are some simple tests that you can start with. Your ideal weight should be your height in Cms – 100. So if you are 192 Cms tall your ideal weight should be 192 – 100 = 92 Kgs. (If you are in 90 – 95 Kg range that is OK)

Weight is mainly composed of 4 key elements – Bone weight, Body Fat, Visceral Fat, Muscle Weight. A BMI machine can help you determine your body fat % (For men the ideal body fat range is 17 – 24% , anything above 25% is obese) Visceral fat should be 1 – 12%.

Check your metabolic age (at 43 my metabolic age was 48). Your metabolic age needs to be your actual age or lower. Its possible to reverse it even if it’s higher. (We have a neighbor who at 36 has a metabolic age of 18 – just that she spends many hrs a day in the gym!!)

Also check your Cholesterol, Vitamin D (You will be surprised that almost every vegetarian is severely deficient on Vitamin D in this country), and Blood Sugar.

Step – 2

Define a goal.  (I initially started with an ambitious goal of Six months to a Six Pack – but sadly realized after 3 months that’s not going to happen). A good plan is to try and reduce 2 Kgs / Month.

Step – 3 

Join a good Gym.  Many of us would have wasted money with gyms in the past having paid 6 monthly subscriptions and gone for less than a month. Zela the gym I go to (@ Residency Road, www.zelalife.com) is so good that it’s addictive. This is the first gym that I have managed to go almost 6 days a week for the last 4 months and I enjoy every single day.

good gyms bangalore

Choose a Gym that has good equipment and variety of classes. Doing the same activity every day can be boring. Also different activities help you work out different set of muscles. Circuit Training , RPM , Aqua Aerobics, Zumba etc. are group activities that can be fun and help you burn loads of calories. (Most of them can help burn 800 – 1000 calories in 1 hr).

Select a good trainer

Step – 4 : Get a good Personal Trainer. 

It makes all the difference to a get a good personal trainer. They are expensive (About 6 K / Month or 500 Rs / session) but its worth every paisa. They go about in an organized manner of helping you build agility, flexibility, strength & stamina.

Best Gym coach

My Trainer Muthu (In White T Shirt) 

The sheer variety of activities that they can plan in a 1 hr session is something you can never dream of doing by yourself. They also help you to set limits – not to overdo but at the same time stretch you as much as possible.

Planck to lose weight

Step – 5 : Follow a schedule 

A good rigorous schedule every week could be as follows

3 days of personal training, 3 days of RPM , 2 days of circuit training or Body Pump, 2 days of Surya Namskar (50 sets) , 2 days of brisk walking , 2 Days of swimming or Aqua Aerobics, 3 days of regular yoga  –  the idea is to try and do at least two sets of activities each day morning & evening. Each session for about an hr.

Zumba daily activities

In addition to this there are many things you can do in your day to day life – Walk down the stairs for lunch (I walk down 19 floors at UB City every working day and then walk half a km for my lunch) , Take a bath using a bucket & mug – you bend nearly 50 times every day – that helps with flexibility , Sit down on the floor and eat – you will find that you eat a lot lesser. (After doing all this I lost 7 Kgs in 4 months – its hard work. Now you have to work harder to lose weight –  as I have started to gain muscles). This is when you start losing inches even if you don’t lose weight and its so much of a joy when you need to poke new holes in your belt and your pants become loose & wobbly around the waist.

Step – 6 : Lifestyle Tips

a) Early to bed ( 10PM) and waking up early ( 5 AM) helps. At 40+ you don’t need 8 hrs of sleep 7 hrs is enough. After 8 hrs at work and 2 hrs of activities in the Gym you will be dead tired by 10 PM if you wake up at 5AM.

b) Eat out less

c) Don’t Drink (At best stick to Red Wine)

Step – 7 : Food 

This maybe the last point but is the most important element of reducing weight. A proper diet can help by as much as 50% or more in reducing weight. Since this is so important I will  treat this as a separate section in my next blog entry. But a few quick points

a) Your stomach is as big as both palms put together – that’s all the food you need at a meal

b) Eat a heavy breakfast and light dinner preferably 2 hrs before sleep

c) Late night snacks (Chips , Kurkures, Nuts , Coke) that we eat between dinner & sleep time can harm all the good that you have done in a hard days work at the gym – so stay away. (This is easier said than done)

d) Sweets are harmful & injurious to health. They should be banned – they cause more death and damage to the body than cigarettes & liquor – so stay away. If you are addicted to the juicy Rasogollas, the soft & delicious Kheer Kadams, ghee soaked Mysorepaks, the lovely Laddus, the tasty Baklavas, the  yummy Tiramisu ( I am already feeling like having some) – remember that one of them = 1 hr of RPM . If you MUST have them do it in the morning and not as dessert after dinner.

Gulab Jamun sweet

More on food later – it’s a big area of discussion and since it accounts for 50% of the weight loss program – will deserve a lot more attention.

In conclusion – two things –  As Gandhiji said “Find Purpose the Means Follow” – so get started. We have heard so much of supermoms (rightly so) but there are many super-dads too. Dads who work in tough jobs, and who come back on a monday morning after a weekend and say ” Thank God Its Monday” . These Dad’s owe some time for themselves – they need to invest for the health , they need some space & time of their own. Being a gym fanatic is a nice cathartic release. So guys no more coaxing needed – Get Started NOW !.

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