Saturday, January 23, 2021

I lost weight and I am telling you how


I have been doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) since the end of October 2020, this was at the end of the lockdown and the effects of IF are visible with the weight and inch loss that has happened these past few weeks.

I will not explain about IF or its medical effects but I will share what worked for me. In very simple terms during IF the day is divided into an eating period and a fasting period and for obvious reasons the fasting period is longer than the eating period.

So the first question for many will be Why fast? The answer is that fasting is a normal human activity and outside the common religious considerations, fasting helps in a few ways that includes detoxification of the body and giving the body enough time to digest the food.

Fasting as a religious practice is common to many religions and fasting brings discipline, it also purifies / cleans up the body. Probably why the wise people used fasts in religious practices to encourage moderation before a feast. IF is basically the same thing and it disciplines the mind and body to eat better. The benefits including weight loss follow naturally.

IF is easy and we usually fast every day; which is why the first meal of the day is called “breakfast”. If our last meal of the previous day was at 8 PM and we break the fast at 8 AM we have effectively fasted for 12 hours. The critical point here is that once the last meal usually dinner is done there is no more calorie addition. Midnight snacking, desserts, beverages are a strict no as they break the fast. What is permitted is water, the elixir of life in large quantities and almost no calorie drinks like black coffee or tea, green tea taken without sugar and milk. Even tender coconut has calories and breaks the fast so there is no room for the healthy diversions during the fasting window.

The first step therefore in IF is to maintain the 12-hour window strictly. The preferred option would be to have the dinner early as the next meal will be after 12 hours. What can you eat in the other 12 hours? Good wholesome food is the best option. This would mean less of junk and more of unprocessed healthy food with generous portions of vegetables and fruits. Protein rich diets with comparatively lesser carbohydrates will help in weight loss more than eating the reverse combination. Eggs, lean meats for the non-vegetarians and panneer for the vegetarians are good protein sources.

Once the first step has been done successfully for a fortnight then the fasting window can be increased by another two hours. This would be to simply advance the dinner to 6 PM. While this may seem difficult due to practical reasons, the benefits of an early dinner are many, most important being a sound sleep. The new IF schedule would be 14/10. Eating will slowly become a focused activity where the timing of meals become as important as the components of the meals themselves.

The third fortnight should move to 16/8 and the fourth fortnight should result in 18/6 which is what I usually follow. An 18 hour fast may look like a big challenge but having worked into it gradually it will be a relatively painless exercise. The benefits by now will be the discipline of the mind and the body to avoid food cravings outside the eating window. Also the mind will become conscious of the food being consumed and junk will no longer excite.

There are other options like 20/4 and OMAD or one meal a day which is almost a 23 hour fast. These are based on individual preferences. I have done OMAD once and it is not that difficult actually. Since we are in the post lockdown phase and it is less of work from home I have persisted with the 18/6 window on most days and my eating window begins with breakfast and usually ends with lunch by 2 PM. After that it is only black coffee and water till I break the fast.

If you have read the earlier lines carefully and have noticed the term “most days” it means that there are days when IF fails due to unavoidable reasons like festivals, functions. When they cannot be avoided then it becomes a cheat day when some indulgences creep in. On the next day the clock is reset and a fresh IF cycle begins. It is obvious that the cheat days should be well spaced out and rare. My OMAD trail was after one such cheat day and it can be an option to reset the schedule but is not the only option.

Lastly the weight loss will taper off after the body settles down to the new normal. Then it is good to supplement IF with exercise if not being done at all. The important point here is that the exercise should be done in the fasting window which will aid fat burn. The choice of exercise is open: walk, run, cycle, HIIT the options are many. IF and exercise combination will help increase the weight loss

The benefits of IF and running (my preferred exercise option) for me are:

  • -         Weight loss 14~ kgs
  • -         BMI improvement from Obese to overweight
  • -         Clothes not fitting anymore J
  • -         Sleeping well
  • -         No junk snacking, binge eating etc
  • -         Eating better

Before I sign off the role of the better half in this journey is critical. It was her suggestion to go for IF and she planned the meals and the timings till it became a system for us. Today even our outings fall into our window, so the support of the other half is critical for the success of the IF schedule. This is specially for people like me whose culinary experience begins and ends with Maggi.

You are what you eat, so eat well.


Caveat: Everyone is different and what worked for me may not work the same way for you. Please see if this works for you.




Thursday, August 06, 2020

The aftermath...

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is something that stuck with me from my MBA needs. We learnt this as part of Organizational Behaviour and how motivation revolved around people finding themselves at different level of needs and so the motivation strategies should be aligned with the level the person is in currently. 
If the theory is new to you I will lay it out in simple terms. Man begins with physiological needs, physiological means basic needs to survive like air, water, food, shelter, clothes and reproduction. When a man is not having food to eat will a movie ticket that cannot be sold enthuse him? If you see the image once man achieves his need in one level, he strives to move ahead to the next level. This ascent is natural and ends at the fifth level when man achieves what is called self-actualization where he will be in nirvana and will renounce everything around him. Few achieve stage five, many are content with one of the lower levels and this is normal. What is abnormal is jumping levels to satisfy ones needs with the wrong wants. 

If this is confusing let me simplify. Yesterday was a day that was a blot on the country and I will not go deep into the same stopping with the fact that equating the temple movement to the independence struggle shows how little our nation in its present form means to people. If you look back at the start of the lockdown two needs of people were cast aside for another fundamental need of survival. The need to survive from a deadly disease was paramount and to that end other needs were kept aside; the fact that many died of hunger than the disease itself due to the reasons we saw became a footnote in the larger story. Two needs education and religion were knocked off their high pedestal and relegated to one corner in the fight against the disease because education would probably fall in level 2 and religion in level 3 and both come into play if the individual survives. 

Politics today has transformed into offering things at higher levels to people who are still at level one and a great many have fallen for it. Religion, nationalism are needs to those who are having food to eat, a place to sleep, a job to ensure that there is a tomorrow, clothes to cover the nakedness and support to reproduce to grow another generation. To a great majority of those who do not have one or more of the above, what use is religion or nationalism? Why does development and prosperity remain with those who already have it and now aspire for higher things; these people are denying the basic necessities to the have-nots? Will a building or a non-secular nation bring a nation of no hunger?

The NEP may have its merits but our former Tamil Nadu chief ministers have shown with their policies of free food in schools that education to a empty stomach is meaningless. The student needs a sound body to build a sound mind. Our state is the leader in education and the rest of the country can take a leaf out of  Tamil Nadu book. If the nation must grow, it needs to put first things first. Remember when we fall sick we run to a hospital, for  treatment and then fall on our knees in prayer.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Whats that smell???

You walk into a party and the person next to you smells of Hugo Boss but you like Sauvage, you actually cannot stand Boss, what will you do? Remember you do not know the person well, nor do you have any care for his well-being. It is just that you are sure that your Sauvage is always superior to his Boss. Would you then…

-         Probably go and tell him have you tried Sauvage? Or why don’t you try Sauvage because of its merits?
-          Probably gift him a bottle of Sauvage for an upcoming event so that he can try it for himself and see the benefits?
-     Probably call people together and say everyone smell his Boss and my Sauvage and tell everyone which is better? It better be Sauvage.
-          Probably go and tell him, you will not wear Boss because you think that Boss is not good and more importantly Boss offends you?
-     Probably just grin and bear it
Probably move far away where Boss does not offend you so much because the guy is not worth it? 
Probably go and ask him what made him choose Boss and try it our for yourself?
If you do any of the above and it works for you congratulations, you have superior olfactory and people skills. If none of them work and the other is still using Boss, it is high time to get a life and work on it. Work on YOUR life.

P.S. Read the post again and replace Sauvage and Boss with your preferred food, language, religion, habits. It may still work.
P.P.S I don’t use perfumes I am told that Boss and Sauvage are among the top perfumes for men.

I lost weight and I am telling you how

  I have been doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) since the end of October 2020, this was at the end of the lockdown and the effects of IF are v...