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Archive for the ‘Resolutions’ Category

Weight loss

Courtesy: -Paul H-

Weight.. ah, that elusive number! Something I constantly think but do nothing about.

I am the person who loves food and hates intense workouts. I know what you’re thinking. Terrible combination for weight loss, right? I cannot survive on water one whole day and just raw vegetables the next. Hey, when did food become a three digit number? Also, dont’ bother me with cardiovasular, strength training, target heart rate etc etc. That”s information overload.

Weight loss shouldn’t be that complicated. Agrees dietician Lisa Sarah John. She is a very sensible dietician and I used to enjoy reading her articles in the Times of India back in Bangalore. She has a simple healthy formula for weight loss – walk, water and a balanced diet. You can visit her website here. (I’m probably sounding like her spokesperson, trust me I’m not associated with her in anyway).

Anyways, going by her advice, this is my plan for the next four months.

1. Check my weight only once a week – I used to check my weight everyday and the reduction gets hardly noticeable. Let alone the fact that sometimes it shows a gain of 2-3 pounds in the span of a day. I think it makes much better sense to weigh yourself every week and modify your plan accordingly.

2. Avoid fatty foods for three months – It doesn’t hurt to eat fatty foods occasionally if you want to maintain your weight. But if you wanna lose it, better stay away from it. This is my list of frozen food items:

Cream, butter, ghee, cheese/paneer/tofu, fried foods ( no chips, sniff sniff), cakes/cookies/pastries/puffs, sweets, chocolates, icecreams, mayo, coconut and carbonated drinks.

It seems like a long list, but it’s not that hard to keep it off.

3. Eat rotis at night – I plan to eat early and not eat rice at dinner. I eat a maximum of two rotis without oil.

4. When hungry, fill yourself with veggies and stirfries – I love stirfries and they are healthy and low on calories too. Should work well for me.

5. Drink 2 litres of water everyday – This is a very good practice that I’ve been wanting to inculcate. But I have trouble remembering to drink water.

6. Walk everyday for 30 minutes – Walking is the most comfortable form of exercise for me. Running wears me out. I can always walk uphill to burn as many calories. I probably won’t do it 7 days a week. But i’ll pitch for 6.

So that’s it. Walk, water, no fatty foods. Let’s see if I can keep it up. This ticker should help me see where I’m going:

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Make My Husband Exercise

Courtesy: Dr JimiGlide

Courtesy: Dr JimiGlide

I know, it sounds funny. All resolutions are about the self. And here I am, going easy on myself and making my husband exercise instead!

No, he is not overweight and fitness is not his problem. What he needs to do are arm exercises. This is a highly personal resolution.

Some background. He fractured his shoulder about 2 months ago and it took about 6 weeks for the bone to heal. Because of the restriction in movement, the muscles have become stiff and physiotherapy should bring back the range of motion. But the physical therapist cannot do it alone. We need to be exercising regularly at home too. Which is what we don’t.

Getting his arm movement back to normal is my priority now and that is why I decided to make this my resolution.

In keeping with the guidelines I posted in my previous entry about resolution making, here’s my plan to make this work.

Analyzing the reason behind failure –Thinking about why this hasn’t been working so far is important to find a workaround. In out case, we were not exercising simply because we forgot. It was new and not part of our daily routine. So it was easy to slip out of our mind.

Action Plan

1. One at a time – One resolution is the optimal number and I am going to concentrate on nothing but this. Since it’s the beginning of the year, my temporary enthusiasm will tempt me into trying many things at once. But by now, I know better. I will resist the temptation and focus on just this goal.

2. Choosing an indivisible goal – My ultimate goal is to make his left arm move just like the right arm. This is the most basic step for that to happen. And since the time frame is about a month or two, it is perfect to qualify for a resolution.

3. Making it fun – We have decided to play a ‘simulation game’ to make him exercise. I pretend to be the physical therapist and we work just like in the actual physical therapy session. The room has all the props we have resourcefully added with everything available at home. I have a timer for the exercises(my mobile) and an ice pack to relax the sore muscles afterwards. He needs to take an appointment just like the real one. I even have a log sheet where he needs to sign in and sign out. I also record the progress in the same form. He needs to make new appointments after each session and when he misses an appointment, I charge him a penalty. If I miss the appointment, he charges me a penalty.

You can download the exercise log sheet here. It is a basic log and can be used by anybody.

4. Making it convenient – He needs to be exercising twice a day and so the best times would be right before going to bed and right after getting up. That is why, ‘my setup’ is in the bedroom itself. And we came up with the appointments to get around the problem of forgetting. Each time when we decide a convenient time, we are going to set reminders and make ourselves available at that time.

5. Laying the groundwork – Before starting, we always need to pre-prepare so that we do not have unavailability of resources as an excuse. By simulating the physical therapy environment, I have made sure that all the necessary items are in the room when we need them. I also have printed the log sheet and filed it along with a pen and have it in an easily accessible place. So, the groundwork is laid. We only need to follow it from now.

What if we fail?

We do excpect to fail at this at times. But I think it is going to be minimal because of our ‘penalty’ system. Each time he misses an appointment, I will sleep on the couch and every time I miss it, he would be sleeping on the couch. Since we both do not want the other to be uncomfortable, we sure will try our best not to miss it.

So, this is my plan and I hope we follow it. Will post the updates to this entry.

All the best for yours too and have a happy New Year!

Another year is going by and we are all making preparations for the next. This time of the year is always filled with resolutions and new found confidence that you will follow them come what may. In general, this year and every year, you plan to become more disciplined and more awesome!

But … How many have honestly followed a resolution? Well, truth is bitter.

Why do resolutions fail?

1. There are too many – Seriously, our small brain cannot hold those many at once and follow all of them. We are bound to sideline some of them. The optimal number, I would think is just one at a time.

2. Self talk does not work – Can you keep saying to yourself that you will do a task regularly? It is not long before my own mind starts to ignore me. How consistently can I keep writing to myself that I am going to follow my resolution and put them where I can see them? Before long, I will walk right past it without even noticing. Such measures honestly don’t work.

3. The problem always lies elsewhere – There are so many steps to a goal and the reason for failure is always a basic problem lurking somewhere in the process.

For example, if my resolution is not to eat out often and I fail to do it, it is mostly because I would have come home tired and not found anything ready to eat. Being too lazy to cook then, I’d have opted to eat out.

I’d do better by deciding my resolution to be “to cook in advance” than not to eat out. The least indivisible the step is, the better is the probability that it’ll succeed.

4. It is too much of a deviation from our usual self – You are a night owl and suddenly from tomorrow, are you going to become an early riser? Is that realistic? Of course, even before you decide that, I can state you will fail. Inertia sets in and the body will resist it with all its might. We never make it easy for us to follow!

So how do we make them work?

1. Keep one resolution at a time – Enough said. That is indeed the best number. You will fare better deciding on one resolution a month than 12 all at once.

2. Make it as indivisible as possible – The ultimate goal should only be a consequence of doing something else, not a resolution by itself. Your resolution should lead to it.

For example, if I want to lose weight, a better resolution would be to go swimming. As a result of this I will lose weight. The fewer the steps involved in achieving it, the better.

3. Make it the most convenient thing for you to do – The best way to follow a resolution is to arrange everything else so that it is the next natural step to take. It will not take as much effort as required then.

For example, if I plan to journal at the end of the day, do you think I’d follow it if I keep the journal in my study room?

Instead, picture this.  I keep the journal on the bedside table next to where I sleep with a working pen next to it and a bedside lamp which I can switch off right there. How much of an effort is it then to write a line before going to sleep?

4. Pre-prepare: Have everything ready – When you plan to kick off something by January 1st, decide the steps you are going to take beforehand. If you wait until the D-day and you are clueless about what to do, you are going to lose the enthusiasm. Instead use the energy to catapult yourself by keeping all the required resources ready. Have an action plan ready, gather all the materials necessary, keep them in strategic locations, all before January 1st. That way, when you wake up to the New Year, you have everything you need to carry out your resolution.

5. Excite the inner child in you – Remember the school days when we would be excited to start school again when we bought the new books, uniforms and pens? Remember the days in kindergarten when they would make our days exciting by fun things to do like coloring, painting etc? The child still lives in us; excite it by adding fun elements into your steps to keep you going. These fun little steps should make you want to follow your goal.

If I want to lose weight, I would have a colorful chart stuck to the door with a nice felt pen beside it to chart my progress. Seeing my weight go down and down, I would definitely want to do more of it.

I would buy pretty little inexpensive boxes to make frozen dinners that would make me want to use them. Each of us will have something that will make us happy in a childlike way. Recognize it and use it.

6. Make a specific list of steps you will take – Keeping all the above factors in mind, write out a detailed plan of what actions you will take to achieve your goal, how you are going to make it easy for yourself, what materials you require, what obstacles may creep in and how you will get around them. The clearer you are, the better you will succeed.

That being said, are you going to expect a 100% success? Of course not, there will be times when we stumble, but the most important rule is to get up soon before it is out of your mind. Reading anything remotely related to your resolution and talking about it helps you not forget your goal altogether and keeps you motivated.

I hope these ideas help you. A detailed plan about my resolutions will follow soon.

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