Saturday, July 11, 2015

Weight loss, diet control and laziness

After all these years of progressively gaining weight, I'm happy to announce that at last, it has come to a halt. The number displayed by weighing machine notwithstanding, this is an achievement in itself, as I saw the needle speed past the 60s and 70s since my engineering days. How I wish the saying "everything that goes up, comes down" would hold true for my weight now!

Well begun seems to be half done for everything else other than weight loss program. Hitting the gym is one thing and having the sincerity/stamina/will to spend an hour there after "hitting" it is quite another. My latest gym encounter was in NPTI gym in faridabad - it was so inspiring to see so many determined people burning their fat on the treadmills and cross trainers and bicycles. BUT, I chose to spend my time chatting away with the (overweight) gym instructor for nutritional advice (and other shortcuts) to lose weight. After years of researching weight loss short cuts, I finally found the answer - THERE IS NO SHORTCUT!

The best in the business would tell you that it has to be a combination of controlled diet and exercise. So, to get the easy thing out of the way, I bumped into this link on the Dabur Honey website and explored my body mass index (BMI). Needless to say, it showed you're "overweight". The real fun began thereafter - honey is known to be a weight loss catalyst but people are fairly divided on its usage (other than the early morning warm water + honey + lemon combo). The site gives you a customized diet plan (depending upon your body mass index, lifestyle, calorie intake, etc) for an entire week. Initial glance at the plan didn't look like they want us to starve to death. The suggested meals were quite OK and the emphasis was on few basics that we've known for decades but follow them only when we hear them from a nutritionist and pay them for it! For example, it is well known that having ample water is one of the best things we can do for our health. Yet, we keep ignoring it and do it only when we have paid thousands to someone to tell the same to us.

An interesting fact that has emerged courtesy my research is that starving and/or exercising 4 hours a day aren't necessary for weight control measures. There has been a school of thought which said you need to have boiled, tasteless food with no sugar and very little salt in order to get back to shape. That, however, isn't true. The kind of innovative products we have today, both in terms of appetite and exercise - present plenty of scope to preserve much of the taste that we crave for, yet continue with an effective weight control/loss program. Honey, for example, is a very effective substitute for sugar (minus the extra weight). There are a number of similar products such as oats, fruits, salads, rusk, etc that can be very fulfilling - both in terms of taste and satisfaction. Add to that a few exercising alternatives such as yoga, crunches and squats - that don't necessarily tax your knees and shins but are equally effective in sweating off the extra flab. Will has always been the biggest deterrent for people looking to lose weight. Hopefully, a month of following this will show enough results to sustain the momentum for a longer period.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It's funny - the occasions on which I get reminded to update my blog when other people mention theirs. Still, a quarterly update doesn't sound bad enough, considering the delays in the past.

A number of positives have happened since the last update, i.e. March 17th. My last 48-hr Delhi dash eventually got (over)loaded with Cricket. It was an absolute pleasure to turn up for the Annual Xavier's vs. Michael's cricket match on 22nd March. After having failed to win it on two previous occasions, it was an absolute please to win the shield and turn in a Man of The Match performance at the IIT Delhi grounds. Sharing a few happy memories from the game here for my non existent readers and the future me:

Back to Hyderabad and that was when I put one final thrust into my job hunt. It had been a good 6 months of feeling like a square peg in a round hole at my previous employer's office and I was determined to redeem myself before I allowed my CV and intelligence to worsen any further. Got rejected by HSBC on my birthday but barely a week after that, things turned for good and by 15th April, I had an offer for a role and company I had been trying for since the final sem of my MBA - March 2014! Incidentally, I had just had my last (of a long series) of heated arguments with my 
then manager barely 48 hrs before putting my papers in.

I've never been the one to pick fight with someone (esp. in the professional world) but then, I've never taken a backward step either when people try to mess around. Professional, cultured managers (all employees, for that matter) have the courtesy and ability to diffuse tension through a calm dialogue but when someone tries to stamp his authority over you by raising his voice, it is only just to talk back and match his tone. That was one moment from my short 4-yr professional career that I'd put down as "most satisfying".
Keeping the grievances aside, I'm absolutely loving my time at the new job that I have. Colleagues here were generous enough to give a clear cut outline about the assignments lined up to me and allayed all my concerns. This is the kind of role I was looking forward to when I opted out of my MBA placements and decided to find something on my own in Hyderabad and it feels like the moment of redemption has finally arrived. Finding decent company for lunch in office is the only problem that has persisted from my previous job but that has more to do with my reluctance to be part of large groups (and end up wasting time) than anything else. Hopefully it won't be long before I find it.

As an icing on the cake, I got in touch with the people who coordinate cricket and chess in my new office so co-curricular activities should get rolling soon.

Now that things are moving on the right track (touchwood), it's about time I started working on my cooking. I never felt the need to learn it in a decade of staying away from home but when you mess up cooking rice (yes, plain, uncomplicated RICE!), a SWOT analysis is mandatory. Hoping to post improved news really soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fun weekend ahead

Having spent the best part of the past decade away from my family members, the thought of spending time with them after months is all that is required to cheer me up. The period from 2005 to 2012 was distributed across Manipal, Mysore and Hyderabad - with a semi annual trip to home being my only solace.

Enjoyable as the engineering days in Manipal were, having a month long semester break was enough to recharge my batteries for the next semester. Fast forward to 2009 when I moved to Mysore to join Infosys for a 6 month training - there was no question of getting a week off in that period and the initial plan of sneaking in a short trip to Delhi before reporting to my Hyderabad posting didn't materialize, as it would have robbed me of the "travel reimbursement" worth Rs. 2000 (Yes, 2000 were more valuable in those days!).

For the next 3 years spending a week at home every 4-6 months was the norm. And now, I've to compress that weekly time off into a weekend. Websites like these do make house hunting easier in a new city but then, nothing like home!

Though any day off at home, away from the usual office chaos is wonderful, here's my description of what my ideal day at home is like:

The drawing room is my ideal spot, as it provides the perfect balance. A sofa to sit/stretch on, a TV right in front and a center table to place my legs and/or laptop on. All the auxiliaries such as charging point for laptop and mobile are within an arm's distance. It sets things up ideally to follow sport, have conversation with family members, play with my little nephew and keep an eye on the main door. To add to it, it is conveniently close to the kitchen which makes it easier for the screams for food be heard and acknowledged. Menu is already decided and the odd trip to the market to get raw materials for it is a small price to pay for the eventual outcome.

Typically, the day starts at around 9 am when all the family members have been awake for a while and I get the occasional luxury of sleeping till late. Newspapers have been placed at their usual place and that is one time I really feel like reading newspapers (can't explain how much I miss Hindustan Times here in Hyderabad). As the clock inches towards 10:30, my mother's patience starts running out and the initial requests to freshen up eventually turn into an order. Those are the times an otherwise punctual person like me loves to alter his eating habits at and enjoys the silence in the absence of continuous phone calls, e - mails and meetings.

The short, 2 day Delhi trip planned coming weekend promises to bring about more of such moments. And yes, throw in a bit of cricket on Saturday/Sunday morning and things cannot get better!