Weight Watcher’s Words

The best part of my day is when I am with my patients – discussing their lives, insisting and ensuring that they are eating and obviously discussing – Food! With every person I interact, I also understand their mindset which often reflects in the way they talk about Life, Food, Nutrition & Diet. (For now I am sticking to the Food, Nutrition & Diet bit.)

Some of the very commonly-interestingly-annoying concepts I have come across include –

  • Khushboo, can you please help me, I want to go ‘ON’ a diet” – What do you mean by ‘on’ a diet? Is this an on-off switch? Sad, yet true, we believe we must go ‘on’ a diet and lose some weight, and once we reach our goal or target, slowly go ‘off’ it. Obviously after a ‘maintenance’ diet. Anyway, what happens once we go off the ‘diet’ – we slowly and steadily put all the weight back on and may be some more sometimes. Get frustrated and try something new again. And start another cycle. Shouldn’t the point of a diet program be to not gain the weight back? Exactly! So please get off your diet and start living a good balanced life – Eat right, Workout, Think Right, Rest – results have no choice but to follow.
  • “Cheating on the Diet” – this is another funda I just don’t get. Did you take some vows before you got on to the diet? Also by doing what you shouldn’t have done – exactly who or what did you cheat on? Who is the hurt-party in the bargain? Whose loss is it anyway? Did your Diet have heart-break or was it you, who felt sad and guilty thereafter? So time to get Real! You are human, you like to eat, and so you EAT. Yes, this sometimes includes fried, chocolates – or whatever your list of I-shouldn’t-have includes. Eating even these occasionally is good. You can’t be a sadhu, because if you are over-cautious with your diet, you will definitely rebel at some point. So it is best – to eat everything you like – just Sensibly and in moderation. Avoid the moralistic tag of being loyal or faithful to your diet or cheating on it.
  • “Willpower”– ‘By the sheer force of my will, I will follow the diet’ – doesn’t this mean the you are simply forcing yourself to do something, and pressuring yourself to do a particular, which you feel otherwise you cannot sustain? Because, there will come a time, when you will go back to the usual – and then you will blame yourself for not being strong enough, feel guilty, blah, blah, blah.

So to make life easy and more satisfying – Make life-enhancing Choices! Choose to Eat right because YOU want to. Choose to Work out because YOU want to NOT because you Have to. Whenever you choose something out of Love instead of compulsion or fear, the happiness on the inside shows and yes, the results are much better and long-lasting!

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Did you Feed that Super Woman in You?

The Official United Nations theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” The International Woman’s Day theme for 2015 is ‘Make It Happen’ with a dedicated hashtag for social media.

Women, rather ‘Super-Women’ world across – have been effortlessly managing home and work. In this rush, somewhere they forget to look after themselves. Their food and fitness really suffers. They are able to make and pack lunches and meals for their husbands and children, but cannot find time for themselves.

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Accepting the reality how do you nourish yourself optimally – and when I say nourish – I mean it for your Mind, Body and Soul, try incorporating these 4 things in your routine:

  1. Eat your Carbs – yes Roti, rice are really important. When in the name of diet and to ‘lose weight’ you have only soup and salad for dinner, you not only lose energy, you lose your focus, your blood glucose becomes unsteady and you wake up more tired next morning. So instead have your rice / roti at night. If you want to cut down carbs, cut the processed packaged ones.
  2. Eat Right – Now most women follow the concept of eating every few hours. So what you eat in those times makes a lot of difference. Snack on things like chana, peanuts, nariyal pani, buttermilk, sugar cane juice, nuts etc. Not only are these yum, but also perfect for a woman who is always on the run.
  3. Sleep Sound – We all know the wonders of a good sleep, no wonder it is referred to as a ‘beauty sleep’. After you have slept well, you are ready to take on the world. In fact lack of sleep not only makes you tired, it impacts your judgment and slows down your metabolism, making you put on weight.
  4. Exercise – Taking some time out for yourself to exercise, can give you a break from everything on your mind and in your routine. Choose any exercise of your choice, do it 4-5 times a week religiously and see the difference for yourself. Apart from enhancing your body image, it gives you a positive attitude, good posture, glowing skin, lustrous hair and more.
  5. Love Yourself – when you are able to love everyone around you unconditionally, make sure to give yourself your love and acceptance. Avoid criticizing yourself, praise yourself instead. Be gentle, kind and patient with yourself – cut yourself some slack, you are human and you can do only this much! Give yourself a much deserved break. Treat yourself like you would treat your loved one. You deserve a special treatment too 🙂

FOOD – NOURISHING THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

Every time I think I need to write my blog – I realize there are so many topics I could write on, so many myths I could dispel, yet somewhere I realized I was missing a point – something a lot more deeper – something I really needed to write about and did not know what that was. At the same I have been really engrossed, enchanted and mesmerized with Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, and I totally agree with Steve’s love for Simplicity.

How often do we end up complicating things in life, purely by just over thinking or over analyzing and then end up complaining life is so complicated! There is always a simple answer to every problem, yet we choose the most complex ways to solve it, because we simply cannot believe Life can be simple. Let us take an example of our diets – don’t we readily jump, read and believe theories which tell us – some foods are amazing and how eating them would miraculously make us skinny and how some food are bad, and why we must avoid them like the plague. (And a few days later, there will be another theory speaking the exact opposite – so what really is true.. God alone knows!)

No wonder it is said that Common sense is the least common thing! Why can we not be simple with our food and food choices? Why go to extremes – why completely eliminate certain foods, why only eat certain foods?

Now let us talk basic. Scientifically thinking – what is the purpose of eating? Why do we eat food?

Answer: the body uses food to perform one or more of four main functions:

To supply energy – Food supplies the fuel or energy needed to perform the many tasks of everyday living. We need energy to think, breathe, walk, sit, speak and even sleep. We get energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important that we eat enough food to supply all our needs. If we don’t, we will feel tired and listless. Having no energy can be compared to a car that has run out of fuel. On the other hand, if we eat more food than what our body needs – we do know that it makes us FAT

For growth and repair Food provides the materials needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues. Proteins, fats and minerals are the best nutrients for growth. Growing bodies need extra amounts of these nutrients. Every person whether growing or not, is going through a continual repair process of replacing injured or dead cells. It is food that supplies the nutrients necessary for this process.

For regulation – Food supplies the substances that help regulate the body’s processes. Water, vitamins and minerals help regulate breathing, the nervous system, digestion, blood circulation and the elimination of waste products from the body. They help keep all the systems in the body working properly.

For protection – Vitamins, minerals and protein keep the body’s tissues and organs healthy. Healthy organs are less likely to be attacked by disease.

This is what science has to say! But is this why we eat food or is this how we decide what we will eat for lunch or dinner? Though some of us do include certain things in our diets that are aimed at health, yet 80% of our food choices are emotional. Very often after eating amazing food we say – ‘what a soul-satisfying meal?’ or ‘dil khush ho gaya’. So doesn’t this imply that our foods not only nourish our body but our soul too! Great food can have an uplifting impact on our mood and vice versa.

How about we get simple with food? Can we eat not to just stuff ourselves but to nourish our soul? Enjoying our now, reveling in the beauty of the world and the simple pleasures of existence are equally important to our survival as food is. Gratitude and a sense of abundance, no matter how little we may seem to have, makes us happy, content and fulfilled. Perhaps all these may even help the body metabolize our food better.

Being skinny or size 0 can never guarantee enlightenment, happiness, or inner peace – it is instead a choice we make. In every moment can choose to be happy NOW, love and accept our body the way it is TODAY.

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I would suggest a small exercise by Louise Hay for a week – “Cease all criticism of yourself and others. Accept yourself as you are. Praise yourself as much as you can. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit, praise builds it up. Look into a mirror often and simply say: I LOVE YOU, I REALLY LOVE YOU. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing and soon you will mean and feel what you say. Love yourself as much as you can and all of life will mirror this love back to you.

And after a week assess – how you are feeling? How your body is responding to a simple change in your thoughts? See how nourished your soul feels after receiving this love? Would love to hear your experience.  🙂

 

What is your body or rather your excess weight trying to tell you?

To my all patients, I keep reiterating the fact, “Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.” I am strong believer of the fact that if something is there in our life – could be a person, a situation or anything and it bothers us in some way – then may be it is here to teach us something. Like Pema Chodron says – “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

Is this not true about “losing weight” too? There so many fad diets, diet plans, diet foods and what not to make one “lose the extra weight”. We treat this excess weight in the body like an invader in our space, which we just want to get rid off. Did you once think where and how did you manage to pile on this extra weight? It definitely wasn’t injected in your system while you were sleeping – that you woke up next morning and you were twice your size! It was a gradual weight gain.

Can we once try and acknowledge that yes this extra weight is a part of me and if it comes back stubbornly no matter how many crazy diets I do, then may be its trying to tell me something? Our body is constantly talking to us, sending us messages, but the point is – are we listening? We keep ignoring what our body is trying tell us gently and thus we land up in a state where the body shouts out loud in the form of disease or weight gain!

Let me give you an example – busy watching the ‘game’ on tv late night with friends, you tank up on beer, pizza and chips. Next day morning being work day – you wake up tired, dehydrated, bloated, gassy, burpy and so on.. This was your body’s gentle way of letting you know of its discomfort. But what do you do when this happens – you now OD on coffee to feel kicked and silence the stomach by taking an antacid. Do you know what you just did? Imagine your child is coming to you crying because he hurt himself. Would you ask your child why he is crying or would you just stuff and tape his mouth to make him stop crying? Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? That is exactly what you put your stomach through.

WE abuse our system, WE eat mindlessly, WE put on the weight and now WE torture our body for being FAT! Silly, isn’t it? Just like in the previous example where we would ask the child – “tell me beta, what happened?” – can we ask our body that too? Can we really find out what is making us fat – despite our various attempts at “burning it”?

Excess weight here is trying to convey a message to you. If you kill the messenger – that is, if you actually do lose the weight but don’t understand why it was here in the first place – it returns. Don’t most people who do crash diets know this? There is no moral or personal failure here. It is not about eating less calories or switching to fat-free version instead of full-fat versions. We just didn’t listen deeply enough to what it was trying to tell us.

Trying to get rid of weight by “losing it” is like trying to get rid of paying a high electricity bill by shredding and throwing it out. Waah- phaado aur phekdo! Bill hi nahi toh pay kya karoge? The problem is though, when you throw out the bill, not only will you lose your electricity connection but also another one comes in the mail, and this time with a late fee. Throw that one away too and you just landed yourself in some serious mess.

Is it not just simple to pay the bill? The bill and the extra weight are here just to point to certain facts. The bill points to the fact that you use electricity in your house and you need to pay for it. Shredding and discarding it is of no use. Likewise, excess weight points to something else. To simply get rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is of no use

So finally – coming to the core question –   “What is this extra weight trying to tell me?” Each one may have different answer to this question, and below are just a few common and obvious ones. Being overweight can point to:

  • Our poor nutritional choices
  • Eating out of Emotional hunger – (https://whosayshealthyfoodaintfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/my-relationship-status-to-my-food-its-complicated-really/)
  • Unsatisfied emotional wants or needs
  • Suppressed and repressed feelings
  • Low self-esteem leading to unclear identity about self
  • A big need to be loved and wanted (chocolate satisfies these cravings often)
  • A vicious cycle of guilt eating and self-hatred
  • Mindless eating leading to disconnection from the body/ stomach
  • Emotional hurts or wounds
  • Emptiness
  • Financial worries
  • Creative blocks or suppressed creativity
  • Being un-true and dishonest to our own inner self
  • Revenge
  • Fear, anxiety
  • Stress, etc

Each one of these is like a wounded child. It needs our attention. We cannot avoid these or shred it like the bill or just lose fat by crazy exercise and diet routine. It is time we sit with ourselves, look inside of us, see what we are running away from, look and examine what we are trying so hard to hide. It is time we love, accept, honour and listen to what our body is trying to tell us, otherwise we will continue this cycle of putting on weight-losing it and putting it back on. I agree it is not an easy process. Looking at our wounds may not be a beautiful sight, but the only way out is through it.

We have tried the fad diets, the quick fixes. Did it work? Then why not muster some courage and face ourselves. Things may not be as bad as we think they are.

So – WHAT IS YOUR BODY OR RATHER YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT TRYING TO TELL YOU?

 

LOVING, ACCEPTING and HONOURING OURSELVES – Part 1

When consulting people on their diets or for “fat loss”, they point or rather pull or pinch parts of their bodies and tell me – “Doc, this bulge or this tummy or these thighs or these hips, etc etc are my problem areas. Just do something to these. Do some magic! Give me a magic pill – make it miraculously in shape. Make me look like so n so or make me look like that model”

And when people do this – it makes me cringe. Body is the temple in which our soul resides.

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Is this how we treat our temple and in turn our soul – our inner god/ goddess or the divinity that resides in each of us? What are we doing? Where are we headed? Are we turning into a generation where appearances make all the difference?

All our Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest shares are pictures or quotes asking us to “Love and Accept ourselves exactly the way we are” or “Be Happy in the Here and the Now”, then why are we not able to practice it in our lives. And when I asked this question to someone – she replied – “Doc, pakka promise I will love and adore myself and also be super-duper Happy – just let me lose some weight

So from this am I supposed to infer that – we as humans are not allowed to be happy or love ourselves in this moment – because something or the other is not right with our body or in our lives; because we don’t weigh right? Is our happiness conditional? Is our love conditional?

To this I have another question – most parents will be able to answer this. When a mother or a father looks at his or her own child – what do you see? Flaws or Love? When you can see love in your child, why not inside our own selves? Why is it so difficult to love and accept ourselves – in the here and the now? Why not respect and honour ourselves for where we are in our life today – for our journey – from where we were to where we are?

Think about it!

(So put your thinking-introspecting hats on this Sunday afternoon. Will be back with more on LOVING, ACCEPTING and HONOURING OURSELVES series)

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