The “Appearance Attraction”

Recently I met a few people – and as always they are obsessed about dropping ‘x’ kilos by such and such date to fit into ‘that’ dress or just appear a certain way. And to achieve their targets – they don’t really care about the approach – they could starve, skip meals, count calories, workout like crazies, anything but eating sensibly – they just want results! So I asked – would you put your child or someone you love on the same diet – I got a unanimous reply – NO WAY! Then why put yourself through it!?

What I don’t understand is that why is there so much attention on a certain number or appearance and at the same time so much disregard towards physiological and psychological parameters? Why do we forget that our body works as a whole unit – and anything we do or don’t impacts US – our body, mind and energy too at the same time.

An absolute focus only on Weight loss, with an indifferent or unaware approach to Fat loss – is simply Careless and even dangerous. How can we overlook the benefits that exercise and eating right have upon US – our body, mind and energy. The overall insulin sensitivity improves, fat burning is maximized. Strength-stamina-endurance gets better. We are better attuned to our Hunger cues and satiety signals. Heart, liver, kidney function better. We are more happier. We feel lighter. We look better (isn’t this the whole reason why most people want to ‘lose weight’?!) 😉

So I repeat myself – throw your scale – focus on living a disciplined life – be FIT. A good lifestyle ensures that you are not at risk of any lifestyle related disease – which are on high rise today. Get over the “Appearance Attraction” and get Sensible 🙂

Fitness

Enjoy your Meal, if you want to ‘Lose’ your Weight

So often, in my practice I come across people, who are willing to give up foods they love or believe that “if I give in to my taste buds, I will stay fat forever. So its better I stay away from my favorite foods”. These are those who have been on and off diets all the time, and that’s because they couldn’t sustain their diet for long. And yet – they choose to follow the same and obviously results will be the same – weight loss (on the scale) when dieting and weight gain (as soon as they go back to normal eating)

We as humans are chemically wired to choose joy over pain or torture. So obviously when we are eating, we want to enjoy the food and in turn feel satisfied and happy. Scientifically when you relish your meal your metabolism goes up and you not only digest your food better but you also absorb maximum nutrients from your meal. In fact people who consciously eat foods that are “good for you,” even though you don’t like them, or if you think you can have a ‘cheat’ meal and compensate for it by eating bad-tasting vitamin-fortified protein bar, or some ‘tall-claimed’ foods or tea – to wash off the effect of the bad diet or purely choose these because you feel you will put on weight if you eat foods you like – then you aren’t doing yourself any ‘healthy’ favor. Instead not only are slowing down your metabolism, you are also reducing the quantity and quality of nutrients that you get from your food.

Haven’t you experienced that when you abstain from eating and enjoying your food, when you go out – you end up bingeing because you know you won’t be eating this again? Now ask yourself – if you could eat everything would you ever have to go on a bingeing spree?

Also haven’t you experienced that when you eat ill-tasting, ‘low-calorie’ food in the name of diet – you end up eating more and end up feeling stuffed but rarely satisfied?

Let’s talk about the science behind both these – the hormone that makes you feel good about your eating experience is the same one that stimulates your digestive system and also signals the brain to stop eating. Also when you are not enjoying your food brain secretes a neurotransmitter that increases your appetite and makes you hunt for food – and you end up feasting after a bit of starving. Then you get on to a guilt trip – again go starving or dieting and thus the cycle of starving and feasting goes on.

The simple act of eating good food – made at home – as simple as a dal chawal with little ghee – not only fills your tummy, it also satisfies your soul. You feel nourished. Your brain secretes the ‘happy’ hormone – thereby improving digestion, assimilation, nutrient absorption and in turn leads to a greater efficiency in ‘calorie burning’ 😀

Again this does not mean you eat anything and everything – mindlessly. I am just explaining that enjoying your meal is a must for your digestion. Cherish your food, celebrate your food and eat well in Moderation 🙂

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Happy Eating!

ARE YOU THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS EATER?

Eating a meal – very often is just another task on so many people’s to do list. They eat super quickly, so that they can just tick one thing off their list and move on. Doing this however comes with its disadvantages. Very often mothers tell their children – to chew their food, eat slowly. It is not just something that mom’s say – there is a reason to it.

Did you know – that your speed of eating can be one of the factors that determine your body weight?

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Why so? The brain takes some time, about 20 mins to process the chemical messengers from the stomach that you are full. When you eat fast, means you are not paying attention to your signals from your stomach and it typically leads to you over-eating as the brain hasn’t received the message to stop yet. That’s why despite of eating – you don’t feel full and you reach out for more food. Now imagine, doing this daily over every meal. What are the results – Weight Gain!

Today we want everything – FAST. Fast Internet, Fast Cars, Fast Food and most definitely FAST WEIGHT LOSS. Yet, speed always isn’t good. When you are doing something nice or having a good time – don’t you want time to Slow down, so you that you can cherish each moment?

Eating slowly with complete awareness is a natural appetite regulator and a powerful tool when it comes to losing weight. When you direct your entire focus on your meal in front of you, involve all your senses into it, relish and savor every bite – you automatically slow down.

So the next time you sit down to a eat – just sit down, say a little prayer or grace, thank the food in front of you and give it your complete attention. You’ll not only enjoy your food, but you will also naturally regulate your appetite, maybe lose a few kilos or inches 😉 and most importantly, you’ll remember that your mother was right. 😉

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 🙂

TIME TO BID GOOD BYE TO YOUR WEIGHING SCALE

Today I had this patient who came to see me – and like always – even before saying a courteous hello or having a glass of water – she jumped up on the weighing scale to see how much she had ‘lost’? I could not hold my laughter, and told her ‘I am not sure about your weight, but you have definitely lost your mind’. To this she promptly replied – ‘Noooo – Khush – you see if I have a glass of water, I will weigh 500gms more’, and I was like – Really!?

Weighing – is becoming an obsession. I know of people who weigh themselves not just daily and but after every meal and every time they use the loo! So now the scale and those numbers define their self-image. They cannot associate themselves for who they, but are identified by the number. You may be a good parent, you may be amazing at what you do or you may be a good person or anything – but still you choose to be unhappy because of how much you weigh. Does this make sense?

I really think it is time to THROW YOUR SCALE.

Now,

  • Become more aware of how you feel instead of worrying about some number.
  • Listen and get in touch with your to hunger signals instead of worrying that I might gain a kilo or gram.
  • Stop counting calories and started seeking out food your body needs
  • And most importantly – STOP picking apart every flaw or bulge and started seeing yourself as a whole person.

Give up the obsession with the number and focus on feeling Healthy, Light and Fit.

I am sure, by now you must itching to know the ‘results’ of following this practice! Like I have said before there are other ways to measure improvement besides looking at some number. You can always pay attention to how your clothes fit. You can measure yourself with a tape measure. You feel lighter, more energetic and people around you start Complimenting you 😉

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So STOP worrying about your ‘size’ and how much you weigh.  And this definitely does not mean Eat like a maniac and don’t care about what you eat – it means – eat sensibly, live sensibly, exercise – focus on being healthy and not looking thin! And trust me or rather your own body – for unless there are some major unknown medical issues, most people come to their own version of “healthy weight”, “healthy size” –  when they are living a healthy life. So focus on nourishment, eat good clean homemade food, and stay  active – this way you are on the right track than following some crazy diet for 2 weeks and then finally giving up coz-its-difficult-to-follow and cursing yourself.

So, how do you know it is Time for you to throw your Scale?

  • You have fixed a specific number that you wanted to “be” with regards to your weight even if “being” that number means you starve or punish yourself in the name of exercise
  • You wait to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without-any-clothes, after going to the bathroom for the “best” results?
  • You suddenly felt ugly when the scale showed that you were up a kilo or 2 from the day before?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you might also benefit from throwing your scale out.

Try it Out for a Month or 2! What is the big deal? I am sure letting go of worries about weighing a certain number – you definitely will have Lesser wrinkles 😉 . In fact, when you start living this way, you will feel empowered, more beautiful, confident and no more at the mercy of a number to define you. You will be able to connect to your inner self, your stomach, your body.

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Sounds kinda cool!

Would love you hear about experience, once you try this.

Sugar!! – Another Feared Word in our Diet Dictionary

The rumor mills running around sugar are so high, that it is disheartening to see how a simple ingredient is now labelled a killer!

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(Pic Courtesy – http://mamaglow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/543ab6f44216d)

Do you know the History of Sugar? There are records of knowledge of sugar among the ancient Greeks and Romans, but only as an imported medicine, and not as a food. For example Dioscorides in Greece in the 1st century (AD) wrote: “There is a kind of coalesced honey called sakcharon [i.e. sugar] found in reeds in India and Arabia Felix [i.e. Yemen] similar in consistency to salt and brittle enough to be broken between the teeth like salt. It is good dissolved in water for the intestines and stomach, and [can be] taken as a drink to help [relieve] a painful bladder and kidneys.” (Ref – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sugar)

To help heal seriously infected wounds, some surgeons have revived a 4,000-year-old treatment, born on the battlefields of ancient Egypt: they pack the depths of treacherous wounds with sweet substances like sugar. Sugar tends to draw water into a wound’s gritty midst, through osmosis. This action both dries the bed of the wound to promote new tissue growth and dehydrates the bacteria that cause infection, leaving them weak and fragile and thus reducing the pain. The granulation tissue is much pinker and healthier

Coming to our Indian Tradition – sugar is a component of our panch-amrit along with milk, honey, ghee and curd. Today we fear most of these ingredients, labelling these dangerous and carefully keeping away from them. But has it really helped? Or are the obesity rates still going up?

Sugar is not the killer. The way it is being consumed in, is what is really killing us! We eat enormous amounts of biscuits, pastries, cakes, chocolates etc where, other than the fact that massive amounts of sugar is used, there is an excess of preservatives, trans fats, sodium, emulsifiers and lack of essential fiber and minerals. But – why should we see that – all we hold onto is the sugar and blame it!

So stop blaming sugar, and look at the food you are eating. Examine it! Question yourself, Am I eating right? Will this nourish and nurture me?

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food

Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, W. Va., TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on the ignorance of food.