Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Amanda Weight Loss Viral Video

Look at Amanda X as she loses weight! Amanda (last name unknown) started taking a pic of herself tobetter moderate  her weight loss efforts and in one year she lost an incredible 88 lbs going from fat to svelte! A Reddit user condensed the pics to a 5 sec gif of Amanda losing 88 lb and the clip is truly amazing and inspiring.

In fact inspiring enough for me to take a shot of self (though not enough to share!)

Woman's Time-Lapse Weight Loss Video Goes Viral | ABC News Blogs - Yahoo

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

BMI Calculator

A BMI calculator is just one way to keep a track of a healthy body weight. Though there have been many criticisms of the BMI - for example it doesnt take into account muscle weight vs fat weight - its a good way to keep a check on whether one remains in the healthy zone by normal people.

Powered by BMI Calculator

Monday, 21 October 2013

Why Its Easier To gain Weight Than to Lose Weight?

I have heard this refrain hundreds of times - "I have only got to breathe air to gain weight" or "I go to the gym but havent lost any weight" or just simply "Why dont I lose weight?"

Let me tell you why.

No this is not going to be a brutal dissemination of your terrible eating habits. Just some plain fact about calories and how we gain them and lose them.

How much calorie to lose/gain 1 kg

It takes approximately 7700 calories to lose 1 kg of fat.

Suppose one goes about one's normal work eating normal everyday food. A 65-68 kgs person would need approximately 1800 calories in a day. The regular food we consume will total upto more or less that. By regular food I mean a bowl of cereal for breakfast with juice, some carbohydrates, protein and vegetables for lunch, some snacks and a regular supper. Nothing  high carbohydrate or junk included.

How we consume extra food without knowing

Suppose one consumes a pastry or a bag of chips extra - that would easily make 250 cal extra daily. Having an extra something and most often more than an extra something like one rich meal (atleast 500 cal extra), a couple of extra beer (again +500) calories - one would easily rack up a total of 7500 in a matter of 30 days.

People gradually put on weight forgetting about the little somethings they eat. They think "Ok, I will exercise it off" - and never get around to it. And what about the exercise?

Does a little exercise help? Lets do some calculations.

Lets say I have had a 4-5 beers in the week, had biriyani twice, consumed some crunchies with my drinks - and havent counted my calories. Lets count the extra calories.
4-5 beers - 1000 cal at least
Biriyani (or something equally rich) - 1000 cal at least - and more if Mutton Biriyani
Cunchies - 300 cal - lets say

I have not included any sweets here and already I am overcaloried by 2300!

Does the above calculations of overindulging sound plausible? I would say so. If its not the drink - then its the pastries or sweetened juice or fried wantons or something.

How periodic, unplanned exercise is not enough

So I plan to work it off on the weekend.

I walk /jog 5 kms twice a week. At approximately 60 calories per km (unless one is walking uphill) - I manage to lose around 600 calories. With more exertion I manage to shed 1000 calories. Believe me, if one is not a fitness freak and goes overboard - that is what one is likely to shed with diligent exercise twice or thrice a week.

Lets go back to the calculations again.

I have taken 2300 calories and lost 1000 calories in a week. I have an extra of 1300 calories. No heavy obvious bingeing, no drinking spree, no living off junk food - and I have gained 1300 calories extra in a week. In 6 weeks I will likely put on 1 kg, in one year 8 kgs or more. (52 wks X 1300 cal/7700cal = 8.8 kgs).

And it goes on for years. One puts on weight kg by kg, pound by pound, relentlessly, and before one knows it one is overweight!

I still dont know how I am gaining weight. I feel I am an occasional drinker. I dont party or overeat all the time, I do regular exercise in my opinion. But I am still gaining weight!

So do you see how its so much easier to gain weight than to lose weight!

What does one do about it?

You have diagnosed the problem. In my opinion - knowing why one is gaining weight is the biggest step in the direction of weightloss and an eventual healthy life.

How to shed that weight? Now that will be another article. Or a long process!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Workout - 19/10/2013

My Workout Regime for the day

Feeling positively awash with goodwill today. Had another great workout yesterday.

Here's how it went


Round 1 

  •  5 mins on the elliptical (read - 65 cal)

  • A set of legs and arms workout on the home gym (Leg press, Leg Extension, Shoulder press), 100 twists on the spinner

Round 2 

  • 11 mins on the treadmill (read - 100 cal)

  • 2nd set of muscles workout

Round 3 

  •  54 Mins on the treadmill (Read - 612 cal)

Maximum intensity - Incline 12, Speed - 6.7 km/hr

Check out the stats here

Finally did some post exercise lounging around, watching TV, listening to songs loud and cooling down :)

Friday, 18 October 2013

Workout - 17/10/2013

Today's Workout Log

7 Rounds around the campus

Time - 50 mins: Distance - 4 kms approx. I have to set my pedometer properly. It gets disconnected with too much movement of my arms!

Intensity - Not too high. Considerably hampered by gossiping

Feeling - Great

Gym - 3 rounds of leg press, leg extension, twister, arms crunch followed by a 5 mins on the vibration plate

Today's Food Log

Breakfast - 4 pooris and alu sabzi from Ganguram :-)
Lunch - Normal with saag, karela, mixed veg, daal and a little rice
Bsicuits - 4 Maries
Sweets - 1 Nalen gurer sandesh
1 bowl Papaya
Dinner - 1 plate homemade mattar chat (with farsan/chips on top)

Now how do I sum up these calories????

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Yesterday's Workout!

Finally got around to doing some real kicka.. workout yesterday. In fact two days in a row.

14th October - 6 rounds around the campus (I estimate a distance of 650 or so mts per round) after my last workout on 5th October. It was a relief to get out of the house with a friend and move around after awating a major Hurricane (Phailin), antcipating, preparing and then tiding over it - over the weekend. Not much damage around the campus except a few broken limbs (from trees, silly) and lots of leaves and twigs.

15th Oct - 8 rounds including some slow jogging  (again with above friend) which felt truly satisfying. Continued onto the gym. Did 3 rounds of weights for legs and arms and then the blessed relief of the vibration plates.

I know these variety of exercise will help better eventually - but there is nothing more adrenaline busting than watching the calorie count going up up on a treadmill!

Here's to more exercise!

Did I spoil it all with a beer tonight? Cannot be helped - sigh. i do so wish I can avoid those mixtures and ...

Monday, 14 October 2013

10 Benefits of a Bowl of Papaya for Breakfast

It is a well known fact that papaya has a huge cache of benefits asociated with it. Together with green tea - papaya is the most revered of food that nutritionists and dieticians recommend. And with good reason.

The 10 Benefits of Papaya

 Reason # 1 to eat papaya

Unlike many other healthy food - a rich ripe papaya tastes like heaven. Its sweet and slightly sour taste provides just the required kickstart to a glorious feeling throughout the day. For a sustained diet of any food - it has to taste good - papaya has that going for it in loads!

# 2 - The fruit is available throughout the year. So it can form a part of any dietary plan in any season.

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 # 3 - Its health benefits are myriad. It contains an enzyme Papain that helps in natural digestion.

# 4 - A bowl of Papaya can provide about 10% of our daily requirement of natural dietary fibre and helps in clear bowel movement.

# 5 - It is a rich natural source of Vitamins A, C, E and flavonoids like Beta carotine  and thus a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients. These vitamins strengthen the body immune system and what better way to get them then from a natural and easily available source? Papaya similarly has anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of its unique enzymes.

Check out the Papaya Nutrition content here

Papaya Nutriton Content

# 6 - Lower Sugar (than Mango) - A small bowl of papaya (100 g) contains about 43 calories and 8 g of sugar. Compare it with Mangoes. A 100g intake of ripe mango will have about 14 g of sugar and 60 calories. (all nutrition facts from google search results ) Thankfully mangoes are a seasonal fruit! It is advisable not to take more than 20-22 g sugar in a day. Am not sure if natural sugar is ncluded in that, though.

# 7 -  Beauty Benefits - Papaya is a good source of natural food for a healthy skin. While a dab of mashed papaya can make a good skin pack and skin lightener, the vitamin A in papaya ensures a clear skin tone and good eye sight.

# 8 - Low Sodium, Potassium Rich - The low sodium content of Papaya is a major boon as it prevents water retention. Potassium in the fruit helps control hypertension.

# 9 - Unripe papaya is frequently used as a meat tenderizer while cooking meat dishes - like mutton and lamb. The enzyme papain breaks down the tough meat fibres and makes cooking easier. However the unripe papaya should be eat cooked as direct intake of the enzyme could have adverse effects.

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# 10 - Eating the bowl of papaya has other periphery benefits like healthy hair, good eye sight, clear skin; papain is extracted from papaya for dietary supplements, raw papaya is used everywhere from a face to a hair mask, to a wound soother.

I am really however not sure how many of those periphery benefits are supported by science and facts. Papaya has been touted as a great weight loss enabler. The only way I can see papaya helping to lose weight is because it makes a filling zero cholesterol meal. Be sure to continue counting your sugar when you eat a load of ripe papaya based diet.

I have been having papaya for breakfast for the last so many years and i like to believe it has helped me be a healthy person. It makes a wonerful and healthier filler when you want to nibble on chocolates or chips.

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Papaya definitely needs it be added to one's diet.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

How to do Suryanamaskar (With Illustration) - Health, Fitness, Meditation and Prayer

How 12 Rounds of Surya Namaskar is all your Body Needs

Surya Namaskar or the salutation to the Sun God has long been accepted by Indian culture to provide a deep aligning of the mind, body and spirit. these asanas passed down from ascetics and refined by yoga Gurus has been practised for centuries early in the morning as a form of salutation to the Sun God Surya.

The modern day or current popularity of Surya Namaskar can be directly attributed to Sr sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living good living cell - as the popularity and following of Pranayama by millions can be attributed directly to Baba Ramdev.

How to Do Surya Namaskar

The Surya Namaskar yoga consists of 12 asanas in an inviolable sequence

# 1. Stand with your palms together (Namaskar pose) and your feet together in Pranamasan

# 2 Ardha Chandrasan-  Lift the arms up and back in a slow fluid movement so as to stretch the entire body. Keep the arms close to the head and push the pelvis slightly forward to stretch better.

# 3 Bend forward from your waist to touch the mat

# 4 With both palms on the mat, move your right leg backward with knee on the floor. Left foot should be between the palms and head tilted looking up

# 5 Take the left leg back, keep the arms straight, feet on the ground in an inclined plank

# 6 Parvatasana - Raise the hips up while looking down. Palms and feet are on the ground. The position as the name suggests is like a mountain or an inverted "V"

# 7 Lower the knees, chest, chin to the floor. Raise the hips slightly.

# 8 Bhujangasana - Raise your chest and look up like a cobra. Back should be in an arc.

# 9 Repeat Parvatasana - Raise the hips up while looking down. Palms and feet are on the ground.

# 10 Go to position # 4 with the alternate set of feet - right foot at the front and the left leg stretched back.

# 11 Position # 3, ie bending forward from the waist while touching the ground

# 12 Same as position # 2 - Ardha Chandrasan - arms raised up and the body stretched outward.

End with the Namaskar which is the start of the second leg of one cycle in which you move the right leg forward first in Step # 4

Check out the illustration of Surya Namaskar .

Saturday, 5 October 2013

600 Calories on Treadmill - Tum dee dum

I worked out 600 calories on treadmill today. This is by far my BEST EVER effort on a treadmill. I had done 600 calories one roughly 10 months back when I was preparing for the marathon. However then since my concentration was on jogging - I couldnt log much calories even though I worked out longer.

Today's workout log

Calories Burnt - 600 cal
Workout - walking on incline on treadmill
Distance covered - 5 kms
Time - 50 mins

Maximum incline - 13
Maximum intensity - jogging for 1 min at 7 km per hour speed on 13 incline.

Followed this workout with some crunches, leg press and 6 minutes on the Vibration Plate

Feeling - good!

This workout came about after losing around 1.5 kgs this week because of an upset stomach which compelled me to a minimal diet. I feel positively lightweight and timble toed ;-)

Sandra Bullock - Gravity and Age Defying Fitness

I just read the review of Gravity in which Sandra Bullock plays a lost in space astronaut. At 50, Bullock is getting rave reviews for her yummy appearance.

Bullock was always one my favorite people on screen. With this performance (which I will be sure to watch) my admiration for her has gone up a notch or two. Just one generation back - 50 was considered to be irretrievably old. Male actors have transcended the 50 years barrier with meaty roles for sometime. Women havent been so lucky. Good roles yes - but "gravity" defining roles at 50 - cant remember any!

Bullock's role which must have demanded a load of stamina is a tribute to her fitness. Sandra trained specifically for her "weightlessness" in the movie. She admits she pushed her body to the extreme during training.

Read about how Sandra trained for Gravity here.

Bullock's fitness regime is apparently a combination of dance routines for cardio, yoga and pilates. She revealed on Today Show to Jay Leno recently that she does kick boxing and rides a bike whenever she can and runs when she is in Austin.

Sandra Bullock Workout Regime

Sandra's workout by as prescribed by her trainer Eden Paul includes
Reverse Lunges
Push ups
Dumbbell Workouts
Scissor Kicks for those killer abs
Side Lunges

Sandra reportedly has been working recently with Simone De La Rue at the Body by Simone Dance Studio on
Yoga, Pilates and Dance Cardio. She apparently puts in one hour every day six days a week with Simone to get her killer looks.

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Sandra Bullock Diet

What diet does Sandra follow? Sandra apparently maintain her looks and fitness by a healthy eating habit. She has revealed at times that she doesnt have a specific diet plan as such but avoids junk food. She apparently cheats a day a week.

Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred

Such an example of health and fitness coupled with true beauty and acting skill - deserves a shout.

Keep it up Sandra!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Healthy Run - That Was Not Healthy!

A 5 km run is just going to be a stroll in the park, right?

Wrong. If it has been organised by Apollo Hospital, if the runners are made to wait for an hour after the schedule of the run for the numerous guests, chief guests to stroll in, if there is no line marking the starting area - that the DJ co-ordinating the run has to shout herself hoarse, threaten, cajole, plead to get the runners into a supposed starting line which had already been changed twice, if there is absolutely no water along the way, if... the list goes on.

I am talking about the Run for a Healthy heart Run organised by Apollo Hospital Bhubaneswar on 29th September to mark a Healthy Heart day.  If "organised" is a word that can be used for the event.

The saddest part was there were many young children and older people who had come with such enthusiasm. It was touted as an everyman run. But apparently they forgot to provide water. I completed the near 5 km distance in 35 minutes, my son in 30 minutes - and if as claimed by the organisers the water was finished on the way - was it only provided for the professional athletes? For God's sake - we are not talking about fancy stuff that runners need - just water.

It was okay for me - but what about the 1000 odd casual people who had strolled in for such a run seeing the delightful ads? How can dehydration help a heart? Or did Apollo spend all the money for the event on the ads?

I guess it is a mistake being lured into such events by the general noise.

The only heartening thing about the run was the participation and general discipline and enthusiasm of the runners - despite everything.

And of course it didnt rain!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Weight Loss - Working Tricks and Tips - FREE

Let me be clear. Running one marathon doesnt ensure weight loss (other than temporarily). Weight Loss is a function of just one thing...well two actually.

  • Proper diet
  • Consistent exercise
Nothing earthbreaking about it - is it?

Proper diet could be a 1600 cal diet per day. If one is above 70 kgs and leads a moderately active life, the body expends near about 1800 - 2000 calories. So following a 1600 calories diet per day regularly should ensure that one loses weight.

Another factor that I have discovered that ensures weight loss is consistent exercise. I have discovered (yes it is a discovery because otherwise there wont be so many health fads) that people who regularly walk in the park while chatting are healthy and lose weight eventually. I include chatting because that gives the right impetus to walk. And consistent walking for one hour daily ensures weight loss.

The above is versus people who go on sporadic diets, take on gym membership and go may once a week for some hardcore training and change and follow various fitness fads. Result - for every kg of weight loss they put on weight.

Another thing going for the walk in the park is that it is an activity that can be done daily right onto old age or the eighties. It will be very difficult to walk on the incline or run backwards on a treadmill during the sixties unless one is abysmally fit.

A Simple Diet Plan

WHAT is a proper diet? A proper diet means eating a good breakfast, a regular everyday lunch with colours, less oil with loads of vegetable and a gluten free dinner before 8 in the evening. Simple, right?

A 1600 calorie diet  could be divided up into four 400 cals diets in a day. Or it could be measured        (1600 * 7) in a week. If you decide to fast on a single day or just take maybe 400-500 one day of the week - you can have a bit of fun other days!

So if you have like me tried all weight loss tricks and your weight goes up and down like a yoyo, you are well into your forties - STOP EXPERIMENTING and just take a stroll in the park.

Weight and BMI Update

Weight - 74 kgs
BMI - 28.9

Verdict  - Overweight bordering on Obese

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2013 - I Completed the Full Marathon!

Mumbai Marathon - Date 20.1.2013
Status - Completed
Distance - 42.2 Kms
Time - 7 hrs 30 mins approx

The goal at the top of this blog says - I need to complete a marathon. Happily thats done. My revised goal is to do a marathon in under 5 hrs 30 mins nw! Unfortunately due to an extremely busy home life I wasnt able to document much my marathon preparation in this so called "fitness blog" of mine. Thats mostly because my fitness efforts have been sporadic rather than systematic! But I still ran the marathon. And finished it. And am still in one piece. Here is an article detailing my marathon story.


Going to Mumbai for a marathon??? Why??? This was the standard enquiry of incredulity from friends and family alike. I really wanted to go for the half marathon. I shifted to India end of June 2012 from Malaysia. By the time I found out about the marathons in India and discovered the SCMM website, the registration for the half marathon was over. So I enrolled for the Full Marathon instead. Dont ask me why, I was not remotely prepared for it. Enquiring with the organisers made me realise that the confirmation for the run would only come mid Dec.

I go to the gym fairly regularly. I run a couple or more miles and do some weights for my leg muscles. My entire long distance running amounted to one formal 10 km run and a couple of informal group runs of the same distance. By the time I registered it was the second week of November (I think a couple of days before registration closed) and I meant to start training in earnest. Really. It never happened. With two school going kids and almost no domestic help, shifting woes, training never took off. All I could manage was going to the gym 3-4 tmes a week max. 7 kms was the longest I could cover in training. There was never time for more. Finally in desperation I started walking stairs in January to build endurance. I built it up to 60 floors of climbing and descending at a stretch before stopping the week before the run. So on the day of the run, I had no idea how much I could cover. 42 kms seemed an impossibility. I was confident of doing the half marathon distance at least. I decided to enjoy the experience to the fullest, however.

And enjoy, I did.

It was exhilarating just to be at Azad Maidan early in the morning. I couldnt believe I was finally at the starting point about to run a full marathon, with my kids and husband in Bhubaneswar 1500 kms away!

I started the run a bit behind the 5.30 Bus (the pacers that took you to the finish in 5 hr 30 mins) but realized I couldn’t afford to follow their pace if I meant to complete. So I deliberately fell behind and soaked in the atmosphere while clipping along. The noise, music at Marine Drive, the sea at Chowpatti with the fishing boats, the early half marathoners crossing me, Haji Ali, very filimisque in the distance, the suburbs skyline…ahhh. I am not a Mumbaiite and these typical Mumbai sights seen early in the cold morning while actually running – let me tell you nothing can beat the experience. I am sorry to say, doesn’t sound professional, I even stopped and took pics. I am so glad I did. Because I plan to compete against time the next time round and there might be no time for pics!

Then came the most tedious stretch of my journey – the Worli Sealink. The sealink looks a dream from the distance and I had been really keen to run on it. Just imagine – running on the Worli Sealink before getting to drive on it – when the road has been cleared for you! But the stretch did get monotonous. The only relief was the lead pack of Kenyans crossing between 15-16. They came after a pilot vehicle and helicopter and ran by at a flash generally leaving me agape. I was so stunned at their speed and grace I couldn’t even get the mobile up for the pic. Kipketer crossed by me and I got to read her nameJ Savoring hose moments of wonder got me across the sealink – but not before a cramp happened at 18. Never having run a really long distance – I was not familiar with the crippling feeling of a runner’s cramp. I settled down at the side of a hoarding and did a few stretches, applied the small tube of Volini so fortuitously provided in the running kit and felt good enough to continue.

At 22 I messaged my hubby that I was half way through. I realise the message has been sent at 9.10. I was not really keeping track of the time during the run. 3hrs 20 min for 22 kms while taking pics, cramping, seems pretty fine to me! At home I don’t even start a run without the ipod – here I had covered 22 kms without using it! I plugged it on to my ears and continued still feeling okay. By 29 I was feeling bad – real bad. My legs were totally cramped by then. That got relieved only after the 30 k mark when I got some Religare sprayed on the muscles. It worked like a miracle and I made it till 35 walking, jogging alternately. 30 k was done at 10.40 when I again messaged hubby informing him of the status.

35 km till the end was a nightmare – relieved only because I was running with a co-runner. After 38 we realized BMC had taken down the markers, even though the markers at the other side were still there! It seemed a long long distance before finally the turning to Churchgate came our way. Kingfisher water stalls were still on the road – but not much else. Churchgate to Flora Fountain was a bad – especially when one had to ask directions. But the longest stretch was from the Fountain to the Azad Maidan gates. A paltry distance of hardly 1 km seemed to go on and on. We had to ask the way all along in our dazed state, the roads were really crowded, the sun was blazing down and I was dragging and limping along alternately. The last 7 kms took more than 2 hours and I could only cover it with the thought that stopping was not a choice after coming so far.

After reaching the Maidan I realized that Finishers medals were still to be had. I was really thinking all would be shut down and the organizers would have packed up! But the finishers just ahead of me egged me and said “go and get the medals”. That literally infused new life into my oh so tired limbs! I ran to the stalls, picked up the medal and for some moments I was feeling as fresh as a 1 year old – as if I could go for miles and miles more.

Sitting in the car for the trip to my brother’s house brought a reality check. I hadn’t done the post run stretches while I was still standing, so couldn’t move, I had huge blisters on 8 toes and well I just wanted to go to sleep for ages.

But what the heck – I had completed a marathon and plan to do it all over again! For someone who was obese and a couch potato till 1.5 years back, a Mom of 2 starting to run after 40 years, I have come a long way…