Physical Transformation

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                                                         Part-1 (Jan-18)

Lately, I have been continually asked for inputs from a lot of friends, for the quick physical transformation in a short time. I have been able to lose 14 kg Body fat mass in 90 days. Average I could lose 5 kg each month. So I decided to jot down some information. I achieved it by setting simple goals and sincerely following habits. I will try to detail out what worked best for me.

On the diet front, I had read about Paleo and Keto diets. I tried to blend my meals using a lot of useful information from both the diets. What worked best for me is to cut down sugars and starches (carbs, all white carbs). It helps in lowering your insulin levels, reduce your calories and makes to lose weight without hunger. Each meal usually consisted of Protein, Fat and Low Carb veggies. I would have them as much as I liked without any guilt, just kept a check on the overall days fat intake. I also was influenced by listening to a podcast from Gary Taubes. Gary has been researching heavily on the health industry from years. His revelations in some of his books enable you to give you are a clear picture of how various sugar industries evolved, as well as he has significant contributions on Good and Bad calories.  I would suggest you can search a lot of his books and read if you get a chance. Also, he has one another good read “Why we get fat“.

Living in India, and the kind meals we have grown up with –– it was challenging to cut down on carbs in the first week, but gradually I managed them, and now enjoy the changes completely. Definitely, I did not cut down all carbs, as they are an important source of vital nutrients and energy. I just moved to the natural forms, going away from processed forms.

On the physical activity front, I tried various ways. I worked out 1 hour daily almost 6 days a week. 5 days included 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio. I tried various combinations with strength training and cardio exercises. I tried to change weekly, switching between heavyweight and endurance strength training. Cardio activities would be running, use of traditional cardio machines, HIIT circuits, and somedays functional training as well. On Sunday or a holiday, a 2 hour of a hike or a run. (I would usually listen to a podcast or an audiobook to go along with it).

Some other habits I followed is warm water and a black coffee or herbal tea in the morning. I had a high protein breakfast, increased fibre intake, enjoyed food slowly and a good night sleep which added fuel to my metabolism. Followed a 15/9 intermittent fasting and also tried for 36 hours ones. Cheated ones a week –– I usually have cakes and ice creams in one or two meals on the cheat day. I often gorge on dark chocolates(more than 90%).

 

I could conclude that my goals were reached because of the habits I took up. The habits still allowed me to enjoy meals with my loved ones. This article Goals Vs Habits helped to get kickstarted not only for my health but also on a professional and personal growth. I am thankful and grateful for all the inputs and support from everyone around.

                                            Part-2 (Nov-18)

Hello, again friends, almost a year back I started to take my health a little seriously. I have read, tried and experienced a few more ideas. I would be happy to share some updates and inputs. Hopefully, these updates would be useful further.
One thing is sure, the older the problem, the older the solution. And health has been an ancient issue and supposedly we will find a solution there itself.  I am just updating some more inputs on diet and physical exercise.
We human beings have evolved from the Stone age, Hunter-gatherers, agriculturist to the modern day sapiens we have become. When humans started to settle down in one place for a long time, farming activities took a course. From where grains and further processed food items evolved. These inputs come from an amazing book, Sapiens- A Brief history of Humankind. Supposedly, it gives us rational inputs for our beliefs and implements a solution to one of our oldest problem we have on health.
Some practical tips which helped were eating more of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and trying to avoid more of grains, dairy and highly processed food items. To be honest, for me to leave dairy becomes a little difficult as I do have cheese ones a week minimum. But the ideal way would be best if we can avoid dairy as well.
On physical exercises front, I have been trying a lot of experimenting with Cross-Fit training, callisthenics, and Yoga. I have dedicated three days a week for Cross-Fit and Yoga. Cross-fit has enabled me with strengthening my core further, improving my agility and enabling with wonderful bodyweight movements. It involved more of circuit training, working on your multiple muscles together. Compound bodyweight exercises, with timely repetitions, have helped better. These endurance circuits enabled me to boost my metabolism and burn more calories in short limited work out time I get in my schedules. I would suggest, you can research a number of trainers and programs. It’s definitely worth the effort, as it would be more helpful in designing, executing and measuring your efforts.
On Yoga front, I am in deep love with Yoga. I just got a small taste of it from a friend and then there was no looking back. I have been trying various forms of Yoga, I have tried a number of sessions with various trainers forms. I still a little naive to have a firm say on this, I will update ones I get some more practice and experience.
I have also, started reading quite a bit on Yoga as well. It has helped me with slowly choosing Yoga as a Lifestyle, not just a physical activity. This topic can go very broad, I will try to write a separate blog post on it. I would just suggest, go for it, in whatever way you can.
To brief a few points, from my last strict diet of following a Ketogenic, I have moved to a more relaxed diet of consuming more amount of Vegetables and Fruits (and yes I still do cheat with a big smile, and enjoy with my loved ones). From the diets available to follow, what I think Paleo would be a good pick to get going on. And on the exercise front, I have added Cross-fit and Yoga to my routines. Will update this article in the new year. Till then, have a wonderful year. Thank you again for reading and your precious time.

Intuitions, Impulsiveness, errors, mistakes –– the science behind it!

I have been intuitive and impulsive for most of early life, which has got me into trouble on a lot of occasions. I have been lucky to receive tough love several times from special people in my life and realize some of my shortcomings. This leads me to read (have been able to finish 21 books in 10 months) books. I have never been a reader, thanks to Kindle and Audiobooks which has encouraged me to become more comfortable with books. The best part about books, is the best thinkers of the last few thousand years tell you their nuggets of wisdom. There are several ways you can apply and use the concepts you learn. I will just try to put in some techniques which could help in better decision-making process enabling to reduce mistakes and errors. Making a mistake is not a problem, not learning from mistakes is a problem, and must admit I have learned slowly. Building a foundation is hard work. The key here is brutal honesty with yourself about what you really know and applying yourself using the science you learn. I will try to point out the source/science of the process leading us to errors and mistakes from a few books I read.

In the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman shows how the mind works and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives–and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

Kahneman talks about two imaginary characters in our mind:

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We have an impulsive, emotional, and intuitive decision-making system he calls as System 1. A deliberative, reasoning, and (sometimes) rational decision-making system as System 2.

He says “Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition of these silent stored pieces of information. These are just thoughts which have been there before and not which you may like them to be. Intuition is the recognition of something we’ve seen before, we recognize a situation and we know how to respond because our brain sees the pattern and relates to them. Perhaps this results from direct experience (we’ve lived it, older conditioning, past experiences, Astro reason, or could be anything) without thinking to see if it’s the right situation to use System 1 or System 2.

Kahneman describes several errors we commit in numerous life aspects, which causes us behavioural changes embedded within us. Here is a short list of some errors and mistakes which are made by fast thinking:

  • Fast thinking concludes that something must be appropriate if it is identified with pleasant feelings.
  • It focuses on existing evidence and neglects absent evidence (we don’t seek into longer-term causes and conditions, forget the context, don’t even ask what happened just before or what will happen next, and get into wrong views).
  • It suppresses doubt and neglects ambiguity.
  • It responds more strongly to losses than to gains, leading further to fears and unrealistic planning
  • It interprets and finds causes and intentions—innumerable relational messes begin here. Just imagine the number of situations in your life, which could have been better had a calmer and effortful mind system 2 be in place.
  • It generates a limited set of basic assessments that lead to ridiculous statements like “How hard is it to be a President?, Definitely I can do a better job in this case” because we only have a minimal idea of what it takes given our finite views coming from our tiny set of possible assessments/ observations.

Here is an Example which he gives, if you are asked two questions, “Are you a good driver” and “Are you better than average as a driver?
The answer to the first question comes easy as a Yes or a No. In most of the cases for the second answer, we would start comparing ourselves to an average driver, without even knowing anything about it and starting to relate to it and come up with an answer. The second answer is almost impossible to answer as it would mean us to know the details of calculating the average good driver skills of the whole world and then assessing our skills to come up with a somewhat close answer. It’s our general tendency to find a pattern and draw a conclusion without really putting in an effort to understand the actuality.

The list goes on, a lot of his chapters are based on various study fields to provide detailed insights. And we are mostly blind to these events for the reasons cited above. Which of these do we fall into? How could we find out? Have we thought of reflecting and looking into those situations and learn from them? The next time you have a tough decision to make try putting yourself in someone else’ shoes. Ask yourself how they would handle the problem. Many of the messes we are in the middle of arising because we are unaware of the mischief of our autopilot mode thinking(system 1).

We are continually making decisions even without we know. He emphasizes on slowing down be being more deliberate and logical before giving any kind of response to various situations in life. This ultra-useful hack could be very helpful in personal and professional life. Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking.

It’s impossible to completely avoid errors and mistakes. After all, we are making thousands of decisions every day, many of them subconsciously and automatically. By automating the unimportant ones to system 1, you can spare the scarce resources of our System 2 brain and put in a conscious effort you’ll hopefully avoid errors in important decisions when the stakes are high.

I will try to elaborate another author’s idea:

We usually identify ourselves with the thoughts in our mind, where do these thoughts come from is a good question to ask. Thoughts emerge from consciousness and slip away as easily as they appear. Take, for example, the inner dialogue that occupies our monkey mind, have you ever noticed when tons of thoughts keep running continually in your mind? When you are in the middle of something and a sudden internal chatter gets ticked in your mind? The thoughts then just get registered with us without we know if they are really we need to keep with us.

It’s just our general tendency to perceive any situation at a time. Your awareness registers what you see through your nervous system, yet your mind is compelled to add a dialogue about what it perceives, rather than just observing it with your awareness.

In the book “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment ” Eckhart Tolle says

“People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt, and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and dwells in the past.”

He makes another powerful point “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.

The moment we identify ourselves with the thoughts and extend them more attention and get carried away, we drift into the boat with them. As we identify and attach ourselves to them, we flounder. We then believe in our thoughts rather than seeking to analyze what genuinely is appropriate and good in our situation. Flowing with the thoughts leads us to all kind of stress, suffering, errors, mistakes. The point he explains, is thoughts are not the true essence of who you are, the author then suggests a quick fix to the negative thought patterns.

Eckhart Tolle says “Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.”

Shunning the inner dialogue leading to dwelling into unneeded thoughts could be avoided by observing and letting go. To follow all our thoughts, which might not be even we intend to make us agree with them. Thoughts are influenced by our: beliefs, the past, moods, nutrition, illness, and level of consciousness he explains. By changing these where possible, we shift the intensity of future thoughts. I also read a line which got registered within me “Imagine a world where we witness thoughts without becoming them and experience feelings without being overwhelmed by them”.

Practices like Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, awareness, could systematically slow down the nervous system, allowing more of the wisdom of our slower thinking to come forward and enabling us observing our thoughts rather than getting flown with them. Also, having regular breaks from continual work schedules to stop the momentum of our racing minds, could be even helpful. Spending time on personal reflection helps too. There is no one rule or formula to correct and perfect the path to errors, mistakes, decision making but the insights could make us conscious, aware and alert when we fall prey to such situations. My purpose was to just highlight the systematic errors we keep making and leave it there. To end here are two quotes from Socrates “The only true smartness is in knowing you know nothing.” and he also says I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”.

This topic is a broad and complex one, I have just tried to gather up just a few fundamental points and put them across in a simple manner! Am thankful for you to spare your valuable time reading this article!

Opinion and Empathy: Bill Bullard

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Happen to just come across this image, and it just hit me to the core. I just kept reading about Empathy and Opinions in so many places. It really did not make me understand to clearly, a lot of my Mentors and the Leaders I like and follow mention about Empathy, this one just got into the depth and so precisely clear for anyone to understand and relate it. I am just writing this post just as a reminder for myself also as I have been quite vulnerable, not able to understand people and get driven sometimes, so it gets registered with me totally as well. My last post of a drive on expressway which I experienced with a friend had hit me hard too. This quote in my daily life it helps to explain my thoughts so much, as well as helps me to understand others better too. I happen to interact with so many people in person and online as well(friends, family, customers, acquaintances, etc.), it just helps me keep connected with it.  Also through the years in my personal life, I can relate so much, and when I see real innate people with glimpses of such qualities, it just drives me to them and their cultures. I found this video which was kind of interesting,

Just sharing the thoughts so even I could regularly be alerted.  Hope the QUOTE IMAGE and the video above helps you with some new insights for yourself as well 🙂 and sharing with some might get more smiles :). Thank you for reading this up.

MUMBAI-PUNE EXPRESSWAY: AN EYE OPENER TO INDIAN INEQUALITY

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India ranks 130th amongst the 188 countries on the Human Development Index, however, once inequality is factored in, we drop even further to rank 150th. In addition to employment strategies, the report calls for the government, civil society and private sector to work together and help to reduce inequality.  

One such incident we would like to put to your notice is whilst on the way to Mumbai driving from Pune to the second food mall beside the petrol pump. We witnessed two housekeeping ladies sleeping in the bathroom. Needless to say, this is a public toilet and the condition of the toilets added to our discomfort and shock. Considering the numbers of vehicles passing by daily on the Mumbai-Pune expressway would surely imply a staggering amount of visits to these public toilets. We noticed various people pass by in ignorance as if these housekeeping ladies were just meant to be sleeping in these public toilets. Adding to our shock further, we inquired further about these ladies only to find out they belonged to a village close by named Khopoli, and the salary they drew was a mere five thousand a month. We were also told that they had a strict 12 hours shift of tremendous hard work hour with a total of 45 minutes break. 

Yes, we could provide them with a temporary solution by providing them help for those moments, but the point we are trying to make here is imagining similar working conditions throughout the country. We are not here to point out just one specific incident which massively impacted us. If the government could set a basic standard of living which will enable every citizen so that the survival of them and their dependents is acceptable it can address the situation. We cannot define the numbers but are sure that inflation and standard of living figures will be able to help as an estimate.

What we are unable to figure out is if and who are the middle agencies who handle this, or the direct government system or the private sector who handles it. 

We would not seek to point fingers at anyone in specific. 

Our point is that we need a system which can work on more details in this sector and make sure that at least the basic rights a human deserves are being provided them. This can help ensure that overall our India’s issue of inequality can slowly and steadily be addressed. 

Yes, we have passed the official message to the state and national government systems. 

You could do your bit by liking, sharing and spreading the word.

Thailand Diary

Howdy  ,

So my last vacation of my year was in Thailand, I just loved the vibes of that country, on a personal experience it had a blend of the feeling you get in India an Island as well. The moment I landed in Bangkok, I had this feeling same like Mumbai. And then boarded to the northern Serene part of Thailand known as Chiang Mai. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place.  The perfect peaceful destination for tourists just to go and chill and do some sight seeing.

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Chiang Mai

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Also, I had planned for Scuba Dive, which was a mind-blowing experience for me. The first 5 minutes were super challenging, but thereafter ones you get used to the equipment ,  breathing and the symbols technique its alright. I must say it was one my most special moments I have ever experienced. Also had been to the Highest Spot in Thailand Don Inanthon. Happen to spend time with some locals in a village who had their living with handmade handicrafts, the experience was one of a kind.

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Highest Spot in Thailand