Towards better fitness : A Start and A Story
I’ve had a dysfunctional relationship with fat in the last 10 years. I’m kind of tired of it. My standard weight used to be 75 Kgs (165 lbs.) for many years. This put in a very ideal BMI for my height (186 cms). In fact, I hadn’t gained much weight till my early 20s. Between 2003 and 2005, I had gained about 20 Kgs (44 lbs.) when I was on an indulgent spree on food overseas.
In 2010, I realized I have to get back to shape. I went on a diet with healthy food and moderate physical activity and was able to lose about 15 Kgs (33 lbs.). I was back in better health. However, then, I was a smoker. Heavy at that. A habit, I wanted to quit.
Two years later, on a sunny morning in August 2012, I took the hard step and quit. The first 7 days were painful. To cope up with the withdrawal, I started to substitute sugary stuff for any chemical craving. But from week 2, I started to feel better. Being smoke free gave a big high. But the dependency on food was showing. I gained more than 23 kgs (50 lbs.) in less than 8–9 months. This weight stayed on more than I wanted it to. I started to feel like I dropped one vice to pick another. During the last 2 years, I have felt a constant painful need to get fit and lose the fat. This is my first conscious effort to fix this problem.
The first step towards this is acceptance. I’m 33, weigh 97 Kgs (213 lbs.) and have a sedentary lifestyle. My target is to get to a decent level of fitness by 35 that I can maintain and continue that will help me face the second half of life if I am blessed with one.
I’ve put down a few tenets to follow in this journey.
My goal is to get to an ideal weight range: 77–82 Kgs (170–180 lbs.) based on an ideal BMI for my height and age. My primary goal is to improve my overall fitness, and basically have more energy every day. I plan to get there adopting three things: diet, exercise and being positive.
I’m not going to
— Count Calories: I have a fair bit of idea on calorie count for most foods. I have done it before and it really helps.
— Run any marathons: I don’t think we’re meant to do any long distance running. If you’re a runner and are still maintaining good muscle mass, then I think you’re doing something else right.
— Build any packs: 4–6–8 packs aren’t sustainable. You have to really restrict water intake for them to show.
I’m going to
Where I’ll increase intake of water, lean meat, eggs, vegetables etc. and remove soda, beer, ice creams and, breads, cakes, pizzas and burgers etc.
— Carb. Meals to be separated by 5–6 hours
— A 40–40–20 split for Carb, Protein and Fat intake. The ideal zone is 25–50–25, but that’s just infeasible to maintain with an Indian cuisine.
— No aerobic activity for more than 45 mins at a stretch
— No carb meal for 2 hours post workout
— Target 90% efficiency on the diet.
— No meal that combines fat + carb ( eg: Pizza =bread (carb) + cheese (fat))
— The morning workouts will be on empty stomach
Do physical activity
— Sleep: Get a 6–8 hour sleep
— Basic stretches — 20 mins x 1 a day
— Cycling — 4–6 hours a week
— Weight training
— Meditate 10 mins x 2 times a day.
— Find new music
— Read books
— Have a solid work schedule
Lessons I already know
— You need to lose weight and keep that weight and then lose more weight and keep that weight. This should be iterated till you get to a goal weight.
— Weight is just a number. You should cut down the weight from fat and increase muscle mass.
— Weighing everyday will cause more harm than good. The stress releases cortisol that slows down metabolism and increases fat storage. It is also not a correct indicator for health.
How I plan to cheat
I plan to keep one cheat food every month. Being a South Indian, It was a pretty easy choice: coffee
I plan to chronicle this journey as weekly articles on Medium. They will include 4 sections: Food, Exercise, Positivity and Lessons. I believe that jotting down the progress for a social audience will help me in this effort. I’ll also include a small section in the newsletter I do. You can subscribe it to that here.