Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One good thing I learnt in the US – Part II

What will you feel if you have to eat food in a day without you having a chance to brush your teeth that day morning? It would be an awful feeling and you may not be able to eat even if the food you are eating is tasty. I had a colleague in my lab, M, who feels very bad if he cannot work out for a day. The importance he gives to daily workout is similar to what we give for brushing teeth. On the eve of the finals also he goes to the gymnasium from 5 to 7 pm. It is an integral part of his life.

He used to tell me the significance and advantages of doing exercise. But I never used to listen to him and always used to think that gymnasium and work out are for Americans and we don’t need it. Why I used to think like that was, while growing up I have never seen any one in their late twenties working out in Kerala/Chennai. Those who did work out would be athletes or some one who wanted to build their body and dreamt to become another Salman Khan.

While working in Chennai I was staying very close to Besant Nagar beach. During the weekends I used to go to Besant Nagar beach to play cricket. The side walk would be crowed with people who came for morning walk. Eight out of every 10 people would be aged 60 or above. You could rarely see young people there. Seeing all these I had an impression that exercise and work out are for old people.

My perception about exercise began to change when I went to India for my wedding around 3 years ago. I found during that trip that most of my fathers friends (in their late fifties or early sixties) have some disease (some already had a heart attack and 99% of them have high pressure, cholesterol and diabetes) and they looked extremely weak. Doctors have asked them to follow a strict diet and they are hardly allowed to eat anything.

I compared my fathers’ friends to the M’s grand mother whom I visited. She is 85 and full of energy. She even plays golf at this age. She doesn’t have diabetics, pressure or cholesterol and in front of me ate a large bowl of chocolate ice cream. Do I know of any one in India aged 85 and doesn’t have diabetics? I thought a lot and I could only recollect one name - former Chief Minister of Kerala, K Karunakaran. But here in US I already know a handful of people over 80 and don’t have either diabetes or cholesterol.

Even though I realized that my eating habits/ not doing any physical exercise is bad for me I was not ready to take pain of working out or reducing my food. I continued eating the same way and put on more holes on my belt, thanks to my tummy which increased exponentially.

Then I realized in a very hard way how bad my body had become when I started playing league cricket here in Arizona. During my undergraduate days I could play cricket the entire day during peak Palakkad (town where I went for my undergraduate degree) summer and still had energy to go for a second show movie by walk. Till recently if I bowled one over or batted three overs I was having difficulty breathing and I couldn’t even move. I decided and told myself “TIME FOR CHANGE”;

I now eat about 25% of what I ate earlier. I go for a work out daily. I have lost lot of weight and my tummy has come down considerably. More important, I have regained the lost fitness greatly and now I can bat for more than 10 overs at a stretch. Now I feel energetic and can do more things than I used to do before I started the work out. The most important realization was - the amount of food we eat daily is much more than what is required to keep one healthy.

I ate the same kind of food I used to eat in India with lot of rice and spices. I realized that these kinds of food are not proper for the kind of work we do daily – sitting in front of the computer all day and night. These food habits were developed by our ancestors when everyone used to do a lot of physical work. Now we hardly move. We have car/bikes to take us from one place to another; elevator to take from one floor to another. So I realized that it is time to change the age old food habits to keep one self fit. In short I learnt,



One good thing I learned in US – Part I


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see you getting in touch with your inner fitness freak. Talking about food, I recall that you still owe me 2 dinners. And yes, I have not forgotten 'Vadakkan Vera Kadha'. You owe me that too.
Lakshmi Narayan

July 17, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

cant tell you how much better i feel after reading that piece right there.
I live in India, and eat two small meals a day. You dont know the kind of humiliation my friends put me through because of my appetite.
first time here. good going!

July 18, 2007 4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you say is right for a comfortable sedentary life . Exercise is a must for a healthy body.Your message should reach all the lazy young generation who eat junk food and spend half their useful time on their mobiles and mobikes.Wishing you all the best in your fitness endeavours.

July 18, 2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Deepa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 22, 2007 6:50 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

First keep your word on Vadakkan Veera Gatha. then we can talk about treats.

toothless wonder
You should never feel humiliated but should feel proud of that.

Rathi aunty,
Young generation will be the most that will be affected by the lack of fitness.

July 22, 2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kollalo ! i am inspired and have started doign push-ups to get rid of my tummy.


August 14, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger t said...

Thank you. I recently added a fitness book by Martina Navratilova to my Wishlist. It's titled "Shape Your Self" and I think it will help me up my fitness routine. Now I'm 26, eat reasonably well, have a reasonable and stable weight, but don't have any sports or exercise at all. A bit flexible, but not very strong at all. I want to build up towards being an Olympic Synchronized swimmer in the next few years. Right now, I can swim only at the most basic level but looking forward to learning.
I hope we can stay in touch, or that at least we can separately find play and fitness friends.
Best wishes to you, and cool blog.

September 05, 2007 11:55 PM  

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