How to get from the 80s to the 70s
My quest to move from the 80s to the 70s does not refer to a Cibaca parade of retro songs. It’s actually my journey – or rather, “my struggle” – to reduce my weight by 10 kg from the 80 kg bracket to the 70 kg one.
No one ever realises that she or has put on weight, slowing rising from the low seventies to the eighties. But one fine morning we wake up to reality. Not only do we know that we have actually gained weight, we also know that our health parameters have moved in the same direction. Our blood sugar level will have moved from the low nineties to the low hundreds. Our blood cholesterol level will have jumped all the Lakshman rekhas provided to us by our doctors and our liver will be packed with fat cells even though we maintain what we think is the lifestyle of a yogi (take this with a very large pinch of salt!).
It is all the more difficult to reconcile to this health scenario because we have been doing all the ‘dos’ suggested by our earthly god, the doctor.
I had always been an outdoors person. I jogged, walked, gymned and played sports religiously. But a few years ago, I landed myself in this situation of weight gain.
As a UPSC qualifier, I thought I was a repository of all knowledge and I started experimenting with weight loss plans.
First, I stopped using ghee and started using skimmed milk. ‘Low fat’ was my mantra. I started to shed a few kilos but then my weight plateaued. Next, I thought I needed to exercise more. I took it too far and wound up with an injured shoulder.
Then I headed to the motherlode of all gyan: YouTube and WhatsApp. I moved from the Low Fat Diet to Paleo to Keto, only to realise that none of these fads is sustainable. Defeated by these western concepts of weight loss and good health, I returned to my roots. I began to study Ayurveda and yoga and also the modern concepts of Intermittent Fasting and Insulin Response.
Last April, I started using these concepts. Within four months, I was down to the weight I had had during the days of my probation. I believe this is a sustainable solution, because I have been able to maintain my weight for almost a year, even though I have given myself some freedom to choose what I eat and reduced my exercise routine to one-third of what it used to be. I now have more energy and vigour. And quite a few compliments!
Victory is mine!
This is the three-pronged strategy I adopted for weight loss: 1) Intermittent Fasting, which essentially regulates insulin response, 2) Increase of metabolic rate, and 3) Cleansing the digestive system.
Intermittent Fasting is a concept that divides the hours in a day into periods of fasting (16 to 18 hours) and periods of feeding (6 to 8 hours). According to Ayurveda, dinner should be our smallest meal, so the best thing to do is to eat breakfast and a late lunch and nothing after that. For me, though, skipping breakfast is more sustainable than skipping dinner, so that is what I did.
There are two important aspects to this process. The first is cutting down the number of snacks you eat between these meals. The second aspect – which is very difficult, but effective – is cutting down your sugar intake.
To boost my metabolism, I relied heavily on our good old yoga and Ayurveda, practicing surya bhedi pranayam and using herbs like ginger and black pepper.
Finally, I focused on cleansing my Digestive system. Ayurveda tells us that all diseases in the body originate from the accumulation of food waste in the large intestine and the colon. As time passes, this food waste becomes rotten, but the body absorbs it anyway and thus we fall ill. I used bel sharbat, psylum husks and triphala to help cleanse my system. But the most effective of the lot was a combination of aloe vera and triphala.
This trinity is effective and sustainable. There is one side effect, however: All my blood parameters are now within their prescribed limits – for the first time in a decade!
Disclaimer: The author is not a health expert.
Acknowledgement: My dear friend Naval, a holistic healer, had to bear the brunt of my journey.
Abhay Kumar Singh is an IAS Officer from the Bihar Cadre
From HT Brunch, July 12, 2020
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