Year-end Healthy Eating Goals – Tip #2

Just what could you achieve if only you decided to not get disheartened in the process of learning ?

I have had many many teachers who said some or the other version of this – you’re either succeeding at something or you’re learning. Let go of the harshness of the narrative of failure.

Here’s a video that can help you with some useful metaphors for an ideal mindset – it’s short, go watch it!

 

Year-end Healthy Eating Goals – Tip #1

With November fast approaching, if you’re the kind who is feeling a motivation high to get things done – #1 congrats, welcome to the club!

There are many people – myself included – that are the kind who study best the last three months before an exam. I’d like to think of it as peaking at just the right time. So, to make the most of this phase, I’ll be sharing my best tips with you to help you with your healthy-eating goals.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE WHAT YOU CAN GET DONE IN 8 WEEKS, IF ONLY YOU FOCUS!

Here’s  tip # 1.

This particular tip gets all mixed up for perfectionism – and it is sooo not! Please watch the video to see for yourself, what I’m discussing.

 

Are Thin People Required To Watch What They Eat?

Just like most Desi mothers, my visiting mother-in-law took over most of the cooking responsibility while she stayed here. My husband was delighted about getting to eat his mom’s cooking again! And I was pleased (touched, actually!)  for her readiness to eat completely plant-based, just like the two of us eat.

Now, that meant she had no  ZERO access to ghee, buttermilk and curd in our house – that stuff isn’t even shopped for! But she willingly came aboard. Fast forward six months, mom has gone back and here we are, savoring memories of her cooking and fun mealtimes we enjoyed together. Think baingan bharta and rotis, puliyogre with vegan thayir pachdi vegetable sevai with coconut chutney .. yummm!

And since I’ve gone back to being the Chef-In-Chief, old ways of eating are on again – baingan bharta is back to being oil-free, rotis are now zero-oil store bought tortillas, puliyogre has not been made at all yet, and vegetable salad – minus the curd – which is there e-v-e–r-y day, and vegetable sevai now doesn’t come with coconut chutney anymore! 🙂

My husband studiously looks at the food, takes a bite and wonders aloud, “we’re still well within the limits of ideal body weight, we don’t qualify as even being fat, why the hell are we watching what we eat??”

Hmm .. isn’t that a wonderful question. I bet you may have thought it too. I know a part of me still toys with this question when I see some of my favorite fried foods!

Here’s what the research says about it –

What we eat hugely determines how long we’re going to live (longevity)

It also determines whether or not we’re going to die of disease and disability (quality)

And this is true regardless of whether you are thin, heavy or well within the healthy range of weight for your height.

In our desperation to cling to the foods we like, we make very fundamental errors in understanding the basics of Nutrition. This happens not just with lay people, it’s unfortunately seen even in trained professionals. Sad but true.

Somehow, we’ve gotten to believe that only calories matter to our health – to the point of excluding everything else there is to Nutrition!

So, how does this belief or “understanding” play out?

Examples – “Reasoning”:

1. A low fat cheese or paneer sandwich made from brown bread and skimmed milk smoothie/coffee/tea – cheese or paneer is labelled low fat, brown bread is rich in fiber, and the beverage contains low fat skimmed milk – all well under 400-ish calories, therefore “healthy”.

2. One boiled egg and water – plain boiled egg is a maximum of about 100 calories, no salt, no oil, not even pepper – very very “healthy”.

3. Only ONE gobi paratha and simla mirch tomato sabji – made with whole wheat flour, no starchy vegetables like potato or anything, sabji is made of simla mirch and tomato – again, watery vegetables, using only about 3 tbsp of virgin olive oil in all – completely vegan, therefore “healthy”.

4. Skipping a meal or multiple meals and going back to eating one of the example meals described above, in STRICTLY custom-tailored amounts.

Studies have shown how even when people with diabetes were fed enormous amounts of food, their diabetes was reversed! Some studies were designed such that participants were not allowed to lose any weight, and in the process some of ended up gaining weight, but still they experienced significant and lasting disease reversal. Gives you an idea of how beneficial this kinda eating must be to those without the disease burden, isn’t it!

Are you curious what type of food was used in the studies?
It was an unrestricted amount of green leafy vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruit. These just happen to be low in calories too, that’s all!

When you eat the right type of food, you never have to worry about starving yourself and skipping meals. You don’t have to count calories and restrict quantities. You can just eat till you’re comfortably full, meal after meal and day after day – yet lose weight!

When people mistakenly assume –

body weight (“I am underweight, I can afford to eat x, y or z”)

and calories ( so long as it’s not exceeding 1000 calories per day gimme anything! )

to dictate their food choices, they’re in essence assuming the tail of the elephant to be the elephant itself! It’s really no different than that.

Did you find this post useful? Are you feeling angry or sad upon reading it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Secret To Quitting Your Favorite Foods While Dieting

One of the most frequently asked questions am asked is, if I tell people to quit eating meat or dairy or some other food. The fact is, I don’t take any long term decisions for my clients. However, I do invite them to try quitting certain foods for a brief period just for the feel of it. I’ve a lot of dairy and meat loving clients that come to me. Most have complaints about stubborn body weight problems, irregular periods, acne, irregular bowel movement and so on. We have our customary on-boarding chat that goes something like this –

Them: “Girija, it’s just soo baffling to me how this weight thing is one problem that I can’t seem to handle ya. It feels like such a basic thing .. it’s food and exercise after all, but I don’t know what it is … it’s just – !”

Me: “I totally get it! You handle such big projects for your clients and accomplish such amazing stuff at your work, and all you do for the community, plus run the house .. but we all have one such thing where we feel perplexed .. just puzzled how nothing seems to work”

Them: “You really feel this weight thing can be dealt with?”

Me: ” I do feel like you have a fair chance .. are you open to taking guidance as part of working with me?

Them: “Of course .. but give me an example”

 Me: “Like, if I said please give up so and so food for a period of say – 10 days, would you be offended?”

Them: “LOL, I wouldn’t be offended .. but I love curd .. I mean I REALLY LOVE curd! And wait, I LOVE sea food, grilled chicken .. I REALLY REALLY LOVE meat”

Me: “LOL, It’s absolutely fine to love it all .. no need to stop loving it. But what if you just had to not eat it for a brief period of time?”

Them: “Ah, if I assume it’s pooja time, it’ll be possible. No problem!”

And they come aboard. When, time comes to actually quitting dairy for a period of time, there will be a slight feeling of anxiety and sadness but still they do it in keeping with the spirit of the program. In just few short days, I receive emails and messages that read like this –

This was exactly a month ago. In just four short weeks Mayura has lost over 10 pounds of weight and has completely turned around her way of eating. And above all else, she is HAVING FUN doing it. Yesterday, she sent me pictures of how she and a friend went out for pizza – she just asked for a pizza minus the cheese and had it made with hummus instead PLUS plenty of colorful veggies. And for dessert she had mango compote with chocolate.

She saw it first hand how, quitting dairy and meat not only did not feel as tough but it has greatly added to her sense of self-esteem. She now has a reference for both scenarios – how the body feels with and without dairy and meat. She is better equipped than ever before, to decide which way she wants to go.  The secret was in having the openness to giving up some food she liked, just for the experience of it. Developing that mindset is really the first step.

Truly empowering, isn’t it! It is a series of tiny actions of responsibility like the ones Mayura has taken, that make a person feel good when they look in the mirror.

Another big takeaway for you as a reader is this – when you are learning something new, you can accelerate the process significantly and get dramatic results when you have a tight feedback loop. Over a short period of one month, these tiny actions translate into tiny increments of weight loss, finally adds up to what is actually a massive weight loss sooner than you’d realize. This is what gives us a feeling of accomplishment.  We discuss a great deal about the dynamics of self-esteem and how it is built and our role in it.

I am immensely proud of you Mayu! She is a CEO and her multiple-award winning organization is doing some phenomenally good work in the area of craft – preservation and  creating livelihoods.

 

As always, a reminder to say – this post is a very generous share to inspire anyone that may identify with this story. These are not typical results and no big promises are being made via this post. Mayura is a real person, as am I  and she has worked very very hard for what she has got and continues to do so.

 I’d love for you to please congratulate her and ask me if you’ve any questions.

The Lure Of Food Versus Joy Of Health

 

When we first met, Nimisha was struggling with problems of skin, hair and low energy. She had scoured all the resources on internet and it had left her feeling miserable, angry and hurt. Above all else, confused! 

 
When the information shared has an agenda to fill the biz coffers primarily, it is hard to take a stand. There’s no option but to sway to the tunes of your next sponsors and their hype. This is the reality of the world we live in! And everyone of us is responsible for how things are today.
 
Nimisha is an industrious and intelligent lawyer turned educationist. She has other important roles play as a young mother, wife and daughter. She needs the energy to be be on the run for long stretches at time. And leading her to treat carbohydrates like her enemy caused her woes. To add to that, pushing more meat, more eggs, more dairy brought more new problems.
 
This post is for everyone that asks me – “Girija, do you ask people to give up meat?” Well, in principle I do not believe in taking decisions for others. Not even for my clients. And talking about meat, the world’s longest living people in the Blue Zone communities do eat meat. The question then would be how much and how often. Humans as a species are omnivores – there’s no denying this fact.  
 
All this said, in my program Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate does involve abstinence. My clients get amazing results and feel empowered to take their own long term decisions whether they want to go back to eating meat or not. 
 
I am curious to learn from my clients as much as they do from me. And I asked Nimisha how she was doing, with no meat. In her own words – “I am off dairy and any kind of meats and I am surprisingly doing good. In fact, I am eating normally without worrying about a thousand things before putting the food in my mouth”  
 
You may wonder how do people sustain giving up things like dairy and meat? The joy of vibrant skin and lovely hair is sustainable. Boundless energy to do the work that you are passionate about is very sustainable. The lure of addictive foods that do not serve our nutritional needs doesn’t hold up in comparison to the joy of health. I invite you to try it for yourself!
 
Nimisha is affectionately called Nims. Nims, I am very very proud of you. May you be well, may you be healthy – now and always!
 
Please note – neither Nims nor I, we have no obligation to share this – her personal story with the world. It is out of genuine intention to inspire other women who may be in a similar situation, that we have let you in on some highlights of our journey together. Questions are welcome but please be kind. Compliments are even more welcome! 🙂