A Few New Goals

A Few New Goals

Alright, so starting next week (actually it’s already been started mostly) these are the things I really want to incorporate into my daily schedule:

  • Wake up at 6:45 to be able to go swimming for half an hour before work, every day.
  • After work, spend about half an hour to an hour a day doing the following things:
    • Meditate for 10 minutes or so.
    • Do the new Popsugar 30-Day Squat Challenge (I’ve done two days so far and I’m quite happy with it!)
    • Logging in all my food information in MyFitnessPal and estimating what I can’t eat.
  • Don’t drink the coffee/hot chocolate in the office so much. Restrict myself to one cup and then one cup of unsweetened and unmilky tea or something – these drinks are an extra 200 calories in my day that I really cannot afford!
  • Stop thinking about heartbreaking boy and find better and more productive things to do with my life. Get happy myself, so he can’t get into my head.

Let’s see how it goals. I’ll keep you posted! (Especially with reviews of the Squat Challenge. I can tell you, it’s been 2 days and there is BURN).

How to Stay Healthy When Life Goes Crazy

How to Stay Healthy When Life Goes Crazy

Hi everyone!

As mentioned in my last post, it was all set to be a crazy week. I had:

  • Wonderla.
  • A very important job interview.
  • Family get-together over three days (friday, saturday and sunday)
  • General deadlines in terms of work.

Obviously, all of these exciting events did damage my normal goals. So how did I do this week?

Exercise: 

Monday: Went to Wonderla.

Tuesday: No. 😦

Wednesday: Interview.

Thursday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Friday: Swimming for 30 minutes.

Saturday: Swimming for 30 minutes. Also, loads of dancing in the evening for about 30 minutes.

Sunday: Walk with my parents (with a little running thrown in here and there) for about 30-40 minutes.

Honestly, this was as good as it could’ve gotten this week. I’m particularly proud of the end of the week.

Food: 

Monday: 2300 calories. Because Wonderla.

Tuesday: 1422 calories.

Wednesday: 1900 calories (this is because, feeling very happy about the interview, I went out for dinner with two fellow interviewees despite already having eaten pizza at the interview and eaten enough throughout the day).

Thursday: I have no idea! How could I not record it? However, given that I had about 575 calories left over for dinner, I am assuming I ate something reasonable and made it within the 1550 limit.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: With my family, given the varied nature of the meals and the fact that there was a LOT of sharing, I was never sure how to calculate, and so I didn’t.

Lessons Learnt: 

So it hasn’t been a great week, food wise. I hope this blog will not become an “excuses” blog, so I won’t really make excuses, but I did learn how I could make some better choices this week:

Don’t snack between meals: I tried to avoid this as much as possible in my family celebration, because we were eating huge meals already and snacks tend to be super high calorie and nutritionally useless. I didn’t always succeed because, well, banana wafers and caramel popcorn and sakarapara and murukku were on offer, but I avoided it as much as I could. I also saw that the more nutritionally conscious members of the family were avoiding them strenuously.

If drinking, drink low calorie drinks: Think I succeeded in this. Peach snapps with soda, Bloody Mary, and Gin and Tonic over three days of family celebrations. Not crazy, calorie wise. Also yummy. I avoided all other drinks, though I did end up drinking a LOT of coffee and tea  that everyone else was drinking (but with very less sugar). Next time, would avoid or opt for plain milk.

Choose smaller portions of everything: Did, mostly. Went back for seconds only very rarely. Couldn’t resist the homemade Bhel on Saturday night. I especially took small portions of desserts or shared with people, which I’m proud of.

Don’t eat unless hungry: Again, mostly happy about this. Though I did go a little overboard on Sunday.

Stay active: Think I nailed it on this one! Swam laps in the pool on Friday and Saturday (my uncle’s house has a pool nearby). My brother said I’ve become boring in the pool but my parents definitely think my swimming has improved since they last saw it last June. Enjoyed dancing a lot with my cousins on Saturday night. Loved the walk with my parents on Sunday, had a lot of important conversations with them.

Have fun with family: Remember that life is about more than calories and that enjoying with your family (even if you only eat at maintenance and don’t lose any weight at all that week) is good for your mental health. And when your aunt says you look thinner and clothes fit better and you can walk and swim and run without getting winded … smile.

🙂

Looking forward to a great next week.

(Sorry for the long wait for this blog post. I’ll try to be more regular as well.)

Phew

Phew

Guess who swam 550 metres (that’s 50 metres more than last night!) almost without stopping, finally seems to be getting the hang of freestyle, and enjoyed the most delicious filter coffee afterwards?

Filter Coffee
Filter Coffee. One of life’s small joys.

-sighs with contentment-

Its also been a really solid day eating-wise. I did eat my favorite strawberry muffils but it was bookended by masala omelette and sambhar-vada, leaving a very decent number of calories for dinner. I love how with calorie counters, I don’t need to worry too much about enjoying a little chocolate or a treat – as long as everything else is on track. I don’t feel constantly hungry and deprived either. I also had a really enjoyable time on the blogosphere, interacting with people about all manner of things that I can’t when I’m not anonymous: illness, birds, and body image.

I also think I should go buy some fruits now, especially to eat over the weekend, because we’re probably going to have a holiday on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Unfortunately the pool is going to be closed for the next two days as well. I’m going to miss it. Might even have to go for a run!

And that’s a wrap folks. Hopefully I’ll be able to use this weekend to learn how to eat better even when tempted by alcohol and company.

-goes back to enjoying bangalore weather and college work-

Swimming. Dosa. Bliss?

Swimming. Dosa. Bliss?

So today I couldn’t get anyone to come swimming in the afternoon (so many commitments!) so I did other work in the afternoon (including writing this blog). But then people wanted to go in the evening – Vijayanagar Swimming Pool also has a slot from 7:15 to 8:05 or so – and I was, obviously, in.

This is the first time I’ve gone in the night. Its definitely more expensive: thrice the afternoon rate. Its also more crowded. I’m going to try and go in the afternoon but honestly I so needed this. I now feel refreshed and rejuvenated and alive. Plus the pool looked really pretty in the night.

Night Swim
The pool at night.

Sorry for the terrible quality – apparently, you’re not actually supposed to take pictures there (err … not exactly a policy I mind). I swam about 500 metres – stopping only for breathing breaks for 20 breadths. 30 minutes or so. I feel so pleasantly sore now. Though I would love to be better (already, my mind is moving to competitive swimming), I know that I have to take it slow and enjoy it and not behave like I have something to prove to anyone except myself. The exercise is the crucial part.

Also, luckily, today was dosa day in the mess for dinner. We came back just in time for dinner and enjoyed a repast. I love how dosa is so easily incorporated into a healthy diet – it’s delicious, low-cal, eaten with nutrient rich sambhar, and … did I mention delicious? I struggled a bit at the end of two dosas because I was still ravenous (gah, wasting calories on empty carbs earlier in the day) so I had curd – but since I couldn’t stomach eating it plain a “spoonful of sugar made the medicine go down”. Absolutely delicious meal.

Dosa Dinner
Mess food. Not totally terrible.

I think maybe when I think of living a fit, healthy college life, I’m thinking of days like this.

Now to get some work done.

What Swimming Means to Me

What Swimming Means to Me

When I was a child, swimming was something I was sort-of scared of. It was also vacation activity. I learnt how to swim right here in Bangalore, spending summer with my cousins.

In the in-between years, swimming has been restricted to sometimes going over to our local club, and pools in hotels where we took a vacation.

All of this changed last June when I was swimming around with my parents and my brother in a hotel and I realized: holy cow, I can swim! I’m not, by any means, supernaturally fast or good, but I had pretty great stamina even in comparison with the other three. My parents suggested I should keep this up in Bangalore, but I didn’t really have any hope about this. Where in the world would I find a pool, let alone the time to go to it? Still, on a whim, I carried my swimming costume here, thinking I’d make some inquiries.

Then, obviously, I forgot all about it.

Along with N and C, my two close friends, I started waking up earlier in the morning to exercise on our hostel terrace. This was fun enough, except we were barely ever doing half an hour of full exercise, and we weren’t waking up on half the days. Then one week, when I asked C if she was going to be coming to exercise the next day, she said: I may go swimming. (She has a new obsession with something called swimming anime.) OMG! I was super excited and of course I wanted to join. So we went with J to Vijaynagara Swim Centre, which is decently close by and is a beautiful, large, clean, and not very crowded pool.

Since then, I’ve been going as often as possible with many different people. There have been weeks when other stuff did come up (I don’t like swimming when menstruating, for example, and on some days I have been unable to find anyone to go with) but thankfully there’s a whole collection of girls in my college who are now interested in swimming, and between them one finds someone to with on most days (or so I’m hoping).

The thing about swimming is that I’m not very good. I had to relearn a lot of it. I can barely do 50 m at a time (though I swim about 400-500 m in the 30-35 minutes we get to swim there). Everyone I go with has tended to be faster than me. The changing rooms are yucky.  I end up ingesting too much chlorinated water. My hair has become awful. However, I enjoy it the way I never enjoyed running. There’s the same: I’ve conquered a mountain feeling when coming back, and I actively FEEL BAD when I can’t go.

People keep saying to find exercise you love. I didn’t think I had any. I thought you had to slog it out, but I realized that that “sweet spot” was never coming for running. With swimming, I’m already at the sweet spot. No matter how tired I get, no matter how much I’m aching afterwards, each lap is pure joy.

Inside the water, I feel beautiful, and strong, and fit, and healthy.

Swimming
Swim Free.