Category: Health

GYMonomics

With my class 12 exams over, I decided to join the gym in the month of April. Class 12 makes you gain a lot of   extra weight, but that’s okay with me. I consider it a good sign. It means you’ve been studying.
Although this wasn’t my first time at the gym, I noticed a lot of things about the place that I had not noticed before. It seems to have it’s own certain ways.

To start with, being a newbie (or a person who out of laziness hasn’t been to the gym for the past 18 months)  is like being the amateur of the place. You’re the only person who is seen panting and sweating on the treadmill while walking at a speed of 4 km/hr and you’re definitely the person who comes in the last and leaves the soonest.
But as you become a little more regular and start blending in, certain patterns emerge.

There’s always this one egoistic trainer, who will walk around the place doing absolutely nothing productive. He’s like a parole officer.  He will have this proud and dignified look on his face, which by the way means nothing to any of the people there. The other trainers do all the work. One would think he’s coordinating,  but there’s nothing much to coordinate in a gym.

There’s the popular girl, who has been coming to the gym for as long as anyone remembers. She’s the one who knows all the trainers, and all the people. She is also the one who can run on the treadmill at 9 km/hr for 20 minutes.

There are also those people who I like to call the kings and queens. These are the people who do not need to lose weight from any angle. They either come to the gym to build their muscles or tone their body or mantain their already perfect weight. These are the ones who are the royalty of the gym. Not that they are treated any differently, but for them, being at the gym is more of a choice than a compulsion.

If any of you have ever been to a gym, you might have come across the inferiority complex. Whenever you’re on a treadmill, walking at your own sweet pace, you tend to compare yourself to the person next to you. If the person is walking at double the speed (running occasionally) you tend to have an inferiority complex. But if it’s you whose faster you tend to think “HAHA. What a loser”

And how could I forget, there are those amazing, gifted and idolized people who carry their own i pod to the gym. That’s a big thing. Believe me. First of all, it is impossible to even hear yourself think with all the loud music in the gym. It’s hard to even respond to a phone call. To be able to hear the music from your i pod is nothing short of a freakin miracle.
Second of all, I have never been able to keep those damned earphones inside my ears. They keep falling off. After some time, that’s all you’re doing. I have often found myself taking it easy while exercising just so that i can listen to my music.

But the best part is that there is a mutual understanding in the gym. Everyone is trying to lose weight or tone their body. So no matter how messed up you look, the gym is one place you can go to and not worry about your appearance. It is one place where your public image does not count. For all you know you could go in wearing the worst clothes out of your closet and no one would give a damn.

I’d rather climb the stairs

We often see signs and posters and occasionally read health tips on the net, which say “Use the stairs instead of taking the escalator”. But the colourful posters or the very scientific and professional sounding health advice is never really enough to make us follow that simple yet exhausting rule.
When confronted with the options of the self moving stairs and the stationary ones, which require our dog tired legs to do the work, we always end up choosing the escalator, despite that small voice inside that consequently makes you feel all guilty for making the wrong choice. 
I didn’t think there was anyway ANYone could make people use the stairs with a beeming escalator in the arena..UNTIL I saw THIS:
The cleverest way of making people opt for the healthier option.
Known by the name of the piano stairs, these stairs are literally what their name suggests them to be. With every step you take on the steps of this staircase, you play a key of the piano. 
See for yourself!

Source: thefuntheory.com

My Experience as a Dietician

December 2007: 55 kgs
April 2008: 48 kgs. 
May 2008: 46 kgs. 
June 2008: 45 kgs. 
July 2008: 44 kgs

You must have read an endless number of articles about how to loose weight, and you must have seen those eye-catching advertisements in the newspapers of a fitness centre with a picture of woman before and after she lost weight due to their invaluable and unredeemable guidance(which btw, they provide for only Rs 1200 a month!).

Well I didn’t need any of that. Losing weight wasn’t my problem. I was good at dieting. No, I was GREAT at dieting. My biggest achievement was when my dadi, who happens to be among those Indians who can feed anyone who comes our way gave up on me.

I changed 3 school uniforms in 2 months. Stores which earlier I couldn’t go to because I was too fat, I still couldn’t go to because I was too thin.

My problem began when I started giving advice on dieting.
Now when people saw that I lost 10 kgs in 6 months, they came up to ask me how I did it? It felt so good to be the one answering the questions and not asking them.
I felt like a dietician, and I thought to myself. Maybe, I can just become a dietician without having to study about it. I can be the first empirical dietician in the world!
So the customers came pouring in and I got down to work!

My first customers were my parents. The first thing I did was throw out all the chocolates and sweets from our refrigerator. Then I replaced butter with low calorie butter, cheese with slimz cheese, and coke with diet coke. No chips were allowed in the house except special diet ones. I even threw out all the Bourbons and chocolate cookies and replaced them with Tiger and Parle-G instead! We checked their weight every week. I assured them that they would lose weight soon. But their weight started going up instead.


For a few weeks I wondered, how this could be happening. My dieting methods were fool proof, parent proof, adult proof, everything. But the day I smelt a McDonalds burger on my mom, I realized it was I who wasn’t fool proof! My mom and dad had been eating in office. My sources revealed that they had everything from rasgullas to ice creams to pizzas while they were in office and had decided to act all saintly at home. And their excuse,  “We thought we could eat in office. You didn’t say anything about eating there!”
Mom, Dad, really? Isn’t that just like me bunking all my classes at school and saying “What!! You do push me to study when I’m home. But you never said anything about school”
Needless to say, I had disowned my parents as my customers. They had greatly hurt my inner soul, by making me doubt myself and my dieting principles. It was time to move on.

My next customer was my friend. Now my friend was one of those huge people who you use as a pillow on road trips, those people who seem to be exercising and dieting all the time but never seem to lose an ounce, and if they do, you start doubting the weighing machine.  Lets just say that I wouldn’t be surprised if she told me that she was a long lost relative of the Dursley’s. (The Harry Potter fans know what I’m talking about)
I personally got very excited at the idea of instructing this friend of mine. I trusted those dear dieting principles of mine so much that I knew she would lose weight. I was so confident about them that I was convinced that I could turn an elephant into a flamingo.  
So I told her, don’t eat carbohydrate, or fat. That meant no butter, no biscuits and definitely no cheese.
She was a very obedient pupil, unlike my parents I must say. And a very enthusiastic one too, which unfortunately did not let things end as I would have wanted them to.
Not only did she start following my diet, but she also started exercising on top of that. Now if there is one thing you should know about my diet, it is that it involves absolutely NO exercise.
My friend started going to the gym. The gym makes you hungry enough to eat more than shrek if not shrek himself. And if you decide to follow my diet on top of it, you’re a goner.
After 2 weeks of following my diet and her exercise regime, my friend ended up bed ridden, with instructions from the doctor telling her not to get any form of exercise for at least 10 months.
What’s more, the medication she was on made her gain even more weight. So by the time she was out of bed and able to walk and talk, she was even fatter than before.


Now, I was really distressed. First my parents, then my friend. Could there be anything wrong with my dieting ways? NOO! How dare I think of that!

 My fears turned into reality when I myself started feeling weak and faint all the time.
This was when I realized that I was wrong. I realized that my dieting had not done me much good. Apart from reducing the flesh between my skin and bones, it had also reduced my bones to twigs. I was weak and tired and lazy and unhealthy. Sure I had lost weight, but maybe it was something not worth compromising with my health. It took me a while to realize this, and even more time to admit that I had been wrong all along.  But when I did, it came out to be a truly wonderful learning experience. From that day on, any friend who came up to me for dieting advice got a long sermon on the catastrophic effect of dieting.

So remember, the next time that creamy cake appears in front of you while you’re busy running away from it, think of whether you’re doing the right thing before you’re long gone and away! 

Being Happy

Being happy is something that everyone looks for consciously or unconsciously. But happiness is nothing to found in the outside world, it is something that only you can really deal with. Here are a few traits of a human being that influence his/her happiness.


Happiness=Satisfaction 
I believe that happy people are always happy. They find a way to be happy. Actually, they have to find a way to be sad. That’s just their nature. No matter how much their life plays around with them, in an effort to make them upset or go through tough times, the optimistic are always happy. They believe that life has something in store for them.
On the other hand, sad people always find a way to be sad. Even if life gives them roses they sit with them and cry over the fact that they didn’t get lilies. They tend to expect more than what they get.  
That’s probably why kids who have been spoilt by their parents in their initial years have such a problem being happy. They are so used to being pleased and pampered by their parents that their demands become unexpectedly high, making it tough for them to be satisfied with what they get.
Research proves that being happy=satisfaction with what you have. It refers to how people who are happy do not obsess themselves with what they COULD HAVE. Rather it’s the unhappy people who do.
A study found that the Scandinavians are the happiest people in the world. Why? They spend a majority of their time in darkness, and freezing temperature. They can sit around thinking about how they could have been living in better weather conditions and end up convincing themselves that all that goes wrong is due to the terrible weather conditions. But yet they are happy. Isn’t that amazing? The reason behind their happiness is that they are satisfied with what they have.



Money=UNhappiness
While writing this I figured that if satisfaction leads to happiness, then money must be one of the keys to UNhappiness, for the reason that money makes most people greedy. As they get more, they want even more. No wonder they say “Money cannot buy happiness”!


Happiness is Contagious
When you smile, the world smiles with you. Happiness is contagious.When you are in an atmosphere where people are always laughing and enjoying life to the fullest, you automatically start to live life there way. The same happens when you are surrounded by unhappy people. As Oscar Wilde said “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”That is why it is believed that smiling at a stranger can make not only his day, but also a lot of other people’s because chances are that he too will smile at another stranger the very same day!



Being Happy, and not knowing it!
Most people who are happy do not know it. They fail to acknowledge the small instances of happiness that are experienced in day to day life, like smiling at a stranger, making a new friend, going for a movie with your best friends, etc. They expect happiness to come with success or money or what not.
I came across this website called http://www.1000awesomethings.com which talks about small pleasures of life such as those which I just mentioned.

Of course there a bunch of other things that influence happiness such as success and relationships, but they really can’t mess with you if you are one of an optimistic nature. 
Abraham Lincoln once said “A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
So keep the smiles coming all day long!

Keeping your neurons busy!

Today I tried the most interesting thing. I tried using my left hand in everything I do, instead of my right.  My parent’s yoga teacher told me a few years back that using the right or the left hand doesn’t come from birth. It’s about the practice and the balance of the mind i.e. if you use your left hand more, you automatically become left handed, and if you use your right hand more you become right handed.
But wanting to be a left hander is not the reason I tried this. It turns out that doing things differently ends up sharpening your brain.
During our vacation in Orlando, I learnt that brain power is one source of energy that in inexhaustible. (unlike fuel, etc) The other day my uncle told me about how one uses only 5% of the brain. And the person who used 10% is the one we call a genius. But that turned out to be a myth. (according to sources of the internet.) They claim that going by the myth, injury of certain parts of the brain (i.e. the unused ones) should not affect you in any way since they are not used.
Then a few days later, I came across this website which talked about how to increase your brain power and how to use your brain to the full capacity. It had a couple of ways to do that, like brushing with your left hand, or taking another route to work , or doing a lot of brain puzzles, and using different kind of keypads to type.
Today, I tried brushing with y left hand, and it was harder than I thought it would be. I was telling my aunt who visited today that she should try doing the same. Nodding her head she said “Neurobics”. I had no idea what that was, but she told me. She said it was Neuron’s Aerobics. Exercising the brain.
My theory is that by using your left hand to do certain things, you aren’t actually using the same part of your brain more, but you are using another part of the brain.  You may know that the left part of the brain which is more analytical controls the right part of your body (arms lgs, etc) and the right part of your brain which enhances creativity,  controls the left part of your body. So by using your left hand to do things that you would otherwise use your right hand for, you are sharpening the right side of the brain, which happens to be the creative one.
But then that implies that left handed beings are more creative and less analytical than the right handed ones. That actually may be true. But then what is not true is that all right handed people are analytical. I happen to know barely any left handed people and yet I know people who are extremely creative.
My aunt said that by doing things differently (taking different routes, using your left hand) you are challenging the brain. The brain catches the smallest of change. Even if you start using a ball point pen after having used a pencil for quite some time, you are exercising the brain.
Well in that case by using different kinds of writing material everyday , the brain can get a hell lot of exercise. Another way to exercise the brain is to supposedly take a shower with your eyes closed. I’m guessing this helps exercise the brain since you have to force your brain to remember where things are. Having a shower is such a regular part of everyone’s routine, that people do it mechanically without thinking. So by closing your eyes your eliminating the unconsciousness in the actions of reaching out for the soap or turning the shower knob, and forcing your brain to think and remember where those things are.
Another great way to increase brain power is to continuously write one page on a word document (or any other software for that matter) without stopping to think or correct spelling and grammar errors. This enables you to think fast. I tried this, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do that. To not stop at all, I mean. It is easy to go half a page without having to put extreme pressure on your brain. But when you get half way through the page, you run out of sane things to write about. So the first time you try that, your second half of the page is just a recurrence of the first half in different words .
I once read a book called “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. Randomest book ever.  It was about a troubled boy who decides to investigate the murder of a dog in the neighborhood. While on his little mission, he discovers a bunch of secrets about his own life that was well kept with his divorced mom and dad. Now this book is written from the point of view of the boy. So he writes whatever he is thinking about with a good amount of details. In random parts of the book when he’s bored or he wants to avoid thinking about something that is worrying him, he starts squaring number in his heads. (2X2=4X2=8X2=16 and so on.) Way to keep your brain busy!
Working on your vocabulary is another way. So is picking up a random object and thinking of multiple things it could be used as. For eg, pick up a pencil, and then think of a 100 things that the pencil can be used as.
Your brain is the controller of your body. Spending time on keeping it sharp is one of the most productive things you’ll ever do.
Not using it actually ends up making it blunter and less intelligent than before!
So keep the neurons busy!