Ate Fries and Lost Eight Kilos

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

When I started my cleanse, I swore to myself I wouldn't do two things-

1) Post before and after comparison shots of myself.
2) Lecture people on how to, and what to do, in order to be clean.

Some six months into it, I'm guilty of having struck both as yes.

Sparing the point one to public at large, I'm delving straight to point two.

Long story short, I'm eight kilos lighter; couple of inches have cinched and I think I'm better than Regina Fucking George now. I'm literally eligible to qualify as a "#healthblogger". However, will spare everyone the horror and dive right into what's demanded.

Umang Sabarwal, maker of that exceptionally rad Bobby Deol birthday video asked for my "diet" as a gift on her birthday. I may have promised another friend to share the same. Well, this is it.

There's no particular diet or magic to do what I did. It's incredibly simple. You have got to train your mind to not give in to the temptations.

It may read like utter bullshit but for someone who was an emotional eater, I had an eating problem to tame. With my salary reaching my bank, I was only ever focused on one thing, where and what am I eating next. I had a job to eat, which my salary was funding and I was more than happy leading that life.

You see, food is the blood type for my family. It's the elixir that keeps me going. And them going. It's all that I ever need to fill the human shaped vaccuum in my heart. Food is everything. And, I don't mean it in a meme manner.

My family and I are obsessed with food. Most of my best friendships are forged on the relationship of how obsessed we are with food, and good food. Devil lies in the details so my friends and I can possibly tell you how to pair your Butter Chicken with the Naan, what kind of Naan, what texture of Butter Chicken Gravy (disclaimer: I hate Butter Chicken but I can still do the aforementioned).

Long story short, to do that for a person who's surrounded by food, the discussion on food and was ironically employed at making cookbooks breathe to life was a task.

Most of it came from determination and will power.

I can assure you, I've been eyeing food just the way I used to six months ago. The difference is the conversation I have with myself.

"Yo, do you want a bite of that?"

"I do, but do you think we'll stop at a bite?"

"Probably not, do you still want it?"

"Okay let's do this."


"Wait a minute, how many calories are there in a bite?"

"Uh. Dude, I remember the article said no bites. It ruins the cleanse."

"So, this is it?"

"I suppose."

That's the conversation which plays inside my head, every single time I look at food that I want and can't have.

Drawing two conclusions-

1) No taking "one bite" or "bite" or "tasting" or "touching". The minute you do it, there's no going back. EVERY BITE COUNTS. Every tasting adds to your body.

2) You have to avoid certain foods.

The good news is, you get to decide what you'd like to avoid. The bad news is, there will be somethings you like.

Most diets fail because people either fail to implement them for the long term or that they're too tempted to cheat and, as rule one goes, there's no going back from one sampling.

Quick science lesson- all the food we eat comprises of one or more of these three essential nutrients. These are categorized as Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat.

From most reliable sources that I have researched, you need minimum of two core groups for sustenance and long term goals, as well as building muscle to survive.

By muscle, I don't mean your bulk weightlifting veinous stuff that you can show off in a fistfight. Muscle is well...important. Let's leave it at that. You need muscle is all you need to remember.

Which brings us to the next point, for cleanse/losing weight/being clean you need to take a call on what food group you need to eliminate. Since we established that muscle is important, we also need to establish that muscle usually comes off feeding on protein.

That means, Protein is a must in your diet. Some cheap sources of Protein are eggs, chicken, fish, shrimps, turkey, oats, cottage cheese (paneer), broccoli (and family), legumes.

Rajma Chawal is legit diet food, repeat after me. Protein and Carbs together, a healthy fucking meal.

To answer your question, what should you eat, you need to take your pick from Carbs/Fat to team with Protein now.

For me, the breakdown was between cheese and potato and I chose potato. Cheese being a source of Fat and potato being a source of Carb. I love me my pepper sprinkled Curly Fries and while I can leave anything else, Fries would be unrealistic. I picked my devil and eliminated Fat. As much as possible.

Since, I live with my parents who love food just as much as the Pope loves Jesus, it was incredibly hard to be 100% true to these amazing things I read off the internet or the inspirational speech all my former fat friends gave me.

To fill those gaps in, I added a few additional things.

3) I cut off most processed food from my diet. This included bread, cheese, sausages, cold cuts, sauces, pureés, ice creams, chocolates and anything really, that came from a pack. I restricted packaged bread consumption to two slices a week. Thereby ensuring, everything I was consuming was made fresh and came with a short expiration date. Believe it or not, it really helped me with understanding nourishment better.

Because I had drilled it in my head that I can cheat with French Fries once a week, I had to trade EVERYTHING ELSE. Which also included chips.

If you know me, you'd know chips are my highest rated vice. My umbrella term included chips and fries as one, except, my calorie count for the day restricted chips since they constituted for a lot more calories and less satisfaction.

Which leads me to two additional points-

4) You need to go on a calorie deficit diet if weight goal or losing inch is your goal. There's a whole lot of literature available on the internet, including how to calculate how much calories you need in a day to be on a deficit, using your body weight and height. There's also a lot of literature on the science behind it. I wouldn't recommend any because I want you to do your research and read enough to know the logic behind it first.

However, be wary of measurements and actually counting calories.

I can clearly help you in understanding that unless you invest in a kitchen food measuring weighing scale, your calorie counting would be at far worst. You'd be speculating since nutrients in an uncooked cabbage are very different than nutrients in a patta gobhi ki sabji (cabbage stir fry- Indian style). You need to understand a bit of cooking, a wee bit of counting calories, and have an app handy on you to mark your calories. My Fitness Pal is a great app to begin counting calories. You'll feel guilty each day as you log in your report and eventually be cured of reducing your eight small meals (real stupidity) in two or three big ones to satisfy yourself.

5) Packed chips and most things packed by the manufacturers come bearing a lot of calories which are nothing but empty and do not provide nourishment or energy or sustenance. They're all about taste. Think of a ridiculously hot man who can't spell and is a xenophobe.

That's your pack of chips. Empty inside.

Yet, 60 gms of that amounts to over 400 calories.

On my diet, I was on a 1200 calorie a day. The BMI calculation allowed me 1400 to lose weight but because I was leading a completely sedantary lifestyle, I ended up reducing 200 further.

Realistically speaking, most of our cooked Indian food messes the logged in calorie value on these apps so I'd say, keeping a buffer of 200 less than what your BMI calculator and calorie deficit score suggests but I'd also recommend speaking to a nutritionist before you do that. Please consult your doctor or a stable/responsible adult before doing any of this.

Which brings me to the next point-

6) There are plenty of diet fads on the internet, don't fall for them blindly. Read all about them before you step on the accelerator. On Keto, you can't fuck around with alcohol. You can lead to bone trouble (osteoporosis and the likes) if you stop consuming good fats in the forms such as butter, ghee and other dairy products. Basically, every diet, fad comes with a problem. Read up, research. Pick what works for you.

But before you jump on it, let me ask you a question. Why diet? Why do you want to do this?

7) I wanted to diet because I was doing zero to no physical activity. There was a time, I would go to office, eat a whole lot of crap and come back, only to eat more. I'd stress some more and stuff a pack of chips, some bites of namkeen and biscuits (and for the record I hate biscuits) and then dinner. I was eating and stressing on repeat.

I needed to not only lose weight but control my mind against all that there was on offer and all that I was so madly obsessed with.

Since I got to doing this, I feel like I have been writing better, focusing on my work sharper than ever and definitely more mindful of my surrounding, including what I eat and how much of it do I need. it.

8) Portion Control is magical, try that. I used to be obsessed with breads of all kinds. Roti, Naan, White, name it and I would want to eat it. Controling that really helped. While I had friends who told me to quit it completely, I couldn't because I wasn't quite fond of picking my vegetables without the comforting blanket of chapati and I needed some carb shaped happiness in my life.

My balance of Carbs and Protein was 40-60 where I would eat bread for one meal along with vegetables and the other two meals would be light and easy. Thereby, eliminating bread from two meals and replacing with things that could be potentially made better.

If you like snacking like I do, try things made with besan (chickpea flour). I consumed Besan Ka Chila (chickpea flour savoury pancakes) for dinner on the occasion when I did not want to eat Protein alone. While this allowed me some variation, my craving for breaking a bite like I would do with a chapati was eased as well. I was mentally and physically quite satisfied with the replacement.
Dhokla (made at home), Upma, Poha are all healthy alternatives to breakfast ideas. Since I prefer eating an egg-y dinner, I make sure I do my snacks first thing in the morning so as to eliminate any feeling about buying a pack of murukku and polishing it off.

Snacking also means forgoing your choice of snacks and eating something different.

I had to replace wads of salamis with carrots and cucumber, paneer. Six months in, I'm slightly better and barring that trip to Thailand, I think I have only had salamis twice. This, from a person, who would eat cold cuts as passing snack every fucking day.

To the next one,

9) Cut yourself some slack. It's okay if you do end up cheating or find it hard to take so much in. Take baby steps. Make things simple. Read, as much as you can, on nutrition, on food and on all that you like. Chances are, the more you read, the more disheartened you will be about your favourite snack or food.

It's a great guilty trip to read about Papdi having close to 600 calories to a plate minus the condiments including yogurt, chutneys and the additives like sev etc.

I am allowed 1200 calories a day so if I were to eat a plate of that, I'm only left with 600 calories. Reading that used to terrify me and I'd never look in the direction of Papdi, ever again.

10) Don't rush into things. All good things take time. In the beginning, I started to run and eat salads. Both of them were terrible ideas since my physical level was sedentary and salads were not cutting for me. Today, my idea of a salad consists of a plate of chicken tikka with lots of yogurt chutney and my exercise would be 10 minute dance video and that's probably healthier than the hell hole I was putting myself into everytime I tried to eat clean. Make your own rules, find your middle ground.

If you really want to do this and can afford, chicken/paneer tikka will be your best friend. Make some at home, there's a lot of recipes online and most of them are extremely simple. These are two things that you can eat out while you're on cleanse, cook at home or order in. If you're out on a dinner with friends, family or anyone, these are diet friendly and tasty.

If you don't like tikkas then find an alternative that works for you, is high on protein and edible quotient. You'll find diet getting easy.

11) Workout when you think you've controlled your eating habit. Because I was doing something entirely correctional and changing my lifestyle, I was told by Mia K that I need to work on it first before jumping into working out. It could take anywhere from 6-18 months where I have to break habits of a lifetime and get better than ever. Fitter, mentally and physically to control any and all temptations.

Working out prematurely would mean going back and eating crap. You'd justify in your head, "I worked out today, I deserve an ice cream."

Sure you do, except it doesn't stop there. While you end up complaining about sore legs and a terrible leg day, you will take the liberty of eating crap the next day and not working out for a full three day schedule. You not only fall back on result but also end up exhausting your body, confusing it and retaining water weight.

Don't do anything stupid. Give it time. Give your diet time.

12) Don't expect results for a minimum of six months. I'm addressing this for the first time now, six months in since I can feel it now. You'll feel dejected when you check your weight and inches and nothing would show initially. Give yourself time till a year to implement these.
Just as how you didn't gain your weight and inches in a month, it won't go in a week or a month. Remember, the slower you shed the higher your retaining rate of weight loss will be.

14) Hydrate yourself plenty. Hunger rises from being thirsty. I highly recommend indulging in fucking water, as much as possible. 3-4 litres a day if you can and have a washroom to your disposal. I have been told hot water does wonders but I find it hard to drink so I'm still trying to get used to it. The more you hydrate, the less scope for snacking or being hungry there will be. Make it a point to drink water each time you stare in your phone screen, that's easy to do.

15) Intermittent Fast is your best friend. Look, it's mine at at least. I learnt from a friend that 8/16 is a thing but before I get all technical, let me explain in short what this does. It makes you sleep better at night if you eat four hours prior to bed, at the very least. No taking a bite or tasting after. You basically give yourself a window of 8-10 hours in a day to eat and eat only within that time, keeping in mind your calorie deficit count. The other 16-14 hours remaining you stay hungry, you sleep and rest. You be chill, minus any food.

My get togethers involve me having dinner before and joining my friends with a glass of water. I try and not eat beyond 7-7:3o pm and start my day with breakfast at around 10 am. It's not perfect 8/16 but that's the best I can pull. Your body will have time to digest food and you will give yourself the window to burn fat when you're not eating.

13) Lastly, focus on your goal. My goal is very different than yours. I wanted to change my lifestyle, eating habits and lose weight. I also wanted to be flexible in bed, more than ever. I wanted to lose inch and fat. I also wanted to be healthy and happy. It took a while to get here but I'm more than pepped now. Charged to drop some more, even if it means I choke to death while working out in the polluted af city I live in.

You'd be pleased to know, I have tried and I'm still trying and I'm getting there. Slowly.

I could tell you on why sugar is a terrible idea, on why I'm divided on fruits being bad for you, but I'd rather have you take the first step to making sure you're completely into this idea. If that switch is turned on in your head, now's a good time to do this. If not, come back another day. This may appeal to you someday.

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