A tragedy called ‘the college diet’.

My buddy at work is sick. He has something that I will not mention, but it is because of his terrible diet, complete lack of physical activities and him thinking that he is an invincible 24 year old. I have already given him earfuls about how he is ruining his health by giving him my own examples from my early days in USA.

Continuing with the nostalgia from my SDSU days, I had a trip laughing my glutes off about some of the weird habits I had developed in year 1. Obviously, I was away from home, and had to make all my decisions myself, that included lifestyle choices. Add to that the facts that I was supremely lazy, loved sleeping, and was practically jobless, broke, and had classes on alternate evenings at night. Things were okay in Lonavala, because the college mess/cafeteria was really good and provided healthy food. I had developed a very weird day cycle for myself. I would sleep at 3-4 am and wake up by 1-2 pm everyday. This continued for a while till I got a Grader position finally. I bucked up and started going to school at 10 am even if I had nothing to do there. I would simply sit in the library and work on my assignments or watch shows when I had nothing to do. There was this nice secluded booth that I preferred, where I could eat my lunch in peace.

Speaking of my lunch, it usually looked like cat food. I barely got a month to learn cooking before I moved away from home and my food of choice was Khichdi(rice-lentil stew). I would make as much as my pressure cooker would allow and put it in tupperwares and refrigerate it. Anyone who makes khichdi, knows that it is disgusting even after an hour, so please use your imagination to think what 2 day old khichdi could be like. Or dont.

I had totally failed to learn how to make roti/paratha(indian bread like tortilla) while at home, and I was left to my own devices. I had tried tortillas from the store and ready-to-make roti, but something about the preservative smell really grossed me out. It is not an easy task when making the dough, rolling it and cooking it is involved. So I would make around 10 paratha at once that would be enough for 3 meals, and freeze them. That had to be the worst idea ever because they would get insanely hard and crispy flatbread like when reheated. Abhi used to laugh at my parathas and still remembers the crumbly mess I would make while eating them. I gave up pretty soon, and switched to bread instead.

I was eating in the worst possible ways. I would eat milk poha for dinner(Abhi remembers that as well and never fails to make fun of me for that, rightly so). I would skip lunches and eat a giant meal of rice with a variation of lentil-potato curry made by whichever roommate’s turn that night was. I had forgotten about the concept of breakfast. I would sometimes simply have coldstone creamery’s strawberry cheesecake icecream for dinner.

All this lead to my amazing metabolism from my teenage years breaking down completely, and I had invariably packed on an extra 25 lbs. My face looked ridiculous, I got wayyyy curvier and I was huffing-puffing if I had to walk another 10 minutes or climb another flight of stairs. Finally, it hit me that I was no longer fit. That’s when I decided enough was enough. That, and vanity. I tossed out the terrible eating habits, started including breakfast and a snack in my diet, switched to green leafy salads for lunch and cut down my dinner portion to the right size. I still was overloading on carbs, so I started walking to school which was a good 2 mile away, and joined the SDSU gym. That’s where the health bug bit me. Things are okay now. I still over-indulge, but maintain some discipline during the week, and I work out. I am happy where I am with respect to health. *Touchwood*

It is hard. It is difficult when you are thrown into the unknown when you leave home to reach for your dreams. We have all lived such sheltered lives, that it is so easy to forget what is important. Everybody tells you to study hard, be successful, be good, but your own body gets forgotten. Assignments, jobs, commutes pile up, and health and fitness become secondary. Sleep becomes a nuisance and black coffee becomes our best friend.

So dear Mr. Chia, unless you want to be fed with a tube for the rest of your life, get your running shoes out, and stow away all your instant ramen packets. Get on it!

Auntie PB, signing off!



Gym rants

So, some colleagues at work started a bet before the thanksgiving weekend, on the lines of ‘the biggest loser wins’. The person who will lose the most number of pounds, will win something, I have no idea what. I did not even get into it. My weight is going a little bonkers. I was 103 pounds when I was in engg college. Then I shot up to 125 lb in 2011. I looked so chubby and not nice at all! It was not the evenly chubby and cutely chubby thing. It was, like pockets of fat showing, grossly chubby. After that I got back into working out hard and started controlling my diet and the rubbish I put into my mouth, and now I am at 114-115 lb. I was on 110 lb a couple of months back. The person who checks our weights and body fat % from the gym, says that I am gaining because it is the muscle that I am building. As long as I lose the fat, I am ok with losing or gaining!

I blame my screwed up metabolism in my 1st year in USA. It is so damn hard to eat healthy and right in the States! More so, if you are a vegetarian. I would skip meals daily and have a frozen pizza or something. My body probably thought I am a polar bear and went into hibernation mode and started storing all the fat. I am reaping the ‘sweet’ fruits of my stupidity now. That reminds me I need to stock up my fridge with fruits.

All you people who work out daily and are flaunting flat stomachs, I hate you, but hats off! It is so hard to maintain that routine. And it hurts! I try and do 10-15 min of cardio followed by strength exercises for biceps+back/triceps+chest/legs+butt+shoulders and some abdomens daily. The worst of the lot are leg exercises. Squats, namely. It is so easy to get carried away and do tons, but give it 1.5 days, and just getting up and doing any sort of leg movement becomes a pain in the butt, well, literally.

So far, I am not sure how much working out has shown its results on me. The tummy bump still exists. My triceps/fat pouches still jiggle when I wave my arm. I still cannot carry off empire lines. Hmpphhh :-/

But, it is not as bad as before. I am not looking as lumpy as I did 2 years back. It has definitely improved my stamina. I can walk almost the entire day. I can run longer than I could before. Hopefully I will run a 5K soon. Working towards that.

I am determined to get in shape and to get fit. Slowly, but steadily, I hope to reach that point where I feel good about my fitness level and body.

This is a weird post, but it is only to remind and motivate myself that I have a long way to go to be fit, and that I should continue working on it. Lets see how I fare after a month.