Week 17: Are You an Emotional Eater?

Emotional eating is everyone’s Waterloo. You start a new weight loss plan, stick to the workouts, eat all the right foods, and bam! come Saturday night, you succumb to a sinful plate of French fries with a bucket of cola on the side. So how does one fight this emotional eating evil? How do we keep ourselves sane through those tastebud cravings for sugar and salt, fried and creamy? Let’s give this some thought…

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #017? Check it out here.

Look at these scenarios – how many times do you eat when you’re not hungry? By now you’ve got your meal times into a fixed routine but do you still manage to sneak in a pizza? or a bag of chips? Or a tub of ice cream? In the last week, how many times did you find yourself at the canteen because you got a crappy email at work?

Emotional eating is when you eat to satisfy anything that isn’t hunger.

Hunger is a gradual feeling that goes away when you eat your lunch, or breakfast or your fruit snack. But when a sudden feeling jumps on you and you want a certain food – that’s not hunger. When you crave a specific taste – that’s not hunger and often times, its brought on by emotional problems – feelings of anxiety, sadness, or work pressures.

So what can you do to get out of the emotional eating trap?

The easiest answer and probably the hardest, is to replace the eating with another activity. Take a break, a nap, go for a walk, put on your favourite playlist and just listen to 3 sings. Don’t do anything else – just listen to the music. Pick up the book you’re reading and read 10 pages – play 5 levels of Angry Birds. Try them all out one by one to find the one which gives you enough time to slowly bring your mood back in control, and then continue with your day.

The other, slightly tricky option is replace the unhealthy food. I know it’s a bit ridiculous to say when you crave a pizza, eat a carrot but it doesn’t have to be so drastic. Try a cup of tea, or a glass of fruit juice. Something with a strong flavour. Now 10 cups of tea a day isn’t a workable solution either. The plan is to wean yourself off the bad-for-you food and slowly work towards not needing to emotionally eat at all.

But that’ll take time, and remember, you do have time. You’re doing well on the BigLoser journey and by the time the challenge is over, these tips will be part of your healthy lifestyle.

Big Loser of the Week #017: @anujaponkshe

I had always been healthy, overweight, and as most of my school and college mates might remember me, ‘fat!’ Health issues and increasing digits on the weighing scale coupled with advice from family and doctors compelled me to start taking weight loss seriously.

Having spent the last three years in a hostel, my eating habits had gone for a total toss, with noodles and junk food replacing regular, wholesome meals. The result: I ended up gaining almost 7 to 8 kgs, besides inviting a string of health issues. Add to that a general loss of confidence and really low self esteem, and you have me, prior to Feb 2011.

The final push came when I realized my sister’s wedding was only three months away, and I desperately needed to lose weight in order to look good in the pictures 😉 Promptly, I, along with a cousin, enrolled in a gym and thus began my journey.

The biggest reality check came in the form of the first measurement at the gym. I seriously needed to reduce fat percentage of my body, weight by 15 kgs, increase stamina, get rid of health issues. And have a killer figure! 😉

Around the same time, I read about #bglsr on twitter. It couldn’t have started at a better time! (thanks, @b50) I decided to sign up instantly, and was lucky enough to find a sponsor in @BhairaviSagar. Regular updates to my sponsor, really awesome podcasts and tips, and interacting with people who are in the exact same spot as you. @Bglsr was like a Godsend!

I enrolled in a gym. There, you are accountable to people, there’s someone to monitor and track your progress and bring you back on track should you happen to fall off the wagon. Having a strict diet helps, but no diet is 100% achievable. I always wanted to opt for something that I could inculcate into my daily food pattern, instead of quick-fix diets that work for some days, but leave you craving for more than what your body needs. As was pointed out in one of the articles posted on #bglsr recently, what we need is a lifestyle change and not temporary solutions.

I grew up with the biggest sweet tooth ever, and a general fondness for anything that tickled the taste buds. Giving up sweets, chocolates and biscuits in particular was a real challenge. When you are used to eating what you want, whenever you want, restricting yourself to just one or two pieces can be quite a task. And this is where #bglsr helps me the most! Whenever I feel like eating that extra Oreo cookie or having some of the delicious rabdi that’s in the fridge, all I have to do is take one look at the #bglsr stream. When everyone else is talking salads and sprouts and staying away from biscuits, I can’t possibly make a meal out of those Oreos now, can I? 🙂

A sprain in my ankle while doing a leg press kept me out of the gym for almost 2 weeks. Wedding in the family meant eating out more than I would have liked. But once you’re on track, you automatically learn to work your way around such issues and balance it out with a healthier diet or increased workouts, or sometimes both.

Though I am no fitness expert, I’d like to share some tips which I think could be helpful!

1- Having a workout buddy: It can be very difficult to stick to the commitments with respect to daily workouts, especially if they include getting up early or getting out of the house after a long work day. I owe this new found discipline to Siddhi, my cousin and also my workout buddy. With wake up calls and constant reminders, we both make sure we go to the gym everyday, and also discuss our diet, what we eat, what works, where we think we could’ve done better and the likes. Had it not been for her, I’m pretty sure I would’ve missed half my workouts and gone back to my old friend- the snooze button!

2- Don’t ever skip breakfast!: I couldn’t be more grateful to my parents for the one simple rule in our house- nobody leaves home without breakfast. I remember discussing this with @BhairaviSagar too: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a commoner and dinner like a pauper! Staying hungry is simply not an option; at least find a fruit to nibble on or have some cereals with milk.

3- Munch away! : Planning three basic meals can be easy, it’s those little hunger pangs in between that are an actual challenge. Always keep a small bag of nuts, cashews, raisins, almonds in your purse or at your desk. They’re any day better than munching onto chips and other such ‘snacks’ and fooling yourself into believing that a small quantity won’t affect your calorie intake.

4- The Dream Dress strategy! : This one’s especially for the girls! Go hunt a bit for that really cute top or the perfect LBD. Purposely buy it in a size or two smaller than what you are right now. Every time you feel like giving up on your workout, imagine the dress and how awesome you’d look in it! Might sound silly, but trust me, this works!

I’ve managed to lose 6 kgs so far, and the fat content reduced by 4 %. It’s a long long way to go, but I know I will get there. Thank you, team #bglsr, for being such an awesome support system! Cheers!

P.S.- I did manage to lost some weight before the wedding, and look good in the pictures! (At least that’s what people said!)

– @AnujaPonkshe

@AnujaPonkshe wins herself:

1. A gift hamper of soya milk from Staeta
2. A gift hamper of healthy snacking biscuits from Britannia NutriChoice
3. A six-month subscription to The Ideal Home and Garden magazine
4. A free umbrella from the Bombay Store


The Big Loser Podcast #017 (emotional eating)

Get your fitness on!
Episode 17 of the #bigloser podcast brings you a roundup of what went down this week from @b50 – discussions centred around a.m. vs p.m. for workouts, some serious exercise regimens and more. After that, @sashg takes on emotional eating. Do you eat when you’re not hungry? Here are some tips!
We also have our big loser of the week @anujaponkshe who wins a gift hamper of healthy snacking @nutrichoice biscuits, soy milk from @Staeta, an umbrella from @the Bombay Store and a 6-month subscription to The Ideal home & garden @TIHGMag! All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

AM or PM? #bglsr weighs in

Recently, we asked our #bglsr team whether they prefer morning or evening workouts. A sampling of answers follows. Feel free to share your own preference in a comment below or as a tweet with the #bglsr tag 🙂

@AnarchicDame #bglsr I prefer evening workouts. Evening means I don’t have to be in a rush
n I have more time.
@chhavi me too RT @sabhishekk: #bglsr morning.. Keeps me fresh for the day.
@AnujaPonkshe #bglsr Mornings! Nothing like some endorphins to kick off the day! 🙂
@a_appy slept late this morning but did my exercise routine this evening! #goodgirl
@satishkini Evenings RT @bglsr: Mornings or evenings? When do you prefer to workout?
@Abhishek_Rai #bglsr Mornings.
@ektz @bglsr morning. good start of the day. #bglsr
@Rupalimk @bglsr Evenin time. Morning time is cildren.. School… Cooking.. Office!
@sabhishekk #bglsr morning.. Keeps me fresh for the day.

Week 16: Desserts on Your BigLoser Journey

Deciding which desserts are healthy enough to accompany you on your BigLoser journey can be a daunting task. Nearly everything on offer is loaded with fatty ingredients like truckloads of sugar, cream and cheese. But what if we were to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too? Here are some handy tips and tricks to make sure that you don’t need to banish desserts and abandon your sweet tooth while on your healthy weight loss journey with #bglsr.

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #016? Check it out here.

First we’ll go through the easy bits – Healthy desserts – Fruits and the ubiquitous fruit salads. Now the way restaurants make fruit salads – with all that cream and sugar isn’t healthy for you. So if you’re chowing down boatloads of fruits dipped in cream, you’ll need to replace the cream with skimmed yoghurt and use natural sweeteners like honey and cinnamon to get back on track. Think about almonds and walnuts as toppings and you’ve got a delicious and dessert that offers nutritional value as well.

A popular trick to satisfy any ice cream cravings is the fake banana ice cream: Simply cut a peeled banana into slices and freeze it overnight. Then blend it – no water, no sugar, no milk, just blend it till it reaches a creamy consistency and taste it. The first time you do, you will do a double take – it tastes exactly like banana ice cream, all natural, no preservatives, no added colour or flavours.

Now, let’s talk about the not-so-perfect desserts – like baked alaska and tiramisu… or whatever else make your mouth water. First thing’s first – there are no 2 ways about it – these desserts will pile on calories, offer zero nutritional value and if you have more than 10 kilos to lose, you can not afford even a small indulgence. You’re best advised to stick to only the healthy desserts.

For the rest though, as long as you keep it to an indulgence, you can eat a slice of tiramisu on a Saturday dinner. Homemade desserts will stand out compared to commercially made ones because you are guaranteed not to have any unhealthy ingredient. But remember, it’s only an indulgence if it’s once or twice a week. If you eat out for every meal then it’s not an indulgence any more.

The way it works is actually quite simple: When a person is healthy and has an active metabolism, your body will burn off the extra calories straight away. Since your body is getting its daily requirements of all nutrients, including fat, the dessert won’t set you back. If you’re someone who is crash dieting or cutting out all fats then the body will crave fats and store every little bit it can find. Including a slice of tiramisu.

the Big Loser of the Week #016: @AC_31

@AC_31I had joined twitter long time back but never really got going on tweets, I was reintroduced to it by @priyankac19, and I started tweeting in somewhere mid May. I remember making a stupid comment on twitter, with respect to weight loss, and that’s when @bglsr caught hold of me and corrected me, initially I was of the opinion that “big loser” was some other reality show which was trying to promote itself through twitter.

I went on to their website, and read most if not all, of the articles posted on the site, As such I never joined big loser, so far haven’t got a sponsor either, but I told myself if someone is willing to pay for your weight loss, then there has to be something noble about the whole concept, few people have been instrumental in me getting a little involved with big loser, @anaghh, @b50, @chhavi, @sashg, they all have helped in the way they could. Special mention for @anaghh whose blog I visited and read all the articles in a day (fat to fit section).
There on I read and commented on @bglsr every tweet, and tried getting more involved, it was a great learning, and they continue doing the good work
But this article isn’t about how good they are, everyone out there knows it’s a great concept backed by some great people, so I wouldn’t like to add many praises to it,
One day there was a tweet from @bglsr “it”s normal to lose weight soon after starting a regular fitness routine, then plateau for a bit” to which I had replied “its the plateau where most of the people quit bcoz of boredom, thats where u need to push yourself that extra tiny bit” and @bglsr retweeted, which made me believe there was some sense in my message,
Since my school days I have always been fat (or little extra healthy in my mom’s words, but all moms think that way about their FAT child), I don’t remember joining a gym anywhere, until some 6 years back when I had joined a gym in my locality; in the last 6 years I have joined 5 gyms, the last gym being the only one where I renewed my membership,
My weight fluctuation has been the like the Indian equity markets, “A rise, followed by small fall, then rise over and above, the previous high, then some correction and again the rise,” I have moved from 80 to 75, then 75 to 85, then 85 to 80 back to 85 then 85 to 97 that was the high I ever reached, the day I saw that figure on the weighing scale, I knew I had to do something.
Over these 6 years of irregular gyming, I have learnt a few things from all my mistakes; the most important thing I have learnt is about that phase in weight loss which is called “plateau” and I would like to say something about this phase, with an example
All of us from MumbaI have travelled in the local train at point of our career. I had travelled from AndherI to Churchgate 6 days a week for 3 years, some of you must have travelled less someone a lot more, so here are the few things which you learn from travelling
1) Punctuality, all of us had a set time to take the train to our office, we all did everything possible to catch that train, yes sometimes we missed it, but 8 out 10 times we made sure we took that train, why? There would be another local 5 mins later, right? But if we took that train everything that was to follow would fall in place, the bus from churchgate to office, or less crowded taxi stand
Put this in practice for your gym and diet, and you will see the result, eat what you are suppose to eat at what time you are suppose to eat, gym when you are suppose to gym, and you will see everything will fall in to place

2) Friends, All of us made some friends in the train we travelled, we never knew all those people earlier, initially they were just faces which we saw often because of same time of travel, then we get used to that face, the day he/she doesn’t travel you would realise, and the next day or after a few days as the case might be you would ask “what happened didn’t see you yesterday or few days?”, this person wasn’t known to you, but you still cared to know.
For gym, this is what will happen: you would be a beginner and see new faces, you will see them more often, and then you would know them better, so its always good to have someone as your GYM BUDDY, someone who will ask you “why didn’t you come for so many days, so make friends in the gym, there is no point being a loner there

3) Good friends and not so good friends, when we travel in train, and have made friends, we will meet people who would be entertaining and who would be helpful in many ways, and they would make you feel the journey is shorter, and you would meet people who would keep blabbering, you would talk to them and feel you enjoying the conversation, but actually the conversation is not taking you anywhere, they would explains schemes overnight – rich, you wouldn’t want to invest in them right and the train journey would still take same time
These good friends are your supplements, proper diet after consultation, and these not so good friends are tablets such as fat burners, fad diets like Atkins, only meal replacements diet. The most hilarious one I ever heard was “jaundice diet” (where you eat only food allowed for jaundice patients), so make these good friends stay with you and politely say “thanks, but no thanks “ to the not-so-good friends

4) Target and nothing else. As I said earlier I travelled for 3 years from AndherI to Churchgate and most of you would have travelled from point A to point B, when you left your place you always knew you have to get to point B, many a times, when you catch the train, by the time you settle in the next station has arrived, and it seems just few mins, the next few stations, also seem to come fast, in between you start counting how many more stations to go, and why does it have to take so long, but you never get down of the train and say, its taking forever and I am going back home, do you? If you got on at AndherI and have to reach Churchgate you would go to Churchgate and not get off at Dadar as half the train is getting empty, or at Marine Lines, thinking I have almost reached, do you?
Have a set target weight you want to lose and just eye that target, you would lose some kgs, by just starting the gym after long gap, you would lose a few more sooner, after that it becomes tedious, all pain, but not much gain, that where you need the extra patience, and remember your target weight, you need to remember the destination. What I did is I bought an expensive pair of jeans have hung it in wardrobe, and try to get into it every 3 months, the day I manage to do that I would be a happy person

So to summarise the things that I learnt from my mistakes
1) Be regular at the gym, try to make it 6 days a week, but nothing less than 5
2) Have a gym buddy or get a friend who is also keen on losing weight to join your gym
3) Stick with the tried and tested formula and don’t fall for fad products
4) Have the target in your mind, write it on your palm, write it on your wallpaper of your laptop, get it tattooed if need be, do everything it takes to remind you.

Two Hindi songs which I always listen to and are motivating for anything “ rookh jaana nahI tu kahI haar ke, rahoon main milenge…” and other one is from Lakshya movie “ lakshya toh har haal main paana hai

I have lost 12 kgs in last one year, have come down from 97 to 85. My target for this year is to get down from 85 to 75, and I WILL REACH THERE


@AC_31 wins himself:

1. A gift hamper of soya milk from Staeta
2. A gift hamper of healthy snacking biscuits from Britannia NutriChoice
3. A six-month subscription to The Ideal Home and Garden magazine
4. A lovely umbrella from The Bombay Store

The BigLoser India Podcast #016 (getting your just desserts)

Get your fitness on!
Episode 16 of the #bigloser podcast is a sweet, sweet show. We’re talking about @chhavi’s favorite food group: Dessert! That’s in @sashg’s 50 tips segment. @b50 brings you a roundup of what went down this week most of it centred around our new web site. And we also have our big loser of the week @AC_31 who wins a gift hamper of healthy snacking @nutrichoice biscuits, soy milk from @Staeta, an umbrella from @The Bombay Store and a 6-month subscription to The Ideal home & garden @TIHGMag! All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

Week 15: Alcohol and Weight Loss

We’ve been looking at exercises for a while now so I thought I’d take a break and talk about everyone’s favourite topic – alcohol, and how it works with everyone’s second favourite topic – weight loss.

If you don’t binge drink and do not have a history of health issues with alcohol, then it’s quite likely that you can continue enjoying a drink or two without having to quit the good stuff altogether. But one thing remains – without a doubt – if you want to lose serious weight, you will have to curtail your alcohol intake to a large extent. If you don’t, then you need to forget about Big Loser and look at Big Alcoholics Anonymous instead…

For the rest of us who drink on weekends or like a glass of wine or two in the evening, alcohol is not the enemy. Cliché though it is, one of my pet phrases is, alcohol doesn’t make you overweight, YOU make yourself overweight. It’s all about moderation. Nothing is good in excess. Bananas are good for you but eating 20 bananas isn’t. If you are clever about what you drink and drink in moderation, you won’t have to give up alcohol. You’re not in prison, the idea here is to develop healthy habits, not suffer silently in misery.

The first thing to look at is what you drink. Usually it’s the cocktails that are to blame and not the alcohol part but the packaged fruit juices, syrups and aerated drinks that are loaded with calories. These also dehydrate you quite a bit. Cut them out of your drink. Beer drinkers – what’s on the table other than the glass and pitcher – I’m guessing chips, peanuts, french fries, all way worse for you than a couple of pints (not just calorie-wise, also health-wise).

There is enough research to show that moderate alcohol consumption is good for health, There is NO research
that shows that moderate samosa consumption is good for health. If you punish yourself, you’ll end up hating your Big Loser journey.

So don’t worry, have a drink after a hard day’s work, but stop if you think you’d like half the bottle instead…

Further reading:
Calories in Vodka Cocktails
Drink Advice from the Dietary Guidelines for Indians
Moderate Alcohol Consumption Has Positive Cardiovascular Health Benefits
10 Reasons Why Water is the Best Alcohol Mixer

The BigLoser of the Week #015: @netra

netra“Where there is a will, there is a way” — this is the most important mantra when you are trying to lose weight or get in shape. Your desire to achieve your goal is what will motivate you day-after-day. This is what I gleaned from my conversations with lots of people who are talking about their fitness regimes which can be tracked on twitter as as #roadtoskinny #roadtosexy #fattofit and other such. However, when your self-discipline wavers, then others’ support can bring you back on track.

@b50came up with this innovative idea of combining weight-loss with support from friends and helping an NGO all at the same time! What a brilliant plan! I still remember, the date was 2nd of February and it all started with a tweet from @b50 “Weight loss for charity” with the hashtag #bigloser. The time on the tweet was 7.30 am.

Incidentally at the same time, two of my friends @ansoogupta and @Vyasrajiv were also motivating (more like pushing) me to make morning- walk a daily ritual. However I wasn’t very regular with it. But this pushing and then this #bglsr programme actually set me on my path of regular daily morning walks which I slowly started enjoying a lot. It became a part of my daily routine. So much so that my friends and colleagues all came to know about this change in my daily schedule. Every morning, an ‘Alarm/ Policing SMS’ from @ansoogupta makes sure that I go for walk even on the days when I felt slightly sleepy or lethargic. Continue reading The BigLoser of the Week #015: @netra