Week 25: Halfway Through BigLoser – Let's Check Progress!

We’re halfway through 50 Tips for BigLoser, and if you’re following all tips to the last letter, then it’s time to analyse your progress and results. Today’s tip is the importance of timely checks – in this case, a halfway check. And this is one place where a downward spiraling chart is Good News!

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #025? Check it out here.

Monitoring your results in a timely way, not in an obsessive way – once in 2 weeks is a good measure to see realistic results.

Let’s look at how best you can do this:

  1. Avoid weighing yourself, obsessively, every day or every second day. Weight loss, or even weight gain, doesn’t occur overnight.
  2. Maintain a weight diary with rows and columns for one weighing day a week. For instance, my weighing day is every Monday morning. Jot down your weight with each weighing scale session.
  3. Weigh yourself at the same time for each weighing session. So if you weigh yourself every Monday morning before breakfast, then this is how you weigh yourself every time.
  4. Ensure that you don’t wear heavy clothing or shoes when weighing yourself.
  5. Divide the rows into time-bound checks. You should have a clear picture of what your weight was on the last day of each month.
  6. Also divide the rows into three month capsules. This will help you check whether your fitness routine is helping progress or not.
  7. Record weight loss or weight gain and leave comments against the results. For instance, if on Month 5 you gained a kilo was it because you had a 10 day vacation?

The idea is very simple – be aware of the ups and downs caused by your lifestyle and fitness routine (or lack thereof).

Many of you will notice that the weight loss plateau isn’t just something you made up, but that it is actually affecting your BigLoser progress. A lot of you would have been steadily losing 1 lb a week and then found that for the last few weeks, you haven’t moved. Neither down and thankfully, not up either. Chances are that this has happened because you have reached the even balance where the calories burned through exercise and life is equal to the calories consumed. And if you still have kilos to lose, now would be a good time to re-evaluate the diet and up the workout intensity.


Remember, that if you approach healthy weight loss as you would a work or home project – complete with excel sheets, diary entries and above all Accountability, you will win in the end. So get that pen and paper and start recording your BigLoser progress today. Always make notes of what you’re eating and how you are exercising, and you’ll be more mindful of why progress is slow, successful or absent.

BigLoser of the Week #025: @R_Zed

I’ve always been an active sportsperson, never played at a professional level but at some decent levels in various sports. And to play sports without damaging/hurting your body is a challenge, which is greatly helped if you keep fit by some regular physical activity. I started on my weight loss regime in early June with two things in mind:

1. I’m Injury prone: Irregular sports, games on and off on alternate weekends turns out isn’t the best way to keep fit. After suffering an injury in a game of football early this year, my doctor told me that the ‘Weekend Sportsperson’ as they are known in the medical fraternity is the worst kind of athlete simply because your body is not prepared enough for strenuous sports, especially high-impact ones like football. He told me I had to stop. Completely!

2. I’m unfit: Over the past 5-7 years (post school) my physical activity dropped massively and with that my fitness levels. I couldn’t run as long as I used to, I couldn’t hold my breath as long as I used, forget about touching my toes without bending my knees!
With this in mind, and my doctors advice to stop on the irregular high impact sports, I turned to swimming, low impact, fun and something I could do regularly and independently.

So I immediately signed up a membership at the nearest pool in June and never looked back. My fitness goal is three fold, lose weight, make my body more flexible and tone up/build muscle.
When I started in June I was close to 83 kilos, last night I was about 77.5 kilos! I’ve still got a long way to go though. One thing I must warn though is that swimming also takes a toll on your body and you need to make sure your muscles are nicely warmed up. That is where my sponsor, Rashi (@rashik85) came in. She too has turned to swimming to lose weight but also pushed me into doing the Surya Namaskar every morning to basically help stretch out all the muscles. A little morning exercise could only help I figured, so I gave it a shot and have been doing it everyday for about a month and a half. To this regimen, I then added an 8 minute ab workout in the mornings which i have been following for the last 1 month (on alternate days). This is it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkKCVCZe474
I’m going to keep up the swimming to till they keep the pool open (mid-October) by which I should achieve my target weight of 75 kilos post which I’ll join a gym for the winters. And work on the toning.
Big Loser has helped add to the focus and determination that I have maintained. It’s interesting to read about what others do and the blog has some good tips and get to learn a few things my gym instructor never told me! More information always helps in achieving what you set out to do.
My biggest challenge in the Big Loser journey is to keep up the momentum, I joined gyms in the past, but somehow never managed to keep a steady schedule and usually gave in to relaxing and eating unhealthy (big time foodie) and beer! What I have come to realise is that my passion for food (read: Calorie rich food) is not going to reduce, what I can control is how I can burn them faster!
Being given the honour of Big Loser of the Week is a morale booster! I am even more determined now to achieve my fitness goals, and then some more!
– R_Zed

@R_Zed wins himself:
* A 6-month subscription to The Ideal Home and Garden Magazine
* A visit to Placid Salon
* An umbrella from The Bombay Store


The BigLoser India Podcast #025 (halfway checks)

Get your fitness on!


Episode 25 of the #bglsr podcast brings you all your fitness information in a quick and easy format. First we give you 50 tips for BigLoser. @Sashg tells us about checking in halfway and what you should look out for. Listen to learn more 🙂 Then we have a roundup of what went down in the last week from @b50 – discussions about weight loss, achievements, goals, charity, and much more, plus information about our first on-ground tweet up. Finally, we also have our #BLOTW – big loser of the week – @R_Zed!

All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

Week 24: Why Local Produce is a Great Idea

This one’s for all the first-time cooks who get excited about eating healthy, google healthy recipes, arrive at brussel sprouts, broccoli and asparagus, source them out for one great healthy meal. And then get tired of making it to that distant grocery market to pick up these ‘healthy’ vegetables every week. You guessed it – today we’re talking about local fruits and vegetables over ‘exotic’, difficult to come by, and expensive produce that you won’t manage sticking to for long.

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #024? Check it out here.

Do you see what’s wrong here? Firstly, you’re relying on American and European sources for gaining information about what is healthy and achievable in India. Secondly, you’re completely discounting the fact that we have excellent and perfectly healthy vegetables right here, right next to you, and in your very own neighbourhood market.

Yes you do get 245% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C from Broccoli, but our very own cabbage and cauliflower can also give you all the benefits that broccoli and brussel sprouts can. Other vegetables like spinach, bhindi or okra, eggplants and cucumber are all loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients, as well as good carbs and dietary fibre.

The only trick you’ll need to master with local produce and Indian vegetable recipes, and the only reason why western vegetable dishes are, sometimes, healthier than ours – is better cooking methods. Pay attention to how much oil you use and how much salt you add.

Most broccoli, asparagus and sprouts recipes call for simple stir-fries or steaming with minimal oil. Most Indian recipes start with 2-3 tablespoons of oil and at least 2 teaspoons of salt per 500 gms of cooked vegetables. That’s way too much. And considering, at every meal, half your plate must be covered with veggies, you’re also eating a lot of it.

So, stick to the vegetables you grew up eating, but be more aware of how you cook them. There’s no need to attempt a diet that relies on foods that are tough to get. Such a diet won’t last beyond two shopping trips. Also, consider how long a vegetable takes to reach that grocery store. Fresh and seasonal produce always wins when compared to anything that travels for days to reach you.

Here are some healthy and affordable vegetable recipes for you:
Pala dal aka spinach dal recipe
15 minutes peanut and cabbage recipe
Baby potatoes with spinach
Pumpkin and chickpeas recipe
…And many more here.

The BigLoser of the Week #024: @dhirensalian

To be honest, my journey of #bglsr had started much before @b50 created the hashtag on Twitter. It was in July of 2010, when I had to put away a second set of trousers in a far corner of my wardrobe (in the hope that I could fit into them later), that I decided to get a move on. I needed a medium term goal and so signed up for the Half-Marathon race in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011. I completed it and followed it up with the Thane Half Marathon in February 2011. When the #bglsr campaign went live, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to continue with the new lifestyle I had adopted. My sponsor, the ever-enthu @iMayavi, keeps checking in on my progress from time to time and I am more than happy getting him to donate to charity.

Having signed up for the 2012 edition of the Mumbai Half Marathon, my current exercise schedule is a combination of run, cycle, swim and weights. I joined Brinston Miranda’s running group and he basically tells me what to do the next day (so that’s one load off my back ☺). My nutrition regimen is nothing spectacular – just try to limit excess calorie intake and limit binges as much as I can.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no magic pill for sustainable weight-loss. It is bloody difficult to wake up at an un-earthly hour in the morning, before anyone else is up and get ready for a run/gym routine; but it all comes down to how badly you want to make the change. It is a slow journey and you’ll have to stick it out to the end. Yes, there will be some sacrifices – going to bed early, cutting back on extra calories, etc – but nothing will compare to the joy when you see the needle on the weighing scale hit the desired number.

One thing that I have found particularly useful in keeping the motivation levels up is to talk about your goal and what you are doing to get there. Tell your friends, your relatives about the changes in your lifestyle. They may raise eyebrows but deep down, they would be admiring you for making the changes stick. Heck, tweet about it on the #bglsr stream. And you’ll find some helpful tips from people on the same journey as you. It sure makes the ride more pleasant.

Keep short term goals. For example, be able to run 4k continuously at the end of the month, or use a particular set of weights for the bicep curl or leg press in two months. Do remember, these goals HAVE to be achievable. Don’t set them too high and you’ll give up halfway. Worse, you might injure yourself.

I’ll close with what John Anderson, a certified personal trainer, has to say about waking up early.
“The fight will be on again tomorrow morning. Same time, same place. Wish me luck—no, wish me determination—and I’ll do the same for you! After all, we are in this fight together.”

All the best!

PS: I now fit into that second set of trousers I had tucked away ☺

@dhirensalian 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 visit to PlacidSalon, Bandra



The BigLoser India Podcast #024 (local food edition)

Get your fitness on!
Episode 24 of the #bglsr podcast brings you all your fitness information in a quick and easy format. First we give you 50 tips for BigLoser. @Sashg gives us the skinny on how traditional, local foods may work better for your health than anything from a cookbook. Listen to learn more 🙂 Then we have a roundup of what went down in the last week from @b50 – discussions about weight loss, achievements, goals, charity, and much more. Finally, we also have our #BLOTW – big loser of the week – @dhirensalian!
All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

Week 23: What's More Important – Diet or Exercise?

This week, we’re addressing a common doubt that has come up quite a lot on Bigloser twitter conversations – What’s more important diet or exercise? In fact, quite a few of you have reported regular gym days and mentioned that despite being regular with your workouts, you aren’t losing any weight. Some others have said that they’ve been watching what they eat, but the weighing scale won’t budge.

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #023? Check it out here.

So, what is going to help you more – working out or eating right? The answer, I’m afraid, is – both. You can’t exercise, without eating right and you certainly can’t eat right and never exercise. Now there are some points to be considered here:

First of all: When you exert yourself in exercise, your body demands more food. If you aren’t watching what you eat, you’re going to end up eating a lot more than you would without exercise, which means that the calories you burn at the gym ultimately amount to nothing.

Secondly: By only dieting, you aren’t exercising your cardiovascular muscles and neither are you strengthening your limbs and joints. This is a recipe for weight gain later in life, as well as lots of aches and pains and sudden pulls, cramps and injuries. If you notice, most people with back problems in their 50s are people who didn’t pay much attention to exercise when they were younger.

Next – Look at a timeframe. If you’ve combined exercise and diet, and not just any diet – a healthy diet, for atleast 6 months, you will feel better, look better, and yes – weigh a lot lesser. Remember the calorie budget we mentioned last week? That’s what needs to go into your daily diet. And remember what we’ve mentioned earlier about exercise intensity and consistency – that’s what your workouts should focus on.

Experts say that after crossing your 20s, diet counts for 70% of your body’s upkeep, and exercise counts for 30%. I say both count equally. Apart from just the physical upkeep, if you count what exercise does to your self-motivation, enjoyment and alertness levels, then the balance does even out. Besides, this 70-30 divide assumes moderate daily activity. And for most of us desk junkies, we know that’s not true.

So tell us how you are taking care of food and exercise together, and we guarantee you’ll stop getting frustrated with your BigLoser plans. Catch us on twitter @bglsr

the BigLoser of the Week #023: @satishkini

@satishkiniHere’s the write-up I promised. Slightly delayed. As you know the root cause of all evil is procrastination, and, in my case, one of the major factor affecting my weight loss plan in the past.
I have been trying to lose weight for some time now. Every time I would start with the gym, get bored in couple of weeks, pay them till the end of contract and continue with the routine of getting heavier…
In April, my wife (@magical_anu) suggested I should try cycling to office (8 km) along the river. Around the same time @MrsSonaL introduced me to @bglsr and runkeeper. And so the journey began. In the beginning even 8 km to office and back was very tiring. All the motivation from the bigloser team and practice made me push myself over a period of time. Started with a target of 100 km/week I can now go around 200 km/week. On the way back from office I cycle around 30-40 km depending on the weather. I am enjoying cycling so much that it’s becoming a habit. My current goal is to cycle 200 Km in a day. I guess the main reason for this is the cycling tracks and weather in Germany. I wonder how much cycling I would be able to do in Mumbai given the traffic and weather. Would like to give it a try it this time I am in India. Anyone who can lend me a cycle for a day or 2 this September?

My aim is to increase my fitness level and lose weight in the process. Reading #bglsr and listening to bigloser podcast has helped me a lot. I made the following changes in my daily routine:
* Carry lunch box to office
* Reduced the amount of coffee.
* Have fruits for evening snacks.
* Take a walk after lunch
* Increase water intake. Sometimes thirst manifests as hunger.
* Reduced junk food & alcohol
* Heavier breakfast with more carbs
* Increased fibrous food in my diet.
* Started having at least 1 banana in a day for its high Magnesium content which helps reduce cramps.

I did not do all that in one go. Too many changes and you tend to revert back soon

The combination of eating habits and cycling has helped me lose 6 Kg in 3 months time. My fitness level has improved. I sleep better and feel less drowsy during the day. But still
the biggest challenge would be to make this changes permanent. Its a long way but will get there one day at a time.

All this wouldn’t been possible without
* @b50 @chhavi @SashG for taking such a wonderful initiative
* @MrsSonaL for introducing me to @bglsr & runkeeper
* @SashG‘s simple but very effective tips.
* @DrVinzzz‘s daily dose of #bglsr tweets
* @AC_31 @BeingCJ @PriTweety the best motivators 😀 .
* world-rank.in showing your global position among runkeeper + twitter users. Highly motivational.

My advise to others:
* Believe in your self
* Don’t set unrealistic goals.
* Concentrate on fitness level
* Take care of eating habits
Weight loss will happen. It’s more important to be fit & healthy.

Congratulations, Satish, from the team at #bglsr. We promise we will all fete you (but won’t wreck your health) when you visit India next month!

The BigLoser India Podcast #023 (exercise vs diet)

Get your fitness on!
Episode 23 of the #bglsr podcast brings you a roundup of what went down in the last two week from @b50 – discussions about weight loss, achievements, goals, charity, and much more. But first, to change things up a bit, @Sashg gives us the skinny on whether diet or exercise work better for healthy weight loss. Oh wait a second, is that a trick question? Listen to learn more 🙂

We also have our #BLOTW – big loser of the week – avid cyclist and tweeter extraordinaire @satishkini! All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

Week 22: How to Set a Calorie Budget

Today we’re talking about daily calorie budgets, or in other words how much you can eat every day without putting on any weight. Once you get the hang of what this really means, you can even manipulate it to lose weight – the healthy way.

Before we go any further, please remember we’re not recommending any diets or health plans here. These are healthy lifestyle tips and ideas that you should follow only after consulting the right professionals and conducting your own research.

A daily calorie budget is quite simply – your calorie balance. What this means is that you can only eat a certain number of calories a day. Now, I’m not comfortable with saying that calorie counting is the way forward for a healthy weight loss plan. Because the plan should involve many other things like correct nutrition and exercise, adequate rest, de-stressing, etc. But calorie counting can be a good measure of how much good or bad food and drink you indulge in every day.

Not heard The BigLoser India Podcast #022? Check it out here.

For starters, calculate your body’s calorie requirements. For this you’ll need to start with your BMI and work your way toward how much food you need, based on age, gender and activity level. The next stage would be to check how much you are currently eating and then compare that to – how much you should be eating. If you’ve had weight issues, then this is the great mismatch that’s probably fuelling all that weight gain heart ache.

If want to read more about better calorie budgeting, then you must read this post on Better Weight Management – Calculate Your Daily Calorie Requirement.

The number you arrive at after all this calculating, is your calorie budget. Let’s work with an example. My calorie budget is 1500 a day. This means that to maintain my current weight, I need to consume 1500 calories a day. If I want to lose weight, I need to create a calorie deficit so that I burn more than I eat. It’s really that simple.

One key ingredient in all this budgeting is – eating the right foods. Therefore if I eat 1500 calories worth of junk food, I won’t be able to sustain a good exercise routine, will be hungry all the time, and will be low on energy. If, on the other hand, I rely on natural protein, complex carbs, and good fats to make up this 1500 calories, then I’ll be energetic, full for longer and healthier. Therefore, simply counting calories isn’t enough. You need to make those calories work for you – which means that they need to come from the right places.

So figure out your calorie budget, consult a professional if you want to be very exact, and tell us what you found.