Tag Archives: motivation

How to go from overweight to awesome

We all know that while fat loss is simple, it isn’t really easy. Ok screw that. Fat loss is hard and it sucks big time! Who likes to eat under control? Be it controlling quantity or quality, it sucks. As animals we are naturally gluttonous and the act of watching what you eat truly sucks. As humans we are naturally greedy and the thought of ‘having your cake and eating it too’ is very appealing as much as the reality of ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is appalling. Nothing profound here. We all know this. And there is an entire industry that lives off of our tendency to get fat, greed to not make any compromises and fear to deal with reality. As a result, we use fat loss strategies that help us reach our goals quickly without having to really hate life.

But these strategies that are aimed at fast results don’t apply to everyone and things are different for the bigger guys and gals among us.

Firstly

I really don’t want to get into the humane and morality side of the argument so I’ll throw in some disclaimers up front.

– This is applicable to anyone who is overweight by 20 kg (45 lb) or more.

– I realize that you may have hormonal imbalances or a genetic disposition to be overweight/obese, but that doesn’t change anything that I’m going to say here.

– I’m in no way being mean. I’m just not being artificially nice (read: fake) like most people you meet possibly are. So if you can’t deal with reality delivered in a no-BS tone, maybe this isn’t for you.

– Be sure to talk to your doctor before making any of these changes ‘cos your health is going to get so much better and he/she may mistakenly take credit for it.

But you have to be nice, Raj!

Ask any of my clients and they’ll tell you I’m full of love… tough love, but love nevertheless. Make no mistake – I will do anything and everything possible to help you reach your goals, but never do anything that even closely resembles sugar coating and hand holding. Why? ‘Cos you’re not stupid! Like one would expect you to take action if you’re running out of money to feed your family, I expect you to take action if your health is deteriorating rapidly. You need reality and I never think twice before giving it to you.

But the truth is – I’m nice. Very very nice actually. I care about you enough to not let you fail. And I do that by being mean real. Don’t get it?

Listen. According to you success is making that number on the scale drop. According to me, success is making you aware of your true situation, feeding you with knowledge about fitness, nutrition and health, moving your thoughts from ‘Where is that bloody magic pill?!’ to ‘This needs work but I know can do this!’ and, finally, pointing you towards the path to sustainable long term health and, hence, happiness.

But you have to be ready to work, buddy!

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of people – the type that does what it takes to reach their goals and the type that does whatever it takes to reach their goals.

If you are obese or grossly overweight, you better learn to become the type that does whatever it takes to reach your goals! Effort is not what you think it is and don’t ever come to me saying ‘I put in all the effort but I see no results!‘ until you have understood and done everything that is mentioned below.

Your don’t want a diet. You don’t want fat loss. Diets and fat loss are for people who have a couple of kilos to shed. You want lifestyle changes. You want a transformation. A transformation is like going to school or getting a degree. It is in many ways a graduation! It requires time, consistency and effort. Working out well one day or eating one good meal is like doing well in one class test. It is worth a pat on the back but not much more. You need to be able to consistently do what(ever) is required for however long it is required for you to get to where you want to be.

It isn’t going to be quick. I took you decades to get to where you are today. It will take you a significant amount of time to get to where you call yourself fit. Understand that and get ready for the ride. And don’t forget to pack a few thousand gallons of patience ‘cos you’re going to need all of it and possibly more.

It isn’t going to be easy. You are going to be unhappy with either what you eat or how much you eat or both. Lunch will not be ‘Living life king size’ anymore. Choco-whatever-nonsense won’t feature in your life other than in the line “No choco-whatever-nonsense!”. But you had your fun all these years. Don’t try and make it easy. Harden the f*ck up and grab the bull by the horns!

You need to eat right... today, next week, next month, next year and for the rest of your life.

– Stop constantly telling yourself that you’re making sacrifices or compromises. This is your new way of life… the healthy way of life. Don’t resist it. Embrace it. This is the right thing to do!

– Eat real food! Base 90% of your diet on vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits, lentils and dairy. Supplement with non-allergenic starches (potatoes, rice etc.) and stay the hell away from potentially allergenic foods! Special mention – stay away from wheat and any gluten containing foods. Move from vegetable and seed oils to ghee, coconut oil, lard and butter. But, irrespective of what oil you use, reduce oil consumption to ~ 2 tbls per day. Read more about why and how to eat real food here.

– Keep the math out of it. Food isn’t just about calories. Eat below appetite. But don’t starve yourself and don’t eat to fullness.

– Have a legit food log. Write down anything and everything that goes into your mouth. This will help you truly understand how much (and what) you actually eat.

– Learn to cook! Understand recipes and find multiple ways to cook per these guidelines. ‘Boring food’ is a phrase that doesn’t exist. It generally means ‘I don’t know how to cook’ but in my world it means ‘I lack commitment’.

You need to stay active… today, next week, next month, next year and for the rest of your life.

– Move! This could mean regular walks or playing a sport or even zumba classes for all care. But find a place to move. Find a way to move. Find a reason to move.

– Add some form of resistance training. Push, pull, displace and carry some weight 2-3 days a week. No other details matter right now.

– Mobility is a need. A lot of overweight/obese people lose plenty of weight and find themselves (relatively) skinny but can’t seem to be able to move through their full/optimal range of motion which limits them majorly in performing optimally in life. If focused mobility work is not an option, incorporate functional mobility drills into your daily life (more on this later).

You need to get your sleep… enough of it.

– I understand you’re busy. I understand you have a taxing job. I understand you want to stay up late and watch some TV. But do you understand that the lack of sleep is messing with your health? Do you understand that the lack of sleep is stopping you from progressing towards your goals?

– Chronic sleep deprivation (i.e. sleeping a little less over years) causes weight gain, irritability, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, increased stress hormone levels, compromises immunity etc! Read more about the importance of sleep here at The Harvard Medical School and here at Chris Kresser’s 9 Steps of Perfect Health.

You need to reduce stress.

– You need to not be obsessive.Worrying constantly about numbers on the scale or whining about giving up that dessert or complaining about having to make changes, isn’t doing you any favors except making you chronically more stressed.

– Chronically elevated stress levels (due to lifestyle or work or obsession) stalls fat loss without doubt and puts you at a much higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, memory impairment and more. Read what the awesome Robert Sapolsky says about stress and it’s physiological effects and to understand more about how stress destroys you and how to keep it at bay, knock here at Chris Kresser’s door once again.

Stay sane. Stay strong. Before you say ‘No I can’t eat that cake’ with puppy dog eyes that are ready to burst into tears, say no to pity and say ‘f*ck no’ to self-pity! The act of saying no to that cake is NOT a sacrifice. It is NOT a compromise. It is an act of awesomeness that is slowly but steadily helping you walk towards a goal that is larger than life!

The world is a mean messed up place filled with tasty junk food, cushy chairs and sedentary solace! I’m not complaining. I made it that. You made it that. And it is awesome the way it is as long as you’re not a total idiot. I’m just saying you need to be aware of this and be prepared to deal with every obstacle life throws at you.

I understand this is a lot of work. Definitely more work than any of your friends or colleagues or relatives would ever need to put in. But I want you to understand that you have a lot more to gain out of this!

Now get ready ‘cos this is a challenge and this absolutely calls for a fight! But whats life without a challenge? Whats life without a fight?

Peace out!

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Working out will never be the same again!

I know I have been MIA for a while now. Apologies for that and promise to post much more regularly starting today. But, if you noticed, lately I’ve been writing articles that are less technical and more motivational/practical. No apologies for that really. ‘Cos there really is a reason I started doing that. Honestly, who do you think reads sciency technical articles on nutrition/fitness? Only folks who are already interested in nutrition and/or fitness! Now when I tell these people do blah blah exercise ‘cos it does blah blah, thats just preaching to the choir, isn’t it? But for most folks who aren’t already into health and/or fitness, the struggle is just to get started! The struggle is to find a reason to actually workout. The struggle is to find motivation. The struggle is to find an activity that is sustainable. The struggle is to get past the excuses!

And whats the best way to get past these struggles?

  • Try something different.
  • Get outside your comfort zone.
  • Find something thats fun.
  • Consider joining a group, so you stay motivated to reach your goal.

Or in other words, change the way you look at fitness!

In the coming weeks, I will be writing a bunch more about unconventional training methods, quick & effective training, creative equipmentless training and basically, ways to make working out interesting and sustainable. But until then, I hope this short video will keep you motivated to stay fit and prove to you that going into a gym to use machines isn’t the only way to train!

Please do share the video and help us spread the good word! Thanks a bunch.

– Peace out.

Do something already!

We read about the why people think they fail in their fat loss goals and then we read about why fat loss is truly simple… and now comes the most important part.

Its not all or nothing!

Say you want to go from point A to point B. Will you ever get to point B if you don’t ever leave point A? More specifically, if you want to go from fatburg to fitshire, irrespective of how long your journey is, will you ever get to fitshire if you won’t ever leave fatburg?

My point is, most people lose the battle cos they refuse to fight it! The most important step towards reaching your goals is to not do the right thing but to…

do something!

If you know you’re in bad shape or want to get in better shape, well, do something about it already! Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop finding excuses. Stop waiting for the best opportunity. Just freakin DO SOMETHING!

And what is something? Honestly, anything other than nothing is something. Off the top of my head, here are a few ‘somethings’ you can do.

  • Drop junk. Start by reducing the frequency of junk consumption.
  • Eat more protein. If you’re vegetarian read this article.
  • Make a conscious effort to eat more vegetables and less starch.
  • Drop wheat and other potential allergens for the most part. i.e. dont fear wheat, but don’t make it a staple either.
  • Dump vegetable oils at home. Enjoy your ghee and butter and coconut oil and save the vegetable oils for the unavoidable situations.
  • Move some weight. Doesnt matter if these are barbells or bar stools. Move em!
  • Do pushups, squats and chinups if you can do them. If you can’t, feel ashamed and work on getting strong enough to do them.
  • Stay mobile. Don’t sit if you can stand. Don’t stand if you can walk. Make a decision to walk 15 min today. Walk for an extra 2 min every day and in a month you would have found enough time and heart to walk 75 mins a day.
  • Sprint. If you don’t know how to sprint, run as fast as you can for a short distance. Rest for a couple of mins and repeat a few times.
  • Work on developing some common sense. No seriously. Pizza doesn’t make you obese. Sugar doesn’t kill. Stupidity resulting in frequent uncontrolled gluttony is what messes you up.

It is not all or nothing folks… its never all or nothing. You don’t have to do everything I recommend (or anyone else does). Find what works for you at this very moment and start with that. You can make further improvements later.

As a matter of fact, as you read this line right now, make a decision to do something. Small, big… doesn’t matter. Make a decision… quick! Confused? OK here is one I recommend – throw out the junk from the house. All of it. If you want junk, you can walk to the store, buy some and eat it there. We’ll figure out the rest later. Just do this for now.

Don’t refuse to start cos its all too intimidating.

I now eat a diet that is 70% grains (rice or wheat) with some vegetables cooked in vegetable oil, some low fat dairy, fruit juice and snacks. You want me to dump all grains and fruit juice? Ok that’s 80% of my diet gone! And you want me to dump vegetable oils? Ok… thats another 10% gone! And you want me to eat only whole organic dairy? Wow Raj! You’re telling me everything I eat is wrong. Your approach is too intimidating! I’ll get to it when I am in a better place in life.

I get this all the time and I totally understand where you are coming from. But remember, it took you 20+ years to be able to earn and support yourself and a family. Imagine doing this when you were 13? Scary shit right? Same deal! Making a complete dietary change might be too hard and intimidating for you. If that is the case, take it slow. Make one change at a time. Transition into eating real food. It is much easier than you think it is.

There is money on the table!

Too many people fuck around too much and end up doing nothing. This is truly the story of everyone’s life. I understand there is so much information about fat loss and health (all claiming to be legit) out there and it is equally easy to be overwhelmed with all this as it is to stay ignorant. But, seriously, cut the crap.

Listen. I know berries have more fiber and anti-oxidants than bananas. Yes, ghee is better than butter. And yea, sprinting is more beneficial than low intensity cardio. But these are minutiae! If you can reduce your consumption of junk food, industrial seed oils and allergenic grains (wheat, quinoa etc.) to once or twice a week,  eat more organic vegetables, fruits, meat and good fats and stay active in life by moving some, playing a sport and/or training smart 2-3 times a week, you are 90% there! In other words, these are money on the table! Just pick em up! Figure out the rest later.

Truth is, you will always find one excuse or the other to put this away. Why? Because transformations are hard and you, naturally, will find reasons to avoid doing it. Explains the astronomical success of the supplement industry in the recent years doesn’t it?

Stop waiting for the most perfect diet or the one pill that will make you look awesome or everything in life to line up so you can start eating well ‘cos these things won’t ever happen! Be it “I work 12 hours a day” or “I don’t want to shower twice a day” or “My gym is too far” or “I don’t know how to cook real food”, they all mean the same thing – “I don’t have the will to commit to making a change. I’m weak. I’m not efficient enough to make time for my and my family’s health. I’m full of excuses!”

You and only you can make a difference to your health and it is up to you to do so. Or let’s make this 937 word article short and just say…

Suck it up and do something already!

Peace out.

Can’t lose fat? Come on! You’re not that stupid!

Warning: This does start off a little over the top, but it gets better. Stick with me. You’ll be happy you did.

In the last article I presented a bunch of responses that were submitted to the following question…

Sticking to a nutrition and/or training plan for a very short period of, say, 10 weeks. Assuming this will produce visible results and quite literally change your life wrt health & fitness…

Why can’t you do it? Why do you break? Why is consistency a problem?

While the nature of answers were very different, they all had one thing in common. Most people didn’t have an issue with the diet or the workout program or the complexity as much as they had issues with…

“I”

So, today, let’s forget high reps, low reps, low fat, low carb, distance running, resistance training and everything else related to nutrition and training and go to step 0. The step where one needs to realize that he/she is capable of losing fat and/or regaining health!

Are you really that stupid?

I need to get this off my chest and, more importantly, I need to get this into your head. In my opinion, anyone who is obese has to pretty stupid. Of course, this excludes the unfortunate few with genetic hormonal dysregulations/imbalances etc. But my point is that you don’t go to bed all fit n cut and wake up fat n flabby!

Becoming overweight or obese is a result of many many months of crappy eating and/or a sedentary lifestyle. It is impossible for any human to become overweight overnight. And I’ll stop here, ‘cos Calvin and I have discussed this in the past and you’re better off reading that than my ramblings today.

But this is what I don’t get – you have PLENTY of feedback about you getting fat. Your trousers feel like a noose and the buttons on your shirt get shot into thin air not being able to handle your chub! I mean, come on! You HAVE TO know this! And once your clothes don’t fit you, they don’t grow. You physically have to go to a store, choose clothes that are a size bigger, reach inside your wallet/bag and pay money for it. So don’t give me that ‘oh it sneaked up on me’ crap anymore! You knew you were getting fat and you let it happen. Period.

Gaining a few pounds, going up a size, adding a little chub – I understand. Life happens. But letting yourself go to a point of becoming obese or 40+ lbs overweight? Are you kidding me? Are you really that stupid?

Now don’t get all defensive here. I used to be fat too and I had all the excuses you do right now. I know how it feels to get fat, to live fat and to go from fat to fit. So be a sport and take a hit! Its OK to be called stupid when do do something stupid. You know… like when I asked my clients in India to eat a cartload of vegetables without having the slightest idea about the pesticide scare here. Like when I ran 50 miles a week and encouraged everyone I met to do so. Like when I tried to explain to my wife why she was wrong. Like when I write stuff that I shouldn’t on the blog. Like right now.

Actually, you’re not that stupid

But funnily enough, you are, obviously, not that stupid. I mean, your life resume is pretty impressive! Confused? This is what I mean –

  • You learnt to walk
  • You learnt one or more languages
  • You completed school and college (at least)
  • You learnt to use a computer and navigate through the internet
  • You were able to find yourself a job and at least do well enough to not get fired
  • You were able to give birth and/or raise one or more children

See my point? These are all tasks that are harder than fat loss… MUCH harder than fat loss. And guess what? These tasks also take much longer to master/compete than a fat loss program! And, clearly, you have been able to do these things pretty darn well. Any person who has done all this… can’t be stupid now can they? So what is it then?

Consistency! Commitment! Regularity!

You don’t have them! Right? Wrong! Let me explain.

You are committed. Very committed indeed. Just look at those tasks you did complete! Let’s take a couple of examples.

  • School – If you did complete school, that is ~ 2400 to 2800 days of going to a place and doing what was expected out of you. Sure, some excelled and some didnt, but all of you actually did it! You were consistent… you were committed… and even if your attendance % was 70, you were pretty darn regular.
  • Work – If you are able to afford a computer and read this article on the internet, I’ll assume you have a job… a job to which you show up to at least 4-5 times a week. Irrespective of what the job is, you somehow manage to stay consistent and committed and regular!

So you are can be consistent, committed and regular with nutrition and training too. But you just won’t be! Why? Maybe because mommy isn’t there to smack you in the ass every time you stuff your face? Maybe because you don’t run the risk of living on the street if you won’t show up for training?

But it doesn’t matter. And, No. I’m not going to give you the ‘You’re an adult now and you ought to know better!’ speech… ‘cos you are an adult now and you ought to know better!

Realize first and then you shall redeem yourself

Listen, irrespective of what the reason is, realize that you can do this. I’ve said it plenty of times before – fat loss is very simple… not easy… but simple. As a matter of fact, every single client of mine, who has done what he/she has been asked to do, has seen impressive results (Except a handful of women who started gaining weight very rapidly after starting to work with me. But thats because they got super fertile after making the dietary changes and hence got pregnant! So watch out!). And these people are exactly like you – People who live super busy lives with kids and responsibilities and demanding jobs! These are smart people like you who let themselves go since health didn’t feature in their list of priorities. After reading this blog or due to some knock-on-the-head incident in life, they realized that they have let themselves go a little too much and decided to make a change. And what happened?

Realization -> Decision -> Action -> Redemption

My point is…

Step 1 – Realize that you can do this! You completed 14 yrs of schooling… you can complete 6 months of a body/health transformation phase! You fought your way through life and landed yourself in a nice job… you can suck it up for 6 months and find yourself looking and feeling awesome!

Step 2 – Decide that your health needs to be one of your top priorities. Understand that letting go of your health will result in a short life that is filled only with guilty short-lived pleasures that die the moment they pass the lips!

Step 3 – Act! Don’t mess around too much. There are enough theories and diets and training plans around that can make you go in circles for the next 3000 years. Find someone who can help you with this and get started! You’re better off doing something properly than perennially looking for that magic bullet or that perfect diet/training plan. Again… do something about it!

Step 4 – Redeem yourself by staying patient and true to your goals. My best clients are the ones that pester me the most. They question and question until they understand every word of the plan I have designed for them. But once they understand why they are doing what, the questions cease, greed (for results overnight) flies out the window and results show up!

Remember – I and 90% of those making transformations are in no way genetically gifted or superior than today’s normal below average human and if we can do it, so can you. Life is just better when you’re fit! Give it a shot. You’ll be happy you did.

Peace out!

PS: As stated earlier, this is just the start of a large series. Stick around and you’ll be free… free from obsessive dieting, free from compulsive exercising and free from this vicious  cycle of craving, indulging and guilt!

Being Awesome

Seriously, stop the nonsense.

Stop looking for magic workout programs that will get you ripped. Stop looking at recipes and food porn when you’re on a diet. Stop looking at abs when you’re trying to gain mass. Stop looking for the perfect diet. And for God’s sake, stop looking for ways to make pizza healthy!

There is no magic workout program that will get your ripped if you don’t put it the work. There is no tasty recipe that will help you eat less. There is no such thing as gaining mass and getting abs. There is no one diet that is perfect for everyone at every time. And no, there is no way to make pizza healthy. Pizza is awesome because it is unhealthy!

If you have pounds to lose, go on a diet. If you’re on a diet, stick to it. If you’re sticking to it, be consistent. If you are consistent, be patient.

Forget fitness and fat loss and carbs and proteins for a second. I have two questions for you…

1. What is awesome according to you?

2. What is stopping you from getting there?

Irrespective of what your answer for the first question is, the answer for the second question is the same…

Y.O.U!

Thassright! There is one person and only one person who can make you awesome and that is you. You are what is stopping you from becoming awesome! You know what it takes to become healthy. You know what it takes to become fit. You know what it takes to go from fat and flab to fit and fab. And you damn well know that if you do what it takes you will get what you deserve. The problem is… you just don’t freakin do it!

Instead, you sit on your ass and keep looking for that magic pill. You try and find ways to hack the system. You spend so much energy trying to find an easy way out that you end up going nowhere. You are always… always… looking for that free lunch! And let me tell you this… there is no such thing as a free lunch!

You want results? You want to be awesome? You’ve got to put in work. Period.

In all our lives there are the truly awesome folks. The ones that push you. The ones that go against the grain. The ones that urge you to take risks. The ones that never ever sugar coat their words. The ones that preach and practice what they preach. The ones that give you the confidence to move ahead. The ones that aren’t afraid of failure. The ones that think failure is always an option. The ones that have mad passion. The ones that don’t believe in limits. The ones that give you the right answers and not the answers you want to hear. The ones that ask you to never ever give up. These are the ones that truly care about you. The ones that have you back no matter what. The ones that push your bike far enough to let you roll on your own and then smile selflessly from a distance.

Who put in hard work? Who is awesome? George Carlin is. Kamal Hasan is. Will Smith is. Tim Ferris is. Julien Smith is. Narayanan Krishnan is. Darya Pino is. Mark Sisson is. Many many more are.

But of course, awesome is not for everyone. Most people settle for mediocrity. And you know what else these people do? They pull you down with them! They try to scare you. They tell you you can’t do it. They tell you you’re wrong. They judge you. They tell you to never try anything new. They tell you to be ‘normal’ ‘like everyone else’. They tell you stories about million others who tried and failed. They tell you ‘everything in moderation’. They tell you to ‘play it safe’. They make you doubt yourself. They ask you to ‘let it go’ when you fail. They pull you down to mediocrity! And guess what? These fools suck! And you know why? Because they’re afraid. Afraid you’ll become awesome. Afraid their mediocrity will be exposed. Afraid they will be left behind.

Who are these people? We wouldn’t know now would we? Because these people made nothing out of their lives!

You tell me – Who are you going to listen to? Who are you going to look up to? Who are you going to trust? The mediocre fools who want to you stay with them or the awesome folks who want you to reach for greatness?

When I started off fat and heart broken, I had my share of “well-meaning” folks shoving mediocrity down my throat and also my share of true friends who cheered me for every step I took. You probably would’ve guessed who I took seriously. And make no mistake, even today I have folks who judge me, tell me I’m wrong to experiment, tell me I take things too seriously, tell me its dangerous to be different and advice me to be normal… like everyone else!

Normal? You know what normal is? Normal is…

– feeling tired by 3pm after a day of nothing but sitting

– working an 8 hour desk job and using that as a reason to be laze all night

– talking about poverty over an expensive lunch

– donating money to the church/temple but not helping an orphan.

– feeling dizzy if a meal is skipped

– being 55 and having diabetes/high bp/osteoporosis

– running a half marathon and claiming to have conquered fitness

– joining a gym on Jan 1st to quit on the 5th

– resolving and not ever acting

– not having goals

– taking everything at face value

– wanting to sit at the sight of a chair

– moderation

– taking the elevator

– accepting weakness

– treating the symptoms and not the source

– doing something ‘cos everyone else is

– having a protruding belly when you’re 30

– accepting mediocrity

– agreeing with conventional wisdom

– staying inside your comfort zone

– not progressing

– existing

I’m sorry. This doesn’t work for me. I say…

F*ck normal! I wanna be awesome!

F*ck existing! I wanna live!

What about you? Are you going to be your own damn boss and march towards awesomeness or are you going to hang back with the fools and accept mediocrity? Are you going to take control of your health and turn your life around or are you going to drown yourself in excuses and self pity?

‘Cos its on you buddy. Its up to you if you want to make a difference. Its up to you if you want to rise up to the occasion. Its up to you if you want to be awesome!

Your call. Let’s see what you got.

Peace.

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