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The Most Common Errors (Part 2)
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By Nawaz Modi Singhania  

Now that we've gotten so far, let's take in a few other pointers we don't want to miss, & fine-tune the process.

Where's the fire?

Of prime importance, make sure you're driven by your own burning desire to get fit- not your best friends, your mothers or your husbands. You're gonna have to want it, & you're gonna have to want it real bad. Anything else is a waste of time & effort. Don't bother kidding yourself.

What's good enough?

Exercise cardiovascularly at least three times a week for 30- 40 minutes continuously. Recent research in America has shown that the effects of exercise are cumulative. They add up. So if you are really busy & can only spare 10 or 15 minutes every day, this would be acceptable, on a something's better than nothing basis, though not ideal for fat loss. It works on the principle that it's better to work out a little everyday, rather than not at all. Take in as much as you can for a total of around 3 hours a week, stepping this up gradually from time to time to speed up the process.

A good support system.

When making changes, even the most beloved friends & family members may feel it is an unnecessary exercise, which imposes upon them. If you can identify people who will support you, their encouragement will make it easier for you to stick to your new lifestyle. Get a good overall support system. Steer clear of those who undermine your weight-loss programme. Whatever their motivation, you don't want people forcing you to have another piece of chocolate cake or some more mithai. If they really cared about you, they'd want you to be happy, healthy & in great shape.

Start here & now.

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. No matter where you're currently at, just get going. It's never too late.

Walk the talk.

If you're new to exercise, you might want to consider starting with walking. It'll give you an endorphin high that'll spur you onto taking classes & lifting those weights.

Get a partner.

Enroll into a class or gym with a friend or spouse. When you're feeling lazy they will motivate you to get your act together, & vice versa.

Dieting can wreck havoc on your close personal relationships.

Recent studies have found that a woman's obsession with her weight, crash dieting & low body esteem can lead to marital problems, even divorce. A husband, close relatives & friends can lose patience & tolerance with a dieter's constant cribbing or sad, negative self-image. Keep your problems to yourself. Don't be a talker; be a doer!

Go Vegetarian.

By cutting back on all that protein & the excess fat that goes with it, you'll lose fat & inches fast. If you can't find it in yourself to do this, then try & stick to seafood & chicken. Go slow on the red meat & other animal products. Remove the skin of chicken & fish before cooking. These skins contain a high level of fat.

Wait for 10 minutes after the first helping.

It's a fact, & a handy little trick: wait for 10 minutes after your first helping, & you won't want a second one, or a snack soon after. This is the amount of time that it takes for the hypothalamus (a section of the brain) to figure that the stomach is full & satisfied. It actually takes 20, but you've taken an average of 10 minutes already while consuming the first helping.

Take a break from restaurants.

A good many people commit suicide with a knife & fork! Cook yourself healthy, low-fat, low-sodium meals at home. Your wallet & your waistline will thank you for it.

Sip your soup.

Studies have shown that a bowl of soup before your meal will curtail your appetite as it is filling & takes a relatively long time to eat. As the brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that the body is full, soup sipping is particularly useful in quantity control.

Social events don't have to feature food.

The worst part of a diet isn't watching your food- it's watching everybody else's! Friends & fun do not have to be centred around food. Instead of meeting for lunch or dinner, join a fitness centre together or take a walk together. You'll get a thrill out of enjoying each other's company & knowing that at the same time you're improving your health & fitness levels!

Dump convenience foods from your diet.

As a thumb-rule, non-fresh foods usually contain added chemicals, a high amount of sodium and fat. This is exactly what adds to their shelf life! They don't, however, do your body any good.

Keep healthy snacks close at hand.

Destiny shapes our ends, but caloric intake is what shapes our middles! Keep things like fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches made of whole wheat bread & no butter close at hand. When those hunger pangs burst in, you'll want to grab the first available edible item. Make sure it's low on fat & calories, while being nutritionally rich.

Read labels.

Get into the good habit of reading food labels. If there are some ingredients you can't pronounce, leave alone identify, then the chances are high that this meal is loaded with chemicals. Avoid it.

Drop the salt.

Add the zing to your meal by using chilly sauce, black pepper, vinegar, paprika seeds, mustard or limejuice instead of salt. Besides keeping your blood pressure in check, you'll cut down on that belly bloat you'll otherwise get from salt consumption. You'll be surprised to find that your food will taste better too!

It's okay to gain 1.5 to 2 kgs. every decade, after the age of 20.

Don't fear aging. Putting on a bit of weight as we get older is good for the body & the soul. Extreme thinness can increase the risk of osteoporosis. A very thin face is also far more likely to show wrinkles at an earlier stage.

Eat smart on the job!

Overeating is not the way up the corporate ladder! Eat simple, sensible food. It'll keep from you feeling sleepy, lazy & sluggish all day. Keep your mind on the business at hand. Stay focused.

Check on inch-loss, not weight-loss.

Though you might have been working out diligently, your weight might stay the same. This is because you've probably built up on muscle tissue, which weighs more than fat. That's great. Therefore go by the measure tape, how your clothes fit, & how you look in the mirror- not by the weighing scale.

Think Thin!

Mind over matter. Carry yourself, walk & think like a thin person. It actually works wonders.

Have fun!

Don't get too obsessive & stressed about achieving your goals. Relax, have a good time working out, & before you know it, you'll meet a new & improved you!

Credit Yourself.

See how far you've come with your plan & how much you've accomplished. Compare old photographs of yourself when you were at your heaviest with recent ones- huge difference! Imagine how great you'll look & feel when you do reach your eventual goals! All the best!

For aerobic cross-training classes & gym workouts, contact the writer's Fitness Centre, Body Art, on 2380- 5929/ 2380- 2602.