An Update on the Quantified Diet

quantified-diet-update

It’s been a year since I started the quantified diet project and the results have been amazing to say the least. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • Weight today: 79 kg (173.8 lbs.), last year: 89 kg (195.8 lbs.)
  • Weight lost 10 kg (22 lbs.)
  • Lowest weight during the past 12 months: 77.2 kg (169.8 lbs.)

So how did I do it? The original version of this blog post was going to go into detail of what worked and what didn’t, but then I realized that would have been a waste. Over the past year, I have met many people that have asked how I did it and I would start to explain the process. Usually, within 20 seconds their eyes would glaze over in boredom. The phrase that really sums it up is “people hear what they want to hear”. If I started to explain the magic pill or the one thing I did, people would be all in…but that’s just not the case.

It was a year of giving up many things and learning to let go of food and thinking about the long term benefits of being healthier. Yeah, I can’t tell you how many f***king times I wanted to eat 5 pieces of chocolate cake or inhale an entire pizza by myself. But, I had to really control that urge and bury it deep down and not think about that instant gratification but instead focus on the long term effects.

However, the biggest surprise was the social pressure. Many times in the past I would stop drinking for several months while I would train for the Mumbai Marathon and people would understand if you were at a party. But, with food it’s a whole nother level of pressure. It got so bad that I would eat at home and then meet friends for dinner and I would end up getting a cafe latte and maybe a couple spoons of dessert. If we had to attend a wedding and/or reception it was a given that I would eat at home and then come. For some reason, if you are not eating and drinking like everyone else then you are deemed anti-social.

The other social pressure was from people that didn’t seem to be happy that I had lost the weight. One of my neighbors stopped me during one of my running sessions and said “what have you done, you looked better before.” You mean, when I was 10kg heavier and felt lethargic, wore baggy cloths and depressed from time to time…no thanks. She was not the only person, I must have had at least 20-25 people tell me something along similar lines. An interesting pattern developed, if they said I looked better before there was almost a 95% chance they themselves were large.

If after reading all this and you are still interested in going through the quantified diet process, I suggest you read my first blog post on it. Then read Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. It’s eye opening to see how the food we eat is optimized and created by big food companies. Also, watch these two movies about food – That Sugar Film and Fed Up by journalist Katie Couric. I’ve come to my own conclusion that sugar is the root cause of what ails most people.

A Decade of Blogging

10-years-blogging-toprankYes, it’s been 520 weeks since I started blogging at celestri.org. What is more surprising is growing up I HATED to write. Back in grade school if I had to write a book report, I would have rather been cut by 1,000 paper cuts then write one word about My Friend Flicka. Somewhere along the way I got into the groove of writing and here I am 128,000 words and 468 blog posts later. Which averages out to about a blog post every 8 days, over the past 2-3 years I’ve slowed down to a blog post every month…focusing on quality over quantity.

What started out as a way to share my pictures online turned into a online version of dear diary. Most people have two questions for me: 1. Why the hell do you write 2. How many people visit your blog.

I write because it allows me to shape my thoughts more clearly and in the process helps hone my grammatical skillz (haha, just kidding – skills). In the process, I have met many people because of this blog and have been able to share ideas with them. It’s just another way to connect with people.

As far as pageviews, I currently have no idea. About 3 or 4 years ago I deleted Google Analytics which allowed me to track visitors, pageviews and 100’s of other metrics. I decided I didn’t care if people read what I wrote. Deep down I wanted to write about what I wanted to write about. And it’s the best advice I give to people when they say “I want to start a blog”, I tell them write about stuff you really care about and don’t worry about the metrics.

When I started 10 years ago, I had no idea that blogging would take off or that I would be writing 10 years later. Do I have any big plans for the future? No. I plan to continue writing about things that excite me, intrigue me and educate me. If you are interested in starting a blog, I would give you the following pieces of wisdom:

  1. Write about things you really care about
  2. Be consistent – I see people start a blog and write every day then after a month they completely stop
  3. Don’t worry about the metrics
  4. What’s the worst outcome? You will improve your grammar skills

Here’s to another 520 weeks of blogging!

P.S. The 128,000 words I’ve written works out to almost 3 full-length novels.

Getting Fat and Getting Rich

weigh-scale-helpThis is one of those blog posts where the overall idea has been floating around my head for the past several years but never could figure out a way to write it down and simplify it.

The short version – there are no short cuts to losing excess body fat.* (Yes, there is an asterisk at the end of that statement because you could opt for plastic surgery or gastric bypass surgery but those involve elective surgery with potential complications or side-effects.)

Obesity threatens the health care systems around the world in countries were obesity rates are rapidly reaching epic proportions. If you love food or are obese I would suggest you read the book Salt Sugar Fat and watch the BBC documentary The Men Who Made Us Fat. People talk about the destruction that drugs and alcohol can cause but we always gloss over food. That is so wrong, because many of the diseases that people have are a direct cause of what they eat.

In the book, Salt Sugar Fat, they talk about Cheetos and its “vanishing calorie density” which means it melts so quickly that your brain thinks it has no calories, at that point in the book you realize you are screwed. What you soon understand is that it’s a losing battle to lose weight with several factors at play such as processed foods, increasing portion sizes, slick marketing and big business.

The formula for getting obese and getting rich are pretty simple in theory:

(eat more) – (decrease physical activity) = obesity (calorie surplus)
(work more) – (decrease spending) = rich (money surplus)

In order to lose weight you need to eat less calories and increase physical activity. Which means you would be running a calorie deficit which leads to weight loss. Studies have shown that 80% of weight loss can be attributed to portion and calorie control and the rest is from an increase in physical activity, just think about that for a minute…a majority of your weight loss can be accomplished by just shutting your mouth.

How many times have you jumped on a treadmill to run 30 minutes and the display says you’ve burned 150 calories. Then you drink a Jamba Juice smoothie in under 60 seconds which has 300+ calories. It happens to me all the time when I train for half-marathons, I’ll have a great 15 kilometer training run and then feel like I deserve an all day pass to eat whatever I want to…#fail. I always gain weight when I train for half-marathons when logically I should be losing weight.

When you start thinking of losing weight in terms of money, you will quickly realize you can work out all you want but if you don’t control the calories going in then it’s just a wasted effort. It’s similar to getting rich, you can save all the money in the world but if you work at McDonald’s you will never be able to get rich.

What is Lance On?

live-strongLance finally admitted to himself on TV what the world already knew…he took performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to help him win an unprecedented seven Tour de France titles. Now we know why it was unprecedented, because it’s probably impossible to win seven straight titles without PEDs.

I absolutely hate this guy and I’m not exactly sure why. I’ve never met him, his issues in life have no bearing on me, and his Livestrong Foundation will continue it’s cancer research.

I would say the biggest issue I have with the guy is that for years he called out people who questioned him on his use of PEDs. Even suing people into submission and shutting them up…that is just plain wrong. I hope the way he bullied people, he gets his fair share of it back times fifty.

Below is one of his Nike commercials where he asks:

What am I on? I’m on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day, what are you on?

Well, Lance I’m definately not on a bike and I’m guessing you won’t be on one for a long time as well. Welcome back to the real world.

Why Me?

why_meAs 2012 comes to a close, how often have you asked yourself “Why Me?” It’s often asked when things don’t go your way – didn’t get into the college of your choice, didn’t get the job you wanted, getting diagnosed with a terminal illness, bought Apple stock at $25 and then sold it at $50, can’t find the right person to get married to, waiting to start a family, etc…

Yeah, when you look at the above list only one truly stands out – getting diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Yet, we all think what we are going through is absolutely the worst possible thing in the world and wonder why is it happening to me?

I’ve been there and I’m sure you’ve been there. No matter how many people are around you and trying to keep your spirits high it’s a lonely place. And that’s the issue, you feel all alone and think no one else has gone through what you are experiencing…WRONG.

Bad business decision? I recently met someone who owned about 10 acres of land in Bombay and sold it 12 years ago for next to nothing since it was a liability and not an asset. Today that property is easily worth $500 million dollars…doh.

Bad business decision (part 2)? I ran into someone who mentioned his family had the chance to own 50% of a large mobile operator in Asia. Today that mobile operator is worth $10 billion. They passed on the opportunity because they felt it wouldn’t turn into anything big…well the Indian mobile industry has been the shining star and the rest is history.

Didn’t get the job you wanted? I didn’t get my “dream job” and was constantly asking “why me”. Out of college I wanted to work for Summit Consulting in Indianapolis, Indiana. They were doing some “cool” stuff with IBM AS/400’s, what a joke. My “plan b” was to work at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) where I actually got to work on bleeding edge technology and travel the world on the company dime. I’m so glad my “dream job” didn’t pan out.

The good news is that once you get through it, you can move on.  The outcome might be positive or negative but if you keeping asking “why me” that can only translate into negative thoughts and that doesn’t help anyone. With 2013 just around the corner, think forward and think positive.

Taking a Blogging Break

If you noticed lately you could hear the crickets chirping on this blog. I have not been as active and it’s not for a lack of things to write about.

Honestly, I had a blog post lined up about ex-Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi and his insistence that the CD that made it’s way to the internet was doctored. If that CD was doctored and it was not really him, then Pixar needs to find and hire the guy for his amazing computer-generated imagery (CGI) skills.

Anyways, the reason for the silence is because I’m in the process of writing a book. I just started the book and hence this blog might feel like being the first person at a party – empty and nothing to do. However, I will be writing from time to time on various topics but not consistently until the book is released.

What is the book about? Ahh, you’ll just have to wait and see once it gets published.

Dear POTUS

Dear President of the United States (POTUS),

How are you? I believe you will be visiting India very soon and more precisely you will be in Bombay (yeah, I still call it that) on Nov 6-7. I would have loved to meet but I’ll be out of town and thus the letter.

Had we met, I probably would have asked what are you doing in India? I voted for you and still have a refrigerator magnet of your slogan “Yes We Can.” Your campaign platform was about “change” but when I talk to most of my friends in the US, they say the only change is what’s in their pockets. I think it’s great you are nation building with India but seriously what are you doing about the US.

So far the only “victory” I see is the health care reform bill. And when I talk to people in the medical community they all the say the same thing – more money down the toilet. As far as TARP is concerned it appears it was a way to help the bankers line their pockets and that’s it. People are still loosing jobs, homes and their sanity.

Anyways, I don’t want to be a downer because I’m sure you get enough of that back home from your friends over at Fox News.

Since I won’t be around, I’ll give you some pointers during your stay in Bombay:

  • As you land into Bombay you can compare and contrast the landing into Los Angeles. In Bombay all the blue you see are sheets of blue tarpaulin (tarp) since there are many slums around the airport. In LA all the blue you see are the pools in people’s backyard
  • If you see guys holding hands it’s not because they are professing an alternative lifestyle but instead a sign of friendship, not sure why they just can’t fist bump
  • You might notice red stains on the road, that is not because some fight took place but because of India’s love affair with paan – which is a tobacco and when mixed with some other stuff creates the colorful stain

I really hope you make an effort to come to Bombay every year because I have NEVER seen the locals at the BMC/MCGM work so hard. They are painting, scrubbing, planting, trimming and making this city look great for you. Normally, the MCGM is about as effective as the SEC which means nothing gets done and it’s all about passing the buck – but because of you, real “change” is happening for us folks that live in Bombay.

Enjoy your travels,

Manish Jain
US Citizen