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Category Archives: Diet

So, you think you want to lose weight?

So, you think you want to lose weight?

It must be New Year my head said, when at the beginning of this week I had an almost “auto-like” feeling transmitted to me – time to lose it. I have lost many things this year, but the weight. That stayed :-). 

May be I tried too hard, but perhaps I tried all the wrong things. May be that was the problem – I “tried” to lose weight.

Losing weight is causing me to lose my mind, nearly. I seem to be in this state of absolute weightlessness when it comes to losing weight. Things I tell myself when I am ‘not’ in that frame of mind:

  • I will start tomorrow. So today, let me binge. After all tomorrow I have to give it all up.
  • Just one – That one chocolate, one biscuit, one glass of wine, that one …  is not going to cause me to gain weight. After the first one, it stops to matter any way.
  • I have worked so hard this week, I have earned this extra dessert, or two, or three .
  • I am so sad today, my close FB friend lost her close FB’s friends contact details. I need to drown my sorrows on her behalf. Let’s drink?
  • Today was the best day of my life – I nearly won an award (I was nearly shortlisted, so let’s celebrate today). Chocolates, ice creams, wine, and even a late night. Let me sleep only 2 hours, so I can then sleep through the entire day tomorrow and skip breakfast and lunch

Then one morning I decide this is it and go for it. I have endless days and evenings  at the gym –  I give up alcohol, my favourite ice creams, skip bread, white rice, butter; all that which I am told is bad food, high calorie stuff that causes me to get that extra tyre. I do it religiously.

Then suddenly one day I wake up with an excuse. No matter how hard I try, I SLIP. This slip is more slithery than the banana slip, because you can stay down for days without realising it.

It’s a scary place to be, because this kind of slip brings in many other emotional issues as well. Guilt, shame, failure, embarrassment, self loathing, low self esteem, and fear. Huge fear of failing.

So, you think you are are ready to lose weight? Think again. And think very carefully. Because it is not an easy path. It is not that hard either. But it will take every bit of you to stick to your promise to yourself. You will be faced with the biggest demons ‘your excuses”.

Weight loss requires one thing, and only one key thing. Forget all the rest. Forget what you read earlier, what someone told you, what even I said earlier.

The only thing you need if you really want to lose it, is COMMITMENT. Total commitment to yourself. And if you can do that, you  are ready to lose it. Let’s go for it? Together? Come join me … And this time, it will be the weight that we will lose. 

My story so far:

“A Ticking Time Bomb”.

That was the blunt description given the mounting problem of Type 2 Diabetes within the South Asian Diaspora community in the United Kingdom a few years ago.

According to research, immigrants to the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other nations from South Asia are six times more likely than the indigenous white population to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Whilst current evidence is inconclusive as to why British Asians are more susceptible to the disorder, medical experts have pointed to the twin evils of a diet high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids (all those chapattis and rice dishes) as well as alarmingly low levels of physical activity, especially among older South Asian women, as two of the most significant contributory factors to a problem that is certain to put a huge burden on families and the community at large.

Alarmingly, there is widespread ignorance about Type 2 Diabetes within the community, according to medical experts, which threatens the lives of thousands.

Mumbai-born, with ten amazing years in New Zealand, now North London-based marketing and advertising expert,  Raga D’silva was among those ignorant masses.

The 45-year-old mother of twins, whose family had a history of Diabetes, was diagnosed with this illness in 2012. The news brought about a radical change in Raga and has inspired her to help others with Diabetes and raise awareness.

Raga is the Asian Ambassador for Diabetes UK.

Watch my interviews  for some simple tips. 

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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Diabetes, Diet, Uncategorized

 

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The Magic of Weight Loss – it’s pure science

The Magic of Weight Loss – it’s pure science

Did you take a magic pill?

You have no idea, how many people I meet, talk to, communicate with, tell me how lucky I am to lose this weight. They keep asking if I took some special pill for it, or tried some special ‘diet’. Some call me ‘lucky’.  I smile and thank them all for their kind words. But seriously, in my head I think “lucky my ass”. If hard work is luck, then yes, I am very lucky. It almost feels as if people believe that those like me who lose weight, are illusionists. They eat some magic potions, and behold one day, wake up smaller, just as one day we woke up fat.

Unfortunately, luck has nothing to do with weight loss. Just as it had nothing to do with weight gain. Laziness plays a big role in gaining weight (of course there are those who are afflicted by very painful illnesses, and have medical conditions and just cannot exercise), we start calling it ‘lifestyle’ issues. Hard work plays a major role in losing it, simply!

It’s pure science though.  Energy in, Energy out. We can’t put in so much into our bodies and not find ways of burning some of it. It will stay in our bodies in the form of fat. (Very simply put). Nothing to do with magic.I was eating way too much. I made this discovery when I started logging my food. I would honestly think I wasn’t eating much. My meal portions were really small. One piece of bread (roti bread), or a small portion of rice, with simple lentils and salad was my regular meal. Honestly, that was it. Then how did I gain the weight?

(Join the amazing group of women who are taking on the 12 weeks Use it 2 Lose it Challenge. Click here >>>>)
What I did not account for was all that I ate in-between my very small portions – the two biscuits I dunked into my coffee each morning, the post breakfast snack at the office, the post lunch snack, the potato chips pre-dinner, the couple of whiskeys with tandoori chicken, and then the yummy ice cream, or chocolate that followed my very small dinner. Oh, and if I felt very happy that night, and if I was distracted with some exciting ‘food’ show on television (thank you Masterchef), I would inadvertently get at least 2 slices of bread pan toasted with enough butter for a week.

In my mind, I was eating about 1200-1500 calories a day, which is the recommended calorie intake for women my age. However, when I did finally log in my food intake on www.myfitnesspal.com (a free tool to log in food, drink and exercise) I was beyond shocked!!! I was eating for at least 2 women, and some days for three. No wonder I was the size of a house (a proper 3-bedroom one at that -:))

To lose weight, I realised all I had to do is simply eat for one person. Eat right kind of food. You cannot plan to eat for one person and eat a horse. You got to eat right. Decide your meals for next day a day/week in advance. Plan, plan, plan. Most of us don’t know how many calories we intake in each meal. Use free tools such as www.myfitnesspal.com.
Divide your meals into (whatever works for you):
– breakfast
– morning snack
– lunch
– afternoon snack
– evening meal

When I started eating right, some days I struggled with even consuming 1200 calories a day. When I was eating ‘whatever’ came my way – I was eating upto 4000-5000 calories a day.

It’s simple science. None of us really need to get into specifics of that. What we need to simply remember is consuming our recommended calorie intake every day, exercising every day (any form of exercise is fine) and leading a good lifestyle (drinking plenty of water, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep) will have a huge impact on our health. Staying HAPPY is very critical. I learnt that I am an emotional eater. I eat when I feel low. Now I substitute that with exercise and other forms of activity (I have added running, walking, strength training, weights. There is much more I want to add – hot yoga, aerobics, dancing, swimming……)

Bring the magic to your lives – eat well, exercise! Don’t be secret eaters, as I was.

Let’s not pretend that our weight is just coming on its own. Let’s take ownership, so we can change it, so we can get healthier.

I challenge you to log in your food today on www.myfitnesspal.com. Log in every morsel, every drink, coke, pepsi, sprite, every thing…and then check how many calories you actually take in. Then calculate how many calories you really burn each day. The answers will come. It’s simple science. Not magic. But losing weight can be magical, as I have found out!

(For me focusing on changing my habits for long term lifestyle changes has worked – that has helped me lose weight and keep it off).

 

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12 weeks – ‘Use it to Lose it’ Challenge

12 weeks – ‘Use it to Lose it’ Challenge

I am re-sharing this post from last year, with minor edits for us to take on this challenge again. Yay girls, let’s do this.

Thank you for joining me in my journey. Again, just to remind you all, I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist.  This is not a diet nor a weight loss programme. I will simply share what worked for me and what I intend to do, to reclaim health, re-tune my habits/lifestyle, and in turn lose the excess fat and get fit again. This is intended to support those who need that first step to jump start the change, and to also support each other during the next 12 weeks. 

Join our group, click here>>>> Use it to Lose it with Raga (a closed door group only for women.

Do remember,  we all are at different stages in our lives – so although we are embarking on this part of our journey together, there are many factors that will determine the results.  So, no comparing. No cheating. No excuses. We will do it our way. I hope we all stay the course and make this work – whatever our individual goal. 

One thing works universally for all – commitment. That is the key. It wont’ be easy, but it won’t be hard either. We will focus on re-tuning our thinking, making better food choices, adding activity to our daily lives and supporting each other to stay motivated. 

Key is to work together and keep each other motivated, positively. 

STOP THE EXCUSES PLEASE (This applies to me too) :

I AM TOO OLD: I was 42 when I first lost nearly 30 kilos and beat diabetes, liver diseases, kidney ailments and host of other imbalances my poor lifestyle had created. I did it through pure commitment. I found my age to be a major strength. My commitment levels are much stronger now. 

I RUN AROUND ALL DAY AND YET I GAIN WEIGHT: Well, true, but that is not exercise love. Don’t assume or be in denial about activity. Set time aside each day for exercise in any form you are able to. For those with sedentary lifestyles, this is an absolute must.  For those with active lifestyles, change the routine, push harder. 

I HARDLY EAT ANYTHING: You do love, you do.  There are some of us who have a regular high calorie, high fat diet. Some of us eat small meals, but snack a lot in-between meals, whereas some prefer smaller meals but will eat large portions of dessert. That’s how we get fat.It doesn’t just happen.  Can we stop being in denial and don’t let yourself fall into a trap of ‘denial’. Remember, every morsel counts – stop yourself from eating that last piece of pizza, toast, snack from your kids, partners plate. 

IT’S NOW ABOUT THE WEIGHT, IT IS ABOUT THE FAT: Let’s stop dwelling on this whole weight loss nonsense. Let’s focus on shedding that fat, losing those extra inches. We don’t all need to have amazing gym bodies. We need to have less fat in our bodies so we can be healthy and stay alive fully. Not on meds, not on insulin. But stay high on life. 

WHAT WORKED FOR ME:

1.Re-tune the way I thought about food.  We are not scrap yards – so why eat junk food? Seriously, as much as we love our fast food, there are better options available. I will avoid white bread, rice, noodles, pasta (unless whole wheat), sugar, dessert, carbs and sweets are out for me. 

2.Eat 6 small meals per day: I divide my day into 6 blocks: Morning, Mid morning, Afternoon, Mid afternoon, Evening and Night and plan my meals accordingly. I eat frequently but make healthy choices. For snacks its mostly nuts, fruit, raisins, dry fruit. I do not indulge in cereal bars or anything that is processed – it has high sugar content that has its own impact. 

2. Make small changes: 

  • Did you know plates can have a huge role in our food portions? for instance, using a smaller plate helps with portion size (even if you fill it up, it is better than filling up a large plate with food), research shows that using coloured plates verses white plates can help with portion sizes. Avoid second helpings.
  • Diet coke? Aerated drinks/Energy drinks: These are all excess sugar we don’t need. Junk it. Drink plenty of water (nimbu pani). During my own journey I used to drink 10-12 glasses a day. Helps with detox, makes you less hungry and is extremely useful for digestion.
  • Plan weekly menu :I will plan my menu a week in advance, so I have no excuse to eat junk.
  • Maintain a Food/Drink/Activity Diary: I joined MFT (www.myfitnesspal.com) a free online diary to log in my food/drinks/activity and manage my calorie intake. You can find me there. My online name is ‘Raaless’. Happy to help you online when you log in as well.
  • Add Walk walk walk to your day:  I bought myself a pedometer (fitbit) and ensured that I measured number of steps. I started with 5000 steps a day, and slowly built it to 12k-15k a day. It is a great game you can play with yourself. It will come as a surprise to many how little we walk each day, and how much fun it can be to track steps.
  • Love yourself: Learning to love myself was most important. We forget the most important person in our lives – and that is ourselves. Less stressing about things, finding time to do little things for myself – sleeping better (8 hours atleast ) and not worrying about every thing in life. All that is so critical as well.

My story so far: 

“A Ticking Time Bomb”.

That was the blunt description given the mounting problem of Type 2 Diabetes within the South Asian Diaspora community in the United Kingdom a few years ago.

According to research, immigrants to the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other nations from South Asia are six times more likely than the indigenous white population to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Whilst current evidence is inconclusive as to why British Asians are more susceptible to the disorder, medical experts have pointed to the twin evils of a diet high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids (all those chapattis and rice dishes) as well as alarmingly low levels of physical activity, especially among older South Asian women, as two of the most significant contributory factors to a problem that is certain to put a huge burden on families and the community at large.

Alarmingly, there is widespread ignorance about Type 2 Diabetes within the community, according to medical experts, which threatens the lives of thousands.

Mumbai-born, with ten amazing years in New Zealand, now North London-based marketing and advertising expert Raga D’silva was among those ignorant masses.

The 45-year-old mother of twins, whose family had a history of Diabetes, was diagnosed with this illness in 2012. The news brought about a radical change in Raga and has inspired her to help others with Diabetes and raise awareness. 

Raga is the Asian Ambassador for Diabetes UK.

 

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Turn Winter Blues to Green

Turn Winter Blues to Green

Most of us know that winter is a dreadful time for those facing the challenges of weight. It’s harder to get out and exercise, and even harder to not succumb to the temptations of hot fries, oily fried food, take-aways and all those indulgences.

My old self used to find much solace in all these ‘excuses’. After all, how could one possibly get out in the bitter winter cold, with wet tracks and icy chilling winds. My new self doesn’t care anymore. I manage to run out in the elements, and find myself making ‘excuses’ to exercise and eat better.

So, when I saw this recipe online, I wanted to immediately share. Thank you Rashmeela Singh Salla, who developed this recipe for a cold winter evening. Looks super great. This would be healthy yet low calorie. Perfect to make it, exactly how she has described it. I am certain for those who cannot do without their meat, may want to try out with chicken/lamb.

Ingredients:

Spinach – 1 bunch

Kale – Half bunch
carrot – 1
Garlic – 2-3 cloves (finely chopped)
mushrooms – half box (roughly chopped)
Spring onion – 3
Freshly crushed pepper

Method:

1) chop spinach kale and carrot.

2) put to boil in a vessel.. If you have any leftover water from boiling vegetables for any other dish use that else normal water

3) In a separate pan add a little olive oil (can substitute butter for tastier but unhealthier option) And sauté garlic

4) after they have become slightly brown add mushrooms. Sauté till mushrooms are cooked.

5) Meanwhile, check the boiling leaves. Add 2 cubes of chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock). Both are easily available in any supermarket like Tesco or waitrose.

6) once it’s nicely boiled add some salt

7) simmer for some time. Now using a hand blender, just blend the leaves / carrot in water to get a nice thick consistency

8) simmer for 2 minutes and then add the garlic mushroom that you had previously prepared.

9) mix well. After a few minutes add freshly crushed pepper. Garnish with finely sliced spring onions.

Oh, and remember to enjoy!

soup

Thank you Rashmeela Singh Salla.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Diet, Motivation

 

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LIVING MY WILDEST DREAM, HALF MARATHON (21 KMS) IN 18 WEEKS

LIVING MY WILDEST DREAM, HALF MARATHON (21 KMS) IN 18 WEEKS

My story so far:

So those of you who have followed my journey would know how difficult it was for me that time in 2012, when I was very ill. Walking 5 minutes was a huge effort, let alone the thought of running. It was only going to get worse, and possibly result in the ultimate – death.  It was pure strength of will, focus, absolute determination, hard work and the support of my family and close circle of friends that helped me reclaim my health and my life. I have come a long way since then. I can now run 5 kms, I won’t say effortlessly, but quite easily.  On my recent trip to Brixen, Italy I had a few minutes to make up my mind about para-gliding in the Dolomites. I have never done any thing like this before. I decided to just go for it. And what an amazing 20 minutes that was, flying high in the sky over 3500 meters above ground, looking down at the valley. It was beyond anything I had experienced  or imagined before. I suddenly learnt the power of mental endurance. Then a couple of weeks later, came the opportunity to do a 15 kms Bridges Challenge for Diabetes UK  which further reaffirmed my belief in myself, and what I could achieve, if I set my mind to it. This gave me the will to set out a new challenge. With continued encouragement from all of you out there, I know I can do this. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Diet, Energy, Exercise, Motivation

 

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When I Contemplated Gastric Bypass

When I Contemplated Gastric Bypass

It was July 2012. I have had enough. My doctor had just diagnosed me with Diabetes Type 2, along with other  serious health complications as well. I had written my own death warrant, I felt, by leading a very poor lifestyle and taking my life for granted. I needed to change that. I had to – there was so much to look forward to. A young family to look after, ambitions to be fulfilled, goodness to be shared and the legacy that I always talked about. That had to yet unfold.  I couldn’t give up. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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It’s crazy how we abuse ourselves to run away from abuse!

It’s crazy how we abuse ourselves to run away from abuse!

Why do we do self harm and abuse ourselves when we feel abused? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in detox your soul, Diabetes, Diet

 

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Hey, can I buy you a drink?

Hey, can I buy you a drink?

Temptations are everywhere.  Funny how we all want that we cannot have! Food is no exception.  For reasons best known to experts, we are attracted to heavy, fried, oily, food. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, inner voice

 

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Lessons Learnt from Detoxing My Soul

Lessons Learnt from Detoxing My Soul

In my previous post, I talked about detoxing the soul, not just the mind and the body.

In this post I am sharing the lessons, I have learnt: Read the rest of this entry »

 

Detox your Soul

Detox your Soul

I have often participated in ‘short term‘ solutions through my life.  If I had too much to eat, I would detox through abstinence from certain food for a period of time, popularly called ‘fasting‘. If I had too much to drink, then I would detox using liver cleansing methods. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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