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Exercise your inner drive

BHARAT SAVUR | Updated on: Jun 23, 2011

LF24FITNESS2 | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

Resist the temptation of sweets, and motivate yourself instead to build muscle and lose fat.

I tend to gain a lot of fat around my stomach; I exercise thrice a week at the gym but it doesn't seem to bring any results. The slightest stress has me diving for sweets. Once, I added five teaspoons of sugar to my tea, yet didn't find it sweet enough. What should I do?

Neetu A.

Get a grip on yourself. Talk to yourself firmly: “This won't do, Neetu! Come on, be strong. Have faith in your willpower and know that you can do it.” Motivational muscles are built with robust words of self-faith. Every time you falter on self-condemnation, counter repeatedly with these words of self-faith. Pace up and down as you talk to yourself, until you shake your fist and say fiercely, “Yes I can do it!”

Expect to succeed. Having no self-expectation lacks force. Self-expectation has the force to mobilise energy and responsibility. So, establish expectation, take ownership of it and access a rich load of character that says, “Enough!”

Be passionate about your fitness. It's simple logic: you get tempted when you flirt with temptation, you get passionate when you flirt with passion. Choose passion. It's turbo! Read this memo whenever you're in danger of caving in:

‘Today's plan: To eat low-fat, sugar-free, healthful meals and snacks.

Today's goal: To feel fit, toned and great about my body and the healthy food I put in it.'

Resolution and passion strengthens every time you say these words.

Continue to exercise. To correct your perspective: Exercise always begets results though they may not match your ideal. It keeps you fit and healthy. If you didn't exercise, your metabolism would decelerate and you could have been obese, unfit and probably plagued with some physical inconvenience or illness. I recommend you exercise six days a week for better results.

Banish stressful thinking. Continuous stress pushes up the hormone cortisol, so seriously decide to banish it. Calm down by asking yourself, “Do I really have reason to be stressed?” The only real problems are poverty, starvation, cruelty that brings on numbing hopelessness. Other ‘problems' are merely conflicts, irritability because things are not going one's way. These are nothing to be stressed about. Resolve that you won't let things around you influence your mood, rather you will influence their movements. Keep this timeless axiom in mind: “May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

Eat safe sweets. In case you still find it tough to stay off sweets, opt for safe, natural ones such as dates, raisins, chikoos , mangoes, custard apples. Completely avoid cakes and cookies. Refined sugar creates a greater craving for sweets. Tip: Store cookies in an opaque jar so that their sight does not tempt your might.

Create sweetness in your life. Remember, sweets cannot sweeten life. Meditate to expand your vision and drink in the beauty around you. Let every word you think and speak be sweet, grateful, gentle, kind, joyful. Example: Greet people with an affectionate “How nice to see you” instead of the dour “You've put on weight.” And see your world sweeten with loving responses.

I drink two litres of water daily yet keep cramping in the midst of my exercise session. It's painful. How do I prevent cramps?

Satish R.

Take three simple preventive measures:

Apart from two litres of water, have coconut water. It contains some micronutrients and potassium that prevent cramps.

Always keep a packet of Enerzal handy. This balances your electrolytes. Enerzal is available with any chemist.

Finally, sip fresh lemon sherbet instead of a dehydrating fizzy drink.

I'm prone to a chronic sore throat. It feels raw and I have violent bouts of sneezing and coughing without warning. My family doctor keeps changing the medication — antibiotics, cough syrup — but the effect lasts only for two days. I'm at my wit's end and it's affecting my concentration. Please help.

Shantanu K.

Follow three practices daily: One: Boil a large bowl of water. Put drops of Karvol Plus in it. Drape a towel over your head and bowl, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. Discontinue after sneezing and coughing have stopped. Two: Gargle with bearable hot saltwater. Salt heals inflammation. Continue gargling all your life. Three: A recurrent sore throat sometimes indicates that the body needs zinc. You could try one capsule of Becozinc daily for 15 days after checking with your doctor.

Do we burn the same number of calories whether we walk outdoors or on the treadmill indoors? Which would you recommend?

Kinjal B.

Treadmill walking @ 5 km/ph burns 151 calories, while walking outdoors at the same speed burns 168 calories. This is due to the wind and also because you expend more calories in propelling yourself forward. I recommend walking outdoors because of the bonuses of your skin absorbing vitamin D, lungs breathing in fresh air and eyes taking in friendly, smiling faces.

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life'.

Queries may be sent to life@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 23, 2011
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