Spirit push-ups

Bharat Savur | Updated on March 12, 2012 Published on March 08, 2012

Stop procrastinating. Leap out of that rut.

I often wonder what's the point of working so hard or exercising every day? It's all so futile since we're going to die anyway. I hope I'm not a depressive. Please guide me.


No, you're not a depressive. Perhaps you're procrastinating on things that need to be done. When we're overwhelmed by an avalanche of work that we've put off, we often feel its ‘futility'. It's a typical reaction that gives us the leeway to procrastinate some more! Roll up your sleeves and make a start right away. Not only will you get absorbed in doing, when finished you'll feel an enchanting, serene sense of achievement.

Or you may feel you're in a rut. If so, I recommend five spirit push-ups:

Walk to warm up, jog slowly and then run. Run as fast as you can until you're exhilarated. It's the fastest way to feel on top of the world.

Converse with a seven-year-old or watch one of the Mr Bean movies.

Cut out cartoon strips from a newspaper, stick them in a scrapbook and gift them to a crazy friend.

At the home for the aged, listen with great interest to a senior and offer any help that's within your means.

Share jamuns — Indian berries — with a friend.

Life becomes interestingly joyful when we constantly give and get enormous gifts of patience, love, understanding, time, emotional support, wisdom, cheerfulness, laughter, sweetness… Futile? Never. Fertile with possibilities? Absolutely!

I quit smoking a year ago. I have gained 6 kg and am really worried about ballooning out.

How do I lose the excess weight without returning to the smoking habit?

Sharad V.

You're absolutely right. We can't have you undoing the good you've done by quitting smoking. Not only have you strengthened your immune system immensely, you've added terrific muscles to your willpower. It's a huge achievement.

Essentially, nicotine speeds up metabolism and suppresses hunger. That's why the weight gain. You're eating more because now you're eating what the body naturally demands. Your metabolism is back to its healthy rate. So overall, you're on top of the situation.

Now, all you have to do is consume less fat-promoting foods and exercise regularly.

Food: Avoid deep-fried crunchies. Avoid sweets. Eat nourishing low-fat balanced meals. Sip milk diluted with water to satisfy hunger pangs. Snack on cucumber sticks, apple wedges to stave off acute pangs.

Food for thought: Keep your hands and mind busy. Examples: Work on your own travel journal — write about the places visited, stick photographs/souvenirs, sketch a memory. Build an airplane model. Play tennis. Research on lives of great poets, saints, entrepreneurs, explorers and make small booklets. Teach. Cravings for food will be transformed to craving for information and knowledge. It's fulfilling and enriching.

Exercise: Walk 42 minutes briskly or cycle on a stationary bike 20 minutes at 80-100 rpm every day. Simultaneously join an exercise class to tone up and to be with people focused on losing weight. Tip: Keep a fixed time for physical exercise and adhere to it faithfully. There's magic in being healthy and wonder in being fit.

I love salty food. I've read that it's good for digestion. But my Yoga teacher recommends cutting out salt altogether. He says I'm not really fat, just bloated. Please advise.

Shefali K.

You're right in that salt does spark digestion. It stimulates saliva and stomach juices. The downside: excess salt attracts water and bloats your tissues. It also increases food cravings, making you overeat and gain weight.

However, I wouldn't advise completely avoiding salt. Have it in moderation. Develop a taste for salt-free salad. In short, get out of the salt trap and into self-control.

Drink one-and-half litres of water daily to flush out extra sodium from your body. At lunch, add a teaspoonful of hingvashtak churan to your buttermilk. It beats the bloats.

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

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Published on March 08, 2012
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