suddenly overweight and out of shape
Sometimes, life rushes us. There's barely enough time to fit all of what we need to do in. And invariably, something suffers. While there's a long term fix required on whether we should continue being rushed, this post is not about that.
When we get rushed, what suffers is our health and fitness. All of us know what to do - seriously. If you think you are being held back because you don't know where to start, that's not true and you know it.
- sleep well
- get some exercise daily
- eat more vegetables and eat less junk
You already know this. So, that's not the problem.
What happens is we let ourselves be swept up by life and its events. We end up eating whatever is convenient, whatever is quick, and when our brains are frazzled by too many decisions. This means poor choices as eating high-quality food requires some planning.
Lacking the time for exercise is another side-effect of being 'too busy'. Crippled by choice over what to do, with all the nonsensical options out there that promise random things or people who spout fitness/nutrition gyaan when being absolutely unqualified confuses us even more.
And what happens? Suddenly we find ourselves unfit.
Except it obviously was not sudden. But it is sudden because one day the fog clears and we pay attention.
We kept seeing this pattern from 100s and 100s of our students. People from all walks of life - busy professionals, parents, stay-at-home moms, people just starting their first jobs - all of them had the same problem.
When we analysed their food journals, the same patterns kept repeating itself.
Our advice essentially boiled down to the 3 things I've listed above, or to put it even simpler,
Pay attention. Behave like an adult.
unfortunately, you already know what to do
Unfortunately, because we all know what to do and that piece of advice is obvious, we ignore it.
We think the answer has to be more complicated than that. We want it to be more complicated than that.
The solution we came up with had to be more about our nature, our habits, our beliefs, patterns and not just about the "here's what you do". That's how we came up with the Daily9, a coaching programme that helps you take control of your health and has literally transformed people's health and fitness.
The premise of the Daily9 is simple - do 9 things daily. By gamification, habit change, and a few fancy magic tricks, good things happen.
The interesting decision about the Daily9, once we came up with it, was when to do it. We knew that it had to be in January because that's when a lot of us find the inherent motivation to reset things. Yes, a year is a year whenever you start measuring it but the human mind prefers a clean slate, a fresh start.
Our launch was primarily to our community inside The Quad, and being in South India, the harvest festival of Pongal had to be navigated. The 3rd week of January, for a few days, is prone to gluttony - lots and lots of ghee-soaked pongal, fried stuffs, sweet stuffs. The week tends to be a blur spent in a food-coma.
Do we wait for the festival to be over, which meant we would start only 20 days into the year? Or do we start on January 1st, which might be way too early as people tend to be unprepared for it i.e. the motivation might be high but it requires thought and planning to clean things up.
deliver a jolt
We decided to do it the Monday before the festival started.
The week when it was probably going to be the hardest to comply. But we wanted to jolt people out of their malaise.
We have excuses for every week of the year. A long time ago, festivals were a time for celebration, for gorging on food. They truly were a special occasion. Today, we have someone's birthday every week. We can order fancy confectionaries any day.
If not the festival, it was always going to be something else.
We decided to shake people up. We decided to not let this be an easy start.
The brilliant thing was it did the job. Our community embraced the challenge, and behaved mindfully through the festival. With motivation levels high, they did great work. Rather than normal gorging and a food-coma, mindful eating happened.
And that gave them the strength, the promise, the possibility of being able to do this for the next 7 weeks.
We saw incredible results, numbers-wise. These have held up in every subsequent programme we've run. But the first time, it helps to shake it up. It helps to get out of your comfort zone.
People had not said no to the fried vadais or the third/fourth servings of sweet payasam and the gargantuan amounts of pongal (fried dough, ghee, tons of sugar, tons of grain). Now, they said no. They ate sensibly. They behaved like adults.
A jolt helps.
What are you coasting through? Where can you use a jolt in your life?