Monday, December 02, 2013

My experience with loosing 7+ kgs in 1.5 months...

I am sure many of us, if not all, want to shed those few extra pounds (or kgs should I say!). I have been no different. I have always lived at the upper edge of my idea weight... once in a while crossing that upper edge. 
Have managed to pull back the weight to the 'ideal' number quite a few times in past. However, this was probably the longest duration I had not done so. I did it last in 2007... at the time of marriage and ever since, my weight chart has had unidirectional upward movement.

After contemplating for a long time which included a failed attempt in second half of 2012, finally I managed to start the fitness regime in October month this year.

I joined gym in second half of 2012 but did not manage to pull back my weight. So this attempt started with some retrospection about that not-so-successful attempt. So this were some of the important points from the retrospection:
- I used to hit the gym for about 3-4 days a week and each visit to gym was about 2 hrs (which includes going and coming back from gym, changing into/from gym clothes, waiting at the tread mills etc.). But the gym was a drag...I had to push myself really hard to go to gym.
- I did not focus on diet at all. I did-not/could-not control my eating habits. (And... I am a foodie.)

Conclusion of retrospection was - "Fitness/Weight-loss is by enlarge a psychological problem and not a physical one"

Based on this, the plan this time was to KISS... to Keep It Simple Stupid. Focus on psychological aspect.... physical gains will follow.
So what was this simple plan?
- Forget Gym.... just hit the track for only 30mins a day
- Track diet through good mobile apps.

As I said, focus was on managing the psychological aspect..... committing 30 mins a day reduces the mental resistance by a great deal with respect to a commitment for 1 or 2 hrs! If I felt 'lazy' to jog; I could tell myself "It's just 30 mins!!!" (Slowly, I increased my running to 5kms which took about 40 mins.)
To add to this, I used mobile app "Endomondo Sports Tracker" to track my running.

Another psychological aspect was to manage diet and you can only do it effectively if you put your tracking 'on paper'. The app I used to track diet was "Calorie Counter - MyFitnessPal".
After checking multiple calorie counters available for android, I zeroed in on MyFitnessPal. One strong reason was that it contained calories for Indian food items.

Some more finer points:
  • Go for 'prepaid' calories approach. If you expect intake of more calories on a day, try to run more that day. For example, my 1.5 months weight loss period included a couple of visits to "Barbeque Nation" for buffet and a couple of more buffets at other hotels. I ensured on each occasion that I ran/walked 10 kms that day. You should 'prepay' the calories you are going to consume. While such compensatory diets/exercises are not encouraged, it just keeps you conscious about your calories intakes.
  • Avoid sugar as much as you can. Do not cross sugar intake beyond the limit in MyFitnessPal. For example, during all the buffets that I mentioned above, I avoided desserts almost completely.
  • Avoid obvious fats like cheese, butter, too much oily/fried food.
  • The 1.5 months included 1 week of Diwali and 1 week of my brother's marriage!
  • Once again, "Focus on psychological aspect.... physical fitness will follow."
  • Create a group of like minded people... for example I consciously made an attempt (successful one) in my friends group in WhatsApp to create momentum on the fitness regime. We were discussing our diets and exercises in the group almost daily. As I said, many of us, if not all, are interested in such discussions. And these are 'win-win' discussions.
  • Once you get the momentum, it's fairly easy to continue. Especially with commitment of just 30 mins a day. (you can even start with running 15 mins a day.)
  • Do run, not just walk. Very important!!!
  • When you run, don't forget stretching exercises. A couple of minutes a stretching is very very important. You don't want "runner's knees" to hamper your rhythm.
  • While running, rather than focusing on 'intensity', focus on 'consistency'. What I mean here is that don't make your running so intense that you have to take a break next day due to pain. At the same time don't keep it too lame!
Remember, once you cross initial resistance of 'take off', rest of teh journey is fairly smooth with right focus on 'psychy'.

Another important note, this is my experience. Do take medical help if you have some medical conditions before following this!

Try it... it's not as difficult as it feels.

- Sarang

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I am moving from FundsIndia to FundSupermart

I have been a FundsIndia customer for a very long time - almost from their infancy days. I love their neat and clean UI and the user experience. However, recently I have started contemplating a move from FundsIndia to FundSupermart.

I have concern about their new open-ECS-mandate for SIPs. This open-mandate looks way too open to me.
Attached is the open-ECS mandate of FundsIndia -

The problem I have is with the language used here. Let's consider this example. Say, I want to start an SIP of Rs. 30,000 per month. That means I should give a mandate which allows FundsIndia to deduct maximum Rs 30,000 per month. Now, if we notice the highlighted parts (Frequency & Amount ) in the attached mandate, it says that the mandate allows deduction of Rs 30,000 PER DAY!!!

It means for investing Rs 30,000 per month, I have to give a mandate for deduction of Rs 900,000 (Rs 30,000 per day * 30) per month! Why would I want to do that? To add to it, the minimum duration for the mandate is 5 years! Giving this mandate feels like giving post-dated cheques for Rs 30,000 for each day of next 5 years!

The mandate does not anywhere say 'once a  month' or 'maximum amount per month' etc.!

When I contacted FundsIndia customer care, they informed that the daily limit is set to allow customers choose any day of the month for SIP and I think that may be a valid statement - I do not counter that.
I understand that it gives flexibility of choosing any date as SIP date. On FundsSupermart, we have to select a specific date out of the ones they have listed (Any date out of 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th etc.) - this reduces the flexibility but then I would (any customer would) prefer clarity on the document we sign as opposed to such flexibility. mandate of FundSupermart clearly mentions the frequency as monthly and maximum deduction limit per month! (their ECS mandate attached below)

Before this post sends out any wrong signals, let me clarify - I trust FundsIndia that it will not make any unauthorized debit from my account but still when it comes to signing a 'cheque', I would strictly go by the wordings of the document!

I am open to any suggestions my understanding on the mandate is incorrect! FundsIndia customer care could not give me satisfactory answer if my understanding was wrong!
On the flip side, I feel when a document is too complex for a common man to understand, it is better to be apprehensive :)

I had a very long mail chain with the customer care of FundsIndia and in the end, we agreed to disagree on this point.
FundsIndia chose to stick to their mandate and I chose to avoid signing such a mandate.... avoid SIPs with FundsIndia.