My Fitness Journey + Sunfeast Farmlite

When it comes to health & fitness everyone has a story so I thought I'd share mine today, here goes!

As a child, I was always incredibly active- even though I didn't play any sports, I played a lot of really physical games (fugdi, sakhli, bubble gum, anyone remember those?) When I went to college, I didn't play any more but still had quite a long commute that involved taking a bus, train & then walking. What I'm trying to say is that I was active, ate relatively healthy & took fitness for granted. I could eat whatever I wanted & not have to worry that it would go straight to my tummy or any other part of the body that fat seems to pool. And I was naive enough to think that I would be like that for ever, or at least till I hit my mid thirties.

Then of course, we reached where I am now. Long hours at the computer & very little exercise, within a year I had put on a few kilos. It was all good, at first (being perennially underweight until then, I enjoyed the compliments!) until I started to notice my growing paunch. And I know that mine is not an isolated story, similar things happened to many of my classmates, & still keeps happening to people as they transition from students to working professionals. Metabolisms drop & you end up consuming a lot more calories than you burn, which in turn leads to (rapid) weight gain. And I'm not implying that some weight gain is a problem - it can be nice. But if not checked it can give rise to obesity, which in turn can lead to a whole host of problems like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, etc.

So I decided that I needed to start taking fitness a little more seriously. At this point I could have freaked out & gotten a gym membership, but I know myself well enough to realise that  I'd probably just go twice in a year & then beat myself up over it. So I decided to make a lifestyle change instead - which is try to be more active in my daily life & be a little more mindful of what I eat. While I still don't go walking or jogging regularly, I try to get off my butt more often during the day & I walk more when I have to get some place, instead of just hopping in a rickshaw.

There are so many terribly restrictive diets out- they will tell you to cut out dairy, gluten, meat, junk food, sugar & whatnot. And while I understand that they have proven benefits & work for some, I know that I could never cut out anything completely. In fact, I'd probably end up craving junk food even more, & isn't forbidden fruit always sweeter? Watching what you eat so keenly can also lead to developing a negative relationship with food, which is not something I wanted. Food is absolutely glorious & I wanted the option to eat ice cream & french fries whenever I wish, knowing that I'm getting enough exercise & eating enough healthy foods as well to balance things out. Well the system's working so far!

I've started to regularly incorporate more oats & green smoothies in my diet. I have given up most commercially available biscuits because many contain a ridiculous amount of sugar! I recently discovered Sunfeast Farmlite cookies - available in two flavors, oats & almond and oats & raisin. I found the combinations quite unconventional & although I hate raisins in my chivdas or chocolates, they go so perfectly together with oats! The cookies are crunchy & delicious, they even get the stamp of approval from my health-phobic (is that a real thing?) father who can plough through a pack in no time! Their new campaign focusses on the fact that Health is Fun & have launched the Farmlite Bytes film festival, my favorite film is Goodbye Bai by Tanuj Bhatia-

Not only did I find in entertaining, I identified with it so much. We, too are a family of three at home. Growing up, we had a top-servant or bai come in daily to help with sweeping & mopping and even though she was nice compared to some of the horror stories we've heard, it was still a pain having to depend on someone like that, what with the tantrums they throw. We haven't had a bai for a few years now & although my mom shoulders most of the responsibility, dad & I chip in from time to time to help. It is truly a great way to keep fit, not to mention the satisfaction & sense of accomplishment you get from tacking housework yourself!

I'll be writing about health & fitness more regularly on this blog now, planning to keep you folks updated on healthy recipes, lifestyle & diet changes as well as what works for me & what doesn't. I'd love to hear your stores + any fitness tips you might have!

Three Reasons Online Shopping is Better!

Many people, especially in India are still reluctant to shop online! I've always been a very firm advocate for shopping online, so today I thought I'd share my top 3 reasons that I think online shopping is better than brick & mortar stores.

Better Prices
The vast majority of online shopping websites offer prices that are much lower than what you will find at a physical store. Websites realize that people go online to find cheaper prices, so they will often cut their profit margins to drive sales! Whenever I see an expensive electronic in a stores & want to buy it, I always check online first & 9/10 times I find it cheaper online. It's not feasible to visit ten different electronics stores in the city to compare prices if you're searching for the newest iPhone, but you can look up prices on more than ten websites in a matter of minutes. And of course you can use an Indian coupon website to increase your savings further. 

Shopping online is convenient. You don’t need to get dressed and travel to your favorite store. You can easily visit your favorites website, find whatever you want to buy & pay for it without getting out of your pyjamas. Also, if you're a night owl like me, you can shop at any time & some websites even offer you the option of delivery within 24 or 48 hours. You don't have to set out a day from your busy schedule for shopping, you can do it any time.

Most physical stores have a limited array of products. They can only hold so many items, and there are often many policies affecting the availability of products. And often they go out of stock & aren't restocked quickly enough. Shopping online allows you to find many products that you wouldn’t be able to find in a physical store. And often, you'll have more color options of the same product too.
Now a days, many ecommerce websites collaborate with brands to release 'online exclusives', that is stuff that you won't find in stores at all.

So these are my top three reasons. What are yours? I'd love to hear in the comments!


Dell Partners with INKtalks - A Summary

Last week I wrote about the INK2014 & Dell's partnership with them (here). So now I thought I'd give a summary of a few of my favorite sessions, particularly the Dell session on How to Create Your Brand on Social Media.

Rajkumar Hirani
Hirani, a filmmaker that needs no introduction took the stage at INK2014 on Day 2. Hirani spoke about two of his most popular films -‘Munnabhai: MBBS’ and ‘3 Idiots’. His film practice has seen to break the conventions of popular Bollywood films but at the same time delight a large audience of film goers who can’t wait to see what he makes next.  Though his films are culturally sensitive, Hirani believes that the role of the film is to entertain first, causing him to shy away from the conventions of art house and independent films as well, in his talk, speaking of his methods, he said “Nobody wants to be preached. Everybody wants to get entertained after watching a movie” He also covered key elements of storytelling that he learnt from the Indian Epic, The Ramayana and how he has tried to adapt these timeless elements into the stories he tells today.

Bickram Ghosh
New-age Percussionist, Bickram Ghosh took the stage in a session co-hosted by Rajan Anandan. Ghosh is known the world over for his excellence in both the new age as well as the traditional form. Ghosh talked about the need for Rhythm in one’s life commenting that "Indian Rhythm is a cyclic concept and not linear!" and that while the table has a language of its owns, it also manages to transcend the limitations of language because it had no agenda. Ghosh also opened the discussion between the Indian and Western forms commenting that one of the strengths of Indian Music is that improvisation happens constantly and at every performance.

Preeti Shroff Mehta
Shroff-Mehta has over 25 years’ leadership, management, and teaching experience in the field of democratic governance, civil society strengthening, and institutional capacity development. Currently serving as the Dean, SIT Graduate School, Shroff Mehta spoke about the tremendous opportunities that technology offers but how “there is technology but we cannot access is because of barriers in the system”. Shroff also commented on how sometimes the greatest ideas come from the most casual of conversations and that what women really need is “a gap moment from their immense responsibilities.”

Now let's get to the Dell Session on How to Build Your Brand on Social Media. The session was conducted by Dell India Marketing Manager, Tulsi Gurung. #DellAtINKLive
Although I've had blogs for years now, I joined my first major social network in summer 2009 (twitter, & no I'm not counting Orkut). So I'm not exactly a newbie. Still, I found a lot of the points raised very useful to anyone whose using social media today, whether you're managing accounts for a brand or they're just your personal accounts-
  • Social Media is a two way form of communication. I remember hearing something like this from Alyssa Milano soon after joining twitter, & it stuck with me.
  • Listen to what's being said about your brand. The biggest mistake a brand can make is to ignore social listening.
  • Your brand is essentially what people say about you when you're not in the room.
  • 2 out of 5 employees now look you up before hiring you (on not just LinkedIn!)
  • Something that Thumper's mother (in Bambi) said to him still holds true now - if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!
  • Social Media is hard work. Be ready to invest time, effort & money. You probably won't see results overnight.
It was definitely a very insightful session to attend & I took back a lot.