Thursday, December 14, 2017

Is the Corporate Climb Draining you?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Lifestyle

Tall, dark and handsome — that’s passé. Now here’s the new ideal — the caring dad staying up to change nappies, brave enough to shed tears in public, standing by beloved during PMS, disciplined to work out every morning, jet setting between cities/continents, donating to charities, becoming the CEO/ president/ MD/ chairman before 40. And yes, courteous and charming.

The tables have turned. The tall, thin, fair ideal for women has existed since time immemorial and now men have to fit to standards. Women have almost killed themselves (sadly, not just metaphorically) in the race to match up to the prerequisites for being marriageable/ acceptable. It’s really unrealistic to expect that men will somehow save themselves from the trap.

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 The one thing that invariably happens in this circus of matching up to the new ideal — and that too under a tight deadline (under 40 years) —  is that it takes a big toll on one’s health.

Eating right starts going down the list of priorities and wine tasting makes its way to the weekly calendar. If you have been exposed to a hostel for a year or two, you probably won’t realise that food plays a crucial role in keeping you fit, healthy and smart.

Late nights become a norm; buying that big house in upscale neighbourhood is always on the cards, private school fees are likely to be the life earnings of lesser mortals and you just lost a fortune from your investments in the recent recession slide.

One of my clients once told me “when I had the body to flaunt designer labels, I didn’t have the money to buy them. Now that I have the money I have lost the body!”

So what you need to do is ensure that your fatter bank balance stays inversely proportional to the size of your waist. Incidentally, the size of a man’s waist has a huge influence not just on blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and heart health, but also on the reproductive organs and fertility. Men are also falling prey to joint conditions such as arthritis, which were until recently, exclusive to women.

When it comes to food and exercise, the human body, irrespective of the gender, responds the exact same way by increasing lean tissue and reducing fat mass. This change in body composition is what gives men a lean and muscular look. Obviously it also leads to better responses from all the vital organs such as the heart, lungs, pancreas, intestines, liver, kidney etc. Beautiful inside out.

Some health tips for the hardworking-partying-harder male of today:

  • If you are not waking up fresh in the mornings for over a month, it’s probably because you need a break. Please take one ASAP.
  • Ensure that you eat a meal on reaching office. If you find yourself having tea/coffee between 9 and 11 am daily, it means that you are killing the hunger signal. Stop drinking and eat. Split breakfast in two meals. Have a small portion before leaving home and pack some for office.
  • Keep a bottle of water on your table at all times and drink at least three bottles in office. Smoking (passive included), tea, coffee, and of course the air conditioners, make for a dehydrating environment.
  • If you travel frequently, book flights which will let you have breakfast or dinner at home.
  • If you haven’t slept well or had a particularly stressful day, skip your workout and rest.
  • Learn to help yourself. Cooking a few basic dishes for yourself doesn’t just add to your sex appeal, but also makes tons of sense. It helps you rewind and reassures you that you do take care of your stomach and yourself.
  • Switch off your BB/iPhone by 8 pm daily. Switch it on only after breakfast.
  • Bought books that you haven’t found the time to read? Book yourself on a reading holiday and at least once a year, travel alone (not on work please).

Quick Stats:
1 in 100 *Number of blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol cases in people below 40 in the ‘90s
1 in 20 *Number of blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol cases in people below 40 today

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Juggling work and home on an empty stomach

December 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Lifestyle

Perfection is a disease which afflicts all women. The more successful and good-looking you are, the more susceptible you become. Even before you know, you are a part of the race to get a fatter salary and thinner waist. And soon enough you’ve lost compassion, kindness and time. Only for yourself though. To the rest of the world, you are all these things and more.

You find the time for the family function, board meeting and the colleague’s final divorce hearing. You have the compassion to support a charity for your city marathon, the kindness to cover the back of your (once again) faltering team-mate…etc. etc. However, you don’t have the time to exercise, the compassion to spare yourself if your jeans don’t fit you anymore or if you miss the deadline for a presentation, or the kindness to feed your stomach with food at regular intervals. Compassion and kindness need to be directed towards yourself before they can have any serious effect on the outside world.

Success succeeds if it comes with a happy stomach, lean body and a calm mind. For your stomach to be happy you will need to plan the way ahead. The exact same skills that help you succeed as a working woman (knowing the pulse of your market, anticipating change or movement and preparing for the challenges in advance) will help you keep the stomach happy and the mind calm.

Haven’t we all experienced how a happy stomach (that which is not stuffed or starving) is the key to good reasoning and decision making? We have also experienced how a sad (starving or stuffed) stomach will lead to irritability, bloating, gas, headaches and all the other emotional wear and tear.

Here are four basic things that will help you keep the stomach happy:

  1. Never leave home without eating. If running late, grab a banana/ handful of dry fruits and eat on the way to car/ bus/ train.
  2. Always keep a jar of peanuts/Walnuts in the office. The jar should never be empty below the half-way mark.
  3. Plan a day in advance for your 4-6 pm meal. It could be a grilled sandwich… anything you fancy. But needs to be planned a day in advance and never at the last minute.
  4. Always keep at least one eatable in your handbag. This is your fall-back option. When you are stuck in traffic/ train delay/ boring meeting, you can sneak your snack down and calm your nerves. The snack could be a fruit, a pint of soy milk, or yougurt.

Calmer Mind

  1. Remember, food is the key. Mental peace is the privilege of only those whose stomachs are happy. So food is step one. If you are not committed to eating right, forget about mental peace or calm.
  2. Nothing works like regularity in going to bed and waking up. Try and go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time daily.
  3. Don’t kill yourself over working out. Exercise works only on a well rested body. So if you are fighting fatigue after all the multitasking at home, work and social responsibilities, take a break and rest. Working out on a tired body invites injuries and some more fatigue.
  4. Know that stress and worry, even something as minor as traffic or bai not turning up, can push your body into a survival mode. This means that you start burning lesser calories from fat per minute.

So go easy on yourself and relieve yourself of perfection or the bane of multi-tasking. If your child forgot her math book in the car, or you got delayed by 15 minutes for an important meeting or the husband left a wet towel on the bed yet again, it’s still not the end of the world and it’s really not your fault.

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Fitness At Workplace

December 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Fitness

‘Fitness at workplace’ is the latest mantra in the corporate world. Companies have realised that regular exercise boosts employee morale, enhances productivity, reduces absenteeism and signs of burnout or depression.

Here are some easy everyday things you can do to get healthy and fit while at your workplace:

Stay hydrated: Water helps your body with physical and mental performance, detoxification and digestion. Keep a water bottle at your desk and you’ll find it much easier to drink the recommend eight glasses of water each day. It will ease stress and result in sustained energy throughout the day. You can also supplement it with fresh lemonade and coconut water, etc, to avoid monotony.

Make reasons to walk around: Give yourself several reasons to take a break and move around after every 40 minutes. Simply getting up and moving around for a few moments can keep you focused, less fatigued and feeling better. For example, avoid ordering a cup of coffee/ tea at your desk, go and get it yourself or while speaking with someone on cell phone walk around till you end the call. Get down from your car if driven by a chauffer a few blocks before your office and walk the remaining distance provided you leave home 10 to 15 minutes before your usual time.

Hit the office gym in lunch hours: Try to exercise for 30 minutes during the lunchtime and grab a bite at your desk afterwards. Encourage having an area of a simple gym in your office. It could be jogger or a stationary bicycle or a treadmill. If you have a gym in your office building – sneak out during work day – you can always cover by working at hour extra.

Simple stretching: People often face stress, back and joint pains and weight gain problems at work. To get rid of such health problems, while sitting in your chair, flex your feet and circle your ankles, stretch your legs and arms as frequent as you can.

Take the stairs: Whenever possible, get moving and take the stairs rather than the elevator. Taking stairs will keep you fit and energetic.

Pack healthy snacks: Rather than buying chips, junk food and sodas during office hours, bring some granola, fruit or raw veggies to snack on. This healthy diet will keep your energy levels fit and steady.

Walk n Talk: When it’s practical, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions. Do laps inside your building or take your walking meetings outdoors.

Participate in different office games: Office games such as table tennis, basket ball are an interesting way to keep healthy and fit. These games not only keep your energy levels high but also keep your body in good shape.

Posture: Ergonomics at workplace is very important, it will help you maintain a good posture while at work.

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