Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On being Lean and Agile beyond the software world

One of the biggest goals I set for myself for coming to India was to make a conscious effort to take good care of my body. While India boasts some of what I firmly believe to be the most delicious nourriture in the world, much of it (especially the kind that gets me salivating) is the stuff of nutritionist's nightmares. Deep-fried donuts, slabs of freshly-made naan, and creamy, buttery gravies dominate the menus while fresh fruit and veggies are virtually nowhere to be found in restaurants here. No surprise why some jokingly refer to the combination of TWU in India and expense account dining as the ThoughtWorks Thirty.

In order to stave off the pounds and to keep myself feeling good about my health, I've had to be a little more strict with my diet. Although in a perfect world I'd be consuming butter chicken (or better yet, hooked up to a butter chicken IV) on a 24/7 basis, I'm limiting myself to it just once a week, which has been surprisingly not horrendous. In fact, it's become a treat to look forward to. I'm also avoiding foods that reek of deep-fried goodness, all forms of soda, and alcohol unless it's for a good reason. That's not to say I don't ever allow myself these foods. Trust me, I do - but I try to aim for thoughtful consumption therein.

Eating out is one of the biggest culprits of weight gain, so I'm also trying to be mindful of the ratio of meals I eat in a restaurant, as takeout, or make at home. The healthiest is definitely my homemade stir-fries or veggie + fish dishes, but I'm not always up for cooking after a long day at the office, so if I do find myself eating out I look for the healthiest, most nutritious dish on the menu.

I've also been maintaining sort of a regular workout schedule. I aim for cardio three times a week and yoga twice a week. Cardio consists of running outside around Diamond District roughly 30 minutes, taking the stairs up to my unit, and doing Ab Ripper X while the water tank in my shower warms up. Yoga just consists of the the P90x Yoga X video, which lasts about 90 minutes and is actually quite difficult for me. It has been leaving me very sore lately. Going up the stairs at the office has now turned into a slow and comical ordeal dominated by wincing and mutterings of "Oh sweet Jesus my hamstrings"s.

Then there are the small things that really do add up. At the office I try to drink between two to three liters of water every day. Of course, this prompts nature to call quite a bit, but I find that getting up for breaks does wonders to declutter my brain and get the blood flowing in my system. I've also been taking vitamins on a daily basis, drinking green tea with honey, and getting 8 hours of sleep almost every night to keep my energy levels up. God knows I'll be needing it when all of the grads arrive this Friday.

I believe there isn't such a thing as a miracle diet or workout routine that lets you shed 10 pounds in 10 milliseconds. It's all just common sense - watching what you're putting inside your body, getting regular exercise and making good choices on a day-to-day basis. And yes, getting that butter chicken fix once in a while also works wonders on the mind, and hey, at the end of the day a happy mind makes for a happy and healthy spirit.


  1. very pleased reading this. you will enjoy life better with these smart choices for yourself. stay healthy and safe over there.

  2. great job being healthy, especially while on "vacation"! self-control is one of the hardest things to practice, but one of my fav bloggers said "you're not a dog. don't reward yourself with food." i'm going to look into the p90x yoga video!