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How committed are you for a journey to wellness?

That it is possible is shown by people who have had the discipline and the commitment to achieve tangible outcomes in their health parameters – be it getting the blood pressure or sugar levels under control backed by mind that stays alert and body agile.

The blood pressure goes down while sleeping, giving the much needed rest to heart and blood vessels”;
The blood pressure goes down while sleeping, giving the much needed rest to heart and blood vessels”;

Talk of wellness and most seem to be looking for a secret formula – a mantra to wellness, as it were.

There are good reasons if it sounds like a profound question: “what is truth” that was posed by the jesting Pilate in a celebrated essay by Francis Bacon. There is apparently no secret formula to wellness. It is an individual journey and is hinged onto the level of commitment. In its simplest form, it boils down to the right mix of food, exercise and sleep. This is no rocket science and everyone knows how much these matter. The real challenge lies in getting the nuance right in each and sticking to it. That it is possible is shown by people who have had the discipline and the commitment to achieve tangible outcomes in their health parameters – be it getting the blood pressure or sugar levels under control backed by mind that stays alert and body agile. To many, there is also a component of weight loss thrown in, though in most cases it is a joyous outcome.

One of the veterans in this is S Sivakumar, a senior leader at ITC, who oversees its IT and agri businesses as its group head. There was a time, not long ago, when he would joke about as a member of the quintal club. But after losing 35 kilos in just about 11 months (three months before the pandemic and eight months in the pandemic), he is seen today as a champion of reverse aging with a lean and an apparently much more physically fitter presence. He took to a combination of healthier diet aided by exercise and proper sleep and has documented much of the transition he has made possible in blog posts unhurry.in

Wellness, he says, “is the outcome of a lifestyle that balances three elements every twenty four hours, viz. right type of food including water, exercises including breathing and the right amount of sleep.” To achieve much of this, Sivakumar took to a holistic nutrition program by an expert and took it seriously and is able to articulate the approach to each component in the journey to wellness. Take his latest blog post focused on sleep where he shares, what he describes as some nuggets of wisdom on sleep:

1. “The blood pressure goes down while sleeping, giving the much needed rest to heart and blood vessels”;

2. “Sleep restores the body and powers the mind, thereby fortifying every part of our system”

3. “Longer waking hours also increase the risk of obesity, as you end up eating more; even otherwise, you feel less hungry when you are well-rested, because lack of sleep raises the hormone ghrelin (makes you feel hungry) and brings down the hormone leptin (makes you feel full)”.

Spelling out, the mechanics, shall we say, of how to bring in some best practices, he moots the idea of giving yourself a ‘non-time” – a quiet moment in which you can isolate yourself from the noise and demands of the world. Or as he puts it, “you are making an appointment with yourself.” It helps connect the dots and come up with original ideas or solve an old problem.

Or on dietary habits. He suggests:

  • Well-balanced Food: Increase vegetables to 50% of your plate. Proteins should be 25%. Reduce carbs to 25% (don’t eliminate altogether).
  • Between meals, you can have fruits (apple, papaya, pomegranate), nuts (pistachios, almonds), and beverages (green tea). Keep a gap of 90 to 120 min between these and meals.
  • One glass of water every 90 minutes ensures consistent hydration for nutrients to reach various parts of the body via the circulatory system, and for the toxins to get released.
  • Walk to earn your meals – 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes before lunch, 10 minutes before dinner. Round up the day with another 15 minutes of walk two hours after dinner.

Eating right is so crucial and there are many who support this like Suresh Chitturi, vice chairman and managing director, Srinivasa Farms, a leading player in the poultry business and also the chairman of the International Egg Commission.

Quoting a book “Burn” on the science behind food and exercise and the crucial role that right diet an play, he says, “for me right food is the best medicine and no one can out exercise a bad diet.”

Chitturi, who began taking this seriously in January 2019 and in the following 18 months lost 33 kilos, had his focus clearly on cutting down carbs.

While it may be hard to take an inventory of every food ingredient you consume, a combination of rich dose of fruits and vegetables, intake of proteins, from ingredients sourced locally may help take you away from the hyper-calorific, hyper-processed to dietary habits that may be both good for you and perhaps at some point also for the sustainability of the planet!

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