3 basics I learned that are commonly Ignored

Before 2018 ends, I want to share 3 things that I learned this year (and sometime last year) that I feel you can connect with. I feel these are extremely helpful but basic things that most people miss out on.

1. Weight Loss

A couple of years back I was trying to lose some weight by changing my diet to include more roti than rice, snacking on veg sandwiches and having corn after my dinner because the Internet told me to include more fiber in my diet. The result? I never lost any weight but in fact, I was putting on a lot of extra weight until I learned this basic thing:

Calories you intake < Calories burnt

At my age, I need to consume 2000 calories/day to maintain my current weight. A 500 calories deficit helped me drop half a kilo every week consistently for 3 months. I did it last year but lost track after a few months and put back the extra kilos I had lost. I started the routine this year and plan to stick with it. In the last 4 months, I put down roughly 7 kilos.

Here are a few tools that I use for tracking my calorie intake.

Last year I had a nutritionist helping me with a healthy diet.

2. Routines > Aspirations

I learned that there are a few things in my control and a few that are not. I did not realize until recently that I had targets and I was hitting them because I formed routines around them.

I know how much I need to sleep, read, work, workout or meet friends — these are some things that I can control. Expecting someone to do certain work, expectations from family, society, and friends really depend on multiple variables that are not in my control.

Reading 52 books in 52 weeks last year, losing weight, eating healthy, getting enough sleep on most days are good routines I formed. The opposite was true too. I broke a few routines like binge-watching, overeating, avoiding people that zap me of my energy.

Here is what I did

  • Had a clear goal (52 books 52 weeks, calorie goal each day, tracking my sleep time)
  • Achieving and tracking them on a daily basis formed a routine (no. of pages to read every day, how much calories to consume, checking when I sleep and get up)
  • When I get tempted to break any of my set routines, I would tell myself – I would skip it just this time (for example, when I get tempted to eat high-calorie food, I would say, I will eat it but not this time). This helped me trick my mind into believing that I am going to give into the temptation but just not this time. I would also remind myself of the guilt afterwards.
  • For breaking a few routines, I try to avoid them in the first place like canceling my Amazon Prime subscription, and replacing it with something different. For example, I had the habit of watching a movie or a video while eating. I changed that to putting away my laptop and eating at the dining table. After dinner, I pick up a book to read.

3. You got limited time on Earth (I know you know it but read on)

My friends tell me I am a calmer person now but if you knew me in my school, you would know I was a worrisome person and suffered from anxiety. Being calmer is something I was struggling with when I came across Memento Mori (from Stoicism). It translates to remember death.

Memento Mori - Remember Death

Life is limited. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. But when I started meditating on that thought, I started avoiding people who would consume my energy for nothing and started to avoid things that weren’t adding up a lot of value in my life. I do spend time with friends, watch movies and even binge watch sometimes because I completely know that’s what I want to do but not do them because I want to kill time.

I am not best at doing it yet but I am trying to. Since you read till here, let me share a picture with you that I came across a while ago from https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/life-weeks.html. Below is a representation of weeks for 90 years vs famous people deaths. That’s not a lot of weeks you and me have left.

Famous Deaths from WaitButWhy

What are a few basic things you learned in 2018?

PS: Thanks Niveditha and Vishal for editing and suggestions.

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