Weight Loss by Dieting

yaomingcaixadeassuntosHow many engineers will it take to fix one light bulb at Microsoft?

The answer to this popular joke is
- None -

because Microsoft will declare darkness as the industry standard!

I would certainly sound like the Microsoft in this Joke when I say “Weight Loss by Dieting? – that’s just not feasible”. Actually these are not my words, but of a renowned psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman, in his book “What you can change.. and what you can’t”. And “Grapes are NOT sour” for me because, once upon a time, I lost 19 Kgs in just 3 months. Later that year I got married and my wife cooks awesome. And so all the weight that I lost got back.

Let’s start from the start -
Why would anyone want to go for a dieting and weight loss?
Answer is plain & simple because he is overweight!

If you say someone is overweight, then is there a baseline, an “ideal” weight, to measure the “overweight” with?
Yes! Once an Insurance company in America recorded heights and weights of 4 million people, all of whom are now dead, and published a statistical correlation between height – weight and longevity. A weight mostly around which people with certain height were observed to live the longest was taken as the “ideal” weight for the given height.

Another observation in this study was that life expectancy was found to decrease with increase in weight or in other words an obese person loses a few years of life because of overweight

Oh! Then it makes sense that a person with overweight should go for dieting and bring his weight down to the ideal weight. This way he could regain all the years he lost due to being overweight, right?.
This sounds good, but no scientific study has ever been done that could show that a person who once was obese and brought down weight to ideal weight will live as long as a person who was at ideal weight all along.

In fact there are quite a few studies that show the harmful effects of dieting and weight loss.

One study says that 97% of people who lost weight by dieting, regained their weight in next 5 years. Another study says 87% actually gained back only within 3 years. In a way, weight lost by dieting is analogous to the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger who leaves you after saying “I’ll be back” and almost everytime gets back.

One of the side effects of dieting is Depression. You naturally feel good when you succeed in losing weight, but when weight starts to regain, it also brings in a sense of failure and helplessness and draws you into depression. You try again and regain, and fall deeper into depression.

If you have a rechargeable battery for your electronic devices you would know that life of a battery is not measured in years or months but in number of charge-&-discharge cycle as a battery weakens after each recharging. In the same way, our internal organs especially the heart are negatively affected by repeated loss and gain of weight.

Ever heard of a disease called Bulimia Nervosa? It’s an emotional disorder caused by obsessive desire to lose weight. On natural demand of the body a person overeats, and realising this he then self-induces vomiting or starts fasting, he feels hungry again and cycle continues.. So much for the desire to lose weight.

If dieting and weight loss are so harmful, why don’t we hear about it anywhere?
When you watch a commercial advertisement where a person jumps from a tall building saying “Aaj kuchh toofani karte hai”, you are also shown a warning saying “this stunt is performed by professionals. Please don’t try to replicate”. When someone buys a pack of cigarette he finds a warning “Smoking Kills” on the pack. This happens because there are regulators that monitor these big industries and force them to show these warnings for the well-being of people.

Weight-loss is a multi-billion industry and we see so many bold statements as “Lose 10 kg in 21 days / 30 days” across all media. Unfortunately though, there are no regulators who could force those firms to give a visible warning message that all the weight lost by undertaking this programme is most likely to regain in a few years, and could also impact normal health. So all we can do is to understand the reality, stay normal, and keep ourselves healthy.

In the end – What was the purpose of presenting this topic?
To destroy someone’s optimism? No !!
Martin Seligman, whose book “What you can change…” was the prime source for content in this topic, is better known for his other books that supports positive psychology and optimism. And a positive person can spread positivity not destroy it.

The purpose of this topic is to help people focus their limited time, money, and efforts on something that’s truly within our reach.

Remember, having excess fat does not matter, what matters is being fit.



PS: This is from the transcript of my P2 speech at OFSS Toastmasters

About Me! Jalaj

My name is Jalaj, that’s ज-ल-ज. Before telling anything about me, let me introduce you to the name. This is a sanskrit word that breaks to Jal + aj (jal-water, aj- born) i.e. born from water and specifically means Lotus, which happens to be our National flower. There exists similar names that also mean Lotus, and refer the sources of water in the names instead of water itself, say, Neeraj – Neer + aj – born from river, Saroj – Saro + aj – born from lake.

What differentiates “Jalaj” from others is – first - that it is rarely picked by parents to name the new-borns, which also means that you show up in top results in Google when searched for first name alone. The second good thing is that it is a palindrome – a word that reads the same whether you read from left to right J-A-L-A-J or right to left J-A-L-A-J.. ting ning ning ning ning… ting ning ning ning ning…

I am not sure if you could figure that this ting-ning* act is lifted from a 15 year old movie ‘Hadh kar di aapne’ that translates to ‘you have crossed the limits’. When it comes to watching movies this limit thing applies to me. Probability is that you talk something and a related scene or dialog from a movie will pop into my mind. For example recently when I heard about the Toastmasters Club, I opened the net to check if there was a club near Goregaon, there was one visible on the map, and when I clicked it, it turned out that it was hosted by the very company that I work for. I could then hear Ajay Devgan from movie Bol Bachchan say ‘Boy under armpit, hypercity noise pollution’.

photoI love watching movies, I love watching them again, again and again… Hollywood movies The Matrix and Independance day tops the list of movies where I have lost count of number of times I have watched them. Hero No 1 & Sholay holds that honour from bollywood.

When I am not watching movie, I can be seen reading, for I love reading too. A few years back when I said ‘I love reading’ to someone, he asked which book do I read other than the technical books, I was caught off-guard. There was at least a year’s gap between each book I could remember reading. I decided to increase the frequency of reading, which was not initially that fruitful until I took the ‘52 weeks 52 books’ project around 2 years back. With a non-fragile commitment and perseverance, I kept on reading and finished 52 books with-in a year. I achieved the 52-books target with a couple of weeks still left, and read 12 Fiction, 38 Non-fiction & 2 Memoirs/auto-biography. I prefer to keep Memoirs/auto-biographies separate because though the authors maintain that those fall under “non-fiction” category, I find them near to ‘fiction” at many places. Currently I am in the second season of the project which ends on 31st May and needless to say third one starts very next day.

Next thing I love is photography. And this love story got a big boost when Google+ started in 2011. While my friends chose to remain loyal to Facebook, I switched and made friends with a lot of photographers there. While people continue to call Google+ a ghost town, I actually learnt and sharpened my photography skills and techniques there.

I love to warm up daily by solving Sudoku, Kakuro, Hitori and Loop puzzles that appear daily in Times of India and Mumbai Mirror. Sudoku Tutor has been one of my pet projects. The latest version, a Chrome app, can be installed from here. And last but not the least - the outdoor games – Cricket, Football, Badminton, Volleyball, I don’t play any of these, of course since, I am not Superman or Iron-man to do everything on Earth. In fact due to lack of physical activities my closest match would be Hagrid of Harry potter movies. That’s all for the intro, see you back soon.

* 12 sec of video referred above