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Adopting ‘atomic habits’ for a healthy lifestyle – a personal transformation story

Updated: Jan 16, 2022

Sometime around Feb 2021, my general physician, on reviewing my complete annual medical report, commented - “The choice is yours to make whether you change your lifestyle to reduce weight, or your health goes more downhill. For the latter, I can’t say what can happen. Anything is possible”. He was reacting to the fact that I had a few health issues now & had to start taking meds.

This was an eye-opener for me. Yet it took me 3 more months to take a call on opting for a sabbatical from my career journey and starting on to health transformation.

I engaged a well-known and successful dietician in Singapore & with her consultation adopted a balanced diet program. My weight was 96 Kgs when I started the journey on May 24, 2021, and I set myself a target of losing 15 Kgs in 6 months i.e., by end of Dec 24, 2021.

Few things happened over 4 months by end of September:

  • I walked 3 times a week starting with 30mins, 2.5 km each time to gradually increasing to 3-4 times a week between 1 hour 20-40 minutes & between 8-10Km. Thanks to all my walking Kaki’s Sachin Khanna, Simon Connor, Manoj Menon!

  • Initially walked around walking paths (thanks to Singapore) around my locality however later started going to East Coast Park enjoying the fresh air, ocean view, greenery all around & beautiful iconic sights of Singapore starting from East Coast Park, Keppel Marina East Desalination plant, Marina Garage, Gardens by the Bay, CBD Skyline, Marina Bay Sands & Bayfront MRT.

  • My dietician ensured I develop the habit of watching what I ate during the day (asking me to take pictures of each meal), taking my morning weight, track water intake & workout. Like journaling, she asks me to post daily pictures with updates on WhatsApp. Sort of a buddy that helps you on your journey and surely, she did. A big thank you to my dietician.

  • One of the key parts of a balanced diet was having different types of salad every night. My wife & life partner prepare the salad for me every day & again truly thankful to her for supporting me in the journey.

  • I also enrolled into a GYM, core collective SG with trainer Razz Renny (a.k.a Rasif) to build my muscle strength. I am thankful to my business contact cum friend who introduced me to Rasif & got me onto this journey. Thank you mate!

  • Finally connected back with my C&L boss Stephen Chang (gave me break in Big 5 consulting - Thank you!) and now occasionally walking with him too.

By the end of September, I weighed 86 Kgs having lost 10 Kgs. Then over the last 2 months, it has ping-ponged between 84-86 kgs as I relaxed a bit :) enjoying the Deepavali festival, wife’s birthday, niece engagement as well as restrictions on workouts due to vaccinations. The goal of 15 Kgs now doesn’t seem achievable by the end of December. So, disappointment? Not at all!! I can now embark on a new milestone journey (Beginning of 2022) with a new baseline of 85 Kgs, 3-4 times a week 8-10km walks, once a week GYM & bunch of other positive habits (& dropping the bad one’s too)!

  • I have stopped drinking TEA first thing in the morning. It used to cause acidity reflux in the night and headaches frequently pushing me towards consuming paracetamol often! Vicious circle.

  • I avoid drinking caffeine altogether now. I don’t have the craving as before where I used to drink TEA/Coffee maybe 3-4 times a day incl. before hitting the sack (Shocking? Indeed, it is). This meant my sugar and milk intake has gone down significantly.

  • No desi snacks (processed Indian food). My daughter strictly manages this by not allowing me to buy & keep any in the house. Out of sight out of mind (of a different kind but useful surely)!

  • Many Indians love Parle-G biscuits dipped in Tea. I used to have one full packet almost every day.

  • Lunch is flexible mostly but indeed intake is reduced. I don’t stuff myself anymore.

  • No ‘heavy’ desi dinners or junk food for dinner.

  • No supper :) Used to have a bad habit of snacking literally at midnight!

Bottom line, it’s more about developing small (a.k.a. atomic) sustainable good habits (while giving up the bad ones), the key to healthy living.

That’s me, before (left image) @mountain winery, California & after (right image) in Singapore, December 2021.

I have no idea whether my health issues have reversed or are still the same but that doesn’t bother me anymore. I am enjoying the journey & committed to it for life :)

Thank you for reading!

PS. Recently I came across a book called Atomic Habits. When I read it, I realised that what I had done for my health transformational journey reflected aspects of author James Clear writing. Atomic Habits is indeed a must read book by James Clear .

Lastly, Farewell to 2021 & wishing you a very Healthy, Prosperous and Happy 2022 Year ahead.

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