Dec 7

Starting a Fitness Program – By A Fitness Amateur

Healthy living isn’t easy. There, I said it! Don’t get me wrong, I do know that it is very, very important, but the thing is – it’s also extremely difficult, at-least for someone like me. You may wonder what my difficulty is,  so let me enlighten you, by giving you a little background first.

Fitness & Me – The Backstory 

To begin with, most of my life, I have been on the skinny side; only after I had my son did I begin to gain some extra pounds. And to be honest, the first couple of years post-baby, I couldn’t care less about those extra pounds. I mean, who had the time? I was in a constant loop of feeding-the-baby, cleaning-the-baby, and *trying* to put the baby to bed.

Even after those crazy years passed, and my sanity returned (for the most part), I was never inclined to do the whole fitness thing. There were several reasons for this, but most importantly –

  1. I have always had, and still do have, a very healthy BMI – This is my favorite excuse for not exercising. I know it’s lame, but on a particularly lazy day, it sounds extremely logical (especially in my head). Really!
  2. I LOVE food. The mere suggestion of food control makes me lose hope in the goodness in this world! OKAY, I know that is overly dramatic, but you get the idea. 🙂

So, what has changed now?

The above 2 things still hold true. I am still in love with food (very much so), and still do try and talk myself out of going to the gym on a regular basis, and the BMI thing, is still my best argument.

However, the one thing that is different is that I am now increasingly aware of how my overall health has changed over the years. It is not just about weight gain/loss; I have noticed that I get tired more easily, and have lesser stamina than I used to. And this has really started to bother me; if this is how things are at 30, I shudder to think what happens at 50 or 70.

This is why, getting and staying healthy, is now a priority. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with weight loss, but I guess that will be a welcome by-product.


Plan of Action

Before I tell you my course of action, I have to mention the third thing that kept me away from getting on the fitness bandwagon – information overload. There is a lot of information out there, and I had no idea where to even begin. It was overwhelming and intimidating!

I often found myself traveling down a rabbit hole of endless information, which totally fried my brain, and killed my motivation (what little of it was present).

But at the end of the day, I really do want to live a  healthy lifestyle, so here is what I plan to do –

All of the information that I read, packaged in several different ways, boiled down to 2 things –

  1. Move More (There are several ways to define this.)
  2. Eat Right /Less ( Sigh. Such is life. 😛 )

I have already begun working on Move More with the C25K Program. Since many of you have asked me about it, I will have a full review of it up soon. Eat Right is still a work-in-progress (Are you surprised? 😛 ). But, I am determined to conquer it. 🙂

I will be sharing my journey here – the struggles and the victories – which I hope will help some of you who want to embark on a similar journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

P.S. I thrive on order and structure, and love the ability to measure progress, so I will most likely be picking up structured programs which have a definite and set time-frame. I will also be alternating between posts regarding food and exercise.

P.P.S. Before I start any new program, I will have a post up about it, a week in advance, so that way, if any of you would want to tag along, we could do it together, and cheer each other on. What say? 😀

I would love to hear from you guys. What do you guys do to stay healthy/fit? Would you like to tag along for an exercise program? Any suggestions for a fitness amateur like me?

Lots of Love


  1. I kind of switched off after you said you had been skinny all your life but I continued reading out of curiosity. I mean how hard can it get for a thin person? But I do get your point. I have been exercising for almost all my life – since my preteens I think. And now in my 40s I find it is just not enough. As much as you love food I think as we grow older the diet is the key to keeping weight off. There! That’s the only advice I can think of. Oh and I’d love to tag since I’ve been going through a very disorganised phase in my life. I’ll be around for sure. Good luck.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Of ‘well-meaning’ adviceMy Profile

    • Thank you, Tulika. 🙂

      I am still figuring out the ‘diet’ aspect of this, as food control is a challenge for me, and I want to start something which is sustainable. So as of now the plan is to start small, and incorporate every little thing in my routine before I go ahead. I know this can be a time consuming process, but this is the only way the changed food habits will sustain.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…Starting a Fitness Program – By A Fitness AmateurMy Profile

  2. Yaayy that’s cool 🙂 I know how difficult it is to say no to calorie filled delicious food but that’s just the beginning. I too am in the same bandwagon … trying to lead a better fitter lifestyle 🙂 wish you good luck 🙂
    rajlakshmi recently posted…Ahoy Matey !!My Profile

  3. Thoroughly logical viewpoint on aging. Somehow we are used to the notion that exercising is for weight loss and to start it now is more or like a lifestyle change.

  4. I sooo needed a post like this. For a good part of my life, I was ok… not skinny and not fat and I gave myself the same reasons for not exercising. But now since the last 2 years or so, the fat has started making its presence felt and that too at unflattering places. I need to get my act together and do something about it. But these winters are making my resolve a bit weaker… but it’s an excuse, I know… Sigh!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Nightlife and Pub Finder in IndiaMy Profile

  5. Completely agree with you on information overload. Apt post for the changing times. I still habe a few months to go before i start work out !!
    Nidhi recently posted…Jodhpuri Mirchi BadaMy Profile

  6. Good on you Shantala and all the best for the plan…I am not at all health conscious…I had gained only 7 kgs during pregnancy and now am back almost to my previous weight…I eat everything without thinking if it’s good for my health and I know this lack of interest in this area will bite me in the rear later ! 😀
    nabanita recently posted…#NewMomHacks: How To Rock Your Baby To SleepMy Profile

  7. I’d be happy to join! I walk for 45 min a day, and monitor my diet (I have a hearty breakfast, a good lunch and a big bowl of salad for dinner..if you dive deep into my food chart, you’d think i’m a freak!!) , I used to gym every day, but now with a new job I can just manage twice a week…I could do with some company! count me in..

  8. This is one pep post to get movin’. I identify with the need to focus more on a healthier lifestyle, besides just vanity….exercising and eating right to just improve one’s stamina. Getting the most out of yourself is easier when you have the energy to deal with it! Also long term benefits. Rujuta Diwekar’s book ‘Dont lose your Mind, Lose your weight’ is a good one for formulating healthy eating plans. That said, I confess weight watching is/never has been a priority in my life agendas! Maybe someday soon….I will wake up to a new dawn of healthy living 😉

  9. Lata Sunil says:

    All the best Shantala..atleast you are on the right path with the right intention.

  10. Hey Shantala! This is the first time I am here and I loved you write-up. Regarding the post… I agree with you on the second point (about food), and you were not at all dramatic, I feel the same… louder 🙂 But yes, call it co-incedence or a far-far telepathy, I too have realized much about the health factor of mine and have started taking steps to it. I would go easy on myself, cuz long jumps will not hold me there for a longer time period. Good luck to you and yes I would love to join in 🙂
    Tara Nair recently posted…Home Style: Bohemian LookMy Profile

  11. I think most people make the mistake of only considering their weight when they think of diet and fitness programs! Once you realize that this is about your overall health, that’s probably when you really take it seriously!
    I’m glad you are getting into a fitness regimen! I think being in SoCal really inspires us because we’re surrounded with similar minded people!
    Roshni recently posted…Indian Americans and school gradesMy Profile

  12. I started running when I was 18, and took up bicycle touring in the early 70s. In the early 80s I joined a gym and started doing Nautilus machines. I stopped running about 5 years ago (I’m 66), but still bicycle, and we take lengthy “urban hikes” most weekends (we live in Seattle). I’m convinced that the Nautilus routine has protected my joints and saved me from injury, and i recommend it – not heavy, grunt-inducing weight-lifting, just enough to keep muscle tone in all your muscle groups. Whatever you do, make it an integral part of your day, so that if you don’t do it, you really feel the lack.
    Phil recently posted…Abandoning Our 40-year-old LandlineMy Profile

  13. I love love food! And eating right, in moderation is something which I fail at. As a teenager I was into sports and that helped me say fit and for most part of my adult life I have been dancing which I love so there was never an effort put into my fitness. Until now. I haven’t been dancing for the last 10 months, unemployed and sitting at home and have started to put on a little. 🙁 Starting Dec I have included yoga and cardio in my daily to-dos but it’s really difficult to stay disciplined since I’ve never had to make this effort in the past. Hope I can stay with this plan!
    Do share your fitness plan too…maybe I’ll join you.
    Aditi recently posted…#SaturdayWordplay 10 – FrissonMy Profile

  14. Hehehee your excuses sound just like me. I have a healthy BMI and I am not ‘that’ fat 😀 Sticking to a diet routine is too difficult for me. But after I started cooking myself, I am a bit conscious of what kind of food I eat. Good luck on your new fitness program, rock on.Do keep us updated ^.^

  15. Good for you. I’ve always been a very active person as an athlete and then as a PE instructor. I even taught evening fitness classes for a while. That doesn’t mean that as I got busy being a mom I didn’t fight against gaining weight and getting out of shape. I walk for at least an hour most days of the week and do some strength and stretching exercises. I’ve thought about joining a gym during the winter but we have a treadmill and we’re getting a stationery bike this year too. I like the bike because I can read while using it. Good luck with your workouts.
    Susan Gourley recently posted…As We All Get BusyMy Profile

  16. Wow! I am with you. Will tag along 🙂
    Parul recently posted…Letter from Peking – Not just a bookMy Profile

  17. Totally agree. It’s easy to say, hey if I’m not that overweight who cares? However, in my personal experience I feel SO much better when I push through the excuses and get to work. I’ll sleep better, have more energy, and generally feel healthier. Would love to see what your ideas and exercise plans are because I can always use new ideas and motivation.

  18. True, Shantala, health is not about losing or gaining pounds. I do yoga which helps me with the back pain and my flexibility. I walk daily for around an hour. But then some days I tend to skip the yoga/pilates part and one day becomes one week and it catches on. I get pains all over my body by just climbing stairs or by just standing which then motivates me to do the yoga practice. Weight wise I am good but health is a different story.:)

  19. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
    I wish I had been as wise when I was 30.
    Well, as they say, better late than never. I have used a number of excuses in my time; but have finally run out of them. I am particular about my health but have just very recently realised the value of fitness. I eat right and not too much but have a lazy metabolism (that’s me) and have gained so much weight over the years. I meditate regularly and go for a walk hence my energy level is good, but I could definitely do with losing a lot of weight. I have recently started exercising regularly (at least 4 days a week for an hour). Would definitely like to know more about how you are going about the losing weight part.

  20. My favorite topic, Shantala. Like you, I have been on the slimmer side as well. Gained some weight during my first pregnancy. That was also the time when I began with brisk walking. 14 years later I am still going strong on that front. Brisk walking, yoga, strength training has helped me keep fit, healthy and have more stamina. As you age, it is difficult to keep the weight off if you don’t work on both diet and exercise. I am conscious of what I eat. It also helps that I like cooking. I genuinely feel that my flexibility and stamina is better now than in my teens. I love working out. It is now a part of my routine. I am so glad that you are doing this.
    Rachna recently posted…My journey from mobile phone to smartphoneMy Profile

  21. I do nothing when it comes to exercise. In Oct, the doctor advised me to do physical activity to reduce my weight. I took up walking regularly for 15 days for 45 minutes before the Chennai cyclone created havoc with Bangalore weather bringing in heavy rains and consequently cold weather. I stopped walking thinking I will do yoga at home which I did on alternate days for few days but the problem with yoga if I do on my own, I go very slow with it and it hardly does any good. And I am not doing it either now.

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