I just came from the YJA (Young Jain Association) Convention earlier this morning. I have experienced more personal growth in the past three days then I have ever experienced before. Since there is so much to talk about regarding this topic, I have organized the posts into the four-part series:Part One: Random thoughts and Observations
Part Two: Analysis of my own session
Part Three: Training and Eating at YJA
Part Four: Reflections on Personal Growth
This is part three:
Eleven days out from the convention, I realized that I would be doing two tasks that will test my mental strength: speed dating and public speaking. When you’re in such uncomfortable situations, it really helps if you look and feel good. This is the thought that motivated me to complete an 11-day dieting cycle, the longest I have ever done in my life.
I usually diet for about 4 and a half days of the week, then relax Friday night and weekends. This style of dieting is just something that became a habit over time as I kept thinking to myself how difficult it would be for me to diet 5-6 days straight. But now I was attempting 11 days of straight dieting. How would I ever complete the cycle?
Well, I had a bunch of things working for me this time around. First of all, I had an incentive. Two, actually. First was speed dating, and the second was public speaking. In both cases I would be up in front of people, or at least in some sort of spotlight. It’s natural human nature to “check out” the person in front of you when speed dating. Even when you’re sitting down, you just feel better knowing that you at least look a bit decent.
I kept telling myself that I would be able to eat anything I wanted when I went to YJA. And the beautiful thing about thinking this way is that I knew that the food was going to be healthy, as it was either going to be vegetarian, or vegan. I may not have access to the same amount of protein that I do at home, but at least I won’t be going on a four-day fast food binge.
During this 11-day cycle, I simply used all the data I had earlier to maintain a goal of approximately 2000 calories, sticking to basic foods such as boca burgers, peanut butter, beans, soybeans, and olive oil. I did eat other foods, but these are five things I ate everyday. Everything else was just rotated to keep my mind sane. But overall, I continued to keep my healthy fats high, calories moderate, and carbs low.
Results of the 11-day cycle
The results were fantastic. There were numerous occasions where I was either directly or indirectly complimented on my physique. On Saturday, I was invited to sit down for lunch by one of the friends I had made there. But his table was packed with people I did not know. On one side of the circular table it was all guys, and on the other side it was all girls, with one seat in between two girls. I went up to my friend and asked him to introduce me to everyone. He must have thought I was scared of sitting next to the two girls, so then he started comparing me to Salman Khan (a bollywood actor known for his physique). He told me I shouldn’t be shy and stated that he didn’t look half has good as I did. I took the compliment with a wide smile and sat down in my seat. Within moments, I had made some new friends. The health and fitness questions started coming.
But seriously, I wasn’t nervous about the girls. I really did want him to introduce me to everyone. Not sure if my friend was just lazy or really smart, but I can see how time consuming and pointless it is to have someone introduce you to everyone in the room (I found this out later in the day). It’s better to just introduce yourself and get to know each person one by one.
While talking to the girl to the left of me, I stated that I had started working out because I was overweight. She said she would have never guessed that I was overweight, which was my second compliment in 10 minutes, and doubled my confidence.
Little things like that happened to me all through out the day, and it made me feel proud of my hard work and dedication during the past 13 months.
Hitting the Gym
Training at YJA was a breeze with my style of training. On Friday morning I went to Shrutpragyaji Swami’s yoga class. The class was wonderful and Swamiji was funny. I will never forget that Pawan means „gas“ I have a friend named Pawan. What should I call him now?
The yoga session brought to my attention the need for more flexibility training in my routine. After speaking to Swamiji VIA Facebook, I am now doing Surya Namaskar as part of my morning warmup/workout, after which I perform the burpee training to get my burpee numbers up and improve form.
After Yoga, I hit the gym for a quick 21-15-9 workout alternating between Dumbbell Snatches and Renegade Rows, 35lbs each. 18 minutes later I was sitting down on the gym floor in a pile of sweat. I glanced at my cell phone clock and realized that I had 20 minutes to get to the first session.
The first goal was to get myself some Chai. That is one thing I can not start my day without. I can skip breakfast and still have high energy levels, but without the Chai, there is no morning. I quickly grabbed some Chai from the dining hall which seemed to be a mile away. On the way back, I must have spilled at least 50% of the Chai on myself.
I quickly gulped what was left and hit the shower. After racing to get dressed, I walked into the first session at 9:07. Bu yah! That’s what you call work capacity. Do what’s important, and get yourself moving.
How was the food?
The food was surprisingly good on the first two days. Thursday night was all about the falafel. Almost tasted like my mothers. My cousin and I were comparing the taste and how each element was different or similar to my mother’s falafel. But I stuffed myself that night.
The next day was the beans for lunch, then pasta for dinner. Both times I stuffed myself as I knew I was not going to get food every three hours. There was a „snack bar“ by the hallway, but the Indian snacks offered would just add empty calories. I was able to get in more fruit during the weekend then usual.
On the last day, I saw a whole bunch of unopened bread just laying out there. I asked one of the Auntie’s there if I could just make my own sandwich. She said I could and I made three sandwiches just mixing together chutney and cucumber. Very delicious, but I was only able to down two of them.
What did I learn?
I realized that when you’re traveling, you try to make do with the best you have. There’s no point in carrying loads of food with you. I travel only occassionaly, and so a few days off my usual diet won’t kill me. It also helps if you’ve gone strict a week or so before the travel days.