It all started with a WhatsApp group. Being Health-Conscious was becoming a trend world-wide, with people taking up Zumba, Acrobatics, Gym and all forms of workouts more than ever and Corporates bringing up various programs for its employees.
Ours was a batch mates’ group from our school – a residential school where we lived and learned together for seven years back in our native district. So we all knew each other pretty well. But Life had taken each one of us to different horizons and each one has changed in his/her own ways drifting with what life gave them. However the kinship remained deep rooted in our hearts and even a virtual gathering was quite enjoyed.
But the change in time brought in other challenges. The political views of people have changed which alone led to heated debates in the group, sometimes breaching the kinship and love that maintained the group intact. This had led to people leaving entering back and then leaving again and few others trying to bring them back. It was typical.
That is when Praveen, who lived in Dubai came up with the idea of a group for Health related topic among us, a handful who were really interested in following and maintaining a health regime, workouts, diets, tips and advises related only to health barring any other topics from discussion. We named the group HEALTHVIKAS, rhyming with JANAVIKAS, the bigger group, which meant Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Kasaragod, our school.
It was simple
- 10 days challenge – No to Sugar
- 10 Days Challenge – No to Namkeen food and crackers
- 10 Days Challenge – No to Milk and Milk products
- 20 Days Challenge – No to Sweetened and Carbonated drinks.
We had 3 days to prepare and start and chose a Monday to begin with.
It was not just the diet. But each one in the group already had a workout regime, either playing or walking or dancing and that was supposed to continue. But the challenge began only with diet.
The one who did not have a workout regime was Shijumon who lived in Oman. He had to be chucked out of the group for his blabbering in the group without any action so that the grouped stuck to its original intent. The Bigger group still continued with heated political debates and forwards that half of the members never cared for, sometimes draining away the harmony of the group at times.
So we started our challenge. My regular morning cup of tea was replaced with a black tea with honey. Had a plate of steamed Puttu with Banana for breakfast. The lunch was a diet mean from office that had Millet Upma, steamed beans, Cucumber Salad, fruits and a veg soup. The day went well.
But by evening I craved for regular cuppa tea without which my head would start aching. It was like a doze of the energy for the next few hours being injected. I was used to drinking it really sweet but lately I had cut it down by more than half and was getting used to it. Tea without sugar still seemed to be OK but without both milk and sugar was unimaginable for me. I had seen a few sip cappuccino from the coffee vending machines in office without sugar and they were the US returned. I didn’t want to break the challenge the very first day. The first little sip send a wave of bitter-sour taste down my spine. It was awful. but I didn’t want to give up.The second seemed better. As I slowly sipped the warm lemon tea, my tongue got used to the taste.
We kept the group updated of all the food/drinks we had for the day. All were determined. posting photos encouraged each one. The prize at the end of the challenge announced by Praveen was an add-on, what ever it may be. It was tough for everyone but at the same time interesting.
Surendra Singh from UP who lived almost on milk and milk products had the toughest time. End of the first day he told , he was almost fainting. Without Parantha and milk and ghee he did not have many other choice and ordered Idli-Sambar for his lunch.
Sajith – The Volleyball player of the group who lived in Kasaragod, Kerala missed his first day Tea. He avoided Sugar but missed the Milk part, a slight misunderstanding of the communication. but was back on track for rest of the day. Bala already followed a no sugar diet. Viji, also from Bangalore too joined in. She walked to work almost 2.5 km every day. Unni joined in from US, was on a business trip for 5 Days but was determined too. He too followed a sugar free diet for last 2 years or so, he said. Jay from UK had long been on diet and exercise. He walked 5KM everyday. Praveen drank Black Tea and managed with his salad and Hamouse. Bijumon, who also lived in the other corner of Kasaragod joined in drinking only hot water. He had dropped Tea from his menu long back. Rest of the food was fine, but just had fit in the above criteria.
I, living in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was playing badminton for last 6 months almost everyday. This had helped me drop my weight further by 3kgs from 71 to 68 and I remained mostly a veg. I had dropped aerated/sweetened drinks from my menu some 20 years back and barely was tempted by fried and salty snacks, so for me it was only cutting down sugar, milk and milk products. And not a foodie by nature, I managed well with minimal food.
Today is the second day. The change in routine and food was hard to follow and showed its toll on each one of us. It was as if we were attending a de-addiction session.
A world came down into one WhatsApp group from far and wide and across timezone and we were enjoying it thoroughly. It was a company of friends as well. Trying to maintain the shape and better health kept the group intact.
These 10 days are not the end, it is just the beginning for more challenges, fitness, strength, diet all summing up into good health.