Conquering the mental blocks to wellness/fitness

26 Apr

Scorecard

Weight at the beginning of the program (Feb 15th 2015) = 197.5 lbs.

26th April 2015

Weight 190.5 lbs. BP
Body fat 31% SpO2
BMI ECG
Autonomic Dysfunction

I will be maintaining a scorecard like this and will publish it weekly with every blog. I will fill in the missing values as we move along.

I have come to the conclusion that the only thing stopping us from taking the necessary steps to be healthy is just the absence of willpower. We have a mental block.

Let us face it. There is no instant gratification here. We, in America, are so used to instant gratification that we are just not mentally equipped to handle programs that take a long time to produce results. This is the reason that most people start on programs after seeing the before and after advertisements on TV. When they realize that this is hard work and will take a long time, their enthusiasm is diminished and that is where it all stops. They want the result but do not want to put in the hard work.

The logic behind wellness

I had mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that weight gain or loss is simply a matter of the difference between calories in and calories out.

Calories in – calories out = daily difference

Any weight gain or loss is a function of this difference i.e.

Weight change = function of daily calorie difference.

The mathematicians would say weight change = f (calorie difference).

Final weight = present weight + f (calorie difference)

If the calorie difference is negative then your weight will reduce. If it is positive, your weight will increase. It is as simple as that.

What affects calories In and calories out?

Calories in depends completely on your food intake.

Calories out depends on your activity level. Exercising is an attempt to increase the calories out. The more you exercise the more you increase calories out.

It should be clear that a program that solely depends on modifying your eating habits is not going to get you anywhere.

One has to increase one’s daily activity level. Yes, people tell you to use stairs rather than elevators, park your car far away and all that. All this will do is to help you maintain your weight but not decrease it. I have tried all this. When one is overweight, then more drastic measures are called for.

The bottom line

  1. You have to exercise
  2. You have to manage your food intake

Both of these are fundamental changes to one’s lifestyle. We’ll talk about exercise first and talk about food later.

I found that it took a lot of effort to start an exercise program, especially if you perceive that nothing is wrong with you.

So how did I deal with the mental block?

My wife and I started walking down and then up a steep hill that we live on. We started doing this for a half hour every day. This helped me drive up my heart rate to almost 140. Then I realized that this was not enough.

I had a dormant membership to a health club. I forced myself out of bed very early in the morning and have started going to the health club at 6 am every morning. There is a reason for doing it first thing in the morning. You get it out of the way and things that come up during the day (and they will come up I assure you) will not interfere with your exercise program.

I told many friends that I was doing this. This was an open commitment. I do not want to fail so this gave me some initial motivation to stick with it. Writing this blog is a major motivation. Now I am telling the world. I have a scorecard at the beginning of the blog. I have got to be taking off weight to write this blog. Obviously I want to be successful in the eyes of the readers.

If you can keep going somehow for 4-6 weeks you are going to see a weight loss. The program I am following typically drops 1-2 pounds a month. When I saw my weight drop, I started getting a feel of success. Now I am motivated to keep at it, as long as I can see a continuous drop in weight. It is now a self-fulfilling program. This is where you want to get to.

We’ll talk a lot more about all this. Till next time…..

Thoughts while exercising: Apple after Steve Jobs……

22 Apr

Over the years, I have been following Apple on and off but have really started engaging with them after the death of Steve Jobs.

I was at Hewlett-Packard during the glory years (1964 to 1989) and was heavily exposed to two of the original Valley icons – Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.

I was deeply involved with HP’s desktop computing, PC and Peripheral business. We were impressed with the original Macintosh and we realized that not only was it a machine that was easy to use but more importantly was easy to learn to use. We tried hard to bring these characteristics to the PC business but it was very difficult even within HP’s then famed corporate culture.

Subsequently, many years later, after having started DyAnsys (a medical instrumentation company into Autonomic Nervous System monitoring), I realized that we had a major opportunity to bring Apple like customer experiences to the health care world.

There is much to learn from Apple, especially their relentless focus on user experience and simplicity. This will take an organization, years to inculcate but as a small company we have a great chance to plant this into our company and grow like this.

I was wondering (like the rest of the world) about Apple’s post Jobs future.

If the HP past is anything to go by, Apple will continue to generate large sums of cash over the next 20 to 30 years. They will continue to do iPhones 7, 8, 9, 10 etc. However their ability to spawn new businesses with new “hits” will probably stop. They will become “another” company.

Why do I say that?

HP was spawning new businesses about every 5 years. Initially they spawned them within the electronic measurements area going into multiple measurement parameters. Then they branched out into medical measurements, analytical measurements, semiconductor components, computing via automating measurements. In computers it was first minicomputers, desktop computers, pocket calculators (anyone remember the HP-35?) and then laser printers. All this time both Hewlett and Packard were involved. Hewlett was the driver of all the new business ideas with path breaking products. HP was routinely in the Fortune list of top companies to work at, so it was attracting top-notch talent.

Then both Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett exited. They got involved once more in the late 80’s to help the company improve financially. However, the new business building magic was gone. The laser printing business was HP’s last hurrah in 1984! By the way, the key architects of the printing business were Dick Hackborn and Paul Ely.

HP has tried many things since then but a “hit” has eluded them. They are now a cash rich, also ran company. They have completely disappeared from Fortune’s list of best companies to work for. Very good managers (like John Young, Lew Platt) who could run businesses well, followed both Hewlett and Packard. This is much like Tim Cook and others following Jobs. But the business spawning magic was gone.

My suspicion is that Apple after Jobs will be on a similar trajectory to HP after Hewlett and Packard. Look for outstanding financial performance on building current businesses over the next 20-30 years but also look for Apple becoming a “normal” company. Once this happens they will find it hard to recruit top-notch engineers and then the downward trajectory gets accelerated. Cultures get completely diluted (When was the last time anyone heard about the HP Way?) It then becomes very difficult to make the company a star again.

The obstacles to weight loss and a healthy life

12 Apr

I am sure you have often wondered why your weight is not coming off when you think you are being very careful with what you are eating.

 

The major culprits are sugar, salt and fat! I never realized the major role these items play in our lives. I ran into a book recently that addressed these major obstacles.

Front Cover

Front Cover

 

Back Cover
Back Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Were it not for the fact that the book was addressing a major health issue, it would be an excellent product development and marketing book. It talks about how food products are developed that stimulate the “cravings” of the US populace to buy lots more of these products.

This kind of product development and marketing approach allied to bigger and bigger package sizes ensures that everybody buys more (and therefore consumes more) of the products than they really need. It might surprise you to know that the US supermarket has much larger package sizes than the markets in the European and Asian countries. The late Prof. C.K. Prahalad (a management heavyweight at U of M at Ann Arbor and author of many management books) wrote that inventory (of food and other consumer products) was a luxury of the rich. The food companies sell larger and larger packages that end up in pantries and refrigerators (which also have to be larger to accommodate these bigger packages).

This really opened my eyes to the destructive effect that these elements have on our diets and weight reduction programs. I don’t want to market this book but I think the more people read this book and understand what is going on, the more they will be able to take control of what they are eating. I found that this knowledge is having a major impact on how I am approaching my own program.

In succeeding posts, I will comment on how this kind of knowledge can be put to good use. It is better to approach a program with a fundamental understanding of things that will affect you rather than blindly following some diet just because it is marketed strongly with lots of before and after pictures of people who have lost weight.

My experience is that there is no instant gratification here. It requires patience, stamina to stick with some guidelines and persistence to follow it through until you reach your initial goals. I have myself been very guilty of not sticking with it, in the past.

You might find me blogging about many things on the periphery of my weight reduction program. I am just recording things that go in my mind as I am working on my program. I am sure you also find your mind wandering around, especially while exercising.

 

 

 

 

Practicing what I preach

5 Apr

I realized that it is not enough for me to talk about things like Wellness, Fitness, the Autonomic Nervous System and not follow my own advice.

It would be very embarrassing to talk about what I do (as the CEO of a medical instrumentation company) and not look healthy and fit. This year’s New Year resolution was to get myself in good shape again.

What does that mean? I would be happy to get my BMI (which is close to 30) at least to 25. I also wanted to ensure that my Autonomic Dysfunction (measured by a product we make) needed to be less than 20%. I know, easier said than done! You may also wonder about the significance of managing Autonomic Dysfunction. If you stay with me, we will discuss that, too.

I had done this once before many years ago. There is a very simple relationship

Calories in – calories out = calorie difference

If the difference is negative by about 500 then you start losing weight. If the difference is 0, then you maintain your weight. If the difference is positive, then you gain weight.

Fundamentally, it is this relationship that has to be managed. When people tell you to manage your diet, they are telling you to manage your intake. When they tell you to exercise, they are telling you to manage your burning of the calories.

In succeeding blogs I will talk about the things I am doing to work on these two parameters. I will share my progress with you.

Srini Nageshwar

Why did a computer geek get involved in Health Care?

6 May

I ask myself, this too. Very often, now. These two industries are VERY different.

There comes a time in life when you introspect and wonder what you have done.It is great to have been part of many computer industry breakthroughs but in the final analysis you have done things for other businesses.

When given the chance to do something in health care, you think, gosh, I can use my knowledge to directly help people.

The timing seemed very right. Basic information acquired from the body like blood pressure, ECGs, stethoscope signals are actually very rich in information.

However, very little information has been extracted from them. You ask yourself why?

My simple explanation is that mathematics has never really played a role in medicine, the way it has played a role in engineering. Somehow math and physics seem to go along with engineering. There seems to be more affinity for chemistry with medicine due to all the pharmacology.

The divide between math and medicine needs to be bridged for big breakthroughs to be made in medicine, especially as it relates to home care.

I’ll tell you more as we go along. This will be an interesting journey. Please stay with me.

The unsung hero – the Autonomic Nervous System

28 Apr

You have an unsung hero in your body. It Is called the Autonomic Nervous System.

 

Autonomic Nervous System

 

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) acts as a control system for the body, operating largely at the unconscious level

The ANS affects…

  • Heart rate
  • Digestion
  • Respiration rate
  • Salivation
  • Perspiration
  • Pupil Diameter
  • Reproduction

The ANS consists of two systems – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both these systems have to balance each other out for the body to be in good shape. When these two systems are not in balance, it causes dysautonomia.  Most diseases especially chronic pain (fibromyalgia, CRPS, RA e.g.) have ANS problems.

Most systems of medicine (especially the Eastern ones) emphasize this balance. In fact when you are doing yoga, meditation or getting a massage, you are actually balancing these two systems.

We will talk more about this system. In the meantime, if you want to know more about ANS monitoring and how to check your ANS go to

http://www.dyansys.com/index.php

Till next time. Keep your ANS balanced!

Autonomic Neuropathy can be fatal but can be cured

21 Apr

THE fatal complication of diabetes is autonomic neuropathy which typically leads to a “silent heart attack”. Unfortunately this is not very well known and therefore not very well covered. THIS IS NOT what everybody understands as neuropathy which is really peripheral neuropathy.

According to various studies, autonomic neuropathy affects over 50% of all PWD.  In general it leads to 50% mortality 5-10 years after onset. At onset there are NO symptoms. Symptoms appear when one of the organs, in most cases the heart, is affected. By then it is too late.

This is so serious that the ADA has recommended Heart Rate Variability testing (to identify this) in its standards of care since 2006. This testing is supposed to be done immediately upon detection of Type 2 diabetes and 5 years after detection of Type 1 diabetes. It is to be repeated annually if negative. If detected early it is possible to reverse it and reduce/eliminate the risk of cardiovascular disease among PWD.

However, nobody follows this recommendation. One deterrent has been that there really has not been a simple testing method that has allowed this recommendation to be implemented in a clinical setting.

There is one now. I am attaching a link to a booklet that addresses the “detection, monitoring & treatment of diabetic autonomic neuropathy”. This was compiled from the experiences of doctors (mainly in India) on about 100,000 PWD.  India is the diabetes capital of the world with over 50 million diabetics.

This can be easily implemented in the US since the products are FDA cleared and the procedures are reimbursable by insurance. It is strange that the US PWD cannot access the same treatment that the Indian PWD now can.

You can obtain a free copy of this booklet by following the link

http://www.dyansys.com/diabetic-autonomic-neuropathy-booklet.php

You need to be very careful to differentiate it from peripheral neuropathy which is completely different.

Thank you for sharing this important information and helping PWD minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease. This will go a long way to helping them lead long, healthy lives.

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