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CFO Diary

Taking notes for improvement
(Image source : Brain pickings)

In October 2013 I received an invite to join a fitness group, Fit Right In (FRI) started by a client, Manisha Kansra Kapoor. We had worked on a healthcare project and had learned of our shared passion for health and wellness. In the five years that have ensued, Manisha has a dance-based fitness company started with her coach Ashraf Syed. Manisha in the meanwhile continues to energize FRI and moderate it along with other volunteers.

I have been a lucky beneficiary and have found it extremely convenient to add my family and friends to the group. Coincidentally the group was formed on my 48th birthday and it is now 5. Manisha invited me to become Chief Fitness Officer (CFO) for the 5 days running up to FRI (and my birthday) on 15th October. It is a great opportunity to put my point of view on fitness which is based on balance and sustainability.

In the run up to the CFO responsibilities which were to be Monday 8th October to Friday 12th October, I found myself poring over my fitness diary and going over my notes and books. I toyed between many themes including one dedicated entirely to foot care.

After all the thinking, putting down, dismissing and writing over, I settled on a framework to initiate long term lifestyle shift. My posts were targeted at fence-sitters, people who are interested in fitness but are unable to make the change in lifestyle stick. The seven posts that I wrote starting Saturday through Friday have pointers to get started.

Saturday, 6th October 2018

As your CFO for the next 5 days starting Monday, I will share tips and shifts to incorporate into your daily practice.

FRI and I are Librans. We believe in and aspire for balance – no bingeing or yo-yoing. Just daily sustainable being.

I will log in at 5:00 am, say hi at 1:00 pm and nudge you one more time at 9 pm and go off.

Do find a buddy (online or offline) who supports your practice and find a nice emoticon to say “check” or “I did it”.

If we repeat an act for 3 weeks it is “sahaj” or effortless.

We don’t HAVE TO do fitness. Let us do it because we “WANT TO”.

The basic tragedy of our life is we know what is good for us but we don’t FEEL like doing it; we know what to avoid, but we cannot RESIST.

HABIT is one less thing to think about in our busyness.

The best thing about a FITNESS HABIT is we don’t need to THINK or agonise or fuss or feel guilty – we just DO IT!

Sunday 7th October 2018

As your CFO for the next few days, I’ve been planning on how to make the next week useful and impactful.

What can we do to bring a long term shift? How do we make change stick?

I went back to my documentation and I’ve got my fitness diary for reference.

Health goals slip when we have life stage shifts:

  1. First job
  2. Moving away from home – to study or to work
  3. Getting married
  4. Living with in-laws
  5. Moving away from in-laws
  6. Having a child
  7. Having another child
  8. Changing a job
  9. Moving cities
  10. Starting a business
  11. Sometimes there are external demands with shifting priorities:
  12. Becoming a caregiver to child, parent, spouse
  13. Maid quits
  14. Gym instructor quits
  15. Driver quits

Then there are spikes in activity and changes in routine: 

  1. Work travel
  2. Long hours away from home
  3. Children’s exams
  4. Children’s extra-curricular
  5. Family visiting from overseas
  6. Houseguests
  7. Weddings
  8. Festivals
  9. Birthdays
  10. Then there’s the weather – too hot, too cold, rainy…
  11. There’s the time – too early, too late…

Externals can never be just right…

We need to have an unchanging centre within to prioritise ourself – our health and fitness

We can reframe the context for ourselves to make our health/ fitness relevant and important.

I am a first generation entrepreneur, a mother, wife and caregiver to three seniors.

I’ve prioritised health and fitness since I was 15.

Time is elastic. It stretches for anything that is important.

When we have constraints, we need to be creative. Prioritise health and befriend time.

We always have as much time as we need. 24 hours to a day is a lot!

To prepare for your time with me for the week, get yourself a diary and title it “FITNESS DIARY”

More tomorrow…

Monday 8th October 2018


Our fitness/ health agenda needs structure.

Our fitness practice needs a buddy. My husband, Milind, is my fitness buddy. A buddy helps keep us on track. A friend, sibling, spouse, child…

Schedule time for a health check-up if you haven’t in the last 6 months – plan and execute this week.

Observe your body, mind combine – try to link it with any root cause – an emotion – something that we were upset about – acknowledge and let go.

Feel GRATITUDE – Thank, pray, love…

No COMPARING with anyone. Each of us is SPECIAL & UNIQUE. Each of us in on our own journey.

When I stopped comparing, I was at peace within myself

EXERCISE: Exercise for 30 mins everyday

FOOD: Eat sensibly, chew well, don’t do screen while eating; Drop sugar in tea and coffee

WATER: Lots of water – sip and savour

SLEEP: No device 30 mins before sleep and sleep for at least 6.5 hours and no more than 8 hours

We give ourselves a score out of 5 points for each of the 4 threads, food, water, exercise, sleep/ stress. Note down the sum total. Record and share your total count


Let us listen to our SELF TALK – what is the tone? Is it kind or harsh?

Try not to say anything unkind, harsh or limiting to yourself

Be gentle and loving to yourself – imagine your inner child is a 7 year-old.

When I changed my self-talk I became gentler, kinder and more accessible.

555 Daily Practice started in my yoga sangha helped me hugely…

5 minutes of STILLNESS/ PRANAYAMA – watch your breath

5 minutes of AFFIRMATION – sit and mentally repeat “I am safe and secure

5 minutes of AFFIRMATION – sit and mentally repeat “I am loved and respected

Feel gratitude for being able to sit, read this, think about it and practice. Everyone is not as fortunate.

Tuesday 9th October 2018


Continue with all we did on day 1

Don’t stop if you can help it till you cross the 21 day mark

21 days is what it takes to create a habit

If you stop, start over

The mind may make excuses. It’s the mind’s job 🙂

Ignore and persist…

Record FITNESS PROJECT in your Health Diary

Fitness is like any project

We set goals

It is about making a plan

We evaluate options

We assign resources

We prioritise

We bring in flexibility and work-arounds to handle likely roadblocks

And we have a mechanism for review, feedback, mid-course correction

And we persist with will power to stick to the plan

This applies to anything that is important – getting into to the right school, going to university, getting a job, moving cities, starting a family…

The same applies to health and fitness

Here’s my Fitness Project

Purpose: To make the most of each day so I can make the most of my life

Vision: To be happy with a fit mind and body

Goal: To be able to work well without feeling tired. Maintain body weight long-term

Values: Balance, regularity positivity, joy

Behaviour: Daily practice of DFS (food, water, exercise, sleep/ stress), 555, weekly weight check.

Feedback Mechanism: Body awareness, weekly weight check, six-monthly health check up

How about sharing your fitness project?

Wednesday 10th October 2018


Body awareness is about attention, not obsession.

We continue with 555 and tracking and log our Daily Fitness Score (DFS).

Let us add to the day, Body Awareness.

I tend to have low blood pressure. A dull, persistent headache sets in until it regulates. This can take two to three days.

A sweet ‘lassi’ or a sweet and salt ‘nimbu pani’ or lemon water, deep breathing and lying down with a slight upward incline helps.

Do not ignore bodily discomfort. Acknowledge it, make small shifts in behaviour (actions pertaining to diet, water, exercise), record facts and take a medical opinion if discomfort compromises day to day normal functioning.

Mind over matter is important, but let us work with facts and make conscious choices on action.

Check out Prasad Rangnekar‘s video on joint mobilisation for neck and shoulder and jaw

Thursday 11th October 2018


F.R.I.E.N.D.S are a key part of STRUCTURE

Fitness is a team sport. In the last 4 years FRI gave my physical fitness practice and well-being an edge.

Mohyna Srinivasan, Prasad Rangnekar, my Guru Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda and the Yogoda Satsanga Sabha (YSS), support my spiritual practice and fitness.

My husband Milind and I have been buddies in the fitness journey.

Peer pressure is a serious force.

FRI is powerful peer pressure with ABCD – ALLIES, BUDDIES, COACHES that we can leverage for “DHAKKA”, push, motivation, inspiration, especially when it is so easy to fall off the track…

The concept of DAILY FITNESS SCORE is a lifesaver

Exposure to exercise videos, techniques and practice

Water apps and water infusions

Sleep and stress management tips

Inspiring and doable recipes

My first ABC-D was my mother to my seriously overweight 14 year-old self. She created a STRUCTURE and gave me the initial building blocks to the fitness path.

I continue to walk this path with F.R.I.E.N.D.S


Friday 12th October 2018


Find possibilities between 1 and 0

Find the magic between ‘yes’ and ‘no’

Let go of “either or”

Embrace the “and”



It is a STRESSOR, calling names and words unkind

“Good enough” is our friend

Good enough is the new PERFECT

A solution mindset to see the glass half full

Flip the mental vision

To escape traps and prisons


Let to, move on, look ahead and leap

When in the war zone of setbacks

Make the 555 counter-attack

During travel and client meetings

Manage DFS creatively

Watch NETFLIX with a bowl of smart choices

Manage family AND prioritise HEALTHY YOU


Back to wall – can’t let me fail

I can’t get lost – I must find a way!!

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