I have known Purnendu since his childhood and I’ve seen him grow into the highly accomplished person he has become. Knowing his ability for gaining knowledge and expertise in so many fields other than the one he has a doctorate in I did not hesitate to take his advice on the medical issues I have been having. I have consulted him on my personal medical ailments which I have been struggling with for quite some time which were as follows:
1.High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Pressure – I was living with high blood pressure for quite some time. I was given medication to control this and was told that I would have to take the medication continuously for life.
- Knee Pain – My knees were losing flexibility and I was having immense pain. I was advised to undergo arthroscopic surgery followed by physiotherapy. There was marginal relief after the surgery. Physiotherapy which followed gave me more relief but inflexibility and pain were recurring. Eventually, I had knee replacement surgery. Although I was discharged from hospital after 6 days, complete pain relief took around 3 months. Complete flexibility has still not been restored.
- Bad Posture – Since my teenage years, I had developed a bad posture while sitting and also walked with a slight hunch. I am typically one of the tallest persons even in a large group – now I realize that the height advantage often leads to hunching. I have tried many exercises to improve this but was not very successful.
I used to meet Purnendu regularly but never consulted him on the medical issues I was dealing with. Then in 2018 when he casually commented on my walking posture while I was returning home from work, what sparked off was a conversation on health and fitness matters that continues until today.
His advice on various health issues was different from that of all the doctors I had spoken to and what we have generally assumed to be the normal “right thing to do”. Following are the changes in my thought process that he has helped me with.
Myth No.1 Broken: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
Weight Reduction – Although I thought I was the right weight for my height Purnendu’s advice was to reduce it further so that load on my knees would be less – so less pain! He advised me ways to accomplish a sustained weight-reduction plan. He advised me to do this gradually so that I didn’t have difficulty in keeping up the plan.
Part of this was a long-enough overnight fast between dinner and breakfast. If dinner is a time for the family to eat together, breakfast does not need to be the most important meal of the day. My lunch became my breakfast!
When it came to things that I knew I needed to get rid of, he asked me to maintain a record e.g. of the number of times I had tea or coffee with sugar and milk and to regularly watch my intake and reduce it. The upside of keeping records is that you can monitor your commitment and when you visibly see your performance improvement, you get motivated to improve further.
Myth No.2 Broken: “To reduce weight – you must reduce the quantity of food intake.”
Never once has he advised me to reduce the quantity of food – and I lost weight without really doing any more exercise. He has provided me with a food pyramid which allowed me to eat whatever I wanted to so long as I ate things that I should. He had taken a photo of his lunch and sent it to me. Believe me, I would not be able to eat 1/3 of the quantity that was on his plate!
Myth No.3 Broken: “To control blood pressure you have to take medication and this would be throughout life.“
My blood pressure was not unduly high but was in the higher range which could rise further and then cause complications. However, Purnendu just advised some life-style changes which included moderate exercise and the above diet guidance and keep a daily record of my blood pressure readings, noting any changes. He also advised me to give up my occasional alcohol intake. He was very confident that my readings would not increase although I had my reservations about this. But it is now over a year since I’m off medications and my blood pressure has not risen to a level requiring medications.
Myth No.4 Broken: “Everything taken in moderation is OK!“
I think this is just an excuse for you to indulge in the very things that are harmful to you. Alcohol for me was bad, but it was difficult to stop completely, so the myth suited me. Thankfully I was encouraged by reading Purnendu’s article “Alcohol – did you believe the lie?”. (The rising taxes and subsequent high cost of alcohol in the city also helped)!
I am really amazed to notice what these lifestyle changes have done to me. I feel so much better mentally and physically. I sometimes do give in to temptation regarding my eating and drinking habits, but they are minimal. More importantly, I am able to control these urges inspired by reading many of his blogs about our thought processes around health.
Most importantly Purnendu is actually practising what he preaches, and all his study leading to knowledge has been implemented and demonstrated by his own physique. I have not doubted his knowledge and logic as I am witness to his mental and physical capacities which are far superior to anyone I know in his age group.
I am really grateful for his advice and the change it has made in my life.
Aeronautical Engineer, Devoted Husband, Father and Brother