Deepak Shukla: ” Exercise, exercise, exercise! It could be only 30 minutes a day and that’s enough!”

Going for a walk once a day, or biking around your neighborhood. Exercise doesn’t have to be 30 minutes of ab workouts followed by running 2 miles — though it can be, and if you do that I’m pretty impressed by you — just working exercise into your daily routine is great both for your body and your mental health. […]

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Going for a walk once a day, or biking around your neighborhood. Exercise doesn’t have to be 30 minutes of ab workouts followed by running 2 miles — though it can be, and if you do that I’m pretty impressed by you — just working exercise into your daily routine is great both for your body and your mental health.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deepak Shukla.

Deepak Shukla is the founder of Plant Sumo, a plant-based meal prep delivery service based in London. As someone who’s done 33 marathons, 5 Ultramarathons (50–125km), and the full Iron Man twice, maintaining a healthy body weight is a necessity. He founded Plant Sumo after seeing a gap in the market for healthy, convenient and accessible plant based food and hasn’t looked back since!

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My father moved us to the UK when we were younger in order for us to have a better life and more opportunities. I grew up always wanting more, always wanting to do more but be happy while doing it. I decided to quit my job and founded my own company which eventually expanded into the Pearl Lemon Group which runs Plant Sumo as well as Pearl Lemon, Pearl Lemon Leads, Pearl Lemon Accountants, Pearl Lemon Properties, Plant Sumo, Serpwizz, Kemistri and more are enroute!

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I enjoy communication and helping people grow. Such a big part of the Pearl Lemon Group is giving back to the team that I’ve got around me who all stand on my shoulders. I love to see them train and develop and that goes the same for all our customers — I hope that these plant based meals can help them whether it be to maintain their health or other reasons.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My father has been the biggest inspiration to me. He came to the UK so that his kids could have a better life. He worked 100 hours a week and gave up his own dream so that we could pursue ours. He retired at 65 having worked 12 hour shifts his whole life and never complained about it, never grumbled. He’s a bit of a hero in my eyes.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

When I first started I didn’t fully understand how content syndication (when content is meant to be redistributed online) versus duplication (redistributing content that you’re not supposed to, essentially copying it) worked. When I was trying to set up my companies, I accidentally duplicated videos instead and so Google actually just banned the website. It really was just a humbling experience to see that there was still so much more to learn and if I wanted to set up a business to help people and achieve my goals, I would have to research the nitty gritty parts of it first.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Execution matters more.” In the end it’s not what people say but what they do that matters most. It’s become especially helpful when working with other people — so often people are quick to talk about all that they’re going to do or all that they will achieve, but it’s hard to produce actual results.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I love taking problems that I see every day and creating solutions for them. This is proven in the many companies that I’ve founded within the Pearl Lemon Group. Within Pearl Lemon we’ve created the company Plant Sumo, which offers plant-based meal prep as mentioned in my bio, as well as numerous others. Our goal is to help people in all different aspects of life. From allowing them to build resumes within seconds to get noticed by recruiters, to assisting small business owners get leads, we cover a lot within the Pearl Lemon collection!

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

I’ve spent many years in my life training and getting ready to participate in over 30 marathons, 5 ultra marathons, and two full Iron Mans. Through the course of my training, I was able to hone in on specific strategies to improve both my strength and endurance. Through the time spent refining my various health habits I’ve definitely gathered enough information to confidently give advice on it. Additionally, after founding my company Plant Sumo,, I had to find ways to make mouth-watering yet nutritious plant-based food easily accessible to others.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?

Though our media tends to push this idea, trying to be, say, 100 pounds is not a “Healthy Body Weight.” A healthy body weight changes for each person, but when it really comes down to it, it’s the weight that you could reasonably maintain for most of your life without having to constantly restrict your food intake or over exercise. Of course, as life goes on your healthy body weight will change as you change, so it won’t stay the same forever, but you just have to listen to your body and what it’s telling you.

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?

First off, I would not spend a lot of time focusing on your BMI (the ratio of your body weight to your height). Though it’s commonly used in the medical world as a way to easily mark what should be your designated weight, that doesn’t take into account the composition of your body. For example, muscle weighs more than fat. Just because someone is 5 feet tall does not mean they will weigh 100 pounds. If they have a lot of muscle they could weigh much more and there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If you’re too overweight or underweight your body will tell you. For instance, if you’re too overweight you’ll likely experience frequent heartburn, achy joints, or chronic fatigue because of the weight that your joints have to constantly support. If you’re too underweight you may experience frequent dizziness when you stand up too quickly or you’re fatigued often because you don’t have enough nutrients in your body. Depending on how long you’ve been underweight for, you may also have a weakened immune system.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?

Whenever your body is not at its ideal weight, it places unnecessary stress on your internal systems. If you’re under your healthy body weight then sometimes even just performing a simple daily task could become hard because your body doesn’t have any energy to spare. If you’re overweight it’s a similar thing — you’re trying to support a body mass that wasn’t meant for you and so too much energy is going towards that. There are other longtime health problems that could occur too including high blood pressure if you’re overweight and, if it gets really bad, osteoporosis if you’re underweight.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?

Your energy will be much higher and you will just feel so much better when your body is properly nourished and exercised. Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy body weight and what many people don’t know is that exercise actually energizes you. I know, it sounds counterintuitive because you’re expending so much energy when you exercise, but that actually alerts your body to create more energy to sustain that activity. If you’re not doing anything that requires a lot of energy, then your body won’t make any. It’s as simple as that. You’ll do better at work, have more energy to play with your kids, be able to enjoy your free time instead of being tired, it’s an all around amazing feeling.

Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Figure out your “junk food weakness” and limit it, you don’t have to cut it out completely, just limit it.

What is the one unhealthy snack that you could always go for? One that, if you started to eat it, would be difficult to put down? This could be your favorite chips, favorite ice cream, fries, popcorn, donuts, anything. Something that I’ve found helpful is keeping your environment free of it. If you don’t want to eat ice cream, then don’t buy ice cream. If it’s not in your freezer, you literally are unable to eat it, and that’s what will help limit how much of it you consume. You don’t need to cut it out completely because if you try that, eventually, you’re likely to break and eat large amounts of it to compensate which we don’t want.

2. Limit sodas and juices

These are one of the hidden ways to gain fast calories that amount to no nutritional value. Avoid buying them to have at home and ordering it whenever you go out to eat. Try to stick with water, and if you want something with a little flavor, add some fruit to it!

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise! It could be only 30 minutes a day and that’s enough!

Going for a walk once a day, or biking around your neighborhood. Exercise doesn’t have to be 30 minutes of ab workouts followed by running 2 miles — though it can be, and if you do that I’m pretty impressed by you — just working exercise into your daily routine is great both for your body and your mental health.

4. Don’t be tempted by fad diets.

I know you see them. Those magazines with the ultra fit workout trainers recommending the diet where you live off of chia seeds and juice for a month. Don’t do it. This will just lead to malnutrition when you’re dieting and decreased energy levels. Plus, when you finally finish the fad diet, you’re likely to revert back to your previous ways and gain back most, if not all, of the weight you lost on the diet.

5. Have accountability partners.

This is one of the greatest tips I can give, and you can use it in other areas of your life too! If you’re trying to eat less junk food or sugar, tell one of your friends about it so that they can check in on you and make sure you’re sticking to it. Better yet, have one of your friends do it with you so that you can both encourage one another! Have someone that you walk with at least 3 times a week or a group that you meet up with to run around the neighborhood or play basketball with. Getting other people involved tends to help make sure you actually go through with your plans!

The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?

You have to have the mindset that the changes you’re doing are permanent. One way that this can be made easier is if you slowly ease into it. For instance, instead of saying you’re going to cut out all chips for a month, try saying that you will limit yourself to “x” amount of chips. Then after one month , reduce the amount of chips you eat to “y” amount of chips, then after one month reduce it to “z” amount of chips and so on and so forth. Just keep in mind that you want to eventually reach a permanent change that you could reasonably do. When you say that you’re only going to eat 1200 calories for 3 months, what happens when you finish that 3 month period? You’ll just go back to your previous ways and undo the progress you made, so make reasonable permanent adjustments instead.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?

Again, it all goes back to your mindset. If you start off thinking that you’re only going to maintain a certain habit for a few months, then you’re just going to look forward to when those few months end and you can go back to consuming whatever you want. Make sure that you’re trying to make permanent, less dramatic changes to your lifestyle.

How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

As I mentioned in my 5 ways to maintain a healthy body weight, get a friend to help you use all of the tips that I mentioned. Get an accountability partner who is at the same level of enthusiasm as you are and incorporate it together.

The main blockages that can prevent us from taking in this information is again, your mindset, and what you surround yourself with. If you think that all these tips will be too difficult for you then they will be. If you say that you’re going to eat less sugar but then buy more ice cream whenever you see it on sale, then you’re still going to eat the same amount of sugar.

On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?

Take what I say, take my 5 tips, and write them down. In a journal, piece of scratch paper, it doesn’t matter, just write it down — don’t type it on your notes app or on anything electronic. There’s something about physically writing something down that makes it so unique and really ingrains it in your mind. When you’re writing something down it’s permanent. You can’t just press backspace and make it disappear. You can see it right in front of your eyes: “Exercise 30 minutes a day. Have a confident, permanent mindset. Don’t be persuaded by fad diets. Etc.” When you see it written down you’re much more likely to integrate it into your normal routine .

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The principle of giving back through education. Leaders should lead through education and make a bigger commitment for leaders to give education. Whether it be through webinars or on stage conferences, there should always be a bigger push for that.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love a private breakfast with Elon Musk but I guess that’s not much of a surprise, I know many people would like that too haha!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can visit my personal website as well as my company Plant Sumo’s website

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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