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samedi 4 août 2012


Mind/Body Exercise Programme Initiated by the Humble Boss of Bogor (see a previous blog about him)
One hears very often, in the medical circles in the USA, “you know, the patients are not going to loose weight and Lifestyle changes do not work, they need to take medications”. No wonder the drug companies love them, an average “patient” may be on 12-17 pills per day!
Many of the counselling regarding the Exercise aspect of the Lifestyle coaching fail because an important aspect of the sequence is left out: the MIND.
It is good to understand the changes one need to make in the way of thinking before attempting to reduce weight or make changes to lifestyle. The attempt falters because of lack of purpose. I have always believed the reverse of the roman dictum: It is in a healthy mind that a healthy body can exist, is my belief.
Mr J who runs a successful business in Bogor, who travels abroad frequently (I met him one such trip of his to the USA) has consciously taken upon himself to put principles of good thinking and behaving in the management of ones health and happiness.
What is amazing to me is that what he preaches and practises are universal, it resonates with the teachings of Dalai Lama, it can synchronize itself with the way American Indians think, it is almost out of the pages of Yoga Sutra. But he has arrived at this by his observation of the world and nature around him, much like the philosophers of yesteryears.

On this Saturday morning, five of his managerial staff has joined him, and the visiting anthropologist (c’est moi!) by the shores of a lake. The early morning mist was tenderly hanging on before the onslaught of the tropical sun when we arrived there.
The seven of us engaged in various activities, one of whom had his mountain bike with him, some were jogging, some were walking briskly. Putting on the shoes (asard gel) Mr J had lent me, I joined him in conversation and a brisk walk of about 3km around the lake.briefly meeting others on the way and chatting and laughing. At around 8 30, we had all gathered at a spot over looking the lake, there we stretched and relaxed and the air was full of laughter and joy.
What a lovely scene!
There is more to this pleasant scene. The five employees have lost more than 60 kg in weight since they joined the effort to pay attention to health and happiness. From a minimum of 8 kg, to a maximum of 17 kg. The man, who had lost 17 kg, had been trying on his own, occasionally indulging in running and not having a schedule regarding his health. He had begun to work with Mr J quite recently. His BMI was at 27.4 that to an Asian is in the obesity range, and now he can boast a BMI of 21.4 kg/m2 considered a normal value for Asians (less than 22). He is now at the same weight that he carried when he entered the university. Mr J himself many years after his entrance to the university is within 2 kg of his weight of that time.
So the new rule could become: How much did you weight when you entered the university? Let us try and reach that weight, since most people have finished their linear growth at that time.
The five were from different age groups, so no more excuse to use your age to justify your weight. At every opportunity, Mr J talks to them and after the morning session, we spent many hours in the office discussing, and health, culture and happiness and I tried to answer their questions, bringing in the various schools of philosophy.
Mr J’s own philosophy rings true of all universal philosophies:
Be grateful
Sacrifice for others
Pay attention to Relationships
Be compassionate.
We are in a poor country or at least in a country with wide range of income and thus gaps. I noticed that he never referred to the materially deprived people of the society as POOR but he called them, less fortunate, thus removing yet another judgement hurdle for the masses of people.
My breakfast after the two-hour session by the lake consisted, among others, Bubur Ayam, which tasted delicious. There was an elderly lady sitting down in the resto, dispensing a strong ginger drink that was very soothing.
We had time to discuss, I checked the blood pressure and Blood sugar of all the people at the office, and there were about seven managers and Mr J.
The Blood Pressure readings were between 115-105 systolic and 55-75 diastolic! The pulse rates were uniformly around 65 per minute. Since it was Ramadan, four of them were fasting, their blood sugars were below 90mg/dl and those of us who had eaten all boasted Blood sugars below 120 mg/ml post prandially.
Any doctor would be proud to have such readings among his patient cohort. No western medications can make you loose weight to this extent. Mr J had helped his staff loose weight in a very natural way, talking and following it up with his own example and also facilitating for his staff to engage in exercise: giving them time off, and making sure they have the facilities to do exercise and most importantly giving them an opportunity to learn more about the philosophy behind it all.
Mr J and I will be discussing how to bring this Bogor Method of Health and Happiness to a greater audience here in Jawa and Indonesia.
I am so glad that I took that early morning flight from Omaha to Los Angeles in March of this year, and met my seatmate, Mr J from Bogor. As American Indians say: Nothing happens without a reason.
 (Bubur Ayam at Harris Hotel Breakfast, Sentul city, Bogor, Indonesia)