fitness, fitness journey, Life Lessons

Lose weight Fast

I have had a lot of people come up to me and ask about weight loss advice, people who crash diet for a week and obsess over the number on the17512_10151684925016928_503718091_n scale.

Please do not!!

First of all look at yourself and ask why you want to lose weight. A checklist:

  1. Did you see a skinny model or an actor you want to look like?
  2. Are people around you saying you are fat?
  3. Do you think you look ugly?

If you answered yes to any of the above, think again. You are beautiful and the problem is that media and society is used to just one type of body and if you do not see your body represented in the media or represented in a negative way that does not mean you are ugly.
The right reasons to lose weight are:

  1. Be fitter and healthier
  2. Achieve a fitness goal
  3. Feel good about yourself.

I would recommend looking up Lena Dunham’s comments on her weight loss. They have been so inspirational.

Lena Dunham on her weight loss

Now for the good part. My Tips and tricks to permanently lose the weight.

I went from 220 pounds to 110 to 120 pounds and cannot be healthier and stronger.

So here goes:

  1. Portion Control: Find out the correct portion size for you. For example, the palm of your hand is the amount of carbs, your fist would be your proteins, your thumb would be fats.
  2. Do not hate carbs: Carbs or carbohydrates are everywhere. Fruits and vegetables also have carbs which gives you energy. You need energy to go through the day!! Be mindful of the types of carbs you eat. A piece of cake is carbs but it has frosting and sugar and oil and fats!! Go for options such as whole wheat bread or pita bread.
  3. Exercise: Find a type of exercise you like and sweat!!! Get your heart beat up and exercise for at least 20-30 mins every day. After a while you will start enjoying your workouts and find ways to do more stuff and stay active.
  4. Consistency: You will have many false starts, start the next monday and all but do not give up!! Keep trying till you reach a point where you workout 3-4 days a week.
  5. Dairy: Some people like me have an issue with dairy as it causes bloating and the there are some moral issues as well. So I shun dairy. Mostly dairy is for the cow’s calf and not for humans. So think twice before drinking a whole glass of milk. It has fats and hormones are injected into it and so much adulteration that really does you a lot of harm.
  6. Home cooked: Prefer home cooked meals to takeaways. Prepare your foods even if it takes time, dedicate a day to food prep and you will notice a change. But if you make pizzas every day or a grilled cheese, you know you are eating mostly fats.
  7. Balanced meal: A balanced meals has all food groups, proteins, carbs and fats. Do that for all meals you eat.
  8. Eat your veggies: Eat at least 5 portions of fresh fruits and veggies. Actively look for seasonal fruits and fill up.
  9. Mindful Snacking: Do not grab a packet of crisps when you are famished. Look for healthy snacks like carrot sticks, humus, whole nuts and any kind of fruits.
  10.  Water: Drink loads of water. Add lemon or cucumbers for some flavour but do aim for a healthy amount of water. Sometimes when you are thirsty, you feel hungry and tend to eat more. Drink water!

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Losing weight is not about the number on the scale. It is about a healthier and happier you.

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Life Lessons

Saying Goodbye to Girls

When I first saw Girls, I was on the precipice of a life changing decision and toying with the various possibilities of life. Fresh from a Sex and the City hangover, Girls drew me in for its setting, the city of New York and the story of four girlfriends.

girls 1I would see myself and my best friends in the characters of SATC and it gave me fashion goals and life lessons about things Indians rarely talk about. It empowered me to think about myself as a woman and I leapt into Girls expecting a similar polishing of New York city life and female friendships.
Except it wasn’t.

The first time Lena Dunham took off her clothes on the show, I was half expecting a fat joke or a punchline and then Hannah and Adam proceed to have a very jerky and unromantic sex session. This was the first time sex was shown on screen as it is. Sweaty, noisy and not missionary.

I wasn’t hooked but I kept tabs with the show.

girls 3

And now, 6 seasons later, as the friendships deteriorated on the show and Hannah becomes a mother, I am the same age as the protagonists and I see myself in them.

I do not compare myself to the characters but seeing them trying to chalk out a living in a big city, not having a job, playing with various jobs, juggling friendships and relationships all the while detesting the term millennials and being pop cultured made me feel like I am home.

While there are people my age who have jobs and savings and are buying houses and cars, I am still looking at random gigs, working in films and being active on social media.

Girls made me feel like I am not alone and Lena Dunham’s writing and the selfish characters in the show gave me a fresh perspective on life and feminism.

I learnt to define myself, tackle my body image issues and create a feminist ideology for myself.

Lena Dunham did not stick to an arc for her story but chose issue ranging from best friend’s betrayal to early marriage and divorce, writing and quitting jobs, parent’s divorce and it was all so real and not toned down.

I am glad shows like Girls gave way to more shows and opened up topics of conversations that were taboo.

fitness

Travel Fitness

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-16 at 12.51.48As lover of travel and fitness, I find it very difficult to maintain a healthy balance between the two.

I live in two extremes, in gym wear for weeks, working out and then an all out fashionista when I travel and work. This involves eating amazing food, trying new cuisines and not hitting the gym.

When I was in Rome for 4 days, I pigged out on Italian food and amazing wine, so much so that by the time I was back home in London, I had put on a few pounds and lost some muscle mass. Undeterred, I carried on in my India trip, dishing out amazing Indian food and not working out enough. I did not gain any weight but did lose some muscle mass.WhatsApp Image 2017-04-13 at 21.04.28 (1)

So, this easter break, when I was travelling to Norway, I was determined to create a great balance between my fitness and love for travel and food. Here is a quick pointer of the things I did:

  1. Completed the lean body program with a strict diet and did not slack for the month before the trip.
  2. I knew I would be hungry, so I stocked up with lean protein bars with the intention of keeping a high protein intake.
  3. I planned some easy to do body weight room workouts which took 15 mins but left me feeling amazing and fit.
  4. I walked as much as possible and avoided eating unnecessary foods.
  5. I stuck to my strict diet timetable with a high carb and high protein breakfast, a decent sized lunch and high protein dinner.
  6. In the four days that I was there, I ate just one desert.
  7. I found a cathedral with huge steps and ran up and down one day for an amazing high.
  8. I kept up my coffee intake which gave me energy and kept my appetite down.
  9. Portion control is very important and I made sure I kept my butter and fat intake as low as possible and stuck to lean meats like chicken and fish.
  10. And I avoided all carbonated drinks, no diet sodas or even beer sticking to a glass of wine.WhatsApp Image 2017-04-15 at 16.48.24

As a result of this, today, as I worked out in the gym, I felt stronger than I have ever felt and did not lose any muscle definition. Even though my stamina was lower than before, I did not gain weight and my fitness level is as high as ever.

So maybe, I can balance travel and work.

fitness

Talking Supplements

protein-myths-mainWhen we talk about supplements, there are two very distinct schools of thought present. One group overloads on supplements from using BCAA and protein shakes while the other group strongly believes in natural sources of nutrients.

It is very important to note and take account of your nutrition and to see how and when you get your nutrients.

When fitness is a goal, you may want to lose weight or gain muscles or start cutting them, you need very different nutrition for all kinds.

One of the most important things to remember is that you should never ever crash diet or keep one kind of nutrient away from your body. The nutrients and foods were developed to fuel your body and you just need to understand and know where the fuel goes.

Supplements, especially protein supplements, complement the protein intake of your body. When you start lifting and are in the process of gaining muscles, your muscle swill want to absorb more protein and natural sources of proteins are not enough for that. But this does not mean that you go for synthetic or chemicalised forms of protein. Protein supplements are sourced from natural sources like milk, soy and even peas and delivers all on the form of a shake. They just compress the nutrient into a small shake because lets be honest, you cannot eat raw eggs like Rocky did or ingest cup loads of peas. So this just complements it.

What is important to note is that you should keep a track of your protein consumption and just google the amount of protein you need for your weight goal. My diet follows a muscle growing trajectory where I need almost 1 gm of protein for a pound of body weight

My natural sources include eggs, chickpeas and gram flour, white meat (Chicken and Turkey), peas, nuts and my trusty protein shake.

I have been advised on various occasions to take BCAA and CLA. These are tablets with naturally occurring caffeine and fats in them. BCAA acts like an espresso shot and gives you energy to lift hard, I choose espresso over it and CLA is a fatty acid which for reasons unknown, even to the medical faculty aids in burning fat. I have tried it and haven’t really stuck to it, my brain signalling alarm at an unnatural tablet. Another protein which people take is called creatine which helps in cutting. I haven’t really researched it and as my bulking phase gets over, I might delve more into the world of supplements.

Another form of supplements are important vitamins which help in muscle recovery and out of all these, I really love Vit C tablets as I am too lazy to eat a whole bag of oranges and limes.

As a friend pointed out once, you should always keep track of your protein intake as overdoing anything causes harm to your body. Do not eliminate anything from your body (I am talking carbs and fats). And drink plenty of water to digest your protein and do not take any supplement without consulting a doctor or a nutrionist!!

 

fitness journey

Body Positivity Challenge

We have been flooded by so many perfect pictures of models that when we look at our own selves in the mirror, we feel we lack a lot.

There are skinny models who show off their thigh gaps and bones and curvy models with the perfect curves or fit models with amazing muscles. But we need to look beyond that and see how they are photoshopped or presented in there best possible angle.

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I get enamoured by these images and start criticising myself. For the longest I was led to believe that certain clothes fit a certain body type and as a fat girl I would cover my body up. As I started losing the weight, I did not see the bones or muscles that defined the body of these picture perfect girls and felt at a loss with my saggy loose skin.

I look at myself in the mirror and flex and can feel my hard work of 2 years and muscles but it is covered by loose skin. I do not have enough loose skin for a surgery and am coming to terms with living with it. It does not cause any problem to me and after having conversations with people around me I decided I need to stop criticising myself and start accepting the uniqueness of me.

I am stronger than ever and in the best shape of my life and I need to accept and love it.

My first step of acceptance is to be confident in my skin and wear whatever I want to without feeling the need to cover up.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 15.46.00I have devised body positive challenge for this.

On days I feel like I really hate my body or certain part, I will challenge myself to a task and make it happen and make myself feel comfortable in my skin.

Today, I decided to workout in my sports bra that showed my stomach. I have been working hard on my core and there are angles where you muscles but there are other angles where the skin on my stomach sags and I get the dreaded stomach pocket. I had to be careful enough to carefree and just workout with it.

I did that today and the feeling of apprehension and dread that filled me was replaced by a weird sense of confidence about myself and my body and in a strange way made me feel closer to myself and love my own self a little bit more.

fitness journey

Body Shaming

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-26 at 19.36.39As a fat girl for the majority of my life, I have not been averse to body shaming comments.

Many people think that by shaming a fat person’s body, you can “motivate” that person into becoming “thin”. Once again reinforcing the stereotype that thin is healthy or that thin is beautiful. But the point here is that people need to accept their bodies for what they are make it the best version of itself.

Be fit and exercise not because you want to be thin but because you want to live longer and climb that dreaded staircase. Exercise because you want to be able to punch harder than the strongest guy you know and run faster than the fastest person you know.

I remember being called a buffalo by my school mates and made fun of when I wasn’t around. My size did not make me a target but made me more invisible. I was not a girl or even a human being with feelings but I was an ugly excuse of a fat creature to be mocked and made fun of. Boys would come up to me ask me out on a dare because my feelings were inversely proportional to my fat, meaning, I had none.

I was always the last chosen in a PE class and mostly ignored by the “pretty girls”. My relatives and cousins would come up to me and ask me exercise so that I can become thin and pretty. I doubt any of them even cared ab
out my well being or health. This took a toll on my mental health.

As a former fat girl, I know what we do. We either eat our feelings in defiance or sadness or build a wall around ourselves that shapes what we are today. I did not have healthy role models to look at and my body type was rarely seen on Tv except as a butt of all jokes.

Remember, Fat Monica dancing as the punch line of an episode in FRIENDS?

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And for the majority of the time, fat people were always a comic thing. My body was shaped by my genes. My hourglass figure is a result of my Indian heritage, I can try as hard as I want to get that straight caucasian figure but I will never get that. And for the first time in my life, I have started accepting this. I am fit and healthy and I can run as fast and as long as I want. I am pushing my body to its physical limits and I love it and yet I have the curve of my hips and my mermaid thighs. I do not have a thigh gap and will probably not have it ever. But this is my body and I am happy with it.

As I started losing weight, the true extent of my smallness hit me. I have a naturally thin face and a thin waist coupled with broad shoulders and broad hips. So, on the other end of the spectrum, I was called skin and bones and a skeleton by many. It felt like you can never impress people. They will always body shame you.

I have been Fat shamed.

I have been skinny shamed.

And with my muscles now, I have been fit shamed.

And I ignore these body shamers. It is a tough journey but a piece of advice, if you want someone you love to lose weight and be healthy please do not call them fat or give them unsolicited advice. Its likely that they are already feeling it and going through the motions on their own. Let them accept who they are, praise them, encourage them. They are more than their size and so should you be too.