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.

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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.


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.


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?

fat monica.gif

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.

fitness journey

Why Girls lift

If you are like me and you lift, you MUST have come across the most banal question ever in existence, “Why do you lift? Aren’t you scared of becoming big?”

IMG_20170205_134858_371To this, I ask, what is the definition of big and why being a girl makes people ask me this.

Our body is the only vehicle we have this life and we should expect to make it the best version of what it is. Be it yoga, pilates or weights, there are various fitness regimes that make you feel super healthy and do things you never thought you could ever do.

It is a wondrous feeling and having lived on the opposite end of the scale for ages, I can truly appreciate the feeling of strength that pulsates through my body after I finish a workout.

For the longest time, I could barely jog for 10 minutes and now I am sprinting and running for 1 hour, lifting weights almost as heavy as me and being so energetic that people think I am younger than I actually am.

This is a small post but the bottom line is, make your body the best version of itself and if lifting does that for you DO IT and ignore everyone else.

A shoutout to my inspiration Bani Judge!!

fitness journey · Uncategorized

The head of a Fat Girl

We all know her. We have seen her and mocked her for eating that ice cream alone. Have seen her stuffing a hamburger and feeling pity for her weight. We have told her to lose weight and have given her advice on how to eat properly or workout more effectively. We think we know better because we are thinner than she is. Because being thin is the only measure of fitness and health. We know better because we are better.

But, are we?

I was 200 pounds once, tipping the scale to such an extent that I stopped weighing myself. I lost 100 pounds and have been steady for the past 2 years, now gaining some courage to start building muscle and accept my body.

But losing weight is not a physical process, it is more of a mental one. You may not look like your old self but you still feel like her. She is lurking in the corner somewhere.

When you open the fridge to cook something “healthy” she is there right beside the door staring at the piece of chocolate you have kept as a cheat meal. When you are trying new clothes at a store, she is right next to you criticising your tummy and fat thighs, love handles and fat arms. When you are out on a Friday night, she is in front of you with all the others who judge you for how you dress and how you look.

She never leaves.

When people come to me and compliment me for losing weight, I feel happy but she feels sad. Is she not worth anything? All her achievements in life mean nothing because she weighed 200 pounds?

Because she is fat, people think it is ok to call her names knowing full well she can hear them?

Because she is fat, it is all right for relatives and friends to come and give her advice on what to eat and judge her?

Because she is fat it is ok for mothers to point her out to their daughters and scare them?

Because she is fat she is not worth anything and now that you have lost the weight, the only thing you will ever hear is “how good you look now” because she was ugly.

Because fat was ugly.

Because fat IS ugly.

She will always be with you.

She will always be you.