The Girl Who Moved Mountains

Chapter 1: The Reconstruction

8th April 2015

“Nurse! Nurse! Can you please help?”

“Nurse! Nurseee!”

The panting and screaming continued. Rachna had been woken up by the patient lying next to her who was crying out in desperation for a few sips of water. Thirty minutes, and still no signs of help!

Rachna had woken up with a startle because of the unbearable voices around her coupled with an excruciating pain in her leg. She couldn’t tell anymore if it was reality or a bad dream that was playing in loop. The last thing she remembered was asking a rather charming doctor “Is this the magic potion that will put me to sleep?” And there she was eight hours later, in an “Observation Ward”, an apparently conducive environment for patients. To Rachna, and presumably all the other patients, it felt like anything but that.

What was Rachna, a girl of 20, fresh of college doing in the observation ward of Apollo Hospital?

Back in High School, Rachna had been quite popular for dancing. With multiple choreographies under her belt, it was rather surprising that she had never performed a number in college. On 12th March 2015, Rachna and her entire class of BBA from the prestigious Christ University, Bangalore had decided to take a class trip to a resort called Mango Mist on the outskirts of the city. Their final adventure together had to be a memorable one! She wanted to be remembered as a great dancer, and thought why not perform for the first and last time for the class. Little did she know that the latter would be true in more than one sense.

Rachna’s mom would often tell her the story of how she started to walk when she was just 8 months. She was so quick, that it almost seemed like she learnt how to dance before she learnt how to walk. 20 years later, Rachna, in the middle of the circle formed by her classmates, was dancing to the hit “Dance Basanthi.” Have you heard the song “Pop goes my Heart!” from Music and Lyrics, that Hugh Grant ensures lingers in your mind for weeks to come? Well, with Rachna, something similar happened, only it wasn’t her heart but her leg. While performing one of her favorite moves, Rachna felt a sudden ‘POP’ in her knee, and collapsed.

In her mind she kept thinking ‘Who could have possibly hit me so hard with a cricket bat?’ ‘Was it a cricket bat or a soccer ball?’ ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t feel my leg!’ ‘Why isn’t anyone apologizing?’


Chapter 2: The Rise of a Badass Unicorn

15th September 2015

“Amma, nothing fits anymore! I don’t even like looking at myself in the mirror! This surgery has made me gain so much weight! Why did I have to be all adventurous!” exclaimed a furious Rachna

“Kannamma, if only you saw yourself the way I do, you will see that you are beautiful inside out!” chimed in her doting mother.

Rachna’s mom was her best friend. Rachna didn’t need a knight in shining armor, because her mom could rescue her from any situation! When Rachna was about five, her mother often read to her stories of Snow White, The Princess and the Frog and Rapunzel. Even after Rachna was able to read on her own, she would still insist that her mother read to her because she would enact it and make the characters come to life. Rapunzel was Rachna’s favourite. Having always been a fan of long hair, the fact that someone could use it to practically do anything always fascinated her. But coming back to the present day, Rachna like Rapunzel was confined to her own tower (her bedroom plus WiFi) because she was recovering from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscus Reconstruction. Undergoing rehabilitation, Rachna was unable to walk without the help of a walking aid. And like Stitch said, she had her ‘Ohana’ (family) with her, who went to great ends to be her support system. One day, Rachna decided to watch Tangled, which was the Disney adaptation of Rapunzel and asked her mother to join. It warmed her heart to see how much her mother enjoyed it. She saw her childhood come back to life and wanted to hold on to the dear moment for years to come. But the real reason the movie moved her was Rapunzel’s sheer determination to change her situation.

“No, I won’t stop, for every minute of the rest of my life, I will fight.”

-Rapunzel

Rachna knew that the operation on her leg would mean her battle had just begun, but instead of dwelling on it, Rachna had to fight it. She knew that to make her leg heal faster and to be able to dance again, she first had to lose weight. And thanks to Rapunzel, she had just found a little faith, trust and Pixie Dust.

8th April 2016

1 Year post ACL Reconstruction and 4 months after she embarked on her fitness journey…

‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight’ by Rujuta Divekar had been lying in her bookshelf for the longest time. It took two ligament tears and one major surgery for Rachna to go and pick it up. And Thank God she did! She would wake up at 5 am, eat her banana, do that knee friendly work out for two hours and then plan and cook the rest of the meals for the day. She showed consistency not only in her fitness regime but made sure that she was self-driven in all the freelance work she was doing. Every project reflected her passion and zeal to learn new things. And just like Rapunzel, each day, she pushed herself a little harder. Day one was one abdominal crunch, day twenty was fifty. There was nothing that could stop her now because she realized the magic of using your mind to make things happen.


Chapter 3: 20 Pounds and 2 Companies

 

14th October 2017

 Rachna had just been awarded the “Superhost” status on Airbnb for the 5th time in a row. Airbnb (the disruptor of the travel industry) evaluates its hosts on a quarterly basis and provides a five – star rating to those hosts who excel in every aspect of enhancing a guest experience. Rachna was out doing herself each time in order to personalize the stay of every guest who stayed at her property. In June 2016, Rachna converted a villa that they had on the Nilgiris into a Bed and Breakfast and began hosting on Airbnb. To her surprise, the response was quite phenomenal. Being a business student, capitalizing on the opportunity came to her naturally.

Along with being a host, Rachna was doing a full – time job at a start-up based out of Hyderabad, India. During her time there, she was pushed out of her comfort zone to learn coding for websites, tools such as Bootstrap Studio (basically everything she had never heard the name of) and was able to follow her passion of creating content for the application that her team and her were working on. But not a day went when she gave up on her fitness. Nearly two years after she started it, Rachna was still cooking all her meals, working out and then walking to work. In her spare time, she was selling personalized greeting cards on Amazon.in.

To add to all the gratifying opportunities, the most significant one came from teaching children at government schools. Rachna was a volunteer for India Literacy Project and she would teach her beloved and enthusiastic students whatever she knew about art and craft. This made her realize, that Snow White was right, you really are the one who can fill the world with sunshine!

After recovering from her surgery, Rachna had promised herself that each day she would learn something new. And to everyone’s surprise, herself included, Rachna tried to make the best of everything she had, and today not only is she the proud owner of two companies, but she lost 20 pounds with a dysfunctional leg got into one of the top colleges for Hospitality in Switzerland. How did she do it you may ask?

Because “All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”

-Walt Disney

And that’s how she became the girl who moved mountains (quite literally, from the Nilgiris to the Alps).


About the Author:

Rachna Ramesh currently resides in Bluche, Switzerland where she is pursuing her Master’s in Hospitality from Les Roches, Global Hospitality Education. Besides working on her dissertation, she loves to travel and wishes to do 25 countries before she turns 25. Her favorite past time is updating her fitness blog: https://artista2610blog.wordpress.com/, meeting new people, eating Dosas and finding ways to hunt down Indian Food in Europe. She truly believes that we can change the world one smile at a time. IMG_4684

 

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I made it!

“Its been a long way, but we’re here.”

– Alan Shepard

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to find something on Youtube and stumbled across a short film called “Tamara”. I had no idea what I was about to watch, but it was the most beautiful and impactful four minutes I have witnessed in a long time.  Without giving the ending away, it is about a little girl, who loved to dance, who has a big dream and one big challenge. Follow the link to find out what happens.

How wonderful would it be to put on some music and dance our fears away? How magnificent would it feel to let go of your inhibitions and dance away?

Dance away

If you have followed my journey so far, or read some of my previous posts such as The Road to Recovery and Flab to Fab with a Dysfunctional Leg,  the one thing I always talk about is being able to get back to my one true love: Dancing.

After months of hesitation, something inside me told me it was time. It was time to test the hard work I had put in over the past couple of years and see where I was. My feet were in agreement. It was almost like they were saying “What took you so long?”

It felt like I never stopped. I was able to twirl, I was able to moonwalk, I was able to DANCE!

After moving to Europe, if you don’t have a car, you walk. You walk up the mountain, you walk down the slope. As a kid I would often used to tell my parents I want to go and live in the Alps like Heidi.  Once I got into Les Roches, Switzerland, I realized how powerful that vision had been. From 40 degrees Celsius , I was thrown into – 15 (three months of consistent snow) Talk about change.

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My biggest fear was not the excessive walking, but the cold. I knew what the cold could do to my knees and I was mentally preparing to be bound by my knee brace.

April 8th, 2018 marked the third year since I got my ACL and Meniscus reconstruction. My amazing mom, who never forgets significant dates was reminding me of the same. The funny thing is, I almost couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it because of how far I have come.

All my fears and inhibitions dissolved since I got to Europe. I am not sure if the clean environment and the weather in Switzerland can be entirely credited for this, but it has contributed in a large way. Contrary to what I was expecting, I can count the number of days that my legs hurt on my fingers. I just came back from my spring break to France, where my friends were kind enough to show me some of the most extraordinary places. Whether it was climbing the Calanques de Marseille or dragging my luggage across the whole of Monte Carlo, I was able to do it all. I will not deny that my knees gave up towards the end of the week, but it was seldom that I remembered something was ever wrong with it.

When I first started this blog, I was writing about constantly facing physical pain and how I overcame it. Over the course of one and a half years since I started the blog, there is so much I have gained. And I would like to share with everyone reading that no matter what, don’t give up! Your day is just around the corner. At some point in our lives, we are all faced with dilemmas, we have all been tempted to give up. But don’t let the latter seduce you. We are all capable of great things, and more often than not we need to be reminded of this. So here’s a reminder, (I would like to resort to my favorite author, since more credibility and all that 😉 )

“Kid, you’ll move mountains!”

-Dr.Seuss

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Bonjour from Bluche!

 “The beginning is always today.”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

 

When you are in the middle of college applications, it feels like nothing can be as stressful as the tedious process of writing different SOP’s and getting those recommendation letters. But once you click submit is when the actual stress kicks in: The Wait! The wait for the results. You open your email a million times a day to check  if you your inbox is welcoming you with “You have been Accepted!”

Oh, the Anxiety!

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September 4th 2017: (The anxiety comes to an end!) 

You are in!
Accepted into Les Roches, Global Hospitality Education, Switzerland

And then the day comes! You read those beautiful words, and think to yourself ‘I have done it!’ But what now? Once you get accepted into your dream college, it almost feels like from the time of the acceptance till the time you get on campus you have no purpose in life. Well, you do, its called shopping (lots of it), and meeting as many people as you can before you relocate to another continent.

I took the time off to travel within India, meet everyone and eat all the food I wouldn’t be getting in a month’s time. I was lucky enough to spend time with family and friends and start my new journey on a beautiful note.

 

Will I make it?

 

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Goodbyes are always hard….

I have mentioned in my earlier posts that I love the airports, and as weird as it is, I find them very calming. So on 17th Jan I was set to leave for Geneva. The one time the airport was supposed to be my best friend it ended being my enemy. There was utter chaos at the Hyderabad airport that night and it seemed like every single person in the city had chosen that day to travel. I have never seen more frustrated passengers and it took me 3 and a half hours to complete everything and make it just in time for the flight.

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On the bright side however, I made a great friend at the airport! Pranay was traveling to LA and we both had a 9 hour layover at Abu Dhabi.

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Deep conversations over whisky 

I know what you are thinking, 9 hours , gosh! But that was the best part of the whole travel experience, because it was Abu Dhabi, making it very symbolic for me.  And also because we spent 6 hours at the lounge 😀

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The flight from Abu Dhabi to Geneva was peaceful with an empty seat next to me.

When I landed and got in line for the immigration I heard someone call out my name  and my heart skipped a beat. To my relief, it was Pooja, my dear friend from college (who will be featured heavily through the next few posts). Everything became instantly better because I found someone who was soon going to become family. 18th night we were all welcomed by a snowy Bluche! It was dark, slippery and I had luggage to carry  (I got by with help from Manos, Shiv and Bharath)

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Ze Superstars!

 

And thats how in one night, we had already formed a mini family. The situation forces you to meet people and do everything to have each other’s back.

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First meal at Market Place, Les Roches

The next one week was filled with meeting everyone, inductions, getting used to the new food and above all the annoying yet magical winter!

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We all try our best to concentrate on the studying 😉
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Ready for Master’s!

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It’s going to be a month at Bluche, and as overwhelming as its been, its also been equally extraordinary. I must admit, we are trying our best to stop pretending like we are not on a holiday and starting acting like we are here to study. I know the pictures will only tell you otherwise. It is such a blessing to be a part of something like this, and I cannot wait to share more with all of you as this journey progresses.

As far as my tryst with fitness is concerned, the walk from my dorm to campus seems like an exercise routine by itself. But the biggest challenge I am facing is the extreme change in diet (my college can’t seem to stop making excellent desserts)

Sometimes, I share!

However, I am finally figuring a way out and trying to incorporate what I used to do back in India. This is the third time I have moved since I started my fitness journey back in 2016, and every time there is something new I learn, and somehow an improved way to do it. It has taken me a month to figure it out, but today I finally woke up, ate a banana the first thing in the morning and worked out on my brand new yoga mat.

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To everyone who has been following my blog, if you have fallen off the fitness wagon because of a new place or a big change in your life, do not let it pull you down, because there is always a way to get back. You just need to keep at it. Do not be hard on yourself, its ok to take the time to figure it all out.

And before I go, here is a sneak peak into what I wake up to everyday….

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Snack time is the Best Time!

‘I spend a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open looking for answers’

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The human species have conveniently fallen into the humongous trap set by marketers of binge eating from packets that look like they have a load of deliciousness inside but in reality consist of all the wrong doings you could do to your body (even though everyone is completely aware about it).

And it is unfortunate that a majority of the world is convinced that snacking can only come in the form of these processed goods. And even if they do believe in other options, it is too time consuming to actually cook your own food (I mean why take the effort, when I can just run to the store next door? )

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So I thought why not do a post on something I often have a tough time working on myself?!

5 Snack options that will make you forget about junk food:

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  1. Sautéed Vegetables

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Ingredients:

1 chopped Carrot

1 chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 chopped Onion

1 Slice Tofu

Steps:

Prep Time: 15 mins , Cook Time: 10 mins

  • Cut the vegetables you need – I have used Tofu , Onion, Carrots and Bell Pepper. Sometimes I add steamed corn and broccoli. The choice is all yours!
  • Pour 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan
  • Add some cumin seeds
  • Add the vegetables into the pan and Sauté them
  • Add a teaspoon of chilli powder, salt and pepper
  • Sauté until vegetables turn light brown
  • Add a pinch of tabasco sauce if you want more flavor

If possible cut the vegetables before hand (early in the morning) to save you some time.

2. Sweet Potato Wedges, Ranch Dip and Cheese Garlic Bread or Toast:

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 12.36.41 PM.pngNote: I don’t encourage processed foods, but you can consume the ranch dip in limited quantity or alternatively choose to make your own dip!

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

Ranch Dip

Bread

Cheese

Prep Time: 10 Mins , Cook Time – 20 – 25 mins 

  •  Pre Heat the oven at (220 degrees C)
  • Cut the Sweet Potatoes either in circles or in the form of wedges.
  • Prepare a mix of the following in a bowl:

1-2 Tbsps of oil (depending on quantity of sweet potatoes),

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

  • Dip the sweet potatoes one by one into the mix and place them on a baking tray.
  • Place the tray in the Pre Heated oven at (220 degrees C) for 20 – 25 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a fork.

Cheese Garlic Toast: 

Ingredients:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix Parmesan cheese, butter, garlic powder, and parsley in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on top of the bread slices.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until butter is melted and bread toasted for 5 – 10 mins 

3. Hummus and Pita Bread:

This is easily my favorite Mid – Day meal!

If you live in India there are a couple of options you can follow:

  •      You can order the Pita Bread and Hummus from Big Basket

Pita Bread

  • You can also check out Snackible , they have some great healthy snack options!
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My recent loot from the store !

Alternatively, you can also choose to make your own hummus, you can find the recipe here.

4. Cut Fruits and Homemade Bhel! 

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Find the recipe for Bhel here.

5. Pita Bread Pizza 

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Ingredients 

1 Pita Bread

1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

1 cup of Corn Kernels

1 Slice of Cheese

Hummus

Prep Time: 10 Mins, Cook Time: 10 Mins 

  • Sauté the onions, bell pepper and corn in a frying pan for 5 mins
  • Spread the hummus on the pita bread and add a slice of cheese.
  • Once the vegetable are ready add them to the pita bread and place it in the microwave for 3 mins. And Voila you have found your solution for the Pizza you have been craving!
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Happy Snacking! 😀

The Struggle is REAL.

“Don’t let your mind bully your body”

-June Tomaso Wood 

Me: Mom, I really do not like the way this makes me look

Mom: Whatever you wear, you still look beautiful!

Me : No! No! I don’t have anything that looks good on me!

Mom: I don’t think you see what I see. Everything you tried on looked fabulous, I leave it to you now.

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Let’s be honest, how many of us have been here?

I somehow found it very calming to have uniforms in school. It meant I saved a ton of time I would have otherwise wasted on picking the “right outfit”. That doesn’t mean I  don’t enjoy getting all dolled up in that Little Black Dress for the perfect night out!

The problem is never actually what to wear, its ‘I do not like what I see in the mirror’

Why is it that we so easily find beauty in someone else, but cannot seem to appreciate our own bodies? Why is it that we are constantly trying to get the perfect figure of someone we have idealized to be way better than what we are? How is that even possible? There is only One YOU in this world, and only YOU can do him/her in the best way possible. There is no better or worse. There is just YOU.

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It’s ironic, before I ever embarked on my fitness journey, before the injury, if anyone told me I need to lose a few pounds I never felt conscious of myself or how I looked. I always thought of it as someone who has no idea about me or my life and moved on. I am sure many of them were directed with good intentions – i.e. lead a healthy lifestyle, but there were some purely based on how I looked. But now that I have lost all that weight that people always commented about, I am extremely conscious. “Did they notice or not?” “Can they tell I have lost weight?” “Why didn’t they say something?”

Disappointing isn’t it, to work so hard on yourself, and then seek all that external validation?

Now this is where the real confusion starts – being fit and healthy has absolutely nothing to do with how you look. I could starve myself , and work out all the time, and I would still have my curves because that is how my body is. Its a part of who I am. I can either embrace it or hate it and the latter will only hamper my mental and physical being.

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So here’s a few thing I have realized about body positivity:

   Note: You have probably already read some of these things about  body positivity, and I am repeating a few things here, but what I do want to point out is, it is something I struggle with very often myself, so I want you to know you are not alone and I hope that this helps you in some way ❤ 
  1. Stop being mean to your body, it is the only one you have 

  And “mean” includes verbal abuse as well as an unhealthy lifestyle. You have to treat it with kind words and nutritious food. If you can  shower someone else with love and tell them how great they look, you can do the same for yourself too!

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2. A good lifestyle and body positivity go hand in hand: 

When I eat right and work out, I feel great – not because I think I will lose some more pounds, but simply because my body and mind feel good and are in sync.

3. Losing weight does not cure negative body image 

And this is the real struggle I face. I look at myself and think I need to lose some more weight so I look a certain way, but if you are trying to lose weight simply to look better, its all going to go in vain. I will be lying if I said I don’t do this often. I am extremely hard on myself at times, and I am working on it and so can you! But try and make it about the bigger picture – the best lifestyle that you can lead! 

4. It’s all in that little head of yours

All that overthinking, all that anxiety, its all in the mind. It just won’t agree with you. And you are letting it take over.

How I am trying to overcome this and focus on Body Positivity:

1. Meditation:

If only Meditation was a subject taught in school, this world would be a much better place. Try it – just ten minutes each day, it will do wonders for you! Its the best way to exhale all doubts.

2. Surrounding myself with people who are in sync with my journey:

I have mentioned this time and again: only attract people who understand what you are doing and uplift and encourage you every step of the way. They never doubted you before, and they don’t now. They truly and wholly believe in the beautiful being that you are.

3. Affirmations

Spend a few minutes in front of the mirror and appreciate yourself. Everything about you! How much you love that you can do what you do, and do it flawlessly! How awesome and astonishing you are! How much compassion and love you have to offer to this world. Cut out all the self – doubt, its getting you know where.

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4. Gratitude

What if instead of saying “I don’t like the way my thighs look” you could say “I am so grateful I can walk, hike and do everything I love with these legs”

Like all of us, I am still figuring it all out – there is no sure shot way of doing something, its just what works best for you!

5. Absolutely, whole heartedly fall in love with yourself! 

Because you are Goddam Amazing!

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So here’s to hoping that we all love and appreciate ourselves because we sure as hell deserve it!

You are immensely, ferociously and unconditionally loved! 

I would love to know if you have embarked on a journey of indulging in body positivity and share your story here!

Fitness Wagon, Where art thou?

Stomach: No! No! What have you done?! How could you put me through this?! I just spent the past 2 weeks doing those painful bicycle crunches!

Tongue: I needed a Spa Day for myself, and the chocolate cake massage was the best one on the list.

Stomach: Without my permission? I couldn’t feel myself for days after those crunches, and you are the one who needed a Spa Day?

Tongue: After everything I do for you, after all the boring food that I put up with, don’t you think I deserve to be treated right with food that tastes divine?!

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As Tongue continued to indulge in more such Spa Days, Tongue and Stomach headed towards Splitsville

*Meanwhile*

Brain: Oh no! What now! I am going to gain 2 pounds. Oh no! I have already gained 4 pounds. No! no! What about those clothes I just bought?! When can I wear them! I cannot believe I spent money on nice clothes and then had a Chocolate Frappe! I mean who does that? I could have used that money in so many better ways! I think I need to calm down, its really no big deal. I will just eat right tomorrow. But then how will I ever wear that bikini?! No its ok, I am sure I will get there. But stupid sugar, stupid calories. I am a fool. Oh but it tasted so good!*

Heart: Omg! He finally liked my Instagram Picture! Those crunches paid off!!

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*If anyone got a sneak peak inside my brain, it would probably be the hardest maze they have encountered. And all the perpetual overthinking that I put my mind through on an hourly basis would stop them from ever coming out.

And that’s the story of how I fell off the wagon.

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The Back Story

After my 10th grade, I decided to drop “Mathematics”. Mathematical Anxiety is a real thing. Going any further with the subject would do me no good. But 7 years after I left the subject it came to bite me again in the form of “Quant” in GMAT. In order to fulfill my dream of doing an MBA from an Ivy League and all that jazz meant tryst with my favorite subject. But the only thing that happened was our break-up. Over and over.

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Enter: Food

My father often says:

“Anything good in life is either expensive, illegal or not good for your health.” Now how is it that all the food that seemed to be the cure for my battle with maths fell under the last category?

I kept telling myself that eating junk or eating outside during such a *painful* time was totally acceptable.

I was preparing for my GMAT, in the middle of my college applications, a full time job, and an Airbnb business to look after. What I realized is that sometimes you just can’t be in the right state of mind. And sometimes (like in my case), you don’t have the time to prepare 6-7 different meals.

The problem isn’t with what the outside world tells you about how you look or about what you should eat. The conflict is from within.

I am always caught between: I need to look good vs. I need to stay fit. I am caught between I have no time to cook vs. is it ok to eat outside?

Amidst answering these questions, what happens if you lose track altogether?

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  1. Figure out what triggered your fall:

          Rewind. When did you stop focussing on your lifestyle? What made you want to                 eat food you usually consider unhealthy? Was it stress? Was it lack of time to                       prepare good meals? Was it anxiety? Or did you just not feel like it anymore?

         Get to the roots. Thats the only way to address  the problem.

  2.  Accept what is happening

        STOP living in denial. The sooner you accept that things have gone wrong, the                     faster you can get back on track.

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Applicable to any other goals you are working on

3. If you choose to eat out, pick the healthiest option

*Opens smartphone*

*Clicks on Swiggy*

*Orders most appetizing  a.k.a fried/deep fried/not to enter the body looking food

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There are many healthy options available – you just need to look int the right places. Remember to look for the ingredients and nutrients you are going to consume rather than the calories.

4. Look back at the results achieved so far

Try on that old t-shirt you thought would never fit you again. Compare how you felt     before you started the journey vs. now. The change isn’t just what I see in the mirror. It’s what I feel from within. I have more energy, I experience happiness, I am able to focus on multiple things, try it guys – there are numerous benefits that come with the “Stay Fit” package!

 

5. Start Over

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I went back and read Rujuta Diwekar’s Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight to figure out where I was going wrong. Once I did this, it was easy for me to figure out the deviations. I was skipping most of my mid day meals and ended up eating a more during one meal (and desserts – oh those evil little things)

 

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Gentle Reminders that now embrace my refrigerator

Its been a week since I have gotten back to eating clean and trying to find a balance. I am not going to say its easy, there is no magic formula here, except determination to work on yourself. To anyone who is working on a goal, keep at it. Its ok to stumble, in fact its almost essential because the second time around you work that much harder.

Every single step counts, every single work out counts. You may not see the results overnight, but when you do – you will love yourself for having started!

P.S. Stay tuned for ‘Yesterday you Said tomorrow – Part 2’ by our Guest Blogger

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! I am looking for ways in which I can help you on your journey, so do let me know if there is anything in particular you want to read about in the next few features on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Yesterday you said Tomorrow

“What you resist, persists.” -Carl Jung

Cibophobia is the fear of food, sufferers may feel anxious when they eat as they may worry that a certain food could poison them. If you aren’t suffering from this then you’re probably alive and you enjoy eating. It’s one of the top three survival essentials yet we harbor a love-hate relationship with food. You reach out to it to comfort yourself on a lonely night and then shit all over it the next day (pun intended) like it was a rebound fling. So you let yourself off the hook for a while, maybe it was a vacation, a stressful period, or you just flung the table across the room one day screaming…

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You ate anything and everything in your way and you made your peace with it because you consoled yourself that this would last a short time and you would start your so-called “diet” again very soon. Day on end you stuff your face comforted that you got this, that this is a phase and you’ll get over it.

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You will be good from tomorrow, from Monday, from Jan 1, from fill-in-the-blank because there’s a will-power meter that refills it’s juice on these holy days. You wake up, today is the tomorrow you were going to be good, you do your daily grind, have a really healthy breakfast. You’re on your way to work busting them hip hop songs like a boss, you’re on a will-power high and you can feel it burning.. YOU’RE ON FIRE!!

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Then you go to work and see a bunch of mouth-watering cupcakes lying on the kitchen counter… a part of you DIES. You’re cursing everyone even the poor old janitor because why o why weren’t these cupcakes out yesterday when you hadn’t started your diet. Oh and thanks to your partner in crime who magically shows up to drain your will power right when you need it the most. “One cupcake never hurt nobody”, yeah thanks Jon Snow. Your brain says no, your heart says stuff your face in them cupcakes coz you deserve a cream facial. Nai, nai, nai, nai, dang you just had 2. Now that you’ve had 2, might as well continue eating crap all day because your diet isn’t perfect anymore and it can’t be so what’s the point.

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So that holy day ‘tomorrow’ flew by and you beat yourself about it but pick yourself up again because hey, there’s another tomorrow, another Monday right around the corner. And it goes on and on. You’re a 1 or a 0, there’s no shades of grey. Also, this isn’t the first time that this has happened, you were here before, right in the same symmetrical beauty of square 1 and your tomorrow came some day and you behaved yourself for a while until this happened again. Been there, done that. Welcome to the vicious cycle of the Game of tomorrows.

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One year later, 20 pounds heavier, you’re lying in bed wondering when this all started. Will I ever be fit? Am I really that weak that I can’t fight food, poor thing doesn’t even have limbs or a mouth (hey, words hurt more). Nobody’s shoveling it down my throat either, it’s all on me. You start to realize that there’s a pattern here, one step forward one hundred steps back. No matter how many articles you read and fad diets you try, you always end up falling off the wagon.

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Don’t even get me started on the self-inflicted wounds, treating yourself badly and blaming yourself for being weak. Round and round we go on this carousel, chasing after our dreams. And then you die. Okay that escalated, but have you ever stopped to wonder if you’ve been trying to read the book upside down. If what you’re after doesn’t have that one narrow-minded solution that you can see has been failing time and again for you. How come some people get there and you don’t, is there a magic weight loss potion that only a few worthy souls can get their hands on? I think not.

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It’s time to try something new. Here’s a 2 week diet that guarantees you a 20 pound weight-loss along with social life-loss, happiness-loss and of course, hair-loss. NO! That ain’t what I’m talking about. What if I told you there’s a way to lose weight, get fit, be happy and enjoy a social life without counting every single calorie and losing your cool. Stay tuned for some mind blowing in the next post, meanwhile.. eat less sugar, you’re sweet already! 😉

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About the Author:

 meAishna Agrawal is my role model. I do not look at celebrity photos for motivation. I just need to look at her and talk to her. Aishna and I first met in High School back in 2010. Over the past two years, Aishna has fought flawlessly against whatever health problems that were thrown at her. There are certain things she is able to explain better than doctors because she has been a victim of disorders no one seems to have answers for. This is the reason she inspires me. There was a time when she would enter the battlefield not knowing which food type would be the new enemy. Never once has she given up. And today she begins to share her story with the world. Believe me, she has tried and tested every diet out there and even invented many of her own. You are going to want to keep listening to her. She is going to crack you up with her humor and encourage you in whatever journey you are about to embark on! I am so excited to be collaborating with her and sharing what fitness means to us and how we are trying to work on the concept for ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Everyday I am Hustlin’

“You are only one Work – Out Away from a Good Mood”

Aren’t we all guilty of thinking or feeling the “I am in no mood to workout blues”.

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So how do you stay motivated, or like theAwkwardYeti, how does one remember to workout?

I think it boils down to one thing: What is the one workout you absolutely love?

I would like to trace back to how I went from aversion to working out to being in love with it!

Before I was off to college, a group of friends and I would play Basketball, every single day. The court was like our second home. So even if I did not religiously focus on what I ate, I still had a decent level of fitness.

But college changed everything. Just like the comic , I had forgotten what it was like to have activity in my life – I did occasionally go for a jog in Lal Bagh on my aunt’s insistence, but my standard excuse was – we walk so much in college, the campus is so big!

Through the three years – my diet went for an absolute toss, and exercise out of the window. I even gave up on dancing! The one time I danced in front of my classmates – and bam – ligament tear! I feel like that was my body’s way of punishing me for my ignorance.

Fast forward to 2016 – if there was one work out I genuinely enjoyed it was DANCE! Since I couldn’t risk doing that, I had to find an alternate love.

Now this took a lot of research (endless browsing through Youtube Videos):

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(You can find the links for the workouts at the end of this post)

The great part about doing workout videos is the feeling of working out with someone else, and with fitness trainers like Jessica Smith and Casey Ho – they manage to put you at ease and keep you motivated, you start to believe that they want the best for you! They remind you to do it for well – being and not merely for looks.

How to stick to a work out regime and get past missing it ?

  1. Set a Goal

Whether it is losing weight or maintaining it, or getting that 6 – pack ab – trust me, its not impossible.

2. Your mind will not trick you, until you let it

Only you have the power to convince yourself what is important. No one can do it for you. If you are able to convince yourself you don’t need to work out, why can’t you do the opposite?

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3. Remind yourself why you started in the first place

   I have mentioned this earlier too, have doodles, charts whatever you need and hang        them in your room to keep you going.

4. Be Grateful

     Be grateful that you have a well functioning body. Remind yourself that its the only one you can live in. So treasure it, and look after it.

5. Don’t compromise, you deserve better than what you are settling for:

    As easily as you select your favorite flavor of ice cream or pizza, apply the same to your work out. Pick the one thats best for you, and don’t stop.

And 3 months from now you will thank yourself for how far you have come!

The physical changes you observe will always be a plus, but its the change in your mental health thats the real deal. You will feel energetic throughout the day and mindfulness will surround you like a cloak. You will notice how happy and in control you are.

Try it, and see for yourself!

Links for different channels:

  1. Jessica Smith – https://www.youtube.com/user/jessicasmithtv
  2. Casey Ho – https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates
  3. Spark People – https://www.youtube.com/user/sparkpeople
  4. Fitness Blender – https://www.youtube.com/user/FitnessBlender

 

 

If it burns , you are getting closer!

Where’s all the Food at?

“Omm Nom 

Nom Nom”

-Cookie Monster 

To begin with, I would just like to say a big ‘Thank you’ for following my journey so far.

I am so grateful for the support I have received over the blog and it makes me really happy when someone messages and says its helping them in some way!

So I thought that I would do a quick write up on my meal plan in case you are having a hard time figuring out what to eat and what to avoid.

Note: Since I am not a qualified nutritionist, I am only sharing what I follow; you can always consult a nutritionist before you embark on this journey as that will definitely be more useful and will cater to your needs.

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I try my best to stick to the above, with variations depending on: 1) availability of items and 2) time I have to cook (eg: having Bread Omelette instead or Avocado Toast).

As you can see I have not added Sunday, because I know its that one day we all want to go out and have fun. And we must! Just stay in your limits. Go enjoy your Sunday Brunch, but do not convert your cheat meal into a cheat day.

Here are a few recipes that I hope will help overcome ‘Let’s Eat Out or Order In Cravings!’

   1. Sweet Potato Wedges  instead of French Fries 

       Recipe:

  • Thoroughly wash and then cut 2-3 (increase if you need more serving size) sweet potatoes
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with garlic, oil, and salt and pepper   Roast until   you see crispy brownish sweet potatoes! (Approx: 30 mins)
  • Serve with shredded cheddar cheese if you want some more flavor!

                 Perfect snack after a long day at work, or your Netflix Binge!

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The one on Google looks better than mine!

2. Makhana(Fox Nut)  instead of Pop Corn 

Well this isn’t really a recipe, I usually buy the packet from a local store and then roast  it.

  • Add 1 tbsp oil into a vessel
  • Add Cumin
  • Add the store bought Makhana
  • Add 1 tsp of Chilli Powder and 1 tbsp of Chaana Masala or Pav Bhajji Masala

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Mix it until it turns a little brown!

You are good to go!

3. Mixed Vegetables with Homemade white sauce and Brown Rice – when you are tired of Roti Sabzi 

   This is easy to make and will save you a lot of time if you cut vegetables the previous        night

   Recipe:

  •  Chop – onions, capsicum, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli (you can even add corn to this)
  •  Toss these into a pan with oil and mix well until it turns golden
  • Add some flour to this, and then milk – (there is no fixed ratio, I just add either depending on the thickness I want)
  • Add some garlic!

And Voilá!

P.S. Don’t forget to cook your rice! (I sometimes do this!)

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You can do the same with whole wheat pasta  – just add the boiled pasta to the mixed vegetables.

4. Nice Cream instead of Ice Cream! 

The hardest craving to curb is dessert cravings! If you aren’t too fond of flavored yoghurt, I hope this is a good alternate for you!

Recipe:

  • Freeze Bananas overnight
  • In the morning, toss the frozen bananas into a blender – add a tsp of coco powder and some milk (avoid adding too much – as this might reduce thickness)

(This recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Prerana)

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I added crushed peanuts – you can add whatever you like – maybe walnuts or strawberries or kiwi!

I am trying my best to experiment with different foods so that way I don’t have to rely on eating out. However, there are a few problems that might come up

  1. Cooking is time consuming!

         This is the biggest drawback, so to make things easier, try and have a few things ready the previous day – chopped vegetables, Atta for your roti, frozen bananas for your dessert 😉

2. Thinking of what to cook

         I think this is more tedious than the actual cooking. To address this – I have a chart on my refrigerator, and depending on the day and ingredients available I fill out my meals the previous night. So in the morning, I know exactly what to cook.

3. Resorting to Processed food as an easy way out!

There will be instances when you need to add a particular sauce to your dish – just remember there are plenty of recipes online to help you do the same; try avoiding processed food as much as possible.

4. But everyone is eating out!!!

   And so can you, just restrict it if possible and if you really want to eat out – choose the healthier , wholesome options! (Or call everyone home and treat them to your awesome food! 😀 )

My Meal Plan does not cover everything I eat, like I said, there are variations. I may try new dishes, sometimes I go overboard, but when I do – I try to religiously follow portion control.

The thing about cooking is it can be stressful and at the same time be a stress buster, the key is to make the process easier so that you can always experience the latter!

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating!

Flab to Fab with a Dysfunctional Leg

“I don’t know what lies ahead, but I want to keep going forever…”
Fuyumi Soryo

A few days ago, I was watching Denzel Washington’s Acceptance Speech at the NAACP Image Awards 2017. It was so beautifully put, I am sure he managed to connect with everyone in the room and millions across the globe: “So never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start, or more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish………………Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship”

It is so important to maintain consistency when trying to achieve a goal. I remember, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I had multiple failed attempts on “eating right”. I would occasionally have Green Tea instead of Coffee and imagine the former doing its magic and detoxifying my body, and continue to eat what I wanted, completely ignoring the fact that diet accounts for 80% of the goal I was trying to achieve (I did not know this until much later).

Weight loss like any other goal requires immense perseverance, determination and CONSISTENCY. Why am I stressing on this so many times?

Because:

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January 2016                             January 2017

So how did I go from that to that?

No, it was not easy. But was it worth it? Every bit of it.

There are some extremely crucial points I would like to bring out here:

  1. Begin somewhere already! 

        It does not matter if you can’t do a 100 push ups on day one. What matters is that you make a decision to change your life. You make the decision to start leading a healthier life, no matter how small the change, start doing it. And if that means you are going to start going to bed early and wake up early, then be it. Whats beautiful about these small changes is that they are all interconnected. When you start sleeping early, you will automatically start eating your dinner early (recommended: two hours before you sleep), and as soon as you wake up: EAT! Have that banana or that slurrrpyyyy Mango! When you consistently do this for a week, your body will start feeling good, and to keep that alive, you will want to eat only good food and look after yourself. Try it! If it doesn’t work – you can always drop me a message!

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2. Celebrate the little things

   You woke up at 6 am everyday for a week and went for a walk? Pat yourself on the back! When I first started on my journey, I made a list of things that I would reward myself with.

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We as humans tend to perform better the minute there is some reward attached to it. And that is exactly what I did! I celebrated each milestone because I knew I worked for it. (Feel free to put in anything, try and avoid writing Brownie or Pizza 😛 )

3. Maintain a Journal! 

  This is absolutely essential. At the end of everyday, write down what/how much you ate, how many hours of sleep you got, your work out, basically everything that affects your health. I started using the app My Fitness Pal  which is a great way to track your food intake (please focus on the nutrients and not the calories) and Under Armour for my work outs. The two applications can be synced, and this helps calculate your calorie deficit. As much as I love using both of them, nothing gives me the satisfaction of actually writing these things down.

Besides writing down all the right things you did, its important to note down your deviations, that way you will prevent yourself from doing it again. Its ok to fall off the grid at times, but like I said, consistency is what will help you get there.

4. There will be Good days, there will be Great days and sometimes there will be “I don’t want to do any of this” days. 

Lets focus on the last one, we all are human beings and not machines. Its ok to take the day off when you are not feeling too well. Its ok to not exert yourself when you are genuinely tired. Its ok to eat that ice cream occasionally. But this is not your ticket to discontinue the journey of healthy living, it just means you needed a short break! (Like the one’s we had in school – your recess and then lunch). Think of it as your recess, the minute you think it is your lunch break, you are entering the danger zone.

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5. Set yourself some realistic goals. 

When you are starting out, don’t be overly ambitious. Give yourself and more importantly your body the time to accept change. Change is hard to deal with. So take it one step at a time. Always start with baby steps and the bigger picture will follow.

Make Charts! Put up motivational quotes in your room! Constantly visualize achieving those goals!

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6. This is a lifestyle change and not a short – term goal

“I lost 20 pounds! I can go back to eating whatever I want!”

No, that would be a crime on your body. I honestly have not reached my goal weight yet, but maintaining what I have already lost is a challenge in itself. Do not forget that this is a choice you are making for a lifetime, a choice that guarantees to keep you healthy and happy! And who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves?

7. Do your homework

Before you start on this journey, consult people. Get a nutritionist, see what your body requires. Get a physical check up too if needed so you know the activities you take upon do not cause damage. Do not take this lightly, the kind of work outs I do are extremely restricted because of my leg. So if you need to do some light exercises rather than HIIT, then do that.

Here are some links for seated cardio workouts:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xC9khisFPA&t=477s&index=1&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs
  2. https://youtu.be/videoseries
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAeZZbpi8Ow&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs&index=12
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AuLqYh4irI&index=8&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs

I have also been following Casey Ho  who started Blogilates  and I absolutely love her work outs! (Mainly for strengthening)

8. And my last and favorite one: Surround yourself with people who support you! 

 I think since the inception of my blog, I have constantly stressed on this. The reason is very obvious, the minute you have people who admire and appreciate what you are doing, you are bound to keep at it. They will understand what you are doing and how important it is to you, so they will only help you. And if they are also on a fitness journey already or plan to start with you, then double bonanza!!!

I often get annoyed that I can’t do those intense work outs, or dance my heart out. But the key is to make the best of what you have with you. We can always find excuses to not do something, but it takes a lot to find reasons and motivation to keep at something.

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So my Dear Warrior, just keep swimming, because great things are coming your way!