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!
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HappyThankYouMorePlease

“Be Happy and a reason will come along”

Robert Brault 

KIA 7. I had been waiting for the Airport bus for over 40 minutes. Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get to the Bangalore Airport. I had my mid-semester break and was traveling from Bangalore to Hyderabad. At the Shanthinagar Bus Station, there was an elderly person who got on and at that moment I wanted to get out of my seat, run to him and help him get his luggage on to the bus. Unfortunately the passenger next to me refused to move. Luckily enough though, the conductor helped the man. In my mind however, I had already decided that I would help him when we got off at the airport. The minute I picked his luggage up he was surprised and was already showering me with gratitude. To my delight, we started a conversation that has till date been one of my favorites. We spoke about where each of us was traveling (nothing extraordinary right?) and I also made sure I had enough time to drop off his luggage at the check in counter and proceed to complete mine. Turns out I did and he even made sure that I join him for a cup of chai after we both complete security check. After enquiring what I was doing, where I was headed, etc. he mentioned few times that I should give the Civic Services Examinations. I honestly had no idea why though. Guess what? Mr Girish Dhume, a retired officer of the Indian Foreign Service-who has served as India’s ambassador to Chile and Czech Republic.  Thats right. Before he boarded his flight I asked him what is the one advice he would give me, and he said “The friends you make now, keep them close, anyone who comes later will all be acquaintances.”

The October Heat has decided to come a month earlier in Hyderabad. And to deal with it I went out to get some Nariyal Pani from the vendor near my office. When I was stepping out I realized that the Security Guards who spend hours in the scorching heat as opposed to the luxurious Air Conditioning that I get to sit in needed the coconut water way more than I did. Their smile was the most satisfying thing I have witnessed in days !

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This is Ramana, one of the many superheroes who guard the place I work in. He is one of the most cheerful people I have ever come across. He has promised me a better picture when he is off duty.

“A great responsibility, to deliver a message, a dream that I held in my heart since childhood, I am not going to speak to you about something new and unheard of, yet at the same time, it has the ability, the energy and the power to transform the world, THE POWER OF KINDNESS, The MAGIC OF KINDNESS….”

-Orly Wabha 

You can watch the rest of the TED Talk  here.

Orly talks about spreading kindness through “Acts of Kindness cards”. Imagine the effect it would have if everyone made an effort to be a part of something like this. It would be the easiest and greatest contribution anyone can make to the world and to themselves.

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Think about it. Look back to a day which probably wasn’t going as well as you expected, but someone came along and said something nice and it really changed the way you tackled the rest of the day. So good right? Now imagine if you could be that person saying that nice thing to someone on a daily basis (Different people for higher ripple effects!)

 

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Kindness + Fitness = Happiness 

Before I started blogging, I had two clear goals in mind:

  1. Share my fitness journey with others in the hope that it might help someone embark on theirs
  2. Practice Kindness

The most beautiful realization has been that they are both deeply connected. Fitness is both physical and mental well being. Acts of Kindness address the latter one. Acts of Kindness should first begin with yourself. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge that your presence in this world matters and that you are here to make a difference. Once you start following this mantra you will be able to emit the highest frequency of kindness towards others and in turn receive it back three fold. The reason I began with the first two instances was because for weeks and months together the incidents had an impact on me. They made me happy, they made me believe that there is a lot of place for good in this world and this goodness can always make a difference in someone’s life.

Replace anger with Kindness. Replace negativity with Kindness. Lift someone up with Kindness, and you will truly start to feel that you are in a constant state of “Happy”.  If you look back, most bad days you have had have been made good because of what someone did for you. So why not be this someone? Why not call your parents today and tell them you love them? That you are grateful for all that they have done for you in your life. Or call an old friend and thank them for being a precious part of your life and that you hope to reconnect. Or just tell someone they are doing a great job and that you are proud of them. Kindness is the most effortless thing, then why is the world lacking it?

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Tiny acts of kindness that we can all work towards to make this world a better place:

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P.S. Kindness always finds it way back to you! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always got your back!

“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero!”

-Marc Brown

And have I been lucky to grow up with four of them!

A question that my cousins and I are often asked is “How come you are all so close? We are not this close to our cousins.” This always surprised me, I mean how can you not be? Throughout my life, they have been everything to me.

It took me a while to realize that there are a few reasons behind this:

  1. We lived in a joint family for half a decade
  2. I am the only child
  3. Whatever we do, we want the other to be there to witness it
  4. We developed a strong bond which was inspired by the one shared by our parents and their siblings.

Raksha Bandhan, or simply Rakhi is a Hindu festival, celebrated in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, notably India and Nepal. Raksha bandhan means “bond of protection”. It is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Shravana, which typically falls in Gregorian calendar month of August. A day dedicated to celebrate the bond between a brother and sister!

Today, to mark this beautiful festival, I want to share why each of them is and will always make a significant difference in my life.

Vijay (Nickname: Viju) 

Superpower: Making Dreams come true 

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The eldest of the cousins, Vijay is the epitome of hard work. He taught me that no matter how big or small my dream, I have to chase it! And in the process I have to make sure to have the right balance of hard work and passion, and once success finds it way to me, being humble is what will help retain it. We haven’t had the chance to spend a lot of time together, but whatever we have spent has always been the most precious. Vijay is a senior chef and whenever he visits India, my only request to him is to cook me something special (I have been so ignorant of the fact that when he is on a holiday, thats one thing he probably doesn’t want to do). This one time, there were no ingredients in the house that he could use to make me the Pasta he had promised, and it was too late to go out and get some. Luckily, there was fusilli and being a top notch chef, he cooked up some white sauce and added some veggies, and by all his Juggad I had the best Pasta till date! He is the brother everyone deserves! Dear Viju, thank you for giving me so much to look up to!

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Vinay (Nickname: Vinu) 

Superpower: Staying Calm, and just making everything better! 

Where do I even begin? Of all the cousins, we have spent the maximum time together. Vinay, is the most kind and understanding soul you will ever come across. Why do I say this? When he was about 9 and I was 5, we lived 5 Kms apart in Pune. As soon as the weekend would approach I would start throwing tantrums that he has to come and stay over. So he would cycle every single weekend to come play with me. To make it worse I made him play with my Barbie dolls. Till date, Vinay has always been just a call away, he has been my confidant, my dance partner, my travel buddy and just everything a girl could ask for in a brother, and so much more. Dear Vinu, thank you for being my best friend! From hanging on to Monkey Bars to Hanging out at Monkey Bar, we have come such a long way, and I am glad that I got to share my childhood and continue to share Adulting with you.

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Pritish (Nickname: Gullu) 

Superpower: Know everything about every automobile in this world! 

Pritish and I have spent most summer vacations together either in Alibag or when he came to Pune and it would be world war 3 because Vinay and him would team up to pull my leg.

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But we have had some of the greatest memories trying to see who gets their hands on these:

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playing WWE cards and mandatory visits to the beach. The thing about Pritish that baffles us all is his immense knowledge about any damm automobile in the world. He has the ability to recognize which car is approaching from a mile away, and has never once been wrong. You will listen to him with envy, because you will want to be that knowledgable about something.

Just like any brother and sister, we have fought over silly things, only making our bond all the more stronger. Dear Pritish, thank you for teaching me how to puncture tyres, pull pranks and for always leaving the orange walla pepsi (popsicle) for me!

Adarsh (Nickname: Adu) 

Superpower: Do anything and everything with SWAG! 

The youngest one, so by default the naughtiest one, Adu in every sense is my best friend. Sometimes all the wisdom he imparts on me makes me wonder if I am the older one.

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Adu and I have spent a significant amount of our time deciding which movie to watch, where to eat and taking selfies. We have seen the Nanda Devi and Mont Blanc together, and every minute of our journey from the Himalayas to Alps has been one hell of a ride with countless memories. I am allowed to spam him at 3 am asking for some silly relationship advice (boys perspective and all you know) and he will reply sounding like the most qualified person to answer (they always make so much sense!)

 

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The idea of traveling without the other gets us more stressed than anything in life, because hello? making the other person jealous is too mainstream!

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Sir giving me important life advice on the streets of Sydney.
Dear Adu, thank you for putting up with my endless doubts and anxiety about trivial things, for always sharing yummy food, watching crappy movies and of course traveling the world with me!

A special thanks to my mom for capturing all of the above moments, we love you!

 

To my dear brothers, thank you for always having my back, for your unconditional love and affection, for standing by me, come what may and for making my life worthwhile! Cheers to you all! I love you!

Happy Rakhsha Bandhan! 

 

 

We just turned One!

“Follow Your Passion; it will lead you to your PURPOSE”

– Oprah Winfrey

My uncle started his apprenticeship when he was 17 to earn a living.  Before my cousin and I could understand the importance of this, he had already completed 25 years of service.  This is just one of the many sacrifices that my family went through. When I read my fathers blog – https://kaveripak.wordpress.com/ which follows the adventures of him and his brother, it makes me wonder what more they would have done if they had all the resources we have now combined with their passion.

The sacrifices made by our family back then has given us the greatest gift – the privilege to follow our ‘Passion.’ 

The first in our house (and our generation) to persistently follow his passion was my cousin Vijay. At 15, he knew that he belonged to the culinary world.

What a blessing it is to have him as a role model. I grew up watching him prove to us time and again that passion coupled with hard work results in nothing less than extraordinary.

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Chef Vijay (Left) – Mentor, Friend, Confidant, Coolest Brother
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A decade later, following his footsteps…..

Being the oldest among the cousins, Vijay has set such a high benchmark for the rest of us that it has triggered us to do better. He taught me that despite what society says or thinks, if you believe in it, if you see something big happening for yourself, just go for it! Its one thing to read about people who have chased their dreams, but to have someone show you everyday is a phenomena in itself.

In May, last year I was telling him about how I really wanted to become a host on Airbnb. Little did I know that it would take place within a month.

June 24th 2017 – marked a year of hosting on Airbnb! And like I said in my previous posts, its important to celebrate yourself.

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Being a host on Airbnb has been an absolute delight! The excitement that comes with opening your doors to fellow travelers is incredible. A happy guest is a testament that I am doing justice to my passion. I wish every time a guest entered the house, I could capture their very first reaction. Nevertheless, I wait for each of their calls like I would from my biggest critique.

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The very first booking from Aparna – I cannot begin to describe how it felt when I received her enquiry! Thank You Aparna, for believing in KMR Villa and helping kickstart my hosting! 
So whats the best part about hosting?

It is the joy of helping others create memories in a place that is so dear to you!

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Just like the picture depicts, Mr.Kripakaran (Property Manager) who helped buy the property, has been associated with KMR Villa right from the construction stage. Today, he looks after the everyday activities which go into keeping the bed and breakfast up and running.

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Sekar Anna… The Real Star behind KMR Villa

Sekar and his family were looking after the property much before the Villa was even built. His wife, Chandra is responsible for the tea leaves making its way to the tea factories.

Sekar, has a much bigger role to play. Sekar’s first activity every morning is to ensure that the entire town receives water. Thats right, he has to hike 2 km each way on a steep incline to open the water pump that connects the entire village. This is followed by getting breakfast for the guests, and finally putting his heart and soul into maintaining the house. When we initially started we felt that Sekar might find a hard time communicating with guests who do not know Tamil. What has come as a pleasant surprise is how often guests tell me Sekar was the highlight of the trip. The reason behind this being the love and passion he puts into looking after each guest.

And with the help of this wonderful team who turn my dream into reality each day, I am happy to share the one year completion of hosting on Airbnb.

On that note, I want to add that anyone who has received the privilege of following their passion – use it wisely.

Use it to spread a message that goes beyond your own purpose. Use it to help people who need it. It is a rare and expensive gift, and must not be taken for granted. Be Grateful and spread as much joy and kindness as you can. The world could definitely use more of it.

This post is dedicated to all those working hard on chasing their dreams. This is a shout out to everyone who stood up for themselves and chose to take the road not taken. Thank you for believing in yourself and for giving the world so much to look forward to!

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A tribute to my dear Grandpa, in the memory of whom we started hosting on Airbnb!

To book a holiday with KMR Villa, log on to Airbnb: https://goo.gl/2Mpf3k and use code https://www.airbnb.co.in/c/rachnar13 to sign up and earn travel credit on your very first booking!

Look forward to hosting you!

KMR Villa

Inspiring. Little. People.

“A child has a special way of adding joy every day!”

‘The Love Bug.’  The children at Mukthi Yojana School had watched this movie almost a 100 times. By the time I got the DVD back, the impressions on the cover told me – ‘I have been used to my fullest capacity.’

My aunt was a teacher there and she dedicated her life to bringing up the children. Most of them had come from troubled and traumatic conditions, and their school was their paradise. My aunt had been with the school since its very inception, and today I meet her students who are working with the top MNC’s.

Isn’t it beautiful, how you can change someones life? Some of my best childhood memories were with these kids, the only difference was I had access to all the privileges’ they didn’t even know existed. My only solution to this was: SHARE.

Everything new that came into the house, found its way to the school (things that could be used by all 36 of them) – and most of the time it would be new DVD’s and books! It seems like such a small thing, but to them, it was everything.

In 2004 , my family relocated to Hyderabad from Pune, and weekend meets turned to half yearly meets. And as years went by, I saw less of them, but they always made sure to send greeting cards with my aunt which had drawings of the movies they watched!

Their top 3 choices: Always!

Fast forwarding 13 years to 2017, I got the opportunity to interact with children again!

The first time I heard about India Literacy project (ILP)  was when our neighbors mentioned it to us and my mom was helping them out with some art and craft for the kids (back in 2009). And like I always say, things have a way of working out.

Manmohan Sir (mentioned in my previous post) is the founder of ILP India – Hyderabad Chapter, and as always, he presented me with yet another opportunity to learn and grow.

In the month of March, I started helping with a few social media posts for ILP and the following month was when I volunteered for the summer camp that took place.

Have you ever entered a room and felt such infectious energy that you never wanted to leave? I think we all feel a little nervous for the first day at anything new. But, the minute I entered the classroom, all of them started saying ‘Hi’ as loudly as they could.

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As each one introduced themselves, it was exciting to notice how many of them wanted to be Police Officers or Teachers when they grew up, and there were a couple of them who wanted to be Collectors! After this, I read them a story (which Manmohan sir helped translate to Telugu).

The first day itself was quite an eye opener for me, I knew I wanted to keep coming back and hopefully help the kids have an enjoyable summer! (Honestly, the children gave me the best summer!)

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The second class, we learnt how to tell the time! (Spot our clock book)

The above was the most touching class for me. Once they were all done connecting the dots and coloring it, I asked them to write their names and the date. After this, they thought they had to submit the paper to me, to which I said “No, thats for you to take home!”  and their elation to this filled my heart with warmth.

Their excitement for getting a chance to take a piece of paper home was what made me realize the excess of privileges we have and honestly don’t even require. So next time you plan to throw papers out, or even text books, remember there is always someone in need of it.

Look what we made!

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This is Nithin. And I swear, I did not teach him how to do that!

If they are the future of India, our country is definitely going to be in the right hands. They do not care if the temperature is 40 degrees, all they care about is dancing their hearts out, they care about learning something new and grabbing every single opportunity that has come knocking on their door.

No matter what you say, they are going to give you a wide smile and enjoy doing whatever it is you have planned for them.

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The Grand Finale!

On the last day, it was almost like celebrating a festival! Doesn’t it make you happy just looking at that picture?  They had a few dance numbers, coupled with a price distribution for our Chess Legends!

 Nithin and Shandhya made this ‘Thank You’ card for all the volunteers!

A special note about these two kids: Nithin and Sandhya came up to me after this because they wanted to play a game of Chess. I told them, I need to get to office soon, so maybe next time, to which promptly came their response “Didi aap humse phir kabhi nahi milogey, sirf ek game, 5 mins, please!” (Didi, you will never meet us again, just one game, 5 mins!) I was at a loss of words. I took the time to process the fact that I could actually be of so much importance to someone; but the reality was that they were in fact the ones who had largely impacted my life. Sandhya was also the one who helped me with “Minding the Class”. It was some great practice for our budding police officer!

These kids taught me how important it is to appreciate everything you have in life and not take it for granted. They taught me that you do not need a world class infrastructure to change the world, you just need a big heart and the determination to learn.

So of course I had to play a game with them, I was on both teams (Guess who won!)

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A special shoutout to Neha, Shravan and Archana and all ILP staff and volunteers, the most fun and passionate people to work with!

I urge everyone to take something up that will bring them the kind of joy that being with these children brought me. It is hard for me to put into words, just how much they have all inspired me, and taught me in a span of a few days.

Every single one of them deserves to spread their light in this world, and we need volunteers constantly who can reach out to them and help them in realizing their dreams. They are all extremely intelligent and have immense potential which needs to be tapped.

If you think you would love to be a part of our journey – then join us, follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ilphyd/ for latest updates and get inspired by our little people.

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To sum up my emotions at the end of it and a note to say thank you to Manmohan sir, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.

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! 

Watch Out: Magic on the Way!

“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”

– Ellen Burstyn

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Until I started living alone, I never really gave much thought to ‘its important to enjoy your own company.’ But when you are given the chance to live by yourself, whether you like it or not, you have to learn to accept yourself more than ever, and really celebrate who you are and I truly hope everyone gets to do this!

That is the only chance you will get to reflect on who you are. And as clichéd as that is, it is essential. How else will you discover all that you are capable of?

My day looked somewhat like this:

6:30 – Wake up (First rule is to eat something as soon as you wake up – I start my day with a fruit)

7:00 – 7:30 Prepare all my meals

7:30 – 8:30 Work out

8:30 – 9:30 Get ready for office, have breakfast and leave

After coming home around 6pm, a part of my evenings were always dedicated to my little munchkin next door; sometimes I took calls from Guests on Airbnb if required and on other days I would work on orders for Artista.

 

There were two big wins for Artista:

  1. An order for 100 cards
  2. Very first live stall (after I registered the company)

Remember how I had mentioned earlier that my first stall got a good response but wasn’t sold out? Well, this one was!

Hence, the first stall was way more significant than this one. Wait, but why?

Because that one taught me ‘not to give up’. That one taught me I still had a long way to go, I still had a lot to learn. Its important to celebrate failure as much as success. If we never failed, we would never strive to do better. We would be stuck at the standard which always “works”, but not reach for what blows peoples mind! I myself could see the difference in the cards I made then and the ones I make now. If I had succeeded the first time around, I would have never made room for more creativity, room for newer ideas because I would be satisfied with what I already had.

So if you ever feel like you aren’t doing too well on a test, or at work, remember that it is moulding you into the ultimate person you can and should be. If you always experienced only success, you would stop appreciating it.

So please, do fall, do stumble and above all, get up and join the race again.

I was doing perfectly fine as you can see, better than fine for that matter, until: this happened.

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I wanted to take a picture now because I couldn’t during the surgery (I am disturbingly weird aren’t I?)

Don’t worry, its not as bad as it looks, or maybe it is! Have you been on the receiving end of Acupuncture?  Its oddly satisfying after a few seconds of pain once the needle is inserted. Anyway, I had to go into physiotherapy again because of how much my left leg (not surgical leg) was in unbearable pain. All I could think of was ‘please don’t let everything come to a stand still again.’

My office was extremely kind and understanding to give me some time off and allowed me to work from home. Have you ever felt guilty for yourself? Not sorry, but guilty. Guilty for not being able to do what you love. Once again, I was overcome with overwhelming emotions. I couldn’t differentiate between anger, sorrow and pain. How on earth did I get here? I could cry all I wanted, and my parents would come to my rescue. But that did not change anything. I would tell the doctor everyday, “Can you just please say I can dance again”, and he would smile and say “but right now you need the rest”.

The rest was only getting me more frustrated and agitated – but to anyone out there who is going through something similar – do not ignore it, the rest is more essential than you can even begin to imagine. Allow yourself to heal. The world does not need to be conquered by you overnight.

And a note for everyone out there, do what you can to protect and preserve your body. It deserves the utmost respect. Be kind to it and shower it with love, only then you can be the best possible version of YOU!

With that I would like to tell you all, that 4 months after my physiotherapy ended, I still do suffer from a lot of pain. Turns out I also had Vitamin D deficiency. The irony is that I had to once stay away from the sun because of facing severe sun burns.

Life can play tricks on all of us, but remember, you can always pick up where you left off and you are not competing against anyone. Do things that make you immensely happy, make mistakes, learn from them, cook yourself some yummy food and fall in love with yourself!

Like Kareena Kapoor says in the movie Jab We Met “Mein apni favorite hoon!”

Live Well, Laugh Often!

“And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

-Dr.Seuss

Before leaving for India, my parents got me the most thoughtful gift ever.

“500 ways to live in the moment” – Even if we all could just do one of them each day, we would start feeling the ripple effect of positivity in our lives.

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First day in office.

I was off to a great start – Kala uncle being my neighbour , suggested we go together and I was looking forward to finally meeting everyone as my communication with all had been restricted to Skype over the past few months.

Also: I packed my Dabba(s)!

 

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Hopefully soon, I will get to a point where you are interested in my recipes! 😉

Isn’t it wonderful how the minute you are surrounded by some great people, good things follow ? I’m thanking my stars because I get to work with such great people everyday!

Whats amazing about working for a start up that’s run by incredible human beings who do everything to push their employees is the room they create for the growth of every individual. When you start working with them, you realize how far passion and hard work can take you.

Venkat sir, who currently resides in the US, believed in me and hired me based on a Skype call. Thanks to him, I rang in the new year (2016) with a job in hand! I had the chance of meeting him quite recently myself, and it’s an honor to work with someone who is the mind behind our application and so extremely down – to – earth.

A lot of us have the chance to witness a significant impact of a person in our lives, and they make you realize what your true potential is even when you are not aware of it yourself. Manmohan sir has come to be this person in my life. Its amazing how throughout his busy day, he always manages to find time to talk to me, listen to my chattering, and makes sure I leave the room only when I have learnt something new (its subtle, but impactful). A special thanks to him for believing in me and pushing me to do better each day!

An important message I want to convey from the above is ‘go out there and find this person.’ A lot of us move away from our homes to build something; to create an identity for ourselves. This journey can often be overwhelming and challenging, hence making it crucial to find people who can influence your life positively. Constantly seek for a mentor – someone who you can confide in and someone whose happiness comes from seeing you grow, someone who encourages and supports you, and most importantly guides you when you stumble.

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Just a gentle reminder…

The weeks that followed were equivalent to my ride on Formula Rossa. The days were going by too fast, and I wasn’t sure my pace of doing things were at par. But its essential to stop, breath and appreciate yourself once in a while. You are doing the best you can and you are only getting better at it.

Each day, I was making room for new learnings. Hyderabad was giving me so much to look forward to, I had a job I loved, I was a host on Airbnb, Artista was picking up its roots again. I even did a little something for my Munchkin’s first birthday! I cooked my own food, attended a wedding in Bangalore in the midst of it all, and really started to “Live in the Moment”

 

Until Of Course……

A letter to my Father

Dearest Appa,

On this day, 52 years ago, you found yourself on a journey alone (when you were just 2), without realizing the chaos you were about to start back at home.

Its interesting; every year I like to hear Patti(grandma) tell me the story of how you ran away, and every single time I get goosebumps which is usually followed by me telling you “I now realize where all the traveling originated.”

Sometimes I think to myself, I wish you could have been there more often to see me grow up.

But today, to celebrate your return home 52 years back, I believe it is time to say “Thank You” and why my thoughts were all wrong.

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It has taken me years to realize that even though you might have enjoyed exploring new places and countries, it was one of the toughest things you had to do in your life; because at the end of the day all you really wanted to do was be home with Amma and me.

Amma often gets credited (and rightly so) for staying at home and looking after me. But little did I understand that the real sacrifice was actually made by you because you had to say goodbye when all you wanted to do was say hello. So thank you!

Remember the day you sat me down and made me listen to ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’ By Bryan Adams and stressed that I pay attention to that line? Thank you for showing me everyday what that means. Thank you for bringing me the world and not the other way round. And above all Thank You for being my everything.

Thank you Appa for all the times you had to give up on something so that I could have the life I do today. Thank you for giving me so much to dream about and supporting me every minute to achieve them.

Thank you for being patient with me when I do not understand a problem in Maths, Thank You for all those Barbie Dolls I did not deserve or require for that matter. Thank you for always putting some sense back into me when I lose track of where I am headed, Thank You for every single second you spend in dreaming with me about my future, Thank you for putting me above everything.

 THANK YOU for being my Appa!

P.S. Thank you for finding your way back home 52 years ago.

Love,

Always and Forever,

Thangam