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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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! 😀

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.

 

 

 

 

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!”