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.

Curves

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!

Sweet Potato
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! 

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.

Physio
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……

One Paper Roast Please….

“Food is memories.”

I wish I could recollect every moment that led me to fall in love with a particular dish. Luckily enough though, I know where the fondness for my top two favorite dishes originated.

  1. Pav Bhajji – In Pune there is a restaurant called Shiv Sagar which is a five minute walk from where we used to live. Celebration meant going to Shiv Sagar and relishing on their world class Pav Bhajji; this was during a much simpler time before westernization took over and our spending power was minimal. Last year, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I made a trip to Pune to eat Pav Bhajji from Shiv Sagar (its safe to say this might have been my only agenda) and even over a decade later, it still tasted the same. Over the years I have realized that no matter who makes the Pav Bhajji, it will never be the same as the one from there. This goes beyond the fact that they make it the best. Our entire family has created memories in that place. We have gone there as a family of 3 or a group of 20, and every single time we have ordered the Pav Bhajji!  No 5 – star hotel can replace the feeling of dining at Shiv Sagar and drowning your taste buds in this delicacy.

Pav Bhajji

2. Dosa 

Year 2005

Rachna: “Mohan Chittappa, inam evolo nerum? (how much more time?)” – anyone who has traveled with me, knows this is my most FAQ. 

Mohan Chittappa: “Don’t worry, I have a surprise for you on the way, you will enjoy it”*

*Of course I do not remember exactly how the conversation went, but it is to give you a better idea of what was about to unfold.

This was when I was traveling with my uncle from Kodaikanal to Coimbatore in an ambassador (the reason I was becoming Hangry) I read somewhere once that ‘be with the person who gives you the same feeling you get when your food arrives in the restaurant.’ But that day, satisfaction took over me the minute we got out of the car and rushed inside what was ‘Salaiyora unavagam’ (roadside eating).  It was actually a tiny hall packed with people enjoying their food (first indicator of it being a great place)

As my uncle and I settled down, we were approached by an elderly who would have easily been in his eighties. I think till date I haven’t seen anyone who is more active, enthusiastic and fast in serving people (second indicator) and I wish today more than anything that I had been thoughtful enough to take his picture. Anyway, since I never lived in Tamil Nadu, I obviously lacked some of the qualities that Tamilians possess – mainly – the slang for some dishes. So my uncle ordered “Paper Roast” for the both of us! I was so excited, I thought some exotic dish was going to turn up, and I was so overwhelmed that I was finally going to make my tummy happy that I did not even bother asking my uncle what it meant. To my disappointment, our food arrived and it was DOSA! Why Dosa? Couldn’t we have Wada? Or Puri ? We were on a holiday for God’s Sake!

I think I felt pretty betrayed, and that probably lasted for a whole of 5 seconds, because as soon as I took the first bite, I think I felt my mouth do a few somersaults in excitement of the flavors that had just entered. And that is the exact moment that I fell in love with Dosas. (I always liked them, but thats when I really started Loving them, so THANK YOU MOHAN CHITTAPPA!) But there was one more crucial moment that I was to leave with. Our bill after 3 dosas and one coffee was Rs.18. THAT.IS.IT.

Great food – check, Lighting Speed – Check , Light on the Pocket – Check

Inspired? – Check! Check! Check! 

Paper-Roast-dosa

Source: Google

I think my body might actually be 70% DOSA. And the fact that Rujuta Diwekar insists you eat Dosa, made me a very, very Happy person. So a major part of my diet consists of eating dosa.

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Duel Tawa = Increased Satisfaction

How is it best served?

With Milgai Podi, Coconut Chutney and Patti(grandma) and Amma(mom) ka Pyaar (love)!

So Dosa, where did you come from?

Even though Dosa is indigenous to South India, its exact origin is unknown. But according to food historia K.T. Achaya, dosa or dosai was already in use in ancient Tamil Nadu around the 1st century AD.

Making a Dosa –

Dosa batter is prepared with a mixture of rice and black grams (udad) that is soaked in water and allowed to ferment overnight. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 4:1 or 5:1. Water is added to get the desired thickness. (I could just ask my grandmom, but I googled this)

Some of the best dosa recipes to try are Neer Dosa, Pesearattu , Ragi wheat Dosa, Onion Rava dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa or my Grandma’s Dosa! . The best part about dosa is that it can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a great source of carbohydrates yet low in calories!

Source: Google

The Magic Batter
If you are a fan of dosa, you would have tasted the different types, right from paper thin roast to the fluffy oothappam. But did you know that it all comes down to handling the batter? On the first day its usually bland, but when you store it for one more night it attains the properties needed to make a wafer thin dosa, on the third day you will notice it is best for making oothapam! So as the days go by, the dosa can take different forms. However, the pan – rather the “tawa or kalu (stone)” that is used to spread the batter and make the dosa is an essential tool in making the most delicious dosa! And you can truly do justice to your dosa only when you dip it in chutney and sambaar!

Alright, so to everyone who is worried about consuming those extra carbohydrates, Dosa should be your go to meal. And in case I haven’t mentioned earlier – eat what your Nani (grandmom) eats. Just remember to break your meal into portions, enjoy every bite and stop worrying about how many calories you are consuming – focus on the nutrients!

I also want to take the opportunity to talk about the importance of “Feeling Good“.

There is no set standard of how one is supposed to look. Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way and the key is to respect and listen to your body. Your body deserves immense love, so don’t deprive it by constantly being angry with what you see in the mirror. Take the time to tell yourself  “I love you, and I am proud of who you are”. Do not get caught up in  “I need to get that summer body”, No you do not! What you do need to do is feed yourself good wholesome food and start feeling the glow from within which in no time will start reflecting on your face. And you will see that you are carrying the most wonderful aura no matter where you go. (I do stumble too, I often forget these things, but the key is to remind yourself of how important you are; and if not – you can always come back here and I will tell you that you are and will always be incredible, just like a Dosa!)

P.S. I did want to pen down my diet chart here but I got too carried away by Dosas!

Until next time my lovelies!

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When in doubt, Dosa it out!

*If you wish to purchase dosa mix made of Millets, you can order it here.

Happily Desi

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

– Meister Eckhart

Jugaad!”

The first time I heard this word was in 2006, when my father used it while traveling from Delhi to Uttrakhand. Our car had broken down in the middle of nowhere and with a few phone calls to someone in a completely different city, we were able to arrange another car.

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Pictured: Jugaad Technology

Jugaad (Hack) has crept into all our lives, and in India especially, we indulge in Jugaad on a daily basis (from fixing clothes with safety pins to carrying fuel in water bottles), Juggad  is a talent that you are born with if you are Indian.

Which is exactly why it is always good to be back in India! Its the people. No matter where you go, you always have someone to look out for you.

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Once again, it was time for a Goodbye…..

The minute I stepped on the desi land, I was reminded of the hospitality that comes with returning to your country (I know, I know, I wasn’t even gone that long!)

Every decision has a driving force, and one of mine was Mr.Kala Satyanarayana (I will refer to him as uncle from here on). I must have done something right in my past to deserve him as my mentor. He is the most patient, kind and passionate person I have met. He has dedicated his life to helping others grow; he has such a significant impact on anyone who works with him, and all you really want to do is make him proud. I am one of those lucky people who gets to be on the receiving end of his ideals and work ethics and learn something new each day for which I am beyond grateful.

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Seen in picture: Uncle, my closest friend Sushmitha and the lovely Malathi aunty

The first time I met them was in 2006 when we had moved into the same apartments. Sushmitha and I have been thick as thieves since. But little did I know that someday I would be working with her dad. My very first day back in India started with uncle and aunty, because being the extremely benevolent people that they are, they had come to pick me up at the airport, got me to my home sweet home, followed by a feast that aunty had prepared for me! (You can see why my parents were so confident to send me back)

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Change in View

The next day was Independence day, so I had enough time to settle in, unpack and get ready before starting work (which obviously had to be used for catching up with my friends instead)

And just as expected my friends were checking up on me, and ensuring that there was no such thing as “lonely” when living alone.

I am not sure what amount of gratitude will be enough for this next one, but I am going to try to do justice to it.

If F.R.I.E.N.D.S did a version with families, we would fit right into it. This incredible family had moved in about a month before we left for Abu Dhabi, so we hardly got the chance to spend time together; but I think within a week we had made up for it. Preethi, Mohit, Ajji and Mitakshi(my Munchkin) live right across from me.

Preethi is the reason I know what its like to have a sister. She is such a beautiful and positive soul that you can’t even go a day without seeing her! (To this also add: Amazing chef and baker; Goodbye Diet Plans!) Every morning at 8 am Preethi would be at the doorstep with breakfast – because she can never come to terms with why someone would take all the effort to cook only for oneself!  She is my confidant, my partner in crime and my fellow TV show binge watcher, but above all I am so blessed that I have someone who goes out of their way to look out for me, always!

Mohit and Ajji instantly welcomed me into the family. I have honestly attended more of their family events than my own. Ajji would check up on me every couple of hours and she continues to do it even now. The icing on the cake is our little ball of sunshine: Munchkin. I can go on for days about her, but to sum it up – she truly, in every way possible lights up all of our lives.

And just like that within seconds all of them completely made me forget that I was going to be staying alone.

It was time for a big reality check though: Was I going to be able to prepare all of my 6-8 meals everyday and work out and make it on time for work? Well, I sure as hell was about to find out!

This post is dedicated to every single person who has played a role in my journey so far, I thank you for changing my life just by being such a precious part of it. A special thanks to my parents who spend every minute of their day believing in me and doing everything in their capacity to make my dreams come true.