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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

raw-makhana

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.

Goals

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! 

Brave Up!

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”

-Michelle Obama

England was good to me. Being back in Abu Dhabi meant it was time for a reality check and June and July turned out to be rather significant in evaluating my career and fitness goals.

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The Neighborhood

I was all geared to lose the English Breakfast and Nando’s feast that I had piled up on without any concern about the consequences; and like I said earlier – by all means go on a holiday but it can never be a holiday for healthy living. It is a permanent choice.

I felt like I had to start over, but this time I was more aware, more determined to achieve my goals. The key is to keep challenging yourself. If you can do 10 push-ups today, try 15 in the next couple of days. Remember: you are not competing with anyone but yourself. The entire journey should purely revolve around: YOU!  And since we are on it, make sure the target goes beyond just “Looking good”. We were all born extremely cute and we all grow up to be beautiful, pretty, handsome and all the uplifting adjectives. The focus should be on feeling fit and healthy, because then you feel great from within, and once that happens you automatically love everything about yourself. So I urge you to do things that make you happy and feel good (This wisdom did not come to me instantly, it took a lot of consoling from my parents and friends and understanding myself; so its ok to take that time, but trust me – it will be worth it once you realize the bigger picture of it)

Create your own happiness: 

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Make a vision board – or just anything with quotes that keep you motivated and help stay on track!
Run, Dance, sleep(as the T-shirt reads) or catch up with friends who support your journey

Or…. 

Eat some great wholesome food(I have my doubts about the last one)
 Just take your pick!

The Third Miracle:

I was in line with my goals, I did my work outs, I ate the right kind of food – the leg pain had reduced, but it did have its ways of showing up and when it did, it was the absolute worst. Whenever my leg was exposed to Air Conditioners it would aggravate. If you have ever visited UAE , you would know that the exposure to Sun is so minimal because right from your bathroom to the bus stand everything has centralized air conditioning. So all that artificial cold found its way to trouble my legs(torture would be more appropriate).

UK had been extremely cold too (for my standards) but I could layer up there and so did everyone else. To step out in 50 degrees Celsius, in Abu Dhabi with thermals on was not exactly pleasing. So I resorted to socks and shoes. Even at home, you would find me with leg warmers – all the time! (I wouldn’t deprive my parents of the AC obviously)

Finally, to an extent we had addressed my problem. And my left leg and right leg were competing  with each other to see who can hurt the most, so really there was only so much I could do (or so I thought to myself).

In times like these, its best to divert yourself to better and greater things. When we were in India, we had a vague plan of putting up our property on Airbnb. And  June 2016 saw the light of it. We managed to complete all the requirements of the travel portal and got a heads up to let out our home to travelers!

Being fond of traveling myself, it came as no surprise that getting the opportunity to host people and helping them create memories made me extremely happy.  I was in a way about to live my “tour guide” dream. And when I saw my phone screen flashing with a notification from Airbnb with the very first enquiry, I jumped (out of my bed, since I couldn’t actually jump) and rushed to tell my parents who joined in my burst of excitement.

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            kotagiri

“The Mountains are calling and I must go”

-John Muir

If you are planning a holiday and are looking for a place, I would love to be your host!

Just log on to: https://goo.gl/2Mpf3k (You can also use the following link to earn yourself some travel credit – https://www.airbnb.co.in/c/rachnar13)

My experience of being a host so far has been nothing short of extraordinary. To see a place so familiar through someone else’s eye has its own charm. I am filled with a lot of gratitude above everything, to be able to share this space with fellow travelers and create something that fills their life with magic.

Putting the property on Airbnb has a greater significance. My grandfather was a civil engineer and working on this property was his last project. He has left behind bits of his legacy in every corner of the house, and as a tribute to him, we only think its fair for everyone to get a chance to encounter the marvel that is the Nilgiris.

The Fourth Miracle:

Do you remember how I wanted to find a job once I got to Abu Dhabi? Well, I loved working for my current company so much, that thinking of working anywhere else made no sense to me. I am blessed to be working with some of the top minds in my field and there is just so much to learn each and every single day. Hence, I decided it was time to move back to India.

I will see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Mangrove Place – Where the Magic Began!

Set Yourself an Outrageous Goal Today. 

-Alastair Humphreys (Ten Lessons from the Road) 

The minute I landed in Abu Dhabi, I was hit with a rush of positivity. (The other city that gives me this feeling is Hyderabad). And I think when a new place gives you that feeling – you are already halfway to building something great!

There was also the advantage of living in an apartment like this(left)  with a view like that (right)

My dad had moved in December and to complete all the formalities for mom and me to move took 2 months. But during this time, my dad had sent so many pictures of the house and the view that envy and excitement could not differentiate from one other. I knew I was going to be there soon, but I was becoming rather impatient. And when I finally got to Mangrove place  – it was worth the wait. No amount of pictures can do justice to the view that you get, including the vibrance of the whole atmosphere. Mangrove Place has the most kind and hard working staff who are so welcoming that you will instantly fall in love with the place. Also, the apartment gives you the feeling of living in a hotel rather than a house (in a good way).

A few years ago, my father had introduced me to Alastair Humphreys’ book ‘Ten Lessons from the Road‘ Alastair set an outrageous goal for himself – he traveled 46,000 miles round the world (wait for it) On his CYCLE! He spent four years and achieved what was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “the first great adventure of the new millennium”.

alastair

It was time I set an outrageous goal for myself. I still had tremendous amount of pain in both my  legs, but it had to be done. What was my goal? What was my motivation?

  1. I need to be able to dance again.
  2. The pain should vanish from my legs forever

But how does one go about this? How does one lose weight when they cannot do jumping jacks or burpees or run on a treadmill. Where does one begin?

It was time for some homework. My instant thought was to take up the GM diet.

One week and I can shed 3-4 kilos just like that (So easy!). And then 2 months later I can do it again and lose some more weight and I would have achieved at least half of my goal.

But your body is smarter than you. It has ways of reacting to new habits that will completely throw you off track. I was 3 days into my GM diet and I could not stop throwing up all those fruits and mashed potatoes that I had consumed(sorry about that nasty visual).

So I wasted an entire month in being anxious about losing weight, how to go about it and the fear that with the condition of my leg I could never do it. But with little more research comes great discoveries. I started looking for cardio exercises that would be easy on my legs. And I cursed myself for not having done it earlier because it was like finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I found multiple videos for the same and the top results were by fitness trainer – Jessica Smith.  What I absolutely loved was how she conveys everything with so much passion and motivation. She makes working out – FUN! So I began to do seated cardio and seated strength.

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I used to work out in my Balcony – and this was my view. Batman would occasionally join me  (To maintain his body and what not)

This meant, I had the workout in place. But if I worked out for 60 mins and went and ate some yummy donut from Waitrose across my apartment – the entire purpose would be lost, right?

The Second Miracle: 

I don’t know what it was that took over me, but I decided that I needed to get the book

Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar. I got the kindle edition, and before I even started reading I knew my life was going to change. I hope someday she stumbles upon this blog, because I have so much to thank her for!

Now I am someone who absolutely enjoys Indian food over anything else. So when I was previously reading about eating salads and kale and what not, I used to think I rather not eat at all. And it was like Rujuta knows exactly whats in your heart. She tells you to eat what your Nani(grandmom)  ate. I couldn’t have been more relieved.

I got to eat my poha, dosa, roti sabzi and everything I love! Even though I am a Tam Bhram, my parents spent a majority of their life in Maharashtra, which is why I got to enjoy the best of both worlds.

They tasted as good as they look(probably because mom – made)

Rujuta’s biggest rule is that you eat small portions but more frequently and as soon as you wake up eat something – this is my favorite part because for someone who always had breakfast and no coffee/tea, this rule was already implemented. And so I started eating 7-8 small meals everyday.

For more about the book, I urge you all to buy it, trust me it will transform your life! (Spend the 100 rupees here instead of that pizza you have been craving for ).

Remember how I mentioned earlier that at a later point in time, Ayurveda would make sense to me? That’s another thing I love about Rujuta’s book, it really goes into the roots of what was followed by our ancestors and teaches you to adopt Ayurveda as a lifestyle and not a last resort. No more was I carried away by the whatsapp messages on this fruit is bad or that vegetable can cause a disease. I had only one source for  all my needs: Rujuta!

And the Ayurveda project I was working on, was something I believed in and a way of living that the entire world deserves to know about.

What was the hardest part of my journey?

The hardest part is just before you start……. or is it?

Begin, Again

Time you Enjoy Wasting, Was not Wasted. 

– John Lenon 

Rachna Ramesh – BBA Honors Class of 2015 – Christ University, Bangalore.

I was a graduate! It was official. I had always considered myself to be someone who knew where she was headed. But for the first time in my life, I did not know what I was going to do.

We all often find ourselves wishing for a longer break, a longer holiday away from everything; but when this opportunity is really given to you, the monotony of it will break you. Once again, I was confined to my room, but since my physiotherapy was over, and I was able to move around and walk more comfortably, I started catching up with my friends  and often they would come home.

I also had a visit by my cute little sister – Vaishnavi. We went out (Walking Stick, Vaishnavi and me) and relished some good Mexican food. And much to my delight, following her visit was my best friend Prerana who was coming home from the US for the summer and the icing on the cake was when both my cousins – Adarsh and Vinay decided to surprise me!

By  June, I was allowed to travel, so I made trips with my family to Kotagiri and Coorg in June and July respectively.

P.S. If you are looking for a place to Holiday – the Villa on the left is an ideal destination – https://goo.gl/2Mpf3k (Sorry, the marketer in me couldn’t resist) 

Other significant happenings included – my Chaddi Buddy Sushmitha coming home from UK, attending a show by my favorite Stand Up comedian – Biswa Kalyan and Revamping my room!

Being back in Hyderabad meant facing reality. I was ready for it in full swing. My leg was much better, not fully recovered but I could move around a lot more now, so I decided to begin my Job hunt. It was a slow process and I had to be choosy to not take something that required a lot of traveling because of my leg. (And companies are choosy too, of course!) But having specialized in marketing, I had to beat the odds to find something that allowed me to sit at one place.

Finally, in September I got a job in a design automation company as a Marketing Executive.  I had to make cold calls, and generate leads. My time there was short – lived (something I am thankful about) but over the 5 months that I worked there I made three really great friends – Ankita, Naveen and Mani who were the reasons I would even turn up because every morning I would find an excuse to not go. (This wasn’t school, or college – this was a real job that paid – not in Monopoly money).

Now during this period my Thatha (aka my James Bond) unfortunately fell ill. My thatha  was a civil engineer and to me he was the epitome of Will Power and he could literally fix anything and everything! Everyday, after our lunch, he would cut a banana into two – one half for himself and the other for me – this was our thing, I used to be in awe of how much precision he followed even to cut a fruit.

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He would do anything for me – As you can see from the costume I forced him to put on! I miss him, deeply.

Thatha soon had to be admitted, and my entire family flew down and stayed with us for 2 months. These two months were the most life changing experience for every member of our family. My thatha was such an incredible human that even before his final days, he managed to bring us all to one place and helped us realize what “emotional support” every minute of the day can feel like. We lost him on 29th November 2015 and let me tell you my Patti (grandma) is the real Iron Lady of the house.

The year ended on a painful note, but in that too our family found the silver lining. We did not want to look back at it as bittersweet,  but instead wanted to celebrate the most wonderful and lively person in our lives, and that is what we did!

And as December came – dad took up a project in Abu Dhabi and thats where my real journey of transformation began. (Yes, finally I am going to talk about it! Or Maybe….)

 

The Road to Recovery – Part 2

“Fun is Good”

– Dr.Seuss

When I was about 10 years old, my father would tell me – “Go downstairs and play, go break some bones.” I took it too literally, sadly a decade later.

When you injure your hand (I have experienced this too, and that was pretty serious as well!) you can still move around and do things, but when its your leg – you are immobile, and you need help for every little thing. For someone, who needs to constantly move around, this got extremely frustrating. I was bound to my bed the entire day, and I absolutely resented the thought of putting my entire weight on one leg, to hop to the restroom  and to think that I used to love playing hop scotch at one point in time!

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Mobility Aid – My New Saathi (observe how I respected it by keeping the bubble wrap on) 

My physiotherapy started about 10 days later. Again, I was blessed with a wonderful doctor – Dr.Kiran. He would come home at 7 am and we would do strengthening exercises which I felt were more painful than  Jumping Jacks and pilates put together, why you ask? The aim was to get my New Leg to bend and I couldn’t move it – even a slight push would feel like someone was trying to dismantle my leg. And I had a big target already set in my mind.

When you get an ACL reconstruction – the doctors tell you – you need 9 – 12 months to get back to your prior activity levels. (No Dance, No basketball, No Adventure – SIGH!)

But, I had my convocation coming up on May 23rd 2015, and I had made it very clear that the doctors need to ensure I can go on stage to receive my degree without a walking stick. My father would tell me ‘why don’t you just go on stage with the stick? Set a style statement’, and trust me – I do wish I had listened – it would have made a better story!

I spent a month after college trying to walk again. It was like an infant trying to learn. I had to hold onto something , in this case it was my saathi. There was a particular way I had to do it, first I put the mobility aid down, then put most of the pressure on my left leg (this leg will play a greater role in the stories to follow) and then slowly try to move my operated leg.

Once I had learnt how to walk, my exercises were upgraded too! They got more intense, but I had a goal – No crutch on Convocation Day!

I remember making a list of movies and TV shows I wanted to watch and books I wanted to read to kill my time, but unfortunately I spent a major chunk of time overthinking and wondering how on earth would I ever get my previous life back. Everyone from my class was already working or on a job hunt, and here I was – bound to the four walls of my room.

My grandparents had also flown down to be with me because my parents were both working. Having them around was the biggest blessing and  that was when I got really close to my Thatha and Patti (grandparents).

The very first miracle:

My mom is an artist, she even has an art studio and conducts classes for over 50 students. So, I just got lucky to inherit some of her genes. In college I really wanted to open a personalized gift shop because I love making cards and making people happy!  In fact, my roommate and I had already decided the name and the B- Plan but never got around to it. But everything has its time – and so did Artista(My personalized gift store). So in the month of April the complex that I live in Hyderabad was hosting a Mela(fair) where the residents can put up stalls, and this was my golden opportunity. And my grandmother(Patti) had been a constant motivation for me. She would often ask me what was the latest craft I had made. So with my Brace and a special set up for my leg by my parents I sat and made 40 cards over two nights and put up a stall with my mom’s products as well. We were not sold out, but people seemed to enjoy what I had made and the appreciations received were a major boost that I had been craving for.

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Getting the art right with my Amma since 95
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First batch of Artista

To keep myself further occupied I made a 20 page scrapbook for my best friend Cynthia – because her birthday was coming up right before our convocation. I also got a surprise visit from my school friends in Hyderabad, which was just the thing I needed!

May 23rd was only a week away. I had gone from Mobility Aid and Brace to Walking Stick and Knee Band. But on that day it had to be ONLY Knee Band.

Dr. Kiran made it happen, did I play a role in it? Yes, I did the exercises diligently. Its human nature to work harder when there is a reward attached to it.

So, we decided to travel via road to Bangalore as this would also allow me to comfortably place my leg – however I wanted. Thankfully, I was able to get passes for my grandparents to attend the convocation as well.

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Can you see me beaming? I was for sure, at that moment just those few seconds, I completely forgot about my pain. Dr. Kiran had a very interesting way to teach climbing up and going down the stairs. He said while going down – you are going to hell – use your operated leg first, and while climbing up use your good leg because you are going to heaven. So before I got onto stage, I had help from my classmate Sanskriti and while getting off I had help from my classmate Nikita.

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(Left) My Appa’s Graduation – National University of Singapore (2007) and (Right) Rachna’s graduation – Christ University – 2015.

I was so exhausted by the end of it , that I just wanted a place to sit, and never get up again. I returned my robe to the college, meanwhile, my mom and dad were both trying to find me but on different floors. That day, I realized that when you are tired and worn out , anything can cloud your judgement of right and wrong. I hadn’t  got a picture with my dad, and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have the coolest dad – daughter picture in the history of photographs. He insisted that I go back and get the robe(which required me to climb two floors), because only then we would have the above collage. And as always, my parents had saved the day and gave me another story to talk about.

After what felt like the longest and most overwhelming day of my life, I came home to a surprise (extended celebration) by my wonderful aunt, uncle and cousin! Since I couldn’t go anywhere, they brought the party home!

Start the day with a smile, and finish it with Champagne!