Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Travel Week Workout and Meal Plan

Last week I did a pretty good job in at least getting to the gym, keeping up with Rashi’s meal plan and drinking a TON of water. I had a few issues Sat/Sunday due to low blood pressure but this was not a huge set back.  I tend to get this if I am stressed. Hurricane Irene stressed me out! Kidding, but she definitely harassed a lot of my fellow East Coast friends!


Ok, so this week is a LONGGG travel week for me. I mentioned 3 meals plans in my previous post. I made a mistake. I do have 3 meal plans but not for 15 days but from Aug 22-Sept 11. 1 for NY, 1 for my long haul flight and 1 for my time in Asia.

Today starts the first segment of a long haul flight. Orlando–>Atlanta–> San Francisco. Now this is not TOO bad because I can carry my snacks and dinner as I am leaving from home. My mom is happy because I actually allowed her to cook for me and I am happy because I won’t be starving or having to hunt for what I need in Atlanta airport or on the 6 hour flight to San Francisco.

Tomorrow,however, is going to be the hard ones. This is what meal plan 2 was created for. As eager as I am to post it, I will hold off until tomorrow:)

So what does today’s meal plan look like, taking into account a long day+a 3 hour time difference? Landing in San Francisco at 10pm local time…I am definitely not expected to keep my stomach empty so many hours after dinner!

Meal 1: Banana (same as before)

Meal 2: Upma (at home option, same as before)

Meal 3: Soy Milk (same)

Meal 4: Paratha with sabzi and yogurt (same as before home option)

Meal 5: Handful of Peanuts (will be at airport or on flight–easy to do since flights serve peanuts like water!)

Meal 6: Fruit Yogurt (can be found anywhere!)

Meal 7: (Dinner): Sprouts salad with Chutneys (carry on flight from home, easy to carry and filling with protein)

Meal 8: On landing: one glass of fresh OJ and calcium Citrate. Then sleep!

Important: Drink lots of water!


Rashi also asked me: Will you be drinking on your trip. The answer was yes. So the next 2 diet plans will reflect the fact that I will be, indeed, consuming alcohol (YUM ;-)). 

I did my workout yesterday–Monday– a tough boot camp class that included ab work/resistance bands and cardio like jumping jacks, high knee jogging, simulated jump rope, etc.

Today I will most likely not be working out. Travel days are tough. However, my flight from San Francisco is tomorrow afternoon so I will be getting in a short workout in the morning–to rejuvenate myself and stretch before the dreaded 11+6 hours flights!

If you want some fun reading to do, checkout this book. I used this last year because I was bored with my workouts. I ignored almost everything in it in terms of fod plans (although I read everything) and did just the workouts…..AWESOME and fun. I even skipped the writing and meditation, but the workouts are so much fun! 3 different circuit workouts and ab workouts that will just kick your butt (or abs)!


Stay tuned!

What do the Vitamin Supplements do?

What do each of the supplements of vitamins taken every day do for our body and health? Well, I did some research and here are my findings;

B complex:

Vitamin B coenzyme complex supplements are the cheapest, safest, and most reliable way to improve your wellbeing and overall mental abilities. I recommend a Vitamin B complex to those who wish to improve their mood, mental clarity, and energy. The effects are subtle, especially in the young who normally have adequate dietary intake of these nutrients. Improvements in cognitive functions from vitamin B are particularly noticeable in middle age individuals and the elderly. Most Vitamin B Complex supplements have the following:
B 1 — Thiamine Cocarboxylase
B 2 — Riboflavin Flavin Mono Nucleotide
B 3 — Niacin, Nicotinamide and NADH
B 5 — Pantothenic acid, Pantethine
B 6 — Pyridoxine Pyridoxal Phosphate
B12 — Cyanocobalamin Dibencozide or Methylcobalamin
Folic acid

 —AntiOxidant Supplement: Anti-Aging and Vitamins C and E, and quasi-vitamins Coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid are all powerful antioxidants that are used by the body to limit antioxidant damage.

Omega 3: Heart and cholesterol

Omega 3 fatty acids are poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Studies show that a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Omega 3 fatty acids may also act as an anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting. Several other studies also suggest that these fatty acids may help lower high blood pressure.

Calcium Citrate: healthy bones. Other related benefits to calcium citrate include easier weight loss, secondary blooming pressure, less cold PMS, healthy teeth, and higher a prevention rate of contracting accurate cancers. It incumbency also help you to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Magnesium:  Relaxes the muscles to prevent jaw clenching at night. My teeth are very loose due to years of this, so this is a must for me!

This is it…..let’s begin!

OK–so we spent all of August learning and getting our bodies and mind in the right mode to charge forward 100%. So this week is the beginning of just charging forward with a prepared mind-set and warmed up body.

Hopefully with the progress made so far, there is enough interest in continuing or at least positive results to keep the motivation going. If you are going to continue on, think one thing through. What is your goal? Is it to lose weight? It is to tone up? Is it to lead a healthier lifestyle? is it all of the above? None of these answers are wrong. In fact, no answer is wrong. But we must understand what we are trying to accomplish for those days where working out seems a far off item on your to-do list…or that chocolate box is calling your name. Those are the times when this goal should flash in the mind as a signal to focus.


My goal is all of the above. As I said, I booked me a mini cruise vacation—my goal is to be fit and fabulous for that. Of course I will continue to lead this healthy lifestyle. So, my first goal was to start eating right. As i said in my last post…I had a hell of a two weeks! My eating plan pretty much went out the window….shoot, the last time I saw the inside of a gym was 2 weeks ago! However, all was not lost. First, the stress of everything kept me in check….I pushed boxes, climbed stairs….slept 2-3 hours a night only…it was no time to think about my workouts. That is life and I have no regrets. But, it is time to get back on track, start eating wisely and taking my vitamins. Bikini Body is the first goal ….and so I decided to make a phone call on Saturday to Rashi Chowdhary. And as of today, I am in her capable hands to resume a healthy meal plan….glowing skin…shiney hair…and a fit and fab body with no starvation.  It’s funny, we talked after almost 8 months and the first few questions she asked me were:

–Do you need to lose weight?–Obviously the answer was no.

–Do you want to tone up?–Yes

–What has changed in your life since the last time–this questions comes as the last 2-3 years have just been CRAZY for me in terms of travel and other stresses. Now that I finally have settled into a somewhat normal routine, I was able to tell her how my life has evolved for the better the last few months.

— How much water are you drinking

–Are you taking your supplements? –I admitted it was not regularly. This is the first thing we need to change, she said.

-Do you eat post dinner–yes, I do…my weakness is chips….popsicles and/or ice cream!—this needs to change. If you eat well all day then this won’t happen.

So, I gave her my daily schedule which goes from 645am – 11 pm daily..from waking up to going to bed each day.  In addition, there may be some long distance international travel  coming up for me next week and a long haul flight needed to be accounted for. Each meal plan usually lasts about 15 days. However, my busy schedule for the next 2 weeks screamed for 3 diet plans in the next 15 days. 1 for my week in NYC. 1 for the plane ride and 1 for my time abroad. Remember we eat according to the local foods. What I am eating in NYC may not be what I am eating somewhere else in the world! But, I will be posting these only one at a time. Again, this one hour call took into account my workout schedule, my work schedule, how much I am flying,being home on the weekends (she will give home cooked food choices on weekends and being in a hotel on weekdays will give the easy pick up from the local deli type choices),where I am in the world and my food likes and dislikes.

Meal Plan #1 New York City:

Meal 1 (on rising 630am): Any fruit ..preferably one banana and Vitamin B Complex

Meal 2 (830, post workout or post yoga): 1 whole wheat toast with 2 egg whites and one yellow (OR baked beans or paneer or tofu to sub eggs for vegans) OR poha or upma with Veggies (on days I am at home) Supplemt Any antioxidant that has at least 500mg of Vit C

Meal 3: (10:30am): Plain Soy Milk

Meal 4:(1-130) Cheese n vegetable Sandwich on whole wheat(on the road) or stuffed
paratha with subzi + curd raita(at home) Omega 3 supplement

Meal 5 (430): Handful of peanuts OR 8 almonds

Meal 6  (630pm): Any fruit (if working out, pre workout) OR fruit yogurt on non workout days (not fat-free)

Meal 7 (830pm): Grilled Paneer or Edemame + avocado sushi OR if at home 1 besan cheela

Bedtime: Calcium supplement

Drink 3-3.5 L water

On travel Sundays– Meal 7 can be a sprouts salad with chutneys for dinner on the flight (carry with) and Meal 8: late night after landing a small glass of fresh OJ


So, here I go tomorrow, starting fresh and completely trust worthy of what Rashi has me doing. She knows my goals, she knows what to do. I will just follow her plan as directed. This is the mind set we need to be in described in the beginning of this post.

Now that 70% of my battle is over (being fit is 70% nutrition and 30% workout), I put together a workout plan myself for the remaining 30% of my totally fit lifestyle. To my utter shock and dismay, I found out my yoga studio closed down when I went there this evening all prepared to sweat it out and saw a “we have closed” sign:-( I will need to find another one, but for the time being, I need to re adjust my workouts for the days I planned to go to yoga in the mornings to start my day fresh. Instead, I will do a light workout. Rashi warned me–do NOT over exert yourself on workouts. You will not see progress if you stress your body out to the point of utter exhaustion. This week will look like this:

Monday: 35 min cardio and 20 min abs

Tuesday: Morning: 40 min cardio Evening:1 hour  Circuit training or hot yoga if new studio found

Weds: Morning: 35 min cardio Intervals Evening:Yoga

Thursday: Morning: 1 hour Circuit training or hot yoga  Evening: Off

Friday: Morning: hot yoga Evening: 40 min cardio

Sat: 45 min cardio

Sun: Rest

I feel a bit unbalanced because I cannot say what is going on with my precious Bikram Yoga! I called a friend today and said “I am frustrated and I can’t go to yoga to blow off the steam!!!”. That is how therapeutic it has become for me. Anyway, this is life…..where there is a will..there’s a way..and I will definitely find a way!



Resting Rate Metabolism–How to Calculate

The amount of calories your body burns when sitting around doing nothing is a key number to know if you are trying to lose fat. Resting Rate metabolism or RMR allows you to figure out how much your body needs in order to survive. Every person is different… is like a finger print—no one person is the same. There are tests to do this at your local gym, but if you don’t want to spend that money, there is an easier way to figure this out.

My very first trainer, Sergio, sent me an excel sheet that did the calculation for me, but it is very simple.  Use the following calculation to estimate your RMR:

1. Weight in LBS /2.2= A

2. Height in Inches *2.54=B

3. A*9.6=C

4. B*1.8=D

5. Age*4.7=E


6. Activity Factor RMR*1.55 (this activity factor is for moderate activity 3-5 times a week) = F

Weight Loss:

1lb/week= F-500

1.5 lb/week = F-750

2 lbs/week=F-1000


Clearly you do not need to a mathematician to calculate this formula! 😉




The Chocolate Lovers Meal Plans

For all the chocolate lovers who cannot do without a piece of chocolate daily–these meal plans were given to me by Rashi. Curbed my sweet tooth and gave me healthy anti oxidants daily!  I once saw a sign in Switzerland–“a dark chocolate a day, keeps the doctor away”. So, here’s to keeping the doc away!

Enjoy! Please remember–these were customized for my body type, my energy levels and how my body was responding at the time AND where in the world i was at the time. You can tell from the dishes where int he world I was because they were local foods! I will put in brackets which country I was in when I got the meals plans–they may not work for everyone. Start Meal 1 within 10-15 min of rising and the rest every 2-2.5 hours until dinner. Remember, one cheat meal is still there once a week!

Chocolate Lovers Meal Plan #1: (India)

Meal 1: Any one fruit

Meal 2-Poha or Upma squeeze  some lime for better iron absorption + Multi Vitamin and B complex

Meal 3: Plain Yogurt

Meal 4: Chapati+Dal+Veggie Sabzi (or chicken for non veg) OR South Indian Food with Coconut Chutney (Flaxseed Supplement)

Meal 5: Protein Shake (or Soy Milk)

Meal 6: 2 pcs dark chocolate(70% coco) with 4

Meal 7: Anything for dinner without carbs like bread or pasta.+ Vit E  and Vit C

Chocolate Lovers Meal Plan #2: (England)

Meal 1: Any one fruit+ B complex

Meal 2-Oatmeal with Milk

Meal 3: Mixed Nuts

Meal 4: Cheese and Veggie sandwich on wheat bread+flaxseed supplement

Meal 5: 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate

Meal 6: Plain Yogurt

Meal 7: Egg whites+ any vegetable soup (or paneer)

Bedtime: Calcium Citrate

Post workout: Protein shake (or soy milk) with Vit E and Vit C


Chocolate Lovers Meal Plan #3: (England)

Meal 1: Any one fruit+ B complex

Meal 2- Cereal with Milk

Meal 3: Fruit Yogurt

Meal 4: Cheese and Veggie sandwich on wheat bread OR Baked potato with baked beans and soup +flaxseed supplement

Meal 5: Soy beans

Meal 6: Hot Chocolate

Meal 7: Egg whites (or paneer)+ any vegetable soup and steam veggies  (Vit C and Vit E)

Bedtime: Calcium Citrate


Courtesy Rashi Chowdhary for Reshma Radia




A couple more meal plans

Here are some more plans for those who are interested. If you can;t do all veg, add in grilled chicken or steamed fish or a fish or chicken curry for  lunch and evening dinner (I will try to specify where if I can):

Plan A:

Meal 1 (within 10 min of rising)(730-745am): Apple+Multi vitamin, B12

Meal 2 830-845: Museli+milk+Vit C 500 mg

Meal 3 (11am): slice of cheese

Meal 4(1-130): Whole wheat bread+peanut butter (1-2 slices depending on hunger)+GLA

Meal 5 (4pm): 1 orange

Meal 6 (6pm) Soy Milk+Flax Seed

Meal 7: Paneer Stirfry (or Chicken instead of paneer)–avoid soy sauce and msg

Bedtime: Calcium Citrate

Plan B:

Meal 1 (within 10 min of rising)(730-745am): Mash Melon+Multi vitamin, B12

Meal 2 830-845: 2 egg whites+ 1 whole wheat toast (or baked beans and toast)+Vit C 500 mg

Meal 3 (11am): handful unsalted peanuts

Meal 4(1-130):Veggies + hummus OR Dal + veggies+GLA

Meal 5 (4pm): protein shake in milk

Meal 6 (6pm) Soy Milk+Flax Seed

Meal 7: Tomato and beans soup

Bedtime: Calcium Citrate

**Protein shake can be sub with cheese slice or plain yogurt

Courtesy Rujuta Diwaker for Reshma Radia

Artistic Yoga –What is it?

I talked in length about Bikram yoga and the experience I have had with that. Before I started Bikram, I had the opportunity to experience and learn Bharat Thakur’s Artistic Yoga.  I got a private teacher for about one week in Chennai and the first session completely blew me away. I was expecting a good workout but what Vinod, my teacher, had me do was incredibly hard!  He started off the first session quite simply to judge my energy and endurance levels. After that, he went to town. The class went something like this:

Warm up for 5-10 min: running in place, jumping jacks, side twists, downward stretches, right leg stretch,bounce ten times on a lunged leg, left leg stretch, bounce 10 times on a lunged leg

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)–the first day we did 50. The next day 80 and from then on he made me do a variation from 50-80 and finally 108! This lasts anywhere from 10-18 min. Doing 108 in 18 min we are going very fast. The first 10 are slow and the concentration is on breathing since that will determine how much stamina you have for the 98 left to go. The following link shows the 12 steps in completing one round:

At this point, I got such a workout, I thought we were done. Guess what. The class was just starting. 40ish more min to go!

Concentration of the day– He picked 2 body parts a day and did poses based on this. Now the poses were held for 10 counts, and we quickly went to the next pose. Sometimes he would trick me and he would count to 10 and say 10 more counts.  So depending on the day, we did lower body/abs, arms and back, etc.

Cool down Stretch: He would stretch me out completely for about 5-10 min. This would involve him pulling my hands and legs so hard I thought they would dislocate. But they did not. My back cured it self from this!

Kapalbhatti: started off with 50. As I became stronger,we did 2 sets of 500.

Now Vinod didn’t believe in any drastic meal plans or weight loss. He told me right away–we can do this for a whole year and more than likely you will not see a change in weight. But you will tone up.  He endorsed healthy eating. He also said some of his clients would do a session like this with him in the mornings or evenings and do a one hour cardio to supplement it. I couldn’t imagine this! I was beat by the time I was done with his one hour session.

Vinod also gave me a challenge. He said for most of his clients, he would say you should practice this 5 days a week. Out of the 5 days, 4 days the SuryaNamaskar bit would be 50 and 1 day a week you could do 108. However, he said if I did 108 every week 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks, I would see a huge difference in my body type. I have not yet done this, but who knows….! Maybe this is coming up very very soon!

 He also suggested a great how-to book complete with suggested workout plans by body type and a description of each pose we did in a book by another student of Bharat Thakur that Vinod worked with–Payal. The book’s link is:


There is one “cardio” workout on this that is absolutely fantastic. I will be posting it soon as it is my favorite! By “Cardio” I mean yoga cardio!

So that–in a nutshell is my artistic yoga experience.