Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s tough to be a girl: Part 1 of 3

Every now and then, i wonder…why do we women have all the toughest things to endure in life? Men, in general, of course have their own share of issues, but as women, we have to take on a different level of hardships. Some, which are very worth it, some, which are worthless and some which are worrisome and a general pain.

So when I read the book “Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha” by Rujuta Diwekar, I had a level of appreciation for the understanding she has for women. Of course being one helps with that understanding:)  In her book, she outlines the different stages of a woman’s life and how we women tend to forget the most important thing….US. The pressures of society,  family, children, husband, in laws just weigh women down and we forget the last time we did something for ourselves..our health….

We forget, in order to get through all these stages in life, we need to have energy and a healthy mind. That all takes a back seat.  In this post,I want to share some of the diet plans Rujuta has in her book (for those of you that have not read it) for difficult times we women have to endure. Since I am well past my teen life, I was not too interested in the beginning of the book dealing with how to nourish yourself as a growing female teen. I am going to skip that part in this post as well.

1. Marriage: Regardless of where we are in life, we hit 25 and our parents start the ranting: get married, get married get married. Rujuta explains in this section that women first feel pressure to look good so to find a suitable groom for themselves. The tall, pretty and thin phenomena hits and during that stage of the life, women tend to think this will be an instant recipe for marriage. (actually, trust me, it is not). Then, we plan for our wedding. Have found the perfect soulmate…I need to lose weight for my wedding…..then comes the real are married and everything has changed. Your sleep pattern has changed, you feel the need to take care of your husband, in laws. Cook for them what they like, keep the house in order, most of us work so we have to hold on to our jobs. The way we make our food changes, Mom made food to our taste, we make food to our husband’s taste. if you are both working, you may be eating out or ordering in most nights a week. Everyone and everything is important..except…you. And so the post marriage weight gain occurs. What is Rujuta’s recipe for this? Start making foods and eating what YOU like as well. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. A sample meal plan she has talked about :

Meal 1: Fresh fruit

Meal 2: Chilla or Paratha (or something you have always loved for breakfast)

meal 3: Handful of peanuts or makhana

meal 4: Idli/Dosa+Coconut Chutney and Sambhar

meal 5: Chaas

Meal 6: Cheese

meal 7: 2 egg whites+ 1 whole wheat toast

Meal 8: Daal or kadhi with sabzi

2. Pregnancy and Motherhood: The time our bodies and needs change the most. Shoot, if we were letting go ourselves for our in laws and husband, the average woman would go to the ends of the earth to put her child’s needs ahead of hers. When you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, the body needs the most careful nutrition you will ever have. Her pointers during pregancy include: Eat fruit AND dry fruit upon waking up, have a nutritious hot home made breakfast avoiding bread, pickles, sauces, have lunch by 11-1pm max, have lots of curd and chaas post lunch, cut down on tea and coffee, have an early dinner or a homemade snack by 6-7pm including cheese, paneer, peanut butter, stay active and workout during pregnancy, Eat seasonal veggies and sabzis with daal or kadhi for dinner. Post pregnancy–Nourish your body for the increasing demands of motherhood. Don’t push yourself to lose the baby weight until after you have your first post baby period, which is your body’s way of telling you it is ready to start healing again.  Don’t limit carbs…if you are breastfeeding, you will need this for energy. And do not skip meals. Your baby needs a happy and healthy mother…not one who is so drained of energy.  A sample diet plan:

Meal 1: Protein Shake (let the body recover from the over night fast and start the day)

Meal 2: 2 egg whites+ whole wheat toast (easy to prepare while baby needs to be fed)

meal 3: fruit Yogurt

Meal 4: Rice+ Fish Curry (for vegetarians can do paneer or daal)+veggies

Meal 5: Peanuts

Meal 6: Veg sandwich with cheese

meal 7: Chappati+Daal+sabzi

Meal 8: Stirfry veggies with olives(7-8) or daal+sabzi

Meal 9: (10pm) 1/2 scoop protein shake in milk for over night recovery

This meal plan will give a new mother the extra vitamins and energy needed to pamper and replenish the body.

Stay tuned for more coming very soon….!

step 2: Keep fitness levels changing and eat clean

The last few weeks have been a bit easy on my body. Mentally, i was not there to continue on with my regimen that I had established for the past 4 weeks. But I mindfully was okay with this small break of 2 weeks. Actually, it was not a full break 2 weeks ago, my workout regimen cooled down. I still went to the gym, maybe 2 days of Bikram Yoga, 1 day of cardio and one day of a walk outside for an hour. Last week, some stresses in my mind just completely weighed me down and I took it easy. I knew this was okay because this week—-we start a month of a “stepping it up” plan.But first, let’s talk about food. Eat clean! If you started a good clean plan, continue on with it. Here are two new plans to follow which are really quite fun(by Rashi Chowdhary):

Meal 1 (on rising): 6 almonds

Meal 2 (breakfast around 9am): rice milk or almond milk or plain milk with any 2 fruits

Meal 3: (11am-1130am): bowl of yogurt

Meal 4: (1pm): Cheese and Veggie sandwich on wheat bread OR 4 tbsp rice with beans and veggies

Meal 5: (4pm): handful unsalted peanuts

Meal 6: (dinner, 630): daal/green sabzi OR veg and tofu stirfry

meal 7(9pm): protein shake

OR another meal plan :

Meal 1: 6 almonds

Meal 2: Paneer Bhurji (or 3 egg whites)

Meal 3: slice of cow cheese

Meal 4: (lunch): Steamed moong sprouts and tomato soup OR 8-10 tablespoons of fresh guacamole and tomato soup (love guac!)

Meal 5: bowl of plain yogurt

Meal 6 (early dinner, 1-1.5 hrs pre Bikram Yoga): 1 roti+daal+ veggie sabzi OR mexican rice bowl (6-8 tbsp rice+ black beans+ veggies +lettuce and salsa) OR veggie sushi and edamame

Meal 7 (post workout OR if not working out evening snack) (9/930pm): 1 scoop protein shake (I use chocolate)

A stepping it up plan gets the body in high gear and great fitness shape. This is something that should not be sustained for more than a few weeks, as the body will indeed get tired. I just need something new to do to get me back on track.  For those trying to lose some weight, I have some great advice I got from my friend and certified yoga/fitness trainer Rebecca Thieneman.  I told her I was back on my Bikram yoga kick and I wanted to know for my blog and personal knowledge how that can fit into a workout plan for a) someone who is trying to maintain a healthy level of fitness b) someone who is trying to lose weight.  So, her response was this (incidentally, this also co-coincided with what Rashi had told me NOT to do so that I would NOT lose too much weight due to going for Bikram so many times a week):


“Your weight will flux related to water weight, and of course you could potentially lose weight related to the increase in kcal expenditure being in the heat, etc. For weight loss, about 90 min most/all days of the week is essential. You could maximize these results by heart rate training in your aerobic zones. I also have found interval training to be super successful for myself and clients. I would start with cardio on the non-yoga days, and you might explore doing some additional cardio on the yoga days, e.g. if yoga is at night, try morning (pre- breakfast) cardio. Something like 20-30 min of intervals or 45-60 min of lower intensity. Just an idea. You can play with the time, type, and intensity to see what works for you.”


So, you want to lose weight? 90 minutes 6 days a week folks! If you don’t need to lose weight, take out the intervals and cut down on the cardio, continue with toning via yoga or weights. Some good intervals:

1 min sprint on treadmill or outside, 1 min walk for 20-25 minutes

1 min high resistance on an elliptical (10-12 level), 2 minutes recovery level (5-6 or lower) for 25 minutes

1 min normal level on elliptical, but high speed, 2 min recovery speed for 20-25 min

You can do these on a bike as well. Another interval workout I LOVE who my friend Farhad had taught me is my light post workout. Find a street of light posts and use those as markers. One “round” consists of:

Lamp post 1-2: walk

Lamp post 2-3: light jog

Lamp post 3-4: Run

Lamp post 4-5: Sprint

Do this for 10 rounds which means you probably would be about a mile or more out from your starting point and then jog back home. This would be about 20-30 min workout. And fun!

So the suggested “step up” plan would be something as such(building upon the beginners plan from my last post):

Day 1: 40-50 min cardio in any form (but make sure you get your heart rate up there, challenge yourself)+15-20 min ab exercises

Day 2: Power/Bikram yoga or weight training (upper or lower body)+20 min of intervals

Day 3: 40-50 min cardio in any form+15-20 min ab exercises

Day 4: Take off

Day 5: Power/Bikram yoga or weight training (upper or lower body)+20 min of intervals

Day 6: Can repeat Day 1 or Day 2 based on goals

Eat clean, step it up and see yourself transform into being fit and fab and full of new found energy!



step 1: detox the body

OK…I have to say I have been getting a lot of people asking for more posts! Am happy about this so thank u for reading my posts and wanting more:)

Looks like there have been a lot of requests coming in about just starting out. Well, I have been going through in past posts about nutrition, meal plans, workouts, mental meditations, etc. But how do we take all that and put it all together?  I have been approached by about 3-4 people as to “I don’t know how to do it” and no matter what your case is….it all starts with one thing. make sure your mind is mentally ready and you REALLY want to start a healthy and fit lifestyle. For example, I was in all directions for 3.5 months. Then, last month, something inside me (mental) really just snapped and said “this is it. Get your self together”. So I went on a mental (and liquid) detox of sorts. When I mean liquid detox I definitely am not saying I consumed only liquids. NEVER do that! In fact, I limited my consumption of any non water liquids, juices, sodas, etc. for 4 weeks. Was it hard? Not really. I had the support of my friends/family but mostly, I had the support of myself. I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I did it. One thing I allowed myself is my morning and afternoon coffees. After all, you only have one life to live:)

So, Step 1…detox yourself. Get rid of anything that is harsh on your body and mind. A few examples:

1. alcohol

2. Fruit Juice (there is a reason you can buy the whole fruit)

3. Sodas/Carbonated drinks (Sparkling water is OK)

4. Stressful Situations

5. Stressful and Negative people

6. Sitting for hours watching TV (I am still guilty of this)

You get the picture. get the mind ready, and the next step is to clean up your diet. Nutrition is 70-80% of being fit and healthy. You can go to the gym for hours and hours a day, but if you come home and eat a bag of chips and cookies and beer, you will never see results…or at least the results you want. The second you start “eating clean” trust me, you will have more energy and your body will just start figuring itself out, both physcially..and mentally. I can say this with experience because in my clean lifestyle this last one month and a bit, I have figured a lot of my self out..mentally…things that seemed cloudy and confusing have suddenly become clear. So, I cannot stress : make up your mind and start eating clean. And don’t do this as a one-off. This should be a lifestyle…not a crash diet. 8 mini meals a day.  A few samples of my recent clean eating plans:

Clean Eating Plan #1 (do this for 15 days):

Meal 1 (10 min of rising): Any 1 fruit

Meal 2: (8am-830am): Plain Yoghurt with one fruit and 6 walnuts OR 1 paratha and yogurt (YUMMMMM)

Meal 3: (10-1030): 1 boiled egg or soy milk

Meal 4: (lunch): 6-8 tbsp rice + dal + curd or
cheese+ vegetable sw or
Pasta salad + veges(no corn)

Meal 5:(4pm): handful of unsalted peanuts

Meal 6 (6pm)(for me this was pre workout):  1 slice of wheat bread with guacamole

Meal 7 (post workout) 8/9pm): 1 scoop protein shake (post work out) AND
Salad + edemame or salad and  hummus

3-4 L water (flushes out the system and need to hydrate since I have been going to Bikram Yoga 3-4 times a week)

My more recent one is a slightly different variation of real hard carbs only before a workout:(same timings)

Meal 1: 6 almonds

Meal 2: Paneer Bhurji (or 3 egg whites)

Meal 3: slice of cow cheese

Meal 4: (lunch): Steamed Sprouts and tomato soup OR 8-10 tablespoons of fresh guacamole and tomato soup (love guac!)

Meal 5: bowl of plain yogurt

Meal 6 (early dinner, 1-1.5 hrs pre Bikram Yoga): 1 roti+daal+ veggie sabzi OR mexican rice bowl (6-8 tbsp rice+ black beans+ veggies +lettuce and salsa) OR veggie sushi and edamame

Meal 7 (post workout OR if not working out evening snack) (9/930pm): 1 scoop protein shake (I use chocolate)

I am actually LOVING this last one…of course catered to my taste it would be all my favorite foods of paneer and almonds and mexican and indian but….I thought I would be super hungry with no bread or pasta and an early dinner.! Have been perfectly (almost) on this. Even on my travel days!  because I have been doing so much Bikram Yoga (I used to do once or max twice a week now have been going 3-4 times a week because i like the mental clarity it provides and I am bored of doing cardio), I have to have enough carbs in my system before I tax the body with 105 degree heat/40% humidity for 90 min!

I would really recommend making only one change at a time…so if you are looking to get fit…start with a healthy eating plan….I bet you will lose some inches and fat right away. a week or so in, once your body is getting used to this….start working out. If you have not been in a while….go 3 times a week. I would do the following:

Day 1: 30-40 min cardio in any form (but make sure you get your heart rate up there, challenge yourself)

Day 2: Power yoga or weight training (upper or lower body)

Day 3: Combo day: Weight training (upper or lower body what ever was not done Day 2) for 30 min and cardio for 30 min.

If you have been going here and there, you can go for 4-5 times a week.  Just alternate between the above schedule.  Also, I highly highly recommend Bikram Yoga…..its fun, its torture but a good torture and it is an overall body toner+cardio in one 90 min session. Try 3 classes and you will figure out if you like it or not.

BTW keep a food diary of everything you consume. This will help you figure out your weaknesses! I know what mine are and when they occur…..and instead of punishing yourself for need to manage it. I think it is the hardest for women..esp. the age of 32+ or post baby or women who are battling hormonal issues. The diets above help regularize your body to deal with these kind of issues. You need a lot of food to have the energy and mental state to stabilize the body….

And if you need more motivation–check out the fit and fabulous Bollywood personalities along with the lady who changed MY outlook on eating Rujuta who I consider the 3 best role models in living a healthy lifestyle endorsing the same sort of way to get fit(one of them is a 30 something who is the mother of two kids! Will really want to look like that after two kids!): EAT!:

So, start detoxing your life… clean, workout, stop drinking for 4-6 weeks and can someone pleaseeee give me an update on if this worked for you? because it did for me! (lost an inch all over in this one month…even if people did not notice….it has happened!)