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December 2016

Panchali Baishya was this typical teenager eating out almost every day. Then one day like a bolt out of the blue, it hit her that she had gotten seriously out of shape.

We started with the small step of cutting down on eating out, limiting it to once a week. This single step snowballed into a series of other steps — working out, sleeping on time, eating on time. She never bothered stepping on the scale but only on stepping up her efforts.

A journey that started from 75 kgs to her current 59kgs over 2 years. It’s a journey from eating out all the time to once a week, not working out to pushing over 250lbs on the leg press, from huffing and puffing on the treadmill to running 2 kms in 20 mins. A journey from void to being full of life, “no time” to making time, oversized tees to well fitted tops, tons of weight lost but that’s not the point, the point is she found herself!

Body Transformation: Panchali BaishyaThanks Panchali, you made me proud!!!

Inspired? Begin your own transformation today »

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I like to move it, move it…Do you?

You may want to stand up while you read this…

If history is any guide, next week millions of people will make a New year’s fitness resolution in an annual, usually ineffective, effort to lose weight. From Gym workouts to Yoga, from Zumba to Pilates, from Kettle bell workouts to TRX training, everyone will have a lot to ‘try’ to get back on the wagon (and money to be made in the process by the weight loss industry)

But what if you end up being an Active Couch Potato?

Huh…what’s that?

Well, an Active Couch Potato is the one who exercises for 30 mins or more on most days of the week, but who then sits all day watching TV or working at a desk or playing video games or simply ordering take-out and delivery, reading, shopping, banking, eating a meal at a table or navigating the stock market.

So, what’s the big deal?

Actually, the deal is much bigger than you can imagine. Fascinating new research is revealing that sitting for long hours alters our physiology in ways that prevents exercise from burning fat. The act of too much sitting blocks the normal impacts of exercise and makes our bodies exercise- resistant. Simply put, you may comply with your workout routine, but if you are sitting for long periods of time, your metabolic health is still compromised. Exercising followed by too much sitting through the day may do little to reduce risk of heart diseases, diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol etc. This is a new and challenging area for exercise science and population-health research.

These findings are also based on a study of “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT, which is the amount of calories you burn doing everything except sleeping, eating and exercise. Low NEAT is linked to, among other things, weight gain, poor metabolic health and cancer.

What’s the action plan?

Our bodies did not evolve to sit in chairs all day. Current research findings of ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) indicate that moving more during the day, in addition to getting 150mins/week of exercise, is necessary to reduce one’s risk of diseases and to lose weight.

 – Make your own “Get Moving” action plan to incorporate movements that effortlessly fit into your work life and daily living.

You could start with few of these-

  1. 2 minutes of walking for every hour of sitting is shown to help reverse its negative effects. Set a reminder on your computer or phone and take a break every hour
  2. Take your calls standing or walking, both at work and home
  3. Hold standing meetings at work. “Walk and Talk” instead of long and tiring “sit all day” meetings is also a great idea
  4. Use sit-stand desks to regularly break up seated-based work with active standing
  5. Take a walk break every time you take a coffee/ chai break (and give your phone a break too;)
  6. Walk to a colleagues’ desk instead of emailing or calling her/him (you will end up making few great office friends too :))
  7. Replace those weekend drives with weekend walks
  8. When watching TV, stand up/move/ stretch with every commercial break
  9. Play real games vs virtual with your kids 15-30 minutes a day
  10. Weekend activities like farming/ trekking instead of ‘chilling’ in malls not only creates more movement for entire family but also encourages the child to get connected to and stay in harmony with nature

So get moving, and stay moving!

Here’s to a fitter and healthier 2017… Happy New Year!

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Dear ‘Weight Loss’

“Kyun lena hai difficult option?” SRK, a.k.a Dr. Jag, asks Alia Bhat (Kaira) in the movie. He mentions that, often, the answer is that we unknowingly like to punish ourselves, because we believe that until we go through some suffering, there can be no rewards.

After watching Dear Zindagi, I came out of the theatre with a feeling that Mr. Khan has nailed it yet again (oh, yes! I am a SRK fan). After all, don’t we do this to ourselves on an everyday basis?

You visit a white-coat dietitian and she gives you a list of ‘DO NOT EAT’ foods which is invariably longer than the list of foods you are allowed to eat. After much struggle, you finally make it to your gym only to hear your big-bicep trainer say, “No pain, no gain.” The words we associate ‘weight loss’ with are deprivation/ suffering/ punishment. You eat your raw kale salad but in your mind, you are romancing with the hot gulab jamun soaked in its juices. And to make things worse, you end up feeling guilty just thinking about it, let alone eating it.

Like Dr. Jag in the movie, the point I am trying to make here is simple: Take the easy option. Because losing weight is not about choosing the difficult one!

To further elaborate my point, every time that you deny yourself of your favourite foods, you are deprived of Vitamin J (Joy). Now the short-term effect of Vitamin J deficiency is overeating and its long-term effect is weight gain!
Here’s how—

Dear Zindagi-their is no need to difficult path, when there is easy path available1. You eat more food than you would otherwise, in an attempt to get the necessary level of satisfaction.

Poha/ paratha/ thalipeeth for breakfast or oats: what is more satisfying?
Every time you try a tasteless and ‘guilt-free’ alternative to your favourite foods, you actually end up eating more than you would otherwise.

2. You deprive yourself of Vitamin J at one meal, only to overcompensate for it at the next.

Have you ever noticed yourself reaching for that late night chocolate treat after a ‘no carbs’ dinner of soup and salad/ chicken breast? When your dinner fails to hit the spot, you end up craving for more carbs and calories later.

3. You make it easier to ‘fall off’ and harder to ‘get back with your diet.

You are more likely to ‘fall off’ from a diet that is not inclusive of the foods that you like. The end result is that you see yourself yo-yoing from having lost some weight only to gain back double of the weight lost.

The alternative—

1. Let go of the idea of ‘on-plan’ foods and ‘off-plan’ foods.

There is no ‘diet’ food or ‘anti-diet’ food. Include foods that you like and that you have grown up eating as part of your diet. That way you are more likely to not fall off the wagon. The more sustainable it gets; the more weight you lose. That too in a sensible and reasonable manner.

2. Eat mindfully and savour the flavour.

Don’t let shame, guilt or fear take the joy out of your food. Allow yourself to fully experience every flavour and texture. When you do this, you won’t need as much to feel satisfied from the meal.

3. Let your Vitamin J come from the right place.

Choose your homemade delicacy over a packaged food product. A homemade laddoo over a cookie not only gives you the much needed Vitamin J in abundance, it is rich in all other nutrients too.

If all this sounds well and good, I hope you will approach ‘weight loss’ as something that supports your life rather than becomes your life, because life is all about joy and love. Love you, Zindagi!

Trying to lose weight without going on an extreme diet? Let dietitian Munmun Ganeriwal who specialises in Indian food help you with a holistic weight loss program. Contact us now to know more or set up a consultation!

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