My First Interview
Initially, I felt slightly embarrassed, shy and a little strange when Diabetes Health (a magazine by doctors for diabetics) told me that they wanted to feature me in their magazine. It was for a page called Health Bytes. I contribute healthy diabetic recipes to the magazine.
After a bit of hesitation, I decided to go ahead with it. It felt great when the issue was out and I was sent a copy of the magazine. Of course, my original interview had been much more detailed. When I saw it in print, a lot of interesting bits had been cut out.I blame it on the space crunch. So I am including my original interview for those of you who want the complete picture!
This is the printed version in the magazine
Here's the unedited, unabridged version of my interview, with my headline too. Straight from the horse's mouth!
Born To Be Fit
A brief introduction to yourself
I would like to call myself a fitness freak. I have named my blog TGIF (Thank-God-I’m-Fit). I attribute my fitness level to my genes. One cannot overlook this important aspect. But that’s about 10 per cent. The rest is hard work. I exercise religiously. I wish I could say the same about my diet too.
When I’m not working or working out, I read up on fitness and health. I like to keep myself updated. I also learn a lot by listening to my clients and the patients during a counseling session. My other passion is looking up healthy recipes (sometimes the not so healthy ones too), and trying them out. That’s fun. Cooking, for me, is a great stress buster except if I am hard-pressed for time. I’m always on the lookout for recipes which use healthy and unusual ingredients. I also like to check out health food shops online. When I want to chill, there’s loads of music on my tab.
What does fitness mean to you, personally?
Fitness is a way of life for me. It would do everyone a lot of good if they followed this mantra. Earlier, I used to crib a bit when I had to renew my gym membership every year. But I used to tell myself that this is an investment I am making for my health. I wish everyone thinks that way instead of holding back when they have to spend on anything related to their health. To age well is not an accident; it’s a gift that those who care can give themselves.
How does work affect your health/fitness regime?
For me, staying fit is a professional demand too. So very rarely, do I let my work affect my workout schedule. I chose a career in the fitness industry only because it was a passion. So I don’t compromise on my workouts or diet.
What kind of physical activity do you prefer most? (Gym/walk/swimming/playing tennis etc
If I had the time, I would love to go to the gym, jog, play tennis, swim, go trekking and hiking and do everything else to keep myself fit. But since time is a constraint, I alternate between weight training in the gym and cardio activity like running and jogging with stretching and some breathing exercises. One needs to combine some form of resistance training with cardio and stretches to get the best results. A healthy diet to accompany that is a given.
Were you into any kinds of sports while growing up? Please tell us about it
I wish I could say that I used to be a tennis whiz kid. That's a game I love. I was an introverted and shy kid, also a little lazy and a daydreamer, to pursue any sport. I enjoyed reading. Then I got very busy with my studies and other things that teenagers love doing.
At 18, I attended a 10-day yoga workshop on the insistence of a friend. It was fun. I also liked the feel-good effect of exercise. Yoga continued for some time till someone pointed out that I was too young for yoga, and instead should join a gym. I had a lot of free time in the evenings and wanted to use it constructively.
While fitness was somewhere at the back of my mind, I joined a gym mainly to kill time. Soon, I enjoyed pumping iron. It was so different from my yoga class. I was also amazed at my soaring energy level after a workout session.
But what really cranked up my fitness level was the first ever Mumbai Marathon in 2004. I participated in the 42 km run even though I hated running and jogging then. I surprised myself by completing it. It made me realize that I had been abusing my genes till then. After that, I started training hard.
Please share your daily dietary habits with our readers
I don’t count calories; I look at the quality of the food. As we age, our metabolic efficiency drops. So although I am a foodie, I remind myself that my body has a budget. I never starve or skip meals. I believe that food should please the palate as much as it protects the waistline. All foods can be fattening, if you eat too much of them. No food is fattening, if the amount you eat doesn’t exceed the amount you burn up. I keep all this in mind while eating.
I start my day with a glass of warm water followed by a cup of tea. Then it is fruits, sprouts, egg, (and my protein shake depending on my workout schedule). Breakfast is usually oats porridge in soya milk or oats dosa three to four times a week. The other days I enjoy the typical Indian breakfast of upma, poha, dosa or idlis. I stay away from fried foods as far as possible. When tempted, I eat a bit but don’t make a meal out of it.
Lunch is vegetable soup or salad followed by brown rice, bhakri or chapattis with some vegetables, little dal, curds and either paneer, grilled chicken or fish.
Evening snack is 1 or 2 egg whites with sprouts or a pulse
Dinner is light with salad, roasted or boiled sweet potato or a slice of bread with two eggs.
I eat a piece of chocolate after my lunch and dinner to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I have two or three cups of green tea in a day and drink plenty of water. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Please share your exercise routine with our readers
On an average, I train five to six days a week for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. I weight train thrice a week. I do a Triple Split. One day is Legs, next is Back and Biceps and the third day is for Chest-Shoulder-Triceps. I alternate weight training with at least two days of cardio. I train my abs on the day after my leg workout.
If you had to make one change to your lifestyle, what would it be?
I wish I could eat healthy all the time. I do have food cravings which I indulge in, although in a controlled manner. I’m also an emotional eater sometimes. Yeah, I would like to be more disciplined in my food habits. Because ultimately, you are what you eat, if you want a perfectly toned body.
What advice would you give to youngsters who tend to use crash diets as a way to lose weight?
Crash diets or fad diets kill your metabolism and are harmful to the body. They mainly give water loss. They are best used to kick start a weight loss program or to break plateaus in a weight loss program. If done sparingly and under guidance, it can be effective. Otherwise, the weight gain that happens after the diet is worse. It also makes you nutrient deficient.
What according to you is the best way to stay fit physically and mentally?
A healthy lifestyle, which incorporates a practical exercise and diet regimen. Add-ons are positive thinking, being passionate about your work… the list is endless.
Does Diabetes run in your family? If yes, what do you do to try and avoid or delay the onset of Diabetes yourself?
My father had diabetes. I don’t do anything specific to avoid or delay the onset of Diabetes. Hopefully, my healthy lifestyle will take care of that. Touch wood, TGIF will remain forever.