If you have been following me on Instagram and have paid attention to my stories, you would know that I started my Whole 30 journey last month. As, I am now a proud graduate it was only natural for me to share my journey, my learnings and of course the results with you all. 

I must admit that I started on this journey with a lot of trepidation. Diets have never interested me and the idea of restricting certain types of food has never compelled to the foodie in me. However, several of my friends tried this last year and they swore that it has completely changed their relationship with food. 

This intrigued me, since the last three years, I have noticed that my stress eating habits had spiralled out of control and no amount of Crossfit, yoga, running and walking was helping me. I admitted to myself that no exercise can outdo a bad diet or like in my case a slightly bad diet.

As I said, I do not have a bad diet as such; thanks to my women-only fitness group,  Crossfit box, an Instagram full of my athlete friends, health bloggers, coaches, yogis, bikini competitors and whatnots, I have managed to stay motivated with my workouts and 75% clean-eating. But despite all that I was not seeing the results, I was hoping for. I knew I needed to change something and re-visit my food habits. Enter Whole 30. 

So, what is Whole 30?

Whole 30 is all about eating real food. The program was created by wife and husband duo, Mellisa (Hartwig) Urban and Dallas Hartwig in 2009. They are certified sports nutritionists who first co-authored the book “It Starts with Food” in which they argued that all our health problems start with food and hence having a healthier relationship with food can help us to manage most of the conditions or even break away from bad habits. 

Whole 30 and how it helped me to overcome emotional eating

In the book (pictured above, yes I read it cover to cover), they clearly mention that Whole 30 should not be taken as a weight-loss diet, in fact, you should not even step on scale or measure yourself during the 30 days but really understand your relationship with food and how it might be affecting any issue you have. 

Now, my research (before starting this) also threw many critics of the program calling it too extreme, likely to affect your social life and random and bizarre grouping of banned food. (more on that later, fact-checked here). 

My friends who did this earlier swore that it has helped them re-define their food relationship, tame the sugar demon, manage stress and generally be happier. So, I weighed the pros and cons and as it is only for 30 days, I decided to give it a go. 

One key criterion to do this program is you have to commit for the entire 30 days, so if have a little slip or cheat day, you need to start from square one. So yes, there is no half-ass(ing) this one. There is a line of tough love in the book, “Quitting heroin is hard, battling cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee, black, is.not.hard”. Making this line my mantra, I powered through. 

What’s allowed and what’s not allowed in Whole 30?

The rule is to eat the above- mentioned items and food that are natural and unprocessed.

You can eat vegetables (even potatoes), meat, eggs, seafood, fruits, plenty of good fats from fruits, oils like olive, coconut, or avocado, nuts and seeds. 

You can also eat ghee (clarified butter, as milk proteins, gets destroyed in the clarification process), coconut aminos, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas (as they are more of a pod than a bean), dates (exercise caution as they are high in calories) and vinegar.

You should completely avoid for 30 days the following things: 

  1. Sugar and sweeteners. Including the “healthy” options like honey, coconut sugar, agave and jaggery. 
  2. Alcohol (even for cooking) and tobacco. 
  3. Grains and pseudo-grains like rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, corn, buckwheat etc. 
  4. Legumes like kidney beans, lentils, peanuts (including peanut butter), chickpeas etc. 
  5. Soya or soy forms like soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy lecithin. 
  6. Dairy including cheeses, yoghurt, creams etc. 
  7. Carrageenan, MSG and Sulphites. 
  8. Paleo treats even if the ingredients are Whole 30 complaint. 

It is also advisable to not snack between meals if after a meal you feel like eating a sweet, ask yourself, should I rather eat another round of the meal? If the answer is yes, then eat another portion of the meal. If it no, then it is just a craving. Most cravings would pass within 3 minutes (this, in fact, is true, as I learnt). 

My breakfast was mostly eggs, nuts, a teaspoon or two of nut butter with fruit. Dinner and lunch was mainly chicken or fish with plenty of vegetables. For snacks, if I had it was a fruit or a date. I took my coffee with almond milk or black. 

That’s a hell-lot of Do’s and Don’ts is this even worth it?

How Whole 30 helped me to overcome emotional eating. Standing on a brown floor wearing purple leggings and blue workout vest.

ABSOLUTELY! I followed it to the T and I am so glad I did! In the Whole 30 book, the duo mentions that what we eat creates hormonal reactions which usually causes most of the conditions we have. 

To reiterate, my goal was not just to lose weight, but deal with the larger issue of stress eating, mindless snack (especially on sugary stuff). I also wanted to deal with adult acne (I have been suffering from this for the last 2.5 years), PCOS, thyroid, dysmenorrhea. I suffer a bad case of period pain; often I have had to call work sick, not go to the gym and eat Ibuprofen 3 times a day. While regular exercise has helped, I still depend on painkillers. 

Within 2-3 days, my skin started clearing (although it was hubby who mentioned it, I took it with a pinch of salt! but he was right),  my periods went unnoticed, I felt energetic (for the most part), did not crave chocolates and did not use painkiller even for a day! 

My clothes started fitting better, I hit several Personal Bests at Crossfit and I did lose weight. Overall, I lost 3.5 kgs and a whopping 9.5 inches. The weight loss might not sound big but the needle had not moved for me for over a year. 

And what about my relationship with food and general happiness?

Once the first ten days were done, I felt better, happier and less anxious (the Tiger blood mentioned in the book is real). 

The book mentions that on the tenth day, one would experience extreme tiredness. This was because the body experiences the worst of sugar withdrawal and the best way to combat this was to rest and sleep more. 

I have certainly become a more mindful eater. I read labels carefully and “listen” to my hunger signals.  If I am truly hungry I eat “whole food” instead of junk including the healthier ones like protein bars.  I do not know if I have really defeated the sugar demon but at least I can manage it better. 

My biggest win from this is my healthier relationship with food and not taking comfort in junk food/sweets, during stressful moments.  

Resources:

  1. Whole 30 website
  2. Whole 30 book
  3. Official Instagram
  4. Whole 30 recipes Instagram
  5. https://lifehealthhq.com/

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

In the last two years, ever since I re-started my fitness journey as a new mum, I learnt a lot of things that eventually helped me. In this post, I am going to share a few of those things, in the hope that some other mums out there would find it useful. I have already shared my meal preparation tricks and tips earlier. This post will focus on workouts more specifically home workouts.

One thing which still overwhelms is how to balance between cardio, weight-training and yoga whilst also handling everything else in life—home, family, work and blog.  I must admit I do fail a lot of times but planning ahead works.

Over the course of these two years, few programmes have immensely helped and these are:

Hiit workout

HIIT Workouts:

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval training. It is all about putting your body to maximum effort in minimum time. You can do it in the gym using treadmill and other cardio machines. Or you could do it with weights and you could also do it at home using no other equipment other than your body.

My favourite HIIT workouts are ones by Beachbody like Insanity Max by Shaun T and 21 day fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME Essential Package by Autumn Calabrese (which I am following at the moment). Fitness Blender and Jillian Michaels are another favourites which will torch up those calories in no time.

Post baby exercises

Image credit: Pinterest

Cardio:

What really worked for me was combining different things. A good mix of cardio, strength and HIIT ensures that my body is always guessing what would come next and will always be on “work” mode. To be honest, cardio is my least favourite hence the challenge was to make it super fun. Enter Zumba (dancing). I thoroughly enjoy Fitness Marshall’s videos, Get Fit Janani and Vijay Tupurani (which you can watch on YouTube)for some Bollywood fun. I also love LesMills Body attack and body combat workouts. They are far cry from your usual cardio machines and oh so challenging.

postoartum core exercises

Image credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/standing-abs-workout

Strength Training:  

Weight or strength training is my favourite. However, I admit it was (and still gets) really overwhelming. Enter Bodybuilding website  another platform which I highly recommend. It has a plethora of programmes some by elite athletes and bodybuilders with succinct instruction videos and dietary guides. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate and advanced “athlete” you would find a wealth of information, programmes and plans suiting your needs and goals.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ~ Muhammad Ali

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am celebrating fitness and strength in my blog this month. When I re-started my fitness journey, post my baby, I had a really tough time sartorially speaking. As I have mentioned in this blog many times, the changes your body go through post pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding is more shocking than most of us realise (at least for most of the women, out there). Not only did any of my previous stuff fitted me but also I had lost all my confidence in myself. Internally, I had become so weak, that even walking with my 2.95 kg baby (birth weight) had become an herculean task for me. That’s when I decided to get my act together and really get fit. My goal since then remains the same: to be fit and strong (not skinny).

Of course, when you are trying to become physically, mentally and spiritually stronger at gym/outside, you need to do it in style. During my fitness journey, I have re-discovered fitness fashion and how to look cool whilst killing them with your strength.

 

Get the right material:

First thing first, do not underestimate the kind of material/fabric you use at gym. Whilst cotton is great outside personally I feel it is a no-no at gym (speaking from experience). Cotton absorbs sweat faster making you uncomfortable, sweaty and prone to chafing and irritation. Synthetic materials on the other hand repeal sweat faster, dry quickly and does not cling.

Choose the right sports bra: 

No prizes for guessing, investing in a good sports bra is a must. It has to support you and offer you flexibility.

Top: Red Herring (Debenhams) also like this one, Leggings: TK Maxx, Shoes: Adidas

Form fitting not baggy but not too tight:

When I re-started my fitness journey post baby, I would wear my husband’s baggy old T-shirts. I wanted to completely hide myself, needless to say it did little for my confidence and my form (whilst working out) while I stay away from to tight and clingy clothes, I also do not dress myself in baggy clothes. Form fitting clothes serve an important purpose: it helps you to see your muscles and curves as you exercise. Also, it helps you to feel good which in turn will help you to keep on exercising.

Layers:

Your workout wardrobe should be versatile, carrying you through from the hottest months to the coldest months. Build your gym wardrobe by choosing the right base layer—a moisture wicking dry layer such a vest or a t-shirt, add a warmer layer such as fleece pullover and finish with a protective outer layers such as a windbreaker. A handy tip: shop during off season for best deals.

Right clothes for right activity:

Keep in mind the activity you do the most. Baggy pants aren’t great for biking or strength training whilst for yoga you need roomy pants. Harem pants are my favourite. Generally speaking fitted ankle length leggings and a well fitted top would serve you well no matter what. Another handy tip—try out few signature workout moves in the dressing room to be absolutely sure.

Footwear:

Again no prizes for guessing, a good pair of footwear will serve you really, really well and keep you injury free that means no no to old worn out shoes. My rule of thumb is to wear shoes that support my feet and ankle well and I can walk as comfortably in them as possible.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Money talks, style doesn’t have to: Rue Lala

Victoria Beckham has done it. Jourdan Dunn has done it. And  so has Hadid sisters. I am of course talking about the athleisure look. The trend took baby steps way back in 2014 (remember my Sports Luxe maternity style post?), kept its head up in 2015, grew stronger in 2016 and now in 2017 does not seem to be dying out. Athleisure, as the name suggests, means combining athletic and leisure apparel that transitions seamlessly from gym to post workout plans and if carefully executed even work.

Obviously, this does mean you take your tatty t-shirt and short shorts and hop around the town. What it means is combining sporty elements to your everyday repertoire. It is about giving your unassuming athletic wear a certain je ne sais quoi charm.

Adidas and British designer Stella McCartney are often touted as the brainchild behind this trend because they had a long-term collaboration long before the term athleisure entered the fashion dictionary. It has grown stronger each year, partly because fitness has become a bigger and more democratic niche and if all the green juices recipes on Instagram and Beyonce’s Ivy Park are anything to go by, fitness is now a very fashionable topic.

The Athleisure trend

All this is very fine and dandy seen from the filters of Insta perfection but how does the athleisure look translate in real-life? I have been toying with this idea for long but every time I felt like styling this look million questions crossed my mind: I am NOT a young celebrity model, I am a mum, I am working mum with 1000 things on her mind, yes, I love fitness (and even burpees) but would I really want to walk around the town in my gym wear?

After a lot of thinking, brainstorming the idea with my friend, I decided like any trend athleisure is also all about personalising it. Whilst I do want to channel my “post workout zen/cool look”à la Gigi Hadid, I also feel the obsession with sweat-wicking leggings, bright sports-bra-cum-crop-tops and white sneakers is definitely not hot news. 

To give this trend, my signature feel I have paired my Adidas legging with lace-sleeve sweatshirt, I have added a statement silver necklace and dainty earrings to keep it simple but I have gone way out of my comfort zone with my make-up and hair—double bun and bold lipstick—to seal the deal. Lastly, I have added heels to give it some added oomph. My variation to keep this look strictly casual is to add sneakers, a varsity jacket and a colourful bag.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

In the beginning, I have mentioned that this trend can used for work. How? Add a nice, dark blouse, delicate jewellery, blazer, ankle boots/heels and nude makeup to finish the look and voila from slaying that burped you are ready to crash that glass ceiling in one powerful move.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Last but not the least, do not forget the fearless girl stance because ultimately everything boils down to those two things—fearlessness and faith. 

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Leggings: Adidas, Sweatshirt+Pink bag: Guess (similar), Trainers: Adidas, Heels: Next, Jewelery: Street shops India. 

Photos by @tsaiki

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Whilst there are so many aspects of pregnancy that I am loving at the moment like my-ever growing bump, the glowing face and a general positive feeling. I will admit that some other less-talked about factors plays a havoc at times; these are various kinds of aches and pains (which I did not even know was possible!), sciatica, lower back pain, hip pain, lethargy and feeling grumpy for no reason.

Luckily, there is a simple solution for all these issues: staying active and exercising (energy permitting of course). Now, before I go on I must say I was given the green signal to exercise by  my midwife and GP both and some of my favourite exercise regimes like dancing and weight-lifting are strictly out of bounds. Truth be told most days after a hard day at work and blogging; I really don’t look forward to pump iron or dance like no one cares. But there are plenty of other things I do keep myself active, sane and happy.

Pregnancy_test_result

Why I stay active?

The benefit of regular exercising is a no-brainer. As long as you are healthy and have no complications, pregnancy should not be an excuse to let go. Staying active not only helps in managing your weight but it has immensely helped to quell all sorts of pain mentioned above. Exercising also helps in labour; I am told (but I will vouch for that later).

Pregnancy-Fitness-Workout-For-Mommy

My top tips:

  • I try to fit in 40 to 60 minute of exercising at least three times a week.
  • I divide my time either doing 30 minutes of walking (on treadmill) or cross training or  go for a relaxing class of Pilates or Yoga.
  • The thing I DO NOT do is push myself. Earlier, even if my body said it is tired, I would push myself to run for another 5 minutes or do another set of weights or squeeze in more yoga. But now, I stop and rest as soon as I feel tired; the important thing is to make sure you are not exhausted.
  • I have also stopped doing exercises on my back. It is actually advised not to do such exercises as the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint.
  • I also keep myself well-hydrated through out and make sure I am able to carry on a conversation at a good pace. (The talk test is a great way to gauge your stress levels in pregnancy).
  • No matter what, I do not sacrifice sleep for exercise.

My favourite exercises:

purple-exercise-ball-1

For back/hip ache:

I have purchased an exercise/gym ball and it has become my new best friend; I simple sit on it whilst doing house work. The idea is to sit straight and make sure your legs are at 90 degree angle. It relieves back ache and strengthens your core.

Yoga/ Pilates:

I try to go for a yoga or Pilates class whenever I can. It is important to tell your instructor about your pregnancy as they can guide you much better. Several yoga/pilates exercises are also out of bounds for pregnant ladies.

Whilst I don’t encourage using DVDs and videos in pregnancy; I still practice the below regime if I cannot make it to a class. I have been doing yoga for three years now and I am extremely aware about each movement and confident about poses, so this is one of my favourite videos now.

Walking:

Sitting or standing at one place for a long time is the best way to ensure an aching back. I keep walking every now and then to make sure it does not happen.

Finally, pregnancy is a time to inculcate a positive attitude, so do things that you love to elevate mood swings and generate more happiness within yourself 🙂

PS: I am not a health expert, please speak to your GP/midwife if you want to exercise in pregnancy.