Guest column: Bollywood celeb trainer Yasmin Karachiwala’s five rules for a healthier you
You are the product of what you put in your body – this was a saying I was reared on, and I use it to talk about good food to friends, family and clients. Good nutrition isn’t a thing you skimp on, or decide later in life to adopt. Good nutrition is something you inculcate early on in life so your body will thank you later. I often tell people that if you want to live a healthy life, you have to work towards it, but I find that it’s understanding what they need to work towards that stumps almost everybody. What is good nutrition? How do you figure out how to make your diet work for your body?
There’s no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to nutrition. Good nutrition and exercise go hand in glove and are the key to great health. Some nutritionists have charts with inverted pyramids hanging in their offices, while the internet tells you to consume dairy because it’s high in protein and then warns against the wrong kind of fat, and there’s your doctor, who probably tells you to keep a log of your food intake along with the exact calories you consume.
Then you find yourself sitting on the floor with a couple of scribbled-on charts sitting over your half-written log that has milk scratched off, rewritten and scratched off again. That’s hardly healthy. My suggestion is to identify your goals and take it one step at a time. If you’re aiming for weight-loss, your food plan needs to replenish your body with the vital nutrients needed to sustain your strength-training and lean muscle-building workouts. If you want to sustain your weight, your diet is probably different from, say, someone aiming to become a fighting champion. Once you’ve chalked out your goals, incorporate these five mantras for a fitter, healthier you.
We’re designed for activity. But today, online food delivery means we don’t have to lift more than a latch to eat comfortably. You don’t need to work out for two hours every day at a gym. Start small: take the stairs, skip the cream in your coffee, walk to the cafe for lunch instead of ordering in, walk when you’re on the phone. Those little walks are sometimes enough to make a lasting change.
We profess to being smart, then goof up when it comes to food. Learn what nutrients you need, how many grams of iron a day and what food will get you there. Although calorie-counting is well-known and sometimes doctor-recommended, calories are tricky to calculate, and don’t always give the full picture. Your goal should be to feed your body what it needs to get you moving at the pace you need to be at. A regular check with your doctor will let you know what you’re doing right and what needs to change.
Good food will only get you so far without a good exercise regime. We all age. We all lose muscles as we age – a lesser-known fact of life. Strength training is integral to a fit body. Again, don’t pump 20 kilograms of iron on your first day. Remember, start slow and small. Callisthenics and TheraBands are perfect for working out. The point is to not let your muscles burn away.
Drink plenty of water. Surprisingly, this is a tough one. Thirst is an indicator that your body is already dehydrated. Drink about 40ml of water for every kilogram of your body weight.
Have a positive attitude
You could be doing everything right, but if you do fitness like it’s a chore, you won’t stick to it for long. Your exercise and diet are supposed to be your life-source – approach it positively. When it comes to good nutrition, it’s everything your body needs to be the best you can be. Be fit, because your body deserves it. And remember, don’t put anything in your body that it doesn’t need, and don’t skip anything it does.
• Yasmin Karachiwala is a celebrity trainer who has worked with Indian film stars such as Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Her Body Image programmes, which focus on Pilates and yoga, are available at the newly opened A-Tone Fitness Lounge in Prime Tower, Business Bay, Dubai. Visit www.a-tone.ae