My ‘diet’ cheats

I love the look on people’s faces when they hear the me talk about #thebiriyanidiet — a metaphor for the ‘system’ I used to lose weight.

So now before you pull out your food apps and order in biriyani for breakfast, lunch and dinner, first chew on these insights I’ve gained all while losing weight intuitively.

Change your thinking

You’ve heard it said that it’s all in the head and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to making a new habit. I worked with Rahul to install new behaviours; old triggers like swiping out of work after a long day and immediately seeing me raiding the fridge for a well-deserved binge changed to seeing me run in a pair of figure-slimming black lycras – and enjoying it!!

I began to believe differently about leaving food on my plate and would see the word ‘enough’ appear in sync with my stomach feeling sated – with room to spare. I do still binge ever-so-often, but there’s no guilt (of course, your stomach gives you a piece of its mind, enough to make a mental note to go easy the next time round.)

I also made up my mind to focus on what I wanted to be – fit, toned and active and the how just followed.

Like it or dump it   

Inspired by the weight falling off, I thought I’d better help myself along and start eating ‘right’.  So I did try the organic fours/millets, the fruit mid morning and many detox diets. I realised I was just going through the motions and swallowing down those hard-to-chew, dry  rotis and skipping my morning coffee, which seemed to have a complete opposite effect on my body. I found I was more constipated, lethargic and grumpy (of course). It could very well have been my body detoxing, and I’m still in the market for a periodic cleansing (which is why I’m doing the kefir experiment with Simran Gosain), but I wasn’t feeling this lifestyle in my gut – if you know what I mean.

Let go of all that crap

I began to immerse myself in any research I could find on how a healthy digestion was the secret to losing weight, balancing hormones, AND ridding myself of terrible nasal allergies. So I zeroed in on Jon Gabriel’s protocol and picked things I could easily incorporate into my life. What I love about his system is that it focuses on adding in good stuff instead of forcing one to go cold turkey on indulgences. It helps you switch off your fat storing programs from faulty messaging your body might have been receiving from fad diets, un-checked stress or excessive exercising.

I came off my first plateau in 3 months on the Gabriel mantra and highly recommend it. My digestion is still WIP as is the freedom from allergies, but I know it’s only a matter of time.

Love your body – from inside out

I used to find it hard to stand in front of the mirror and say affirmations out loud, as some people recommend. I knew I wasn’t happy with what was looking back at me and just chanting “I love my hips…” didn’t make sense to me. The real change happened when I craved to be fitter, healthier and of course, look and feel more toned. The image I had created of myself was so real AND possible that unconsciously I found myself making better choices from the foods I ate to the amount I moved. I really began to feel the love as I cared for my mind, body and spirit.

When I looked at myself in the mirror, I began to notice the changes in my body, even if very slight. I’d almost always see my body transform into that image I had created and it doesn’t disappoint.

Get a makeover

Despite dropping the weight, I still bought large-sized clothes and couldn’t imagine wearing a pair of skinnies. I was surprised when the store girl at Levis just looked at me and pulled out a size 32 when I thought the max I’d have come down to was a 36/38 from a 40. J I was lucky to find Sama Adil who helped me dress to flatter – and that without breaking the bank.  I began to appreciate my assets and found I even had ‘skinny bits’. Today, even though I’ve fallen off the wagon and live in my yoga pants, I follow Sama’s advice on the fits that suit my body, the neck lines and sleeves for my tops, including the amount of leg I can show.

Get moving – but mix it up

I meet many girls who just hate to exercise and I hear you. I still can’t bring myself to love the gym. The secret is to explore different forms till you find the one that gives you your fix … even if for that season. For example, I ran the Bangalore Marathon, did a trek and now am preparing for a trail. I tried out a mixed bag of Zumba, circuit, Tai chi and Aqua Aerobics. The one that’s really got me hooked is my walk and yoga – hatha, yin, and aqua. Moreover, these are forms of exercise I can always take with me no matter where I travel.

Throw away the scale

Know that when you begin to move more, include healthier foods into your diet, have routine health checks and feel good about yourself, you’ll know that your weight loss is a healthy one. There are times in the month the needle might move up but the more you get in balance, the more you find that which is right for you. Listen to your body – the scale doesn’t tell it as it is.

Be happy – be content  

This is a tough one but the school of life has many learning opportunities.  I allow myself me time, exercise saying ‘no’ and surround myself with positive people (as much as I can). I catch myself sooner now before I find myself in a downward spiral and am extremely aware of the signs my body is giving me. I’m my own best friend.

My wish for you is this: that you find your top cheats for #thebiriyanidiet and write your own story — inside out.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash