Living with joint pain is annoying – you never know how a bend or shift in stance will exacerbate the ache. And yet, it wasn’t this, or the doctor’s orders or even the unsolicited comments about weight that finally upended Indian expat Savita Jaswal’s unhealthy lifestyle. What acted as the true catalyst, she writes, is what happened on her return to the UAE from India. “My husband [and I] went to India in March 2021 we came back to Dubai in April 2021.On the way [back] my husband got sick. Unfortunately, my husband tested (COVID-19) positive. We both were quarantined for 14 days [and during that] time we both realised how important health [is]. We both decided to start our weight-loss journey,” she tells Gulf News in a written interview.
“The medical impact of unwanted weight gain is painful, expensive, pleasure-limiting and at times, deadly! When we look at the benefits from weight loss, one fact is crystal clear. Everyone should pursue and try to maintain their optimum weight. It is simply the right thing to do,” adds the 33-year-old Sharjah-based expat who weighed 88kg back then.
While Jaswal, who is 5-foot-2-inches tall, was determined to shed those pounds, this wasn’t the first time she had gone down the path of fitness. “I had tried to lose weight multiple times in the past but I never quite succeeded. After many failed attempts, I learnt the four essential secrets to lose weight. These secrets are dedication, will power, patience and a healthy diet. We need to stick to a healthy and nutritious diet instead of binge eating,” she explains.
Jaswal began to focus on eating healthy; limiting her food intake to 1,000-1,200 calories per day and cutting out white rice, bread and refined sugar “as much as possible”.
“Weight loss is possible only if you combine the right workout with healthy eating and practice portion control,” she says, adding: “Also, multigrains help in accelerating weight loss and maintain it in the long run. [Where fruits are concerned], avoid bananas, mangoes, grapes.”
Her other tips include chewing each morsel of food well, drinking plenty of water and being regular with workouts.
A day’s menu
Pre-breakfast: 2 glasses of lukewarm water with lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of cumin seed, flax seed, carom seeds and fennel seed mix.
Breakfast: Green apple with yoghurt or chickpea flour bread or oats or upma
Mid-morning snack: Cherries 8 to 10 pcs and an orange
Lunch: One bowl of vegetables, 1 multigrain chappati (flatbread), salad (lettuce, cucumber, white onion, tomato, carrot)
Evening snack: Pineapple or avocado or watermelon or sweet melon or fresh coconut water.
Dinner: 100ml milk with one date (Optional)
Note: Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water through the day.
“I feel that workout should be tailored as per needs and what I enjoy in doing so that it doesn’t feel like a burden. So my workout routine includes yoga for one hour daily,” she says.
This commitment to exercise is key to a healthier lifestyle, but it also one of the hardest things to do consistently. “The biggest struggle during the journey was to remain focused and awake in morning at 4.30am so I [could] be ready for yoga [at 5am]. Human nature loves to make excuses about not having time for things, [or things] costing too much money, but the reality is that people [who] try to lose weight and don’t simply lack the will power to do what is necessary at the time when it’s required,” she says.
She shed those chains and with them, she shunned the creeping kilos.
There was a time however when the weight-drop seemed to stymie. “I have noticed that during this journey, weight loss [became slow] after some time, even we follow the same diet and exercise. That is called the plateau, in order to break it, [you] should [have a cheat day with the food] you love the most. But from the next day, you should follow the same diet and workout in focused manner for effective results,” she adds.
By following these guidelines, Jaswal explains she lost 19kg, going down to 69kg, in a matter of three months.
As for her source of motivation, it all starts with family. “I [was] motivated [by] my husband and father in law. [They] always support and boost me with positive thoughts and build my confidence. Moreover, it feels incredibly amazing when people compliment you on your weight loss and say things like, ‘wow, please share tips with us’. Also, when I see my old clothes, it gives me a lot of confidence and makes me feel happy,” she says.
For now Jaswal is happy with her progress, but she’s aiming to get to 62kg. “I see myself as a fit and healthy person, who would still be working on achieving fitness goals and following a healthy lifestyle,” she says.
“On my quest to weight loss, I have realised that losing weight is not as difficult as it may seem in the beginning. It is not the easiest task in the world, but there is absolutely nothing in this world that you cannot achieve once you set your heart [and mind] to it. When you finally do so, you will experience incomparable joy and happiness,” she adds.
Weight loss begins in the mind, proves Jaswal; it’s all about bending your lifestyle to your healthful thoughts.