There are people amongst us who don’t have to put up a fight with the lard and can manage to stay slim with minimal efforts. Probably their hormones side with them or probably their metabolism ensures girth control; however, we will never know their truth entirely. But when it comes to body mechanism we do know that nothing can be left for chance – you need to put in some effort to keep yourself fit and the flab at bay. In our youth, despite the abuses hurled at them our bodies behave well but as we age our bodies become less resistant and the signs of abuse, ignorance and mistreatment start to show up as love handles or a pot belly in some cases. This is why they say rein control of your health before it gets too late.
When I first spoke to Meenal Jaiswal, a freelance photographer and traveller from Mumbai she told me that she didn’t have to worry about her weight through her pre-teens, teens and well into adulthood. But sometime in December 2017, she did feel a little out of shape. “My entire life I never had to worry about my weight but in December 2017 while attending a cousin’s wedding I didn’t like myself enough in the traditional outfits. Yes, I could see my love handles and clearly the belly-bulge was growing bit-by-bit, albeit silently. I knew the time has come to act, to transform into a fitter and better me. I could no longer put things to chance or be ignorant about my body,” she says.
The biggest challenge is to get started with a motive like – weight loss – where most of us start diligently but give up too quickly. It was no different with Meenal, she toyed with the idea of losing weight, clean eating before and fell for the fad diets, did yo-yo dieting and soon gave up. “I used to go on diets before and give up too soon and then realise that I gained doubled the weight I lost even with my menial efforts,” she recalls. But this time she knew she needed to do something very specific. “I realised it had to be a lifestyle change and not just some mere adjustments with diet,” she says.
After returning from her cousin’s wedding Meenal started eating boiled vegetables but she needed to up her ante. It was the same time when she saw an interview of Personal development coach Bob Proctor and leadership guru John C. Maxwell. Proctor asked Maxwell if he was happy about his health and weight and when Maxwell replied in negative, Proctor told Maxwell to go raw for 90 days. But there was a catch – if Maxwell slipped from the diet he would have to give Proctor a million dollars. “This challenge charged me up and I decided to go raw for 90 days. I also promised myself to wire an amount to a friend if I flouted the rules,” she says with a chuckle.
On 16th December 2017, Meenal started the raw diet and surprisingly she did stick to the rules. “I started eating raw and could see the results in a week; I was looking slimmer, lighter and was happier too. This kept me motivated enough,” she says.
Going raw wasn’t easy so she had hatched a plan to kill hunger and temptation before it got the better of her. “My mantra was to have my fill with the raw diet and eat properly, eat plenty. So, if it was a bowl of salad I ensured I ate enough to keep me full. Temptations can get the better of you only if you stay hungry on a diet,” she explains.
Here is how Meenal went about her diet:
Eating raw fruits and vegetables: “My meals comprised of everything raw — fruits and vegetables and I never compromised on the quantity I ate. Also, there is a thing with natural foods you don’t go overboard with them and your body feels full and nourished eating just moderate amounts.”
Saying no to cooked food: “I stopped having foods that need cooking or heating and then cut off dairy and non-vegetarian foods from my list. I turned into a raw vegan.”
Saying yes to natural health drinks: “I bought a cold processor and started to prepare my own vegetable and fruit juices.”
Going on a budget: “I made it sure that the food I buy for myself will not exceed more than Rs 100 or 150, to make the point clear that going on a diet doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.”
Saying no to imported fruits: “Another thumb rule was to eat more local produce. So, I preferred carrots, radish, cucumber, tomatoes and beetroots over avocados and dragon fruits. Since I travel a lot I make it a point to eat the local produce more. I had dragonfruit when I was in Singapore and kiwi when in New Zealand but never bought the imported varieties when I was in India. I switched to organic too.”
“If you put your mind into it, it is not very difficult to go on a raw diet. I had planned everything to the T to ensure I don’t go off track,” she says. Here are a few things that she did to make sure she didn’t go hungry or starve herself:
“Whenever I travelled, I went to the vegetable market to fill my stocks so I didn’t go hungry ever.”
“I always carried apples or bananas with me.”
“I had my fill of fresh fruit juices and whatever raw options I had at 5-star hotels, while I was travelling.”
“I fed myself well before I had to head for a do so I didn’t give in to the temptations.”
In February 2018, Meenal went from 78.5 kilos to 57 kilos in just 120 days. “Of course, many thought I was crazy and should not follow such a diet, so to put every doubt to rest I did my blood test every 45 days to ensure that I fared well in my health report card and surprisingly I did. Neither was I deficit in any nutrient neither did my haemoglobin fall.” In fact, many of her family members take supplements for health and have lifestyle issues too, but she sailed through all such troubles with just a simple change in her lifestyle.
Words of wisdom
“We all are born with healthy bodies but on the way, we develop habits that ruin our health and make our bodies sick beyond repair. You are the architect of your body so listen to it intently to keep it healthy and happy. It is difficult to give up bad eating habits and practice clean eating but once you try it things get better. If you are unhappy about yourself – your body, your health or the way you look – no one but only you can initiate the change,” she concludes.
This article was originally published on TheHealthsite.com