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Paying attention to my meals was never a priority, for me. In college, junk food was cheaper, easily available and obviously delicious, and remained so during my first job, with the added obstacle of long working hours without the time or inclination to cook my own meals.

It’s not like my diet was compensated by a sufficiently active lifestyle, either. Stretches of complete sluggishness would occasionally get interrupted by guilt-induced phases of doing a few surya namaskars at home along with a few minutes of cardio, or following some online workout videos, and feeling adequately well-exercised to descend back into inactivity.

I only began to realise that the standards I had set when it came to my health were embarrassingly low once I started working at Nutrova. The difference between food that’s nutritious and food that’s just low-calorie was made clearer, the reason I kept falling sick became apparent and I began to make an actual effort: I tried to eat healthier, I tried exercising more and I began using our products (Nutrova Collagen+Antioxidants for my skin, Nutrova Kerastrength for my hair and Nutrova Functional Fibre for digestion). Within a few months, I started hearing that I was looking healthier. I could feel it, too.

So, when Akshay, Meghna and I discussed the idea of taking things to the next level when it came to our health by #SciencingOurLifestyles, I was excited. I’d already begun to feel the difference that nutrition was making in my life, and wanted to see how much further it could go, especially since I’d been feeling rather uncomfortable with how badly I would do in exercises that required upper-body strength. I’d just discovered that I was physically incapable of doing more than a couple of push-ups, which didn’t sit well with me (it made me feel like I didn’t have control over my own body). I also have a pull-up bar at home that I couldn’t interact with in any way; when I tried, all I did was hang about and vibrate with effort before falling back down. That pull-up bar was a glaring reminder of my inadequate strength on a daily basis.

Getting stronger was my obvious goal, when we were setting our individual ones for the programme. I was also quite conscious of a protrusion in my mid-section that I constantly worked on concealing, so losing fat became my secondary goal.

Then came the biggest wake-up call: the body fat and muscle measurements we’d taken for ourselves at the start of the programme. My results were far worse than I’d have guessed, with my body fat at a 32.1%, technically in the obese category, and my skeletal muscle mass far below the normal range. There was no questioning the fact that I needed to do more.

I wouldn’t have imagined the changes I’ve been seeing and feeling since I started Kripa’s meal plan and Sachit’s exercise routine. I wake up lively, wanting to doing more with my day, and I feel both mentally and physically capable of keeping up with the demands of a 27-year-old’s professional and personal life. I’ve even stopped falling sick as often as I did before.

Kripa identified that my habit of skipping breakfast (because I never had time to cook for it) was a problem, and recommended having a glass of Nutrova Whey Protein Isolate, a fruit and some nut butter in the morning, which helps me begin the day with more energy. I still order out a lot but she’s helped me focus on meals that are healthy all the same, with a proper break-up of nutritious, fibrous foods, enough protein (also gained by adding Nutrova Pea Protein to meals) and a healthy amount of carbohydrates and fats.

The transition hasn’t been hard at all, especially since our supplements make it convenient for me to get nutrients on days that are particularly hectic. Despite having dropped a reasonable amount of body fat, I’ve never had to eat less or feel unsatisfied after a meal – I just eat better and am, in fact, eating more than I did before! I let myself indulge on the occasional weekend, though – it makes me that much more focused on eating well during the week and actually makes me miss the great feeling that follows a healthy meal. I’m even enjoying the workouts more than I’d expected- and not just because of how entertaining the training sessions can get but also because I can actually see the progress I’m making, thanks to Sachit.

I think the most significant change, though, has been the severity of my monthly cramps reducing by about 70%. A month into the programme, on a day that I’d have otherwise been bed-ridden and popping painkillers, I was instead doing an intense leg-day workout at Repp’s while hardly believing it, myself.

A few months ago, I started off unable to do more than a few push-ups. Today, I’m lifting weights that would’ve intimidated me to even consider touching, while, more importantly, feeling stronger, fitter, alerter and happier about myself than ever. The official programme has come to an end (we’ll be releasing our final statistics soon!) but I haven’t stopped the meal-plan or the workouts. I’ve gotten a taste for a healthier lifestyle; it’s way better than the alternative.

Written by Radhika Chandorkar

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