Saubhagi and I met 3++ years ago at a restaurant and instantly connected with food plus weight issues (you know, those endless talks between women wanting to lose weight? yea that 😄). I met her a few days ago after a MONTH and she had legit SHRUNK to more than half of her weight, erm while I was still the same 😆 We spoke endlessly on her journey and I knew I wanted to even share it with you guys. She’s inspired me to kickstart my fitness journey, and I hope she’s inspired you too!
Disclaimer from the ND team: We encourage everyone to be happy in their own skin, it is nothing to be ashamed about, ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ are merely just terms to describe nothing, neither must be considered offensive. However, that shouldn’t take you away from asking yourself 2 questions “Am I healthy? Is the lifestyle I’m living sustainable for the long run?”. It is best to take measures as soon as possible as “Precaution is Better than Cure”.
Written by Saubhagi Veer
Let’s get the most important thing and disclaimer out of the way. I wouldn’t be sharing this with you, had it not been for this extraordinary and brilliant individual Naomi. I have known Naomi for about 3 years now and much before she became ‘the dessert queen/inspiration’ that she is today, and me penning this article is proof that despite the significant highs she has achieved in such a short span of her career she is one of the most humble and honest (really difficult to be in this field 😉) people I know. It is mandatory that you have this insight before we go any further. I met her after almost a year, due to our busy schedules and she insisted this article was worth writing as it could help others going through similar conundrums in their lives 🤗
In the last year one or so, I have experienced what many people would call a ‘transformation’. Well, I just call it becoming fitter 💪 Most of you would by now be thinking, so what was the big epiphany that made me realize it was time for a change. Sorry to disappoint most of you, but there is no such reveal. I became fit not because my parents thought I was obese and unhealthy, definitely not because my significant other taunted me into it and surely not to appease the people who all my life have looked down upon me because I didn’t fit their criteria of being skinny despite being in a field such as PR (because only pretty, thin girls can maintain good ‘public relations’ right? 🤷♂️).
The most pertinent thing before undertaking anything in life is, don’t make it about anyone else; except yourself. If there isn’t a voice in your head telling you, this is what you should do because YOU WANT to, just don’t do it. You will never succeed.
Like I didn’t all those other times. I have lost and gained back more weight at least on 4 different times in my life. Super unhealthy and not good for your body. So, don’t be disappointed if you sail in the same boat 🚣♀️
This time, however, I knew was going to be different. I made it because it was about myself and not because of a reason like my sister is getting married (we all know that all the attention is not on the bride at her wedding since she is off the market, but what her sister looks like 🙄).
- What I didn’t do: I became fitter not because I followed a diet plan or paid an insane amount of money to do classes or because I drank unimaginable concoctions which are considered fat burners; all of which I have done in the past. You must do it your way. You must do what feels right to you.
- What I did: Gym felt right for me as I was an athlete when in boarding school and I started working out in May 2018 🏋️♀️ I got a trainer who pushed me to do more than I ever thought was capable of. I would work out 5-6 times a week, out of which five were 1-hour sessions with my trainer and one was a light workout on my own, whenever possible. I was recommended to get a Dr. Nutrition Body Composition test (Good article about it right here. Look at the below for ref on how it looks) before I started, and this is something that I saw a lot of merit in. It’s free for the first test and something you must do if you are planning on getting fitter 👌 (PS: Dr. Nutrition is even at Dubai Mall and they will do the check for you for free)
I started off as Obese level 3 on this test and made my way through to Standard. It helps determine how many calories you must eat for your body, keeping in mind your height and weight, to sustain all its functions also known as the Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) and that became the key for me 😮 (and it will be vital for you too)
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There are many ways that we burn calories, but lifting alone doesn’t burn very many. And cardio is something our body gets better and better at quickly and we end up burning fewer calories at the same length of time/intensity as our cardiovascular fitness improves. For this reason, adding more cardio isn’t always the best answer when you need to burn more. Ultimately paying attention to diet is the best strategy, but here is another:⠀ •⠀ As we diet, we become slower, lazier, sluggish, and just more efficient machines (for example, when walking to my car in a parking lot, I find myself automatically taking the most direct line to my car rather than walking down the rows and aisles like I normally would) and this is where a lot of people think their “metabolism is slowing down”. It’s not really, your body is getting better at conserving energy. ⠀ •⠀ NEAT, or non exercise activity, is actually what I give the most focus to in terms of burning calories. I aim to keep my step count at 11K per day. At this point in prep, even that is challenging. And during peak week when I rest, my step count is closer to 3K! That’s a HUGE difference! I find paying attention to my steps and general movement MORE effective than doing 30 minutes of cardio and then sitting on my butt the rest of the day. (To be clear, this deep in contest prep, I have a step goal AND a small amount of cardio)⠀ •⠀ Do you monitor your steps or neat in some way?⠀ How do you make sure your overall activity stays up?⠀ •⠀ Learn more by visiting the link in our bio! . This is an #EBTrepost by @veganproteins . Burn fat, build muscle, and get healthy using science. We are two doctors with a passion for making the science simple. Follow EBT (Evidence Based Training) @ebtofficial. Free fitness guides at www.ebtofficial.com. The information above is not medical advice. . THE EVIDENCE: Eric T Trexter. Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014; 11: 7.
Whoever tells you that you must starve yourself to lose weight is so wrong! On average, you must maintain a calorie deficit of 200 calories/daily from your TEE to lose weight. There are apps such as MyFitnessPal (that’s what I used!) that will measure this and give you your daily calorie count based on your goal. And here comes the biggest myth buster, if you are like me and go with the experiment of ‘oh ok if my TEE is 1600 calories and I am recommended to eat 1400 to lose weight in a healthy manner, but I eat only 1000 I will lose more weight’. WRONG! 🙅 In fact, you will end up gaining fat. Come on guys its basic science, if your body is getting lesser calories than it requires it goes into shock mode due to starvation. This leads to everything you eat no matter how insignificant, being stored in your body as fat as an emergency reserve of energy. That’s why all of us at some point or another have gained back all the weight we have lost by doing diets of all sorts 🙍
Don’t let anyone (including me) tell you what you should eat (no desserts because sugar is the big bad monster of all weight gain 🤐) or which physical activity you should pick (because Pilates is way better than the gym anyway right 😑). What might work for someone else might not work for you. We all must pick our own tools to get to where we want to.
What I ate
My food was basically very normal and stable. No dietary restrictions as such just tried to have protein with every meal. I would have a normal lunch. Sometimes even food from the Mint Leaf Dubai menu such as Chicken tikka etc. I just avoid eating rice and Chappati together. I even did tastings because that’s part of my job but of course in the past, if let’s say I was trying out Lotus Mess (an insane dessert) I would actually have the whole portion. For damage control, in the evening, I would only have a couple of bites and keep carbs to a minimum, e.g. just have chicken breast with veggies etc because I eat really late at night due to the job so it just made sense to not carb overload at night (sometimes, I would just skip a meal to stick to my calorie count 😄).
Cheat Meals: Once a week. This would include a proper meal whether it was going out and eating or having something indulgent at home. But otherwise, I would try everything at work fairly regularly that was being tested for the menu just not whole portions of it. If I had more than 1 cheat meal a week I would not really feel guilty, as I told myself it’s normal to indulge. Starting out I had cheat meals that would become cheat weekends. But I never overcompensated in the gym for it. I just went back and continued working out as I was and tried to get back to my routine as quickly as possible.
My favorite cheat meal is the Egg stuffed parantha! I love it so much that I even convinced Chef Pradeep to put it on the Ramadan Street Food Menu 😜
My body fat percentage when I started out was 38% and is now down to 26.7%. My BMI was 35.6 (obese 3 body type) and as of yeserday it is 23 (standard body type). I have all my Dr. Nutrition reports as a record to keep me motivated 😊
It is crucial to have people in your corner. People who love you no matter your weight, a trainer who you will hate, friends who encourage and inspire you to become fitter instead of taking offense because you don’t want to hit the latest brunch in town ❤️️ It is important to have a good support system because it will be these people who will push you on the days when you want to give up and won’t let your cheat meals become cheat weeks and will be the happiest for you when you achieve your goals. I was lucky to have many such people 🤗 I hope you all have someone or few someone’s who give you invaluable nuggets *pun intended* of inspiration such as ‘it’s the days that you don’t want to work out, that actually count’. Some of you aspiring to undertake a change, who might not have such a ‘cheering squad’ and have read through the entire post, can find some inspiration right here and start now 💪
Keep telling yourself, it’s a lifestyle! Pick a
dietlifestyle that will work for YOU, and have a cheat day or 2. Your body needs it!