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Shine like a star

Shine like a star.

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Shine like a star

Are you someone who loves attention? Or, do you shy away from lime light?

Either way, deep within, we all want to look gorgeous in any gathering. Whether it is a big celebration, like wedding, anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Eid, graduation, or just a group of friends / colleagues meeting up.

How one dresses up, depends mostly on the nature of the party, crowd, venue, season, time of the day, mood, and above all, personal choice. No matter how you decide to dress up, shining like a star has more to do with “how you come across” than “how you really look”.

The key to looking your best is “planning”. The job is half done if you decide in advance what you will be wearing and the accessories to go with it. Some thoughts on preparing to dazzle;

  • Where possible, know what the theme of the party is or what others will be wearing.
  • Whether you decide to go with your usual best appearance or are giving a “new look” a try, dress up completely once before the party and make sure you are happy with the outcome.
  • Make an effort to eat right and exercise during the weeks leading up to the big day. This helps you keep the tummy in and feel lighter. Even if you think no obvious changes are visible, this has a big feel-good factor attached to it.
  • Keep your face clean and hydrated. A day before the party, gently scrub away the dead skin – don’t forget your lips.
  • Ensure that your make-up looks ok in both white and yellow lights. If it is not up to the mark, depending on how the venue is lit, you could look like a pastry or totally washed out.

Now that you are ready to head to the festivity, find below some quick tips that can bring about big difference.

Smile: Make a subtle smile part of your features. It makes you look polite, confident and approachable. Having it on all the time would make it difficult for the cameras to click any unwanted, unpleasant expressions of yours. 

Compliment people. Making others beam with happiness will reflect on your face automatically.

Brush up: First thing people notice is your face and hair. Spend some time on it. Do not over-do, but at the same time make enough effort to enhance your natural features. Keep powder and lip stick/gloss handy. Dabbing away the T-zone and touching lips up can give instant make over when the party goes on for a while.  

Be comfortable: Wear what suits the tone of the party but also what you are comfortable in. If wearing high heels is not your forte, don’t try them on for the first time at the big event. When accessorizing, remember, “Less is more”. You are more likely to glide through the day with ease if are not distracted by accessories you are not used to deal with.

Look confident: Think of your best, most-accomplished moment as you enter the venue. This will fill you with a natural sense of confidence. If you don’t feel confident, “act confident”. People will believe it. 

Keep your back straight, chin up and walk tall. If you are unsure how to keep your hands while making conversation, keep fingers loosely crossed with tips of thumbs pointing up and lightly touching. This reflects confidence and keeps your hands engaged.

Breathe. If you tend to build up nervous energy, hold a clutch or cell phone when possible to take it all out on.

Relax, you look great! Don’t judge yourself or compare to others. Don’t unnecessarily touch your face, hair, dress, belt or scarf. Don’t bite/play with your nails or crack knuckles. Don’t adjust glasses or look at your arms / feet again and again. Don’t check your reflection every two seconds in any shiny surface close to you – like a mirror or a spoon! This gives away that you are nervous.

Hope this has given you some good pointers to prepare the next time you are heading out of the door for a function.

Thought of the day:

Do not ask people at a party how do you look. If you have to ask, you already know the answer.

 

Will be back soon with more. Till then cheerio!

Live healthy, be happy, look great!

Love food!

Love food!.

Love food!

Many think that “Eating Sensibly”, automatically means “Starving”.

I however, think that you very well can have the best of both worlds.

Let me begin by asking you, have you ever been on a special fitness plan? Or has someone close to you ever tried it? What was the experience like?

Let’s recall the most common course of events when one decides to go for it.

1 – The “event” – triggers you to put yourself under microscope. For example, your spare “tyre” showing from your favorite party dress; a friend’s new slim and healthy look; an upcoming family reunion; or worst of all, someone calling you “Hey chubby!”

2 – Food embargo – you start skipping meals, avoiding parties, munching salads and inhaling juices. Meanwhile you look for possible “quickest” fixes. This can include chats with colleagues / friends (steering clear of the one who called you fat!), Google-ing diet options and thinking about joining a gym.

3 – Launch – After going back and forth on a start date, (excuses, excuses and excuses), finally the “project” goes live.

Services of a dietician, personal instructor or a gym membership has been bought and you have invested in (a usually bad-tasting but healthy) meal plan. Then, you go for it with an infectious determination. You shed some pounds and start to look and feel healthy.

4 – The Bounce Back – A few weeks into the plan, the suggested diet makes you puke. You miss your food, friends, parties, are irritable and want to punch your personal trainer in face.

You get back to your normal ways. You justify and explain to people around you (and yourself) why you couldn’t continue with it – work pressure, time, health, season, travel etc etc

Sounds familiar?

There can be several reasons why most people cant go the distance.

It is said that “Most good things in life are either illegal, unethical or fattening.”

Elaborating the last one, following a healthier living style would mean you bidding farewell to almost all yummy stuff. That is easier said than done. Sometimes the only good thing happening in our lives is eating what we love!

It does not necessarily need to be this difficult, if these principles are kept in mind.

Healthy living, can not start and finish. When you think of it as a “project”, you tell your mind that it is going to end some time. Then, it is simply a matter of time before you jump back into the bucket of fried chicken and waste all your hard work.

Moderation is key. Keep treating yourself every now and then with yummy stuff “in moderation”. You wont get bored.

Below are some quick tips that can bring about big difference.

1- Craving vs Hunger. Can you savor the flavor once the cheese burger is in the tummy? (I hope not)

Tummy needs food. Tongue needs flavor. Understand the difference between these signals.

We wolf down a big plate of chicken biryani thinking this is what our tummy needs as we were craving it. However your tummy just needed something to work on. It was your taste buds that needed the flavor.

Trick is to fill the tummy first with healthy stuff, like greens, and have only a little of the yummy stuff. Your tongue will remember the flavor and your tummy will thank you for keeping it light.

Irony is that since we so often mix these signals, we eat faster when eating what we love and the food doesn’t get to stay long enough in our mouth where our brain could register the flavor.

2 – Make salads your best friend. Most smokers who try quitting say that more than nicotine, they miss puffing. Same goes with food I think. Most times we are famished, we are just missing chewing, not the food.

Salads therefore are the best companion of a careful eater. They give you something to munch on, help you feel fuller soon and your plate is never empty when you are at a party.

3 – Don’t announce your plans. Not everyone around you needs to know what are you up to. Appreciate that it is difficult for you as is to watch what you eat, so don’t add to your challenge the stress of “what-will-they-think-if-I-fail”. Continue to go to parties and buffets. Just pick food wisely.

4 – Fried food; no thanks. If you want to make one change, stop having fried food. It is like sipping grease!

5 – Calorie bank . Think of calories you can have in a day, as money in your pocket. Use them wisely. If you know you have a family dinner to go to, skip the usual chicken curry lunch. Save calories for special occasions or weekend, perhaps for that sweet you have been skipping.

Thought of the day:

Cant stand taste of salads or healthy food options?

Try eating the same thing, roughly at the same time for 10 straight days. Preferably, pick a time when you are most hungry.

 

Will come back soon with more. Till then Cheerio!

Live healthy, be happy, look great!

My story – Baby steps

We have all read and heard people go on and on about “Extensive Exercises” (which most times end up giving you a back pain), “Yoga Poses” (that seem to be designed to break you in half), “Awful novelty Diets” (by the end of which you cant wait to dive head first into the bucket of your favourite ice-cream) and “Tasteless Salads” (which just bring you closer to the cheese burger you love so much).

There isn’t any such ONE quick fix, I believe.

Instead, what I am going to share with you is “my story”. How, by hit and trial, I managed to put a spin on all of the above and lost staggering ten pounds in two months. 

Some two years back, after returning from a long holiday, I was taken by surprise when I couldn’t fit easily into my favourite jeans. The alarms went off. I had never been much of a careful eater or exercise junkie, but I knew I needed to do something about it

I decided to follow a simple, so-much-heard-about, plan 1) Limit myself to one main meal a day and 2) Exercise.

Fast forward a couple of months into following it. As it turned out, I was right but also wrong at the same time.

I was “Right” because I planned wisely i.e. I “thought” about both my diet and exercise when formulating the strategy. However, I failed miserably at first, because I forgot to take into account a very important aspect of making such changes – i.e. “the human factor”.

To explain what I mean by that, let me take you back to when I began acting on my plan.

I stuffed my fridge with all the greens I could get my hands on, and started off on a strict path of having one healthy meal a day and hitting the gym in evenings. My meals were “ideal” – low calorie, low carbs, more protein, more green.

Result: I still bounced back in just five days. I went to my favourite fast food joint on the weekend, assuring myself all the way that “I deserve it”. Ordinarily, I would wrap up half of the burger for the next day, but on that particular day, I managed to easily wolf down the entire thing, along with two servings of “diet” cola. Yum! It was a happy day.

The saga continued.

Before long, I started to get tired easily, felt bloated and was generally irritable. I was missing my food.

By the time I was home from work after starving myself the whole day, I felt like a hungry beast. A delayed dinner (which was my only meal in the day!) would make me actually cry.

Sure, I lost a few pounds in the beginning but then started to put on weight again. I would stuff myself, with whatever I wanted, at The Meal Time. Guess when you are that hungry, your mind doesn’t allow you to make smart choices. Soon I was eating wrong, stopped enjoying workouts and started to skip gym.

Something was wrong. The ingredients in my plan were as per text book, but my execution didn’t suit my body’s needs, hence it wasn’t working. 

That is when it hit me – “I am only human!”

I realized two things.

1) Fascination with the forbidden. We, usually, naturally are drawn towards what is not allowed.

Think about it – Story of Adam and Eve and “the fruit” – rings a bell? So, when we tell our minds that we can not have those “chocolate cookies”, that “cheesy burger with fries on the side” and that “large blue berry muffin” – we crave it even more.

2) Free Will. Eating what we love makes us happy. We are not designed to survive for long in shackles.

That is when I revisited my plan based on this golden rule.

“Living healthy is not a ‘Plan’ that starts and finishes. It is a way of life”.

I made some changes in light of these realizations and “aligned my life with the goal” instead of desperately trying to “meet the goal”.

As a result, I developed a taste for greens, but still occasionally enjoy the yummy stuff. I am still not an athlete but can run a mile without whimpering like a dog and can wear my jeans again!

It wasn’t a piece of cake, but it sure paid off. I am proudly back to my ideal body weight, feel lighter, am energized and best of all, I have dropped two whole dress sizes! Yes it was a pain to have all my dresses altered “Twice” but it is totally worth it.

In my next posts, I would love to share my journey and findings with you so keep following.

Meanwhile here are some quick and easy changes you can make today.

1 – Fool your tummy – Keep it full by having healthy stuff in moderation throughout the day.

What it means: Don’t let your tummy beg you for food. Keep giving it something healthy to munch on at intervals. Have water, low fat / skimmed milk, low calorie whole grain cereals, Greek yogurt, fruits, and handful plain natural almonds etc. You will be less likely to attack like a monster when it is “Meal Time”.

2 – Do the math – If you can not use the calories, don’t take them in.

What it means: On an average, “per day”, an adult woman needs 2000 calories and man 2500. One Big Mac meal alone is around 1400 calories! – You do the math.

3 – Shake it – Your body will surprise you if you surprise it.

What it means: Have you pegged yourself down as someone who can not find time to exercise? If so, you are no different than I was in recent past. Change it now! Start off with small acts. If you are fit for it, take stairs instead of using escalator, walk instead of driving and stand instead of sitting.

Thought of the day:

Understand the language of your tummy. Most times you feel hungry, you are actually just thirsty.

Next time you feel famished at an odd hour, drink a glass of water and see the result.

Will come back soon with more. Till then cheerio!

Live healthy, be happy, look great!

Wow you look gorgeous! Step One

Wow you look gorgeous! Step One.

Wow you look gorgeous! Step One

Looking at picture of that beautiful actress, do you at times silently wonder (with a sigh usually) “Will I ever be able to look even close to this?” Or skimming through the pictures of your friends on social networks, do you pause and notice those who stand out? Do you admire them for how they carry themselves? Perhaps even envy them a little?

If your answer is yes, Congratulations! You are normal.

It is absolutely ok to be a little competitive – this pushes one to strive for more (as long as you are not thinking about scratching your best friend’s eyes out because she was the centre of attention at the party last night).

To me, the ones considered best looking are usually the ones who 1) Appear to be confident and 2) Look comfortable. I take this would not be a brand new revelation for most of us. However, changing our own attitudes and actually starting to live these two realities, is a different story altogether.

In due course, I will share some quick changes that bring about “big results”. Meanwhile, some food for thought;

1 – Feel beautiful and take compliments. If “you” don’t like yourself, others probably won’t either.

2 – Have a role model. Notice the attributes of the people you admire – a friend or a celebrity.

3 – Take one step at a time. Like, promise yourself “I will not go to bed without taking make up off.”

4 – You are what you eat. Don’t starve, eat sensibly.

5 – Fashion is what suits you and not necessarily what is “In”.

For more handy tips on each of the above points, keep following.

Till then, cheerio!

Live healthy, be happy, look great!

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