There is a learning from every mistake. But for Ramya Subramanian, the “change” of self-awareness took a long series of mistakes to develop. But the VJ, presenter, actress and now “Indian women’s fitness coach,” rejoices in the many mistakes in her life that have shaped her. First she chased her roles, now the roles are chasing her. Then she tried to lose weight for all the wrong reasons and with all the wrong methods; now she’s a competitive weightlifter who says losing weight is always about staying healthy. Best of all, she chose intuitive eating (IE) over intermittent fasting (IF), choosing to eat when she’s hungry and letting the body decide its satiety threshold. It was these real human choices, she says, that helped her realize that fame was meaningless when being a fitness coach and helping others was much more useful. So between two shoots of her new film during a rainy evening in Kodaikanal, she looks for her sneakers to stroll around the grounds of her hotel, without frills and accessible to all, even for the smallest moment.
‘I did everything wrong. Tried everything recommended online instead of going to the expert first’
In her late teens, Ramya began as “a sari-clad anchor with a sweet face”, her plumpness confining her to some type of role-playing. Two things stood out to her, the lack of bigger clothes for children and the societal gaze that made her embarrassed and nervous about wearing anything else. She tried all sorts of fad diets, friends’ suggestions, zealously followed whatever floated online, but the bulge just wouldn’t go away. Her anxiety level increased as she struggled to keep up with expected appearances. “My cardinal mistake was not consulting an established nutritionist, assessing my health, or seeking fitness guides. And I lost many years of disciplined approach. So I took a year off and I signed up with professionals. That’s when I started a proper gym routine and gave it my all, understanding what my body needed at each stage. For example, I was trained on exercises conditioning and stretching, and how to warm up before each session, something I had never known before. I started with workouts based on “High Intensity Interval Training” or HIIT,” Not only did she lose fat quickly with a structured diet, Ramya tells us, but with a little help from her high-protein diet, she also built muscle.
His dedication and willingness to literally punch above his weight caught the eye of his personal trainer Jyotsna, who suggested he try weightlifting. As it did wonders for her body, it also made her competitive in spirit and gave her a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. It also helped break my body awareness as my male gym mates encouraged me to go to the arena and were my biggest cheerleaders. Powerlifting changed me forever. And after that, I was not only offered films that were stereotypical but action-oriented,” she says.
Start young, especially if you have PCOS
It was also when Ramya decided to help other women like her by advising them on fitness. She researched extensively during lockdown, signing up for all manner of expert sessions, reading, and finally setting up a fitness coaching academy with nutritionists, clinical dietitians, doctors, and fitness experts. “Most Indian women do not understand or report their problems other than gynecological issues like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), something that impacts their reproductive health. But between the ages of 30 and 40, most women develop several health problems like diabetes and hypertension, complicated by stress. This is why it is all the more important for women to build a fitness routine from childhood. Start as early as eight or nine years old by playing some kind of sport. Whereas by the time you are in your middle age your basic parameters are sorted. Fitness is about staying healthy, not just losing weight to look good. If you have an active lifestyle, you don’t need to build your body as such,” she tells us. Ramya further suggests that it’s not only important to adopt a routine that works for you, it’s also important to like it so that sticking to it doesn’t feel like a chore. “Be consistent and happy. Whether it’s yoga, Zumba, cardio, strength training or HIIT, consult an expert, experience it, then choose. The most important thing is to do a comprehensive assessment of the body before starting anything.
Circadian rhythm, being like a hunter-gatherer, following the sun
Ramya found the virtues of being like our predecessors when they were hunter-gatherers and did all their activities during sunlight and retired to their shelter for the night. “I just follow the sunlight. Circadian fasting is a form of time-restricted eating in which you eat most heavy meals and expend energy at the start of the day. So basically you have a working time between eight and 12 hours a day. This makes the most sense because you are then aligning with your internal clock which regulates day and night hormones like cortisol and melatonin. Circadian rhythms impact the action of insulin and leptin. Our sleep schedule, body temperature, hormone levels, and digestion are all greatly affected by circadian rhythms. If we can respect that correlation, then we can reduce a lot of our disease burden,” she says.
“I practice intuitive eating”
Having suffered the worst consequences of all types of fad diets, Ramya decided to follow the Intuitive Eating Method, choosing to eat only when she is hungry and in the process learning to recognize her own levels of hunger. satiety. “It does not mean denying or restricting all food. Instead, you listen to your body and eat what’s right for you. It also doesn’t mean you can eat anything, anytime. No, operate in the day time slot but only eat when your body tells you to, instead of following social habits. Sometimes I’m good with two meals, sometimes I eat three or four small ones. This way you are retraining your body to act as it should. It is a long-term solution for weight management and also mental well-being. In this scenario, food doesn’t quite become the enemy. Remember that diet changes lead to eating disorders,” she says.
One Person’s Food is Another Person’s Poison: Find Your Own Plate
“I am often asked how I manage my diet and I tell everyone that what works for me may not work for you and could even be poisonous because our physical condition, type and metabolism differ from person to person. to another,” says Ramya. But she follows some basic, sensible practices.
“(1) Don’t go for exotic food that you didn’t grow up on. Keep your food choices regional and sustainable.
(2) Keep away from frozen and processed foods.
(3) I eat four to five servings of vegetables, high protein foods, and have at least three liters of water. Indians don’t get enough protein or as much as is proportional to their body weight and instead rely on carbohydrates. Hydration is very important to eliminate toxins. Protein worked for me as I was stronger in my workouts and had newfound energy which helped me stay positive.
(4) Chew your food and break it down completely for better absorption, at least 20-30 times before your next bite. I set a 20 minute timer for each meal I eat.
(5) Don’t eat too fast. Your brain doesn’t understand what you’ve eaten and can’t process its satiety cue. So it can’t alert you when you’re overeating and the excess food accumulates as unwanted fat.
(6) Don’t overeat.
‘How to avoid a fat plateau’
It took a lot of trial and error for Ramya to get rid of stubborn fat. “Over time, when we continue to eat less than usual, the body understands that this is the new normal and adapts to the change. Ultimately, our body doesn’t care about aesthetics, and its job is to protect us by storing as much fat as possible to be ready for a time when we may not be giving it external food.By eating less for long periods of time we suppress our metabolism. -diet or starve, your body will eventually adapt and learn to survive within the new limits, so you won’t continue to lose weight the way you did in the beginning.We call this a “fat loss plateau” While this can be reversed by eating more slowly and mindfully in a planned and distributed way, it’s not easy to do and you have to be very patient during the process to get it to reverse,” she says.
(Stop Weighting is published by Penguin India)