I’ve always been into fitness. I played volleyball during my school days, and represented the Mumbai zone five times. I was also into karate and taekwondo. So, when I entered the film industry in 1993, I had an athletic body, which was quite unlike other actresses.
I was a little chubby, but fit. At that time, even among the male actors, only Sanjay Dutt was into fitness. Once I started focusing on acting, I joined the gym to stay fit. But a major lifestyle change happened five years ago after I delivered my son, Viaan Raj Kundra. That is when my disciplined approach towards fitness began.
I used to practise yoga in the Big Brother house. Then, I produced a yoga DVD, which was shot in Kerala. I released it in the UK in 2007, and then in India. I’m glad that it became a catalyst in the fitness movement in India. It is important to educate yourself before you jump into any sort of regime. It is not about dieting, and it is never about a one-week, one-month, or one-year commitment. It is a change in the way you live.
Till I had my child, I had no idea about how much your body can transform. As an actor, you have a certain image. Mine was that of a glamorous icon. But when I had my baby, my body changed. That celebrity image was shattered completely. It was quite unsettling. Viaan is the centre of my world, and at that point, nothing was going to take away from me the happiness of motherhood.
However, the realisation that now my body was not as easy to maintain as before, had set in. I had put on 34 kilos, and it took me five months of hard work to lose that weight. This experience also made me realise that anyone with issues can overcome them. They only need to understand what suits them best. That is why I decided to pen down my experiences in a book.
Shilpa Shetty Kundra makes sure she meditates every day. (HT Photo)
I am a proud 41-year-old today. It is not me defining my age, but me trying to bring a perspective on ageing. You can’t defy it, but you can definitely choose to grow old gracefully. I belong to a stressful professional community. I will, on most days, not have fixed work timings. And above all, Viaan is my priority and kids are full of surprises. Among all this, yoga helps me keep my balance. If I do not have enough time, then I go to my garden and breathe. It makes a lot of difference to the day that follows. I try and do yoga for 40 minutes, at least five days a week.
My fitness rules
1 . Live a disciplined life
Commit to a lifetime of modification. A month or week’s commitment will not help you.
2 . Plan three definite meals
Breakfast should be had between 8am to 9am. Start your morning with a glass of warm water with lemon juice. This alkalises your body. Have your lunch between 12pm to 1pm, and dinner between 7.30pm to 8pm. Make sure your dinner includes some soup. Do not eat anything raw post 6pm, not even fruits. Do not have anything post 8pm other than water. Avoid aerated drinks and junk food.
3 . Sleep for six to seven hours
Sleep is a prerequisite. Whatever you do — study, work or exercise — will not reach its full potential if you don’t recharge your body with a good night’s sleep.
4 . Cook food with oils made in our country
Use coconut oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil, etc. Do not cook with olive oil. That is a complete no-no.
5 . Substitute all white items with brown
Brown rice instead of white, brown sugar instead of white, brown bread instead of white, and so on. I also recommend seeded bread, and sea salt.
6 . Substitute cow’s milk with buffalo’s milk
It has more iron content. That’s what I give my child.
7 . Have a cheat day
For me, it is Sunday, when I eat anything I want without feeling guilty. It is about looking out for your mind over your body. If you eat and are not happy, it obstructs your digestion. So, follow a strict diet, but train your mind to think that what you eat will make you healthier.
— As told to Susan Jose