Don’t need money to get into shape

Published on Feb 04, 2022 10:47 PM IST

Passionate about fitness and health, fitness influencer Sapna Vyas guides people on how to lose weight and become healthier without any pills, crash dieting or surgery

Fitness influencer Sapna Vyas
Fitness influencer Sapna Vyas

Passionate about fitness and health, fitness influencer Sapna Vyas guides people on how to lose weight and become healthier without any pills, crash dieting or surgery. Her fitness journey is a testament to the fact that you can achieve your fitness goals with determination and rigorous training.

Please tell us about your childhood?

I am born and brought up in Ahmedabad. I was an introvert kid, although I used to participate in all extracurricular activities like fancy dress and group dance. My father used to write the scripts and I used to just learn them and on the day of the event or the competition speak them out aloud. Thanks to my father, he used to write and I used to speak whatever I had learnt in front of the audiences.

Who was your biggest influence while growing up?

Owing to my shyness, I had few friends but I was not the one who would take a lot of decisions, or make plans to hang out, I was in my own world and my father was my biggest influence while growing up. He loves reading and he is like a human library, he teaches. Even today, he is an active learner. As a kid I used to attend a lot of seminars where he spoke and I listened. Honestly, I would not understand one bit because things were really different back then. Right from economics to political dialogue, he spoke on everything and I didn’t understand anything. But just because I was present there, I think I grasped a lot of other nuances, like for instance how to face stage fear. When you have the right influence, you learn more by just observing. I learnt a lot by just watching my parents rather than them guiding you on what to do and what not to do. My biggest blessing has been that my parents never forced anything on me but rather they acted in such a way that it inspired me to be like them.

What did you want to become as a kid?

Ohh, I had no idea! (Laughs)

When did you decide to become a fitness influencer, what prompted you to move in this direction?

As a kid, I used to survive on junk food. I loved everything from chocolates, icre creams to chips like any other kid. Eventually I gained a lot of weight because of my poor eating decisions. I am a Bachelor in psychology and went on to complete my MBA in marketing. I had no idea that I wanted to be in the field of fitness or nutrition because I was myself struggling with my weight. I had never even imagined that I would get into this industry.

I lost weight when I was in college and documented my entire fitness journey in a video out and posted it on YouTube and that’s when my friends noticed it and started asking me the secret and tips to losing weight. Due to the power of social media, many unknown people started asking me for advice.

Frankly speaking, I was the guinea pig in my weight loss journey and tried and experimented everything on myself. I started reading and learning and implemented things and that’s how I lost weight. But when it comes to telling other people on how to lose weight, I felt it was very important for me to get qualified before telling anyone else on what they should be doing. I am a certified weight management specialist and a health coach from American Council on Exercise. I also did certificate courses on behaviour management and sports nutrition. So, I kept on learning so that’s how I started helping others also. So, I think it was a transition that I had never planned on. My goal was never to enter the field of fitness. But it just happened to me, it was my calling.

When did you begin your social media journey? When did you realise you wanted to be a content creator?

I lost 33 kgs of weight and I posted the stories on social media. I had no clue what a fitness influencer is. Also, I had no clue if I could really influence people to become better. There is a perception that only stars, celebrities and star kids can lose and maintain weight. Also, there are a lot of gimmicks floating around when it comes to losing weight that one can lose weight in a jiffy. So my intention to get on social media was to encourage people that if an ordinary person like me can lose weight, anyone can lose weight in a healthy way. You don’t have to be a star kid to lose weight, have a lot of money to spend, you can reduce weight by just following a disciplined lifestyle, having consistency and patience. So, I felt like sharing my pictures and videos on social media.

Now how I became famous is just because of the love of the people I am connected to. I have no role in that. It is the constant love, support and cheering of people I met on social media who started connecting with me on social media. So, whatever I am today is because of people who believed in me and supported me and started to know more about me.

Any tips you suggest for mental health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It can include the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties. Mental health and physical health are very closely connected. Mental health plays a major role in your ability to maintain good physical health.

1. Connect with other people

Feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing for people of all ages. They give you an opportunity to share positive experiences. Provide emotional support and allow you to support others.

Whenever possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together, arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while. Try switching off the TV to talk with your children, friends or family. Visit a friend or family member who needs support or company.

2. Be physically active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. It can also improve your mental wellbeing by raising your self-esteem, causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood. Regular physical activity can help lower depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good, slower-paced activities such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well as exercise.

Here are a few ideas:

• Take the stairs not the lift.

• Walk to work - perhaps with a colleague – so you can connect as well.

• Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your

journey to work.

• Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning.

• Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or texting.

3. Learn new skills

Learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by boosting self- confidence and raising self-esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose and helping you to connect with others. There are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life. Continued learning and developing new hobbies through life enhances your mental health and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Here are a few ideas:

• Set up a book club.

• Do a crossword or sudoku.

• Research something you have always wondered about. • Learn a new language or a sport or how to paint.

• Learn to cook something new.

• Mentor your juniors.

• Write a blog

4. Acts of kindness

Acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving you a feeling of purpose and self- worth, as well as helping you connect with other people. It could be small acts of kindness towards other people or larger ones like volunteering for some cause.

5. Pay attention to the present moment

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings. You can also call this awareness as mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Here are a few ideas:

• Get a plant for your workspace.

• Have a clear the clutter day.

• Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or behaving. • Take a different route on your journey to or from work.

• Visit a new place for lunch.

What was your family’s reaction? How supportive were they?

My parents and family never had any issues. Basically, I never had a plan, all these things were organic. It just happened. One thing led to another. They have seen me through the process of weight loss and then helping others, being active on social media so everyone has been very supportive. I like to keep my social media life separate from my real life. My friends know me for who I am and not for my fame. Nothing ever changed in terms of support of my friends and family.

What are your future plans?

I believe in Krishna’s philosophy, “Karm Kar, Phal ki chinta mat kar.” I am a big believer in doing things and not planning. Things just happen to me. So far, things have always been great. From being an introvert, I have been transformed into an extrovert. I conduct seminars, talk to so many people, I had never ever dreamt it for myself. I will keep putting in my genuine efforts, my ultimate goal is to help others achieve their fitness goals and be someone who is there to support them, mentor them, guide them because it is always an added advantage to be guided by some one who knows the nitty gritties of a particular thing. I want to share my journey with others so that they can benefit.

I keep learning new things and I will keep moving forward.

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