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Tuesday, 16 October 2012 16:47

Life Coach shares her fat to fit story - Weight Loss

Published in Your Body & Soul Written by Malti Bhojwani


By Sasha Gusain posted Oct 15th 2012 at 8:15AM IN

Sasha Gussain editor of Health Me Up (Times of India initiative)
Very few things in life are as tough as an honest attempt to lose weight the healthy way. The diligence, focus and deliberate progress needed to achieve a fit and lean body doesn’t come easy. So when we caught up with Malti Bhojwani - Life Coach, NLP practitioner and author of Don’t Think of a Blue Ball – and heard about her extraordinary weight loss transformation, we decided to probe further. Here are Malti’s inspiring (and practical) answers to our questions about her journey from fat to fit… *All Images Courtesy Mali Bhojwani


How old were you when you felt the need to lose weight to live a healthier life?

I was an obese child, and always knew I was fat. It hindered my self esteem and it was so challenging, because the very activity that would help me to lose weight was what I was embarrassed to participate in, I didn't want to wear shorts or a swimsuit.

When I was a teenager at about 15 is when it really hit me that I wanted to lose weight and be slim, like my slimmer friends. I did not succeed though. I did manage to lose a lot of it when I was about 17 through starving and exercise, but still did not consider myself slim enough, also because this was not sustainable and unhealthy, I would have fainting spells and fall ill and in turn give up. 

After having my daughter at 20, I still carried excess weight and I continued to carry about 10 kilos more than I have now. When I was 37, I decided once and for all that I was slim (inside) and I wanted to experience it in my reality. That's when I DECIDED and I succeeded.

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What prompted this decision - Was it one incident or a series of small incidents?

Seeing photographs of myself, showed me how fat I was, hearing from friends that I had such big arms and a double chin. I am born in the Chinese calendar year of the Pig (prone to indulging and being overweight) and I am a Taurus also prone to being overweight. Everything pointed towards it being something I should accept, but I did not want to. All these little incidences added up and one fine day, I said "that's it."


What were the very first steps you took to start your weight loss journey?

I saw a nutritionist and she weighed and measured me. I knew this was not something I already knew how to do so I was open to expert consultation and help. I had already tried many fad diets, including lemon detox and atkins and all that didn’t work, so I wanted to work with someone who I could communicate with and who understood my likes and dislikes and could work around with me. I wanted to make sure I was doing it in a healthy way. I also took her advice to walk every day for 60 minutes and to practice Pilates. 

I committed to the new eating plan, 60 minutes of walking and 45 minutes of Pilates for 6 days a week. I wanted this to be a lifestyle change not just a quick fix, though at that time, I had a goal and a time frame. I wanted to look great in a sari exposing my mid-drift like I saw on Bollywood and it was that vision that kept me going. I had a family wedding in Bali in July and I embarked on my weight loss journey in Feb of that year. I reached my goal by May and I had never been healthier.

Did it take more than one attempt to get onto the healthy weight loss track?

Yes in the past, but when I made up my mind, then it stuck and this attempt 4 years ago did the job. I wanted to lose 10 kilos and I did. Being adept in how our mindset and commitments make us who we are, including how heavy we are, I practiced my own principles on myself and coached myself into having the resolve and commitment to this vision. This helped me to integrate the parts of me that were holding on to the fat and the part of me that wanted to be slim.

What were your biggest hurdles when it came to discipline for exercise and balanced eating?

Loss of determination because people called me “obsessed” and said I looked “fine”. But I knew that I could look better. Also the feeling or “being an inconvenience” because you are consciously choosing to eat differently from the masses, being seen as the “annoying and different one” at home or even at restaurants, all that added to the challenge as mostly, you just want to go along and fit in and not be the “troublesome” one.  

Temptation to eat chocolate excessively and binge drink once in a while hindered me, but I got back onto course soon after as I had learnt to love myself and not beat myself up for any “transgressions”. The next day, I would get back on my regime. I also fell in love with the new lifestyle of eating regularly, walking and pilates and that became a part of my life.

How supportive were your friends and family in this healthy weight loss struggle?

Actually, they weren’t. My mother loves to eat and feed and friends all wanted me to eat and drink with them, or give up my exercise time to hang out, but I was committed and didn’t let them affect me. With my mum, I had to sit her down and tell her that I was healthy and not going to faint or do anything harmful to my body. I was eating very well and more than enough, just not eating what they were eating or wanted me to eat. Friends would get jealous almost and irritated because I was doing what they wanted to and had not succeeded. My commitment annoyed them.

How many months and/or years did it take you to hit your perfect weight?

There are two answers to this question, 1 is all my life till I hit 37 and the second answer is that when I decided that this was what I truly wanted more than anything else, it took hardly 3 months

What were the top 3 "must-do practices" you found were completely untrue?

That I had to go to a gym and suffer and exercise even if I didn’t enjoy it. I learnt that for me, I had to really fall in LOVE with the exercise and the activity in order for me to want to make it a lifestyle.

That I could not eat my favourite foods ever

That I should not weigh myself daily. I am very sensitive and I learnt that by weighing myself, I could see what I did well or not well the day before and this was a visual representation of my success.

Once you reached your perfect weight, how did your diet and exercise routine change?

To be honest, at first I was a little insecure about dropping or changing anything. But then I slowed down the walking to 3 times a week and I started to include a little more carbohydrates and sugars into my eating plan. 

Now I am 2 kilos heavier than my ideal weight, but to be honest, I feel I look and feel great and am able to indulge in whatever I enjoy so I am happy with these 2 kilos. I also know how to get rid of them, if I really wanted to, start walking everyday again, and stop the wine, but right now my excuse is that I don’t have the time and I don’t eat as much as I used to, so I don’t need it anymore. 

Surely, if I had to do a bikini shot again, I would easily shed these 2 stubborn kilos in no time! So to answer your question, nowadays, I still do Pilates 3 to 4 times a week. I walk when I am feeling heavy, or when I travel and can’t do Pilates.


How important was it to practise strength training for maximum long-lasting weight control?

Essential!!! It is the muscle tone that gives shape, posture and strength and it helps to keep our metabolism healthy. Especially after you turn 40, it is imperative in my knowledge to keep strength training. Again for me, this is in the form of Pilates only. And for me, it was an aesthetic desire, I wasn’t losing weight to be healthier, I was doing it to see results and a new shape in my body. Strength training helps to sculpt your body making the changes visible. In Mumbai, I go to The Pilates Studio in Santa Cruz.

What were the diet rules you followed? Did you quit any foods and drinks completely?

Yes when I wanted to lose the 10 kilos, I got rid of most raw sugar and simple carbohydrates. I reduced alcohol intake to once a week and that too only 2 glasses of either Vodka Soda or White wine. I kept frozen berries in the freezer to replace the chocolate craving and I ate cucumber instead of chips when I was “snacky”

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How often do you indulge in ‘unhealthy’ foods like processed foods, fried foods, hard liquor, sugary drinks or starchy foods?

Nowadays, when I go out. I allow myself to enjoy the spread. At home I eat clean food. I don’t touch sugary drinks but I love my fruit, so I eat oranges, pomegranate and sometimes the occasional banana too. I love white wine and if not available, I will have some vodka. I try to limit my nights out in order to limit the intake of foods and drinks that may make me put on weight.
How important was it for you to abstain from drinking too much in order to lose weight?

Imperative – alcohol not only is pure sugar, which will have nowhere to go especially at night, unless you can dance it off,  but also it would affect my discerning power and reduce my cognitive effectiveness, so I would also end up eating more than I need during and after consuming too much alcohol.

How did this weight loss and toned body impact your work and personal life?

It changed my life, because to me this was more of a benchmark to my personal power and determination than even walking on coals. I felt “If I can drop 2 dress sizes in 3 months, I can do anything”. It affected my confidence, and in my line of work, it gave me the strength I needed to help other people with resolve in their own goals, weight related or not. 

Personally, I could wear all the clothes I used to admire on others and I felt confident in my swimsuit, making me more able to participate in social activities that I used to shy away from before. I am proud of the way I look and I enjoy being me in a way that is so accepting and loving. I felt sexier and more attractive, which gave me the confidence to stand tall and hold my body with dignity which only added to the attractiveness. 

Just because of the work I do and the number of people who come to me with self-esteem and weight goals, I saw my own success as testimony to the fact that what I did worked. I felt more authentic as a coach and more equipped in being able to support my clients.

If you drive just one point home (about healthy weight loss), what would it be?

Fake it till you make it. Feel think and behave like a slimmer you would. Emulate other slim people in their eating and exercise routines. In order to have a slimmer body soon, you have to now behave like a slimmer person would. Be kind with yourself and know that every day is a new opportunity to get back on the horse, keeping the vision of the slimmer you in mind.
Malti Bhojwani is a Life Coach, NLP practitioner and author of Don't Think of a Blue Ball (published by Om Books International). 

A teaser to GuyLife's review for Don't Think of a Blue Ball:
Don't Think of a Blue Ball is not a book for the closed-minded. It's well in keeping with the changing times, the growing sense of spirituality that's shrouding the world today. It contemplates something that more and more people have been searching for in these trying times--a real sense of inner peace.
For a 1 hour phone-trial session with Malti at USD180, register below to experience and see first hand what working with an experienced Life Coach will feel like.


Click on the link to see all the before and after photos of Malti.


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Meditation has many connotations and some of them may trigger different reactions from all of us. When I was younger, I thought it was the most boring thing anyone could indulge in and I conjured up an image of bearded yogis up in the Himalayas who starved and smelled. Today however, thanks to the holistic awareness, movements towards personal development and the amalgamation of Eastern and Western thoughts becoming more and more popular, meditation has taken on a more marketable name.

I meditate and in my personal experience, I call it “plugging-in” In fact as I am working on my book, there is an entire chapter dedicated solely to “plugging into the Universe”.

Visualization to me is constant, I think with images in my mind. If I asked you now, whatever you do, do not think of a blue ball, what happens? Exactly, you conjure up an image of a blue ball and I might even guess that it showed in the top right hand corner of your “internal screen”. The premise is that you can’t visualize nothing, and what you visualize, you are giving power to, so if you “see” pictures of what you don’t want, guess what? You will end up attracting what you don’t want. We cannot bring into our world what we have not been able to at least imagine first.

This dates back to mental imagery in sports and also simulated activity for astronauts. The brain sometimes cannot distinguish between the image of a memory or the image of a fantasy, but having “seen” it before in your mind’s eye, makes it more possible to create it in your reality. 

So we all have internal screens and the practice of attracting positivity through visualization is a great way to getting to the “feeling” space of what you want to create in your reality. Meditation can be done in so many ways. We can meditate through sitting still and chanting a mantra, we can meditate in dance and movement, we can meditate in our shower, we can meditate through visualization.

In my practice, your personal spiritual connection and how you choose to connect will influence your preferred way of meditation. To meditate to me is to go in. When I am writing, I say to the world, that I am not stepping out, that is a two fold statement. I am not stepping out of my work space, and I am not stepping out of the inner space that I create in order to write. I am “in”. Plugged in.

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain 1978 describes several very powerful and enjoyable guided meditation methods using visualization. 

Through the years, I have created a mixing pot of the various methods I have tried and come up with my own. The first step for me is to “center” or “ground”. To do this, simply sit with your feet touching the ground, and your hands resting on your thighs, close your eyes and become aware of your surroundings. See in your internal screen the space or room you are sitting in. Feel the weight of your feet on the ground and of your hands on your thighs, feel the fabric or skin under your hands and make sure you are seated in an “open-body” position, with your feet and hands uncrossed and your chest open to receiving. You can enhance the feeling of grounded-ness by imagining roots coming out of the bottom of your feet like in a tree and going deeper and deeper into the core of the earth, and you can also imagine light coming out of the skies above and flowing like lightning bolts into your head. Create a blank screen in your mind’s eye and in the screen conjure up a picture or image that makes you happy and which is aligned with what you want to create in your world. 

When speaking about health and weight loss, you could imagine yourself slim and healthy, with lustrous hair and toned muscles and a slim frame wearing the most beautiful dress or suit that would enhance your desired body and a smile that would assure you that you have achieved this goal. If yours is a relationship desire, then visualize yourself in a loving embrace with a gorgeous partner and if there is no partner, then try not to give the visualization lover a face, what is important is your own face and feeling while you “see” this image. If you are being held and feeling loved and joyous, then that is important.

When I wanted to lose weight and get myself and a close friend’s books published, my perfect image that I used when I meditated was of myself lying in a green bikini on a hammock, the two books in one hand and a cocktail in my other hand, complete with a frangipani in my hair. The image presupposed that I was successful enough to be lounging on a hammock and because I was so self-conscious of my figure before, there was no way I would be caught dead in a bikini until I had shed the kilos I wanted to shed, and holding the books that I wanted to see published meant that I had succeeded.

To take it further, you can imagine this beautiful image is encapsulated in a glowing pink ball and then set the ball off in the top left of your screen, going up higher and higher into the universe, to bring your dreams back to you in reality and manifestation.

Meditation is different for all of us. As you get better and better at it, and it is all about discipline, time and practice, you will find that you can go in easier and you will discover that you are not just trying to “plug-in” to the Universe, but rather you ARE the Universe and the Universe is you.


How posture affects your looks

When you have good posture, you walk with more ease and grace. Think of all the beautiful divas you see on the red carpet and the silver screen, boasting long lean necklines, head held straight, shoulders square, not shrugging up or slumped down.

Tummy tucked in, back slightly arched, this automatically gives you a tummy tuck, boob-job and leaner waist. Instantly you will feel and project an air of confidence and of being alert.

Just by standing or sitting up straight, you change your physiology to one of instant confidence. It is impossible to feel low or sad, when you are upright and smiling. Try it now. How did you feel? You can do this in front of a mirror for added value. You will portray confidence and enthusiasm that is very very attractive. Slouch, slump and frown and see how you look – disheartened, bored, tired, old and fat. Try this, breathe, hold your head up straight, tuck your tummy in and smile. Notice the difference? When you stretch and lengthen your back this way, you instantly look leaner as well.

Bad posture is just a bad habit

Some women have bad posture because they are shy about the size of their breasts, in this day and age when women are flying halfway across the world and spending thousands of dollars to go under the knife to get breast enhancements or at least buying the most maximiser push up bras they can find, it is time for you to stand tall and proud.

Most people who think they have a fat tummy are just not standing or sitting right. Commit to having a good posture by visualizing yourself standing tall, shoulder blades back, tummy tucked in and head up straight. I am a short woman at barely 5'1" and improving my posture with my mum's help when I was younger and Pilates now, I feel taller than I am.

Bad posture is just a bad habit and in life coaching, I say that you cannot break a habit, you have to replace it. So pick an exercise that you will be willing to commit to. It could be Pilates or even the Alexander Technique, a famous regime that can help strengthen core muscles and re-align the spine. Commit an hour a day to exercise. Practice. Constantly remind yourself to to stand up tall and pull your tummy into your spine and actually visualize it. See yourself always standing or sitting in good posture. It is not something you turn on and off when you know someone is watching; you have to practice it all the time.

Looking good is not just about your face

Your body carries your head. It is how the rest of you carries your face and that is your body. A beautiful body is not just about weight, it is about how you hold it and how it holds your head up. Your posture shows the world how you are feeling and your abilities.

Research was done years ago at the University of Louisville, where 60 people were asked to rate the appearance of two women in a series of pictures - in some they were slumping, in others they were standing up straight.... Consistently, viewers rated the women who were standing up straight to be younger and more attractive," Some heavier ones were also perceived to be thinner just from the way they were standing in the pictures.

It is simple physics and optical illusions, when you scrunch, you make yourself look shorter and wider, and when you are straight and erect, you automatically look taller and thinner. A good posture helps you to radiate a sense of confidence. By Malti Bhojwani



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Your body image is in your head and not your body. There have been many large movements internationally to help people re-learn that a great body image is not about having a stereotypically thin body or a six-pack. Sure if that is really what you are striving towards for yourself, then I believe that you can achieve that too, but whatever you look like on the outside, the true conquering of your self esteem and body image is in the way you think and talk to yourself and in how you feel on the inside.Read on to find out how you too can improve your body image.

How healthy is your body image?

Firstly ask yourself how many things and activities are you stopping yourself from enjoying because of the way you feel about your body? For instance: I did not learn to swim as a child and had always skipped my physical fitness classes in school because I did not want to be seen in a swimsuit or in shorts.

Your life is not a dress-rehearsal for when you have lost 10 kilos, have a flatter tummy or a smaller behind. Each minute, day, week that you spend in this “wait” is gone and if your body image is keeping your form living your life now, then you really have to do something about the image. 

5 easy steps to do just that:

Step 1: Write a list of all the things that you love about yourself, inside and out. Are you fun, funny, loyal? Do you have beautiful eyes, hair, teeth? Remind yourself daily by looking at this list that here are the things that make you truly attractive. Dwelling on the things you don’t like will only drag you down. When I lose weight, then I will be beautiful. If I can just get my abs toned, then I can wear that short choli or a bikini. All this is waiting, start knowing and feeling gorgeous now.

Step 2: Show love to your body by indulging in pleasurable activities. Get a massage, to let your senses reconnect with your body. Buy lotions that feel and smell good and spend time each day, loving your body. Go for a pedicure or facial and truly love your skin. Regular massages can really help you heal your senses and connect positive feelings with your body.

Step 3: Challenge yourself to do one thing every week that you were waiting to only do when you think you had the body you desire. Exercise, walk or dance and connect with your spirit through movement. The media has given you the impression that only thin people are beautiful enough to express themselves with their bodies, this is in reverse though, when you are willing to start expressing yourself now, the way you are, you will feel better and you will also be on your way to having a healthier mind and body.

Step 4: Watch your self-talk. Replace any mean or critical things you say to yourself with positive affirmations. Focus your attention consciously all the time on the things you already have and appreciate. Write in a gratitude journal every day and say some powerful affirmations to yourself. Be like a watchman of your thoughts and self-talk. If you spoke to a friend the way you speak to yourself sometimes, I am sure you would be offending and hurting them terribly, so offer yourself the same kindness you would your friends. Don’t pick on yourself! Meditate and breathe deeply in a quiet space with yourself and repeat the positive affirmations of self love and give thanks for all that you already have. Be grateful for your body and the beautiful experiences your body is serving to you.

Step 5: Love your body. Be aware of what you eat and drink during the course of the day. In these days where information is at your finger tips, it does not take a nutritionist to tell you what is good and healthy for you and what is not. Exercise and be active. Use your body and love it like your best friend. Give it what it needs and protect it from any abuse, physical, intake and bad talk. The above steps involve loving your body as it is right now. Not later.




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Habits can't be broken, they need to be replaced. Indulging in a chocolate cake once in a while or having a day on the couch with your chips or pakodas is not going to make you unfit, however doing it every single day, will! Here are some weight gain habits to look out for:


Lack of sleep may be making you fat. According to studies, partial sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism by 5-20% and alters your level of hunger hormones, making you hungrier all day and seriously bingeing the next.


Eating in the car. If you buy "easy to eat" meals like a burger or samosas on your way, you may end up eating your daily calorie quota in one hit. If you do travel long distances, plan ahead and carry a healthy meal and a bottle of water with you.


Eating in front of the TV. You should savour every bite, relishing the flavours and textures, not to mention be grateful for them. Eating in front of the TV makes you eat fast. The brain takes time to communicate that you are indeed satiated, so allow that to happen.


Food rut – eating the same thing day in and day out. Even if you think that you are eating healthy, you could be stuffing yourself with too much of the same thing on a daily basis, making it mundane and boring for one, which will tempt you to have frequent "pig-out" sessions with the foods you love.


Finishing everything on your plate and peer pressure. Some will probably slay me for saying this, but wasted food is wasted food, putting it all in your belly is not going to save a starving child. Serve yourself as much as you want to eat. Don't go for seconds. Growing up as an obese kid, my mum never forced me to finish my food, as most mums do, in fact she hoped that I would leave some over. She too told me not to treat my stomach like a garbage bin.


"Coffee shopping" or for some of us it is the "meet up for a drink". Many of us make it a habit to meet up with friends for coffee where the preferred flavour is hazelnut cream with a slice of a brownie. Need I say more? The equal fat habit is a few beers every night.


Some Lean Habits you could instill to replace some of the fat ones.

Smell your food. Smell peppermint and smell each spoonful before you eat. It tricks your mind into believing you have eaten a little more than you have. When I wanted to shed 10 kilos in 3 months, I smelled chocolate whenever I had a craving.


Walk for an hour everyday , instead of watching TV. If you have a treadmill or you can go to a gym, then you can multitask. If not, take your ipod and listen to music or audio-books while you walk those kilos away.


Practice one form of resistance training everyday. I love Pilates, but if you prefer Yoga or weight training, go for it. The more lean muscle you build, the faster you will shed weight and gain definition. Meet up with friends you used to go for drinks or coffee with for a run or a yoga class instead.


Drink lots of water and herbal teas. This is a good way to replace mindless munching, you can even replace the nightly drink or juice with iced herbal tea served chilled with a slice of lime in a nice glass. Make everything look enticingly tempting.


Stock up on what I like to call "free-foods" and drinks like cucumbers, celery, lettuce and herbal teas. You can eat as much of those as you want. They probably burn up more calories munching them than they actually carry themselves.


What now?

You need to have a reality check. I was once talking to a client who told me how healthy he was eating. After careful investigation, we discovered 8 slices of bread, be it they were brown, but who needs 8 slices a day, unless you are running a marathon. Where do you think it is going to store? So, for 2 days, list every single thing that you did and every morsel and drop that went into your mouth, the amount of liquids you consumed, if you are a smoker, the number of cigarettes. Even if they are things you consider healthy, like juice.


Write down also all the activities you did , the number of hours you slept or watched TV, if you went to the bathroom, if you went for a walk or jog or played a sport or got a massage. At the end of the 48 hours, get some help from a coach or a nutritionist. Identify the "fat-habits" and replace them with lean habits. Think of what a fit and healthy person would be doing daily and let that guide you as your list new habits.


Malti Bhojwani is the founder of Multi Coaching International, a Life Coach, an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner, a workshop leader and an author. Her first published work is a Journal to encourage guided writing, Thankfulness, Appreciation, Gratitude – My Journal is available in all good book stores.


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