As she stumbles upon a new-found audience in Instagram’s fitness aficionados, Sameera Reddy on disappointing those who follow her for glamorous posts, and addressing those who need real talk
At a time when actors like Malaika Arora and Soha Ali Khan are redefining what 40s can look like for athletically superior mothers, a crucial conversation is also gaining attention on Sameera Reddy’s Instagram page. Addressing her 1.5 million followers, Reddy talks of the guilt she endured when she didn’t fit a certain body type, post pregnancy.
The truth of the troubled relationships that young actors in cinema have had with their bodies are well known. For Reddy, matters were not quite at odds with the ‘norm’. “I would run, swim, lift, and exercise even if I was exhausted after a long day of shoot. Mentally, I was volatile. Fad dieting was a norm. I’d survive on [minimal food], and black coffee, and had cut out sugar and carbs from my diet. When you are young, you tend to do whatever you need to do to get the job done.”
Although her lifestyle contributed to the onset of thyroid, Reddy had her real moment of realisation post-partum, when the only fruits of her labour in the gym was deteriorating mental health. “I had gained 32 kilos and tried everything I possibly could. I’d always end up demotivated. That’s when I knew I had to redefine my goals and shut off. It was like cracking something into pieces, and putting it back together.”
Her parameter to gauge if a routine was working in her favour or not, was simple — If she struggled to stick to it, it wasn’t for her. “I’d run and do busts of exercises and expect my body to react positively, but the frustration would make me give up. But, if I felt calm, I could stick to the plan. It’s not possible to depend on morale and keep at it. Consistency can be built with a calm mind.” Husband Akshai Varde encouraged her to make her approach enjoyable, and introduced her to sports. Today, her mornings begin with a session of yoga, and evenings are spent with her kids indulging in a game badminton. “My curves have become noticeable again after taking to power yoga, and walking always works well for me. Boxing has been incredible too. But I do intend to return to lifting, again.”
In an industry that thrives on airbrushed images, Reddy found the process of putting her struggles on a podium fascinatingly liberating. “The more I’d speak, the more free I’d feel.” An image of her showcasing her grey hair was the trigger that kicked off a “cleansing process” of her feed. “A lot of people were there to see sexy Sam. But she was not there. They were shocked to see the images I was sharing, and began to drop off.” But as she stayed consistent, she found a league of women who felt she spoke directly to them, and addressed their struggles. “They found in this platform a safe space. It was interesting for me to meet the right audience.”
Reddy’s love for performance, editing, and shooting could be put to work. As the one-woman army handling the show behind her social media page, she learns several lessons each day. “A million came and went. But I can finally speak to the right people. Those who hope that a plan that worked for them a decade ago, will do so again, will eventually be frustrated. You need to redefine goals as you age.”
Reddy’s top five tips
1 Practice mindful eating, and keep a diary.
2 Yoga, for me, was life-altering.
3 Do not eat after 7 pm. A simple trick that works for me is brushing my teeth after 7 pm. That is a trigger to stop eating.
4 I have reaped umpteen benefits from intermittent fasting.
5 Practice a sport that you enjoy, and keep changing your workouts.
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Ruleta by Inna
Tokyo drift by Teriyaki Boyz
Merci maman by
Burn it up by R Kelly
Badam by Hardwell
Love the skin Yami’s in?
Actor who has been sought-after for her skincare routine finally spills the beans
Dealing with her skin condition, Keratosis-Pilaris
While there is no cure for it, following a skincare routine has helped me. I bathe with warm water, exfoliating with natural remedies, and keep my skin hydrated by consuming adequate water, and moisturising regularly. Keratosis-Pilaris [is conspicuous for] the tiny bumps that develop on the skin, and now their appearance doesn’t bother me anymore.
Food for thought
I have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. It has helped me enhance and maintain my natural glow. Over the years, my routine hasn’t changed. I use nature-inspired, simple, and plant-based products that suit my skin. There is an adequate intake of nutrient-rich foods like those containing Omega 3 fatty acids. I consume a balanced meal on a consistent basis that promotes the growth of new skin cells. Water flushes out toxins from our system and keeps our body hydrated and refreshed. This, in turn, maintains the skin’s elasticity. Lastly, Vitamin C intake is important as it rejuvenates the skin.
Train to gain
I practice yoga and meditation regularly. I also sleep well. While it is important to stay active, getting adequate sleep enables your skin [cells] to restore themselves.
I follow the CTM routine. I use a homemade turmeric scrub. It is made with a mixture of half teaspoon turmeric, half tablespoon sugar, and honey, I use this scrub to get rid of open pores. This is a simple but effective remedy. Also, I remove the makeup before I sleep.