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Doing small things right

Updated on: 05 January,2023 08:02 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sonia Lulla |

From ensuring her routine was intense enough to break a sweat, to consuming comfort food to her heart’s content, Alia, say her wellness coaches, took small steps to keep herself in good stead during pregnancy

Doing small things right

Alia Bhatt

A month and a half after her delivery, Alia Bhatt took to her social media handle to share an update on the progress she had made in her fitness journey. In her motivational post to all new mothers, she encouraged them to “listen to your body post-delivery, and not do anything that your gut tells you not to”.

And while the actor stated that the three weeks that followed her delivery were spent in “walking and finding my balance” alone, her yoga trainer, Anshuka Parwani attributes her ability to return to ship-shape post-pregnancy to her active lifestyle. “Alia is mindful of her habits, and for her, listening to her body is key. She was active from the get go, and her [training] pattern was similar to what Kareena [Kapoor Khan] followed,” says the trainer who catered to both actors during their pregnancies.

Admitting that pregnancy can be emotionally challenging for women who “haven’t seen their body in a certain way”, she says staying active is integral to positively impacting the parasympathetic nervous system. “This in turn affects your hormonal system as well.” She encouraged Bhatt to work towards breaking a sweat during her training. “As long as we were being safe with the [choice of] exercise, we were still adhering to a holistic practice.  The suryanamaskars that we followed were challenging. Since it is easy to lose muscle mass during pregnancy, we continued to train with light weights to retain the muscle tone. Apart from resistance bands, body weight was also employed in her regimen. So, as long as the practice is alerted keeping one’s safety in mind, one can follow a well-rounded regimen.”

Weeks after her delivery, Bhatt caught the attention of social media users when she left Parwani’s yoga studio, with fans commending her for shedding her post-pregnancy weight in no time. However, Parwani says a discussion on weight-loss never occurred between the two. Using medical opinion to decipher when it would be safe for her to resume training, she brought Bhatt back to the studio after four weeks. “It’s important to know that this period can vary for each woman. Some women may need three months of rest before resuming. With Alia, we worked on bringing the muscle-memory back, because returning to the original routine after nine months is hard. Building the mind-body connection, and core strength are the aspects that pose a challenge. Also, you need to be mindful of avoiding injuries both during and post-pregnancy. This is because the process of delivery alters the body and the muscle strength. Alia started with breath work, and then progressed to mobility training. Subsequently, we worked on core and pelvic floor training.”

Getting Alia to eat right!

Dr Siddhant Bhargava

Bhatt’s nutritionist Dr Siddhant Bhargava tweaked her diet frequently to ensure that she was on track to gaining no more than the nine to 11 kilos that is recommended during pregnancy. “While ensuring that [the health of the actor and the baby] were addressed, we’d take a call on adding or reducing [calories] after studying her scans. Alia’s diet comprised comfort food, whether that was dahi chawal, or anything else that she wanted. We usually calculate every gram of food, including the oils and vegetables she consumes. But during her pregnancy, we didn’t have a very strict routine.”

Like he would while creating a diet chart for a pregnant woman, Dr Bhargava added iron supplements, folic acid, and a good share of greens and fruits in her diet. Sugars, on the other hand, were eliminated. “There are too many myths associated with pregnancy, and women are encouraged to have large quantities of ghee and jaggery because these are considered healthy food items. These recommendations were born out of a good place, but if you consume these foods unchecked, it could cause trouble. All of these things lead to excessive weight gain. When you add extra sugar to a pregnant woman’s diet, the chances of developing gestational diabetes increases. The child could also develop insulin resistance. So, we did not disregard traditional nutritional advice, but found ways to work around them.” 

Also Read: How Sara Alia Khan got svelte with the ‘aam Indian girl’ diet

While Dr Bhargava paid heed to the fact that the actor would want to return to shape to resume her work in the industry, weight-loss, he says, was not part of their conversations. “Only three weeks after her delivery did we take up any diet-centric conversations. Post-pregnancy, one’s calorie requirement increases. Breastfeeding takes away a large part of your caloric intake, and we wanted to make no compromises there, because we wanted the baby to receive the best nutrition. Now that it has been three months, we’ll start adding some restrictions to her diet.” Prod him if Bhatt follows a low-carb diet, and he responds in the negative. “She consumes about 80 grams, which is equivalent to four rotis.” 

Parwani on how fitness routines are altered across trimesters

Parwani on how fitness routines are altered across trimesters

In the first trimester, one needs to take things easy. Breath work, stretching and gentle flows are what you should practise. If you have been training before you conceived, you can continue your practice, but adopting new methods is not advisable. Walking and moving with caution is crucial. You want to be careful of avoiding injuries.

Trimester two is more fun [for fitness aficionados]. You can challenge yourself. A lot of women enjoy this phase because you can stretch the body more. You can work on strengthening exercises. Alia did not encounter morning sickness, so this phase was a cakewalk for her. Because she had been training every day in her first trimester, she could adopt a balanced regimen in this phase. We worked on training the back so that it could bear the extra weight. 

Also Read: Dr. Hitendra Kalita: Boosting Reproductive Health

In the third trimester, we work on making space [for the baby], and focus on breath work. You prepare for a natural delivery, and train to deal with breath work for the labour. Since inversions can be practised, we continued to do them to some extent, with Alia. 

The Cheats Tusshar Kapoor

The Cheats Tusshar Kapoor

What’s your cheat meal: Cheese and pepperoni pizza, or pasta with white sauce.
How often do you indulge: Perhaps every 10 to 15 days.
Cheat meal vs cheat day: I used to have cheat days, but now they have become cheat meals. I may opt for foods like mutton, or paneer. I don’t gorge on desserts, but I eat what I feel like eating. 
Do you compensate for it: I don’t train on that day, but I resume training the next day. I don’t exercise for an extra [hour] as that isn’t helpful. Excess carbs can be accommodated for in subsequent training routines anyway. 

In Hasleen Kaur's Fridge

In Hasleen Kaur`s Fridge

Cream cheese

Fitness Tip That Works For Milind Soman

Fitness Tip That Works For Milind Soman

Find the thing that you’re good at —  whether or not that is commercially viable. If you are good at it, you will explore life through it.  I could explore life through sports, because I was good at it, and I would win!

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