Protagonists of a web show, Maheep Kapoor and Seema Kiran Sajdeh discuss lifestyle tips that have kept them in good stead past 40
Maheep Kapoor and Seema Kiran Sajdeh. Pics/Instagram
‘I didn’t want my kids to fear food’
Maheep Kapoor speaks passionately about adopting healthy habits to serve as a role model for her kids. Pointing out that her actor-husband Sanjay Kapoor has been “eating the same meals for years”, she says as parents, they attempt to help their kids learn healthy habits. “I never wanted them to fear food. Considering the environment that we live in, the pollution, and the viruses we now encounter, it is more important now, than ever, to stay fit. At home, we look at food as medicine on the table. We always think about whether or not we are getting the required amount of protein and carbs,” says Kapoor, adding that her parents played a vital role in encouraging her to adopt healthy habits.
Certain that her wealth of knowledge on the subject will benefit women across ages, Kapoor says she’s eager to launch a YouTube channel dedicated to the subject. “Women need to know that the foods that growing kids need is different from what they need in their 20s, and subsequently, a woman in her 40s needs to completely change her [diet chart]. At a time when you are in pre-menopause, [metabolism] slows down. I am learning to minimise sugar, because it is poison, and am also learning to eat in the correct manner — greens first, and then protein.”
Pointing out that Sanjay and she have had a “love affair with food”, Kapoor says she owes her good health to the fact that she ate wholesome meals while growing up. Physical fitness, she says, has played an integral role in her journey. “All of us at home exercise. In the lockdown, I bought a cycle, and would use it to [channel] my energy. Any routine doesn’t have to be strenuous. I love pilates, and walking. It also boosts my mental health. I enjoy the time I get to push my body.”
Her circle of friends, she admits, keeps her motivated. “My friends are healthy and conscious about the need to stay active. We are all in our mid-40s and early-50s. [We have] great skin, and it’s all due to good nutrition.”
Maheep’s top fitness tips:
1. Water is vital. Hydrate yourself as soon as you wake up.
2. Focus on eating fruits and vegetables. There’s a reason behind certain fruits and vegetables being available at certain times. It is nature’s way of telling you that you need it.
3. Stay away from sugar. As a challenge for yourself, eliminate sugar for a month and see the benefits.
4. Do a blood test to learn about your vitamin deficiencies. Indians are deficient in vitamin D, and it’s a very important vitamin. I realised I was allergic to chicken, and I eliminated it. If you tend to react to something, it can show up in simple ways, like lethargy.
5. Do not touch anything processed, or anything that comes in a package.
‘I am a strong woman’
An overweight child, Seema Kiran Sajdeh was rather bribed by her father when she expressed her desire to bring home a puppy — he told her he’d gift her the dog when she managed to lose weight. Sajdeh, whose fashion and fitness choices have won praise from watchers of an ongoing web show featuring her, recalls that her first tryst with physical fitness happened at the behest of her aunt. “I’d spend my holidays with her, and she was the one who encouraged me to exercise and eat correctly, and helped me shave off 20 kilos,” she recalls.
It was after the pandemic — and the subsequent weight gain that followed — that she began to truly turn her attention to nutrition. “The extra weight wouldn’t budge. I went to a nutritionist and began to understand my body, and what was and wasn’t suiting me. For example, I do always watch what is on my plate, but I am also a binge-eater. I especially cannot do portion control — things like having only two biscuits or one bowl of something, I can’t do that. I had to find what was making me happy because I cannot eat things that don’t taste good. If you tell me to eat 90 per cent dark chocolate, I feel that’s like eating cardboard. So, I was encouraged to eat the chocolate with almonds, which satiates my [sweet tooth], and provides protein too. The longest that I have gone without sugar is 22 hours. It is always about the connection you can build with what you put in the mouth. At the same time, you have to think about the value that each food that you put into your mouth, provides. It affects your health, skin, and mood.”
At 44, Sajdeh’s fitness routine is not for the faint-hearted. Her social media posts are brimming with snapshots of her routine that comprise a mix of plyometric and strength training exercises. Admitting that she harbours a love-hate relationship with her fitness routine, she says she is often uncomfortable when she hasn’t packed in her sweat session. “If I miss my routine, I don’t feel energetic. Initially, it was all about cardio. When you are young, you easily see results with cardio. But as you grow older, you need to develop strength too. I am a strong chick. While travelling, lifting bags and handling luggage, I can see the difference between me and someone else my age, and I owe it all to my strength training routine. People who exercise, can combat a lot. Also, rest is important. If you feel like you’re exercising a lot but aren’t losing weight, I’d say give your body rest, and you’ll see the results.”
Prod her on how she adheres to her routine when she’s on social visits or on holiday, and she encourages women by stating, “While travelling, walk a lot. Don’t take the cab or tube, and enjoy the time in the city by walking. I may go for a class, if there is one. I also have a yoga app that I may use. Also, I don’t have carbs at night.”
Seema’s top fitness tips:
1. Don’t underestimate the need to hydrate yourself.
2. Women need protein. When you are ageing, less protein can lead to skin laxity.
3. Find alternatives for sugar. Sugar is poison. Opt for dark chocolates, which have anti-oxidants as well.
4. Load up on vitamins, especially vitamin D3. If you can’t knock off your weight, do check this level.