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She also holds the Mrs. India Tamil Nadu title and represents the state as the brand ambassador for the next one year in Mrs. India pageants. In a quick chat, she talks of her weight loss journey and how a change in lifestyle helped her along. Your weight loss journeyI weighed 95 kilos, after having my second baby. For Mrs. India event, I had an interview, and then the auditions in Chennai before being selected for the final four-day event in Pune. FitnessIt’s not just about weight loss, you have to also look fit.


Sonali Pradeep can’t stop talking about millets. She calls them a powerhouse of nutrients that helps in weight loss. She switched to a millet-based diet in order to lose weight in a healthy way. Sonali, who is 35 years old, is a soft skill trainer by profession and is the recent winner of Mrs. Sparkling Diva title at Mrs. India pageant in Pune. She also holds the Mrs. India Tamil Nadu title and represents the state as the brand ambassador for the next one year in Mrs. India pageants. Her faceook page on well being has thousands of followers. In a quick chat, she talks of her weight loss journey and how a change in lifestyle helped her along.

Your weight loss journey

I weighed 95 kilos, after having my second baby. While lactating, I was on a diet of rice and ghee and it added on the pounds. I became obese and as a result health complications set in. I couldn’t take care of my baby and I was low on self esteem. I decided to take things in hand and one of the first things I did was to follow a diet that was low on carbs. I included millets and cut down on portions size. I snacked on oat cookies made with honey, and had fruit juices (without sugar), and vegetable soups. In three months I lost nine kilos. That inspired me to take up phusical activity and I started walking and jogging. Then, I enrolled for Zumba classes ( I am also a Zumba instructor now). In eight months I lost 30 kilos!

Fitness

It’s not just about weight loss, you have to also look fit. With my loss in weight, my skin began to sag. I began to work out with the help of a personal trainer and began weight training. I now maintain my weight at a steady 57 kilos.

Facebook page

To motivate new mothers in weight loss, I started a Facebook page ‘Fitnutz squad’ where I shared posts on fitness, and tips on healthy eating, and weight management. From 300 members, we have now grown to over 11, 000 members. Reducing weight is not tough but maintaining is. But, it is achievable.

Physical activity matters

I have two children – a 11-year-old daughter and six-year-old son— and I make it a point to play and run along with them whenever possible. It helps burn calories and you also get to bond, and stay happy. Thrice a week, I go for my morning walk where I cover over seven kms during which I also jog, and run. I also work out at the gym for five days a week and do my Zumba thrice a week.

The diet plan

I include millets a lot in my diet as it gave me stamina for weight training. It helps me stay energetic too. Breakfast is always a millet fare. I make upma and kichidi with lots of vegetables, pongal or porridge, with kudiraivali, saamai and varagu. I also make millet adai. The only cooking oil I use is olive oil. For my kids, I add ghee. Lunch is again millets biriyani and dinner is often a slice of brown bread with peanut butter. I also munch on nuts, especially almonds, and have a bowl of fruits at regular intervals.

For new moms

Self-control is key. You should be mentally prepared to say no to junk food. Avoid food that comes in bottles as it will probably contain preservatives. Time management is also key. Just like we bathe and eat everyday, we should work out too. A 30-minute workout every day is mandatory. It improves metabolism, removes toxins from your body, and you look and feel good. Your mind is sharper, and you work better.

Experience at the pageant

I had won several titles at the city level like Fit Mom, Fashion Princess, and runner-up titles at fashion shows. For Mrs. India event, I had an interview, and then the auditions in Chennai before being selected for the final four-day event in Pune. We would be up by 5 in the morning, and start the day with a fitness session beginning with yoga. We were given tasks to perform. We had to get ready for a party in a few minutes, and so on. Participants are evaluated from day one. One rep from the organisers side stays with each participant as an observer. Right from table etiquette, body language, how to overcome stage fear, and how to hold a mic... it was a complete grooming session. As a soft skill and communication trainer for corporates and colleges, it was an eye-opener for me.

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