My name is Akanksha Gupta (@bananabreadtoburpees), and I’m 30. I’m from India but currently live in Boston and am pursuing a graduate degree at Pennsylvania State University. After moving to the U.S., I experienced sudden weight gain, but turned to Kayla Itsines’ BBG workouts on the SWEAT app to lose about 35 pounds.
Growing up back home in India, I never dealt with being overweight. In fact, it wasn’t really until my sudden weight gain that I really thought about losing weight. After moving to the U.S. in 2014 for school, I gained about 40 pounds in a few months. My eating schedule was all over the place, thanks to the long hours I was putting in for grad school, so I would regularly eat not-so-nutritious foods at all hours. I also had very easy access to processed foods, like pizza and doughnuts, that I was regularly turning to whenever I felt hungry.
My weight gain, coupled with the stress of being in school, not only took a toll on my physical health, but my mental health as well. I knew I wanted to lose weight, but I just didn’t know how. For almost all of 2016, I followed unsustainable crash diets, methods that I thought would be quick fixes and give me results fast. But nothing seemed to work.
It wasn’t until January 2017 that I found Kayla Itsines’ BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program that I finally committed to doing something different this time.
I wanted to lose weight, but I also wanted to become physically stronger. Before finding the BBG program, I looked at exercise as something people only felt forced to do, like as a punishment for eating a slice of pizza. I never thought exercise was something I could actually enjoy.
2015 vs 2020💫 . Just a reminder for everyone who is struggling or isn’t seeing results in a month- there are 5 years between these pictures! . KEEP GOING!👊🏻 . And I know it’s easy to say it and hard to do but that its all in the MIND, its all about your MINDSET! . In the last 5 years, I have had countless struggles. Restrictions, yo-yo dieting, bingeing, feeling miserable about not being able to keep up at a diet, lack of motivation, extreme soreness after workouts… but if you want it bad enough, you will stop taking your past as an excuse for making poor decisions in the present. . Of course, taking that decision to change your life isnt enough. You have to have a PLAN. Of course, having plan isnt enough. You gotta SHOW UP. Not just for a week. Or a month. Or 6 months. But for your whole life!!! . And it takes courage to CHOOSE YOURSELF every single day. . People ask me how am I so motivated all the time, and think its easy for me to workout regularly because I am in good shape already. The honest answer is I AM NOT MOTIVATED MOST OF THE TIMES. Its NOT easy for me. . But I have been in a phase when I felt extremely miserable in my body and put in the hardwork to change my reality. And I NEVER WANT TO GO BACK TO FEELING MISERABLE. . You might think I eat ‘healthy’ 100% of the times, I drink 3L water and train everyday. . 🙅🏻♀️ . I have ‘screwed’ way too many times in the past, but thats no excuse to do/be the same in future. . I wake up with an INTENTION to do my best that day, tell myself I’m going to smash my goals today 🙌🏻 . Its okay if I fell, ate 8 unplanned snacks yesterday or ate takeaways all week in a row, my PAST IS MY PAST! . Don’t get sad about what’s already gone. Forgive yourself and move on. Get back on it today and push yourself harder!💫 . This lifestyle is an accumulation of your small daily wins. And there is no place for failures🙅🏻♀️ Trust me, we all have bad days. Its all about your mindset and how you recover from them. . BE THE DRIVER, not the victim of YOUR LIFE!💖👊🏻 . #bbgprogress #bbgathome #bbbtransforms #weightlossprogress . . . . . . . .
A post shared by Akanksha| BBG| Indian| Workout (@bananabreadtoburpees) on Apr 21, 2020 at 10:17am PDT
But BBG helped me shift my mentality around exercise. I now look at it as meditation. After exercising, I’m able to focus better, and also end up feeling way more grateful for my body. My time on the mat often makes me feel powerful and accomplished by proving to myself that I’m able to tackle things even if they seem really hard at first. For example, if I make it through 20 push-ups in a row, something that I likely wouldn’t have been able to do at the start of my journey, I end up feeling so grateful that I’ve accomplished this strength.
It wasn’t easy though. I started with three resistance workouts and two cardio sessions per week. In the beginning, I would literally cry through the upper body days, since I could hardly do a push-up on my knees at that time. To be honest, in those moments I often felt defeated and like I had let myself go.
Though I started with BBG, I’ve also tried Kelsey Wells‘ PWR and Chontel Duncan’s Fierce programs through the SWEAT app.
Gallery: 5 Healthy Post-Workout Habits for Weight Loss (Eat This, Not That!)
Now, I’ve narrowed down my exercise schedule to a weekly routine that looks like this:
- Monday: Full-body AMRAP
- Tuesday: Upper body
- Wednesday: Full-body bootcamp
- Thursday: Lower body
- Friday: Full-body HIIT
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Run/hike
I also changed my eating habits to include more unprocessed meals and greens, and I started drinking more water.
To do that, I started reading nutrition labels to really see what I was putting in my body whenever I was eating a processed meal. I also started experimenting more in the kitchen and making more of my own meals. As an Indian vegetarian, I didn’t want to cut out the meals that I used to eat back home growing up, so I tried to find ways to include more protein in them.
If you are from India🇮🇳 or have had authentic Indian food, you would know how each of our curries have a different, unique flavor and aroma! . And the combination of different spices in a set proportions play such an important role in making these dishes unique🤩 . I love my desi food but sometimes its hard to make authentic curries because I do not have patience to roast raw spices, and its easy to mess up the proportions haha🤷🏻♀️ Enter @shanfoodsglobal spices!!😍 I love how convenient these spice packets are, they last 15-20 servings easy and taste great! . Last weekend, Nishit and I made butter tofu (haha no chicken for us vegetarians) using Shan butter chicken masala packet and it tasted D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S 🤤 We combined it with whole wheat tortilla but you can pair it up with naan, rice or quinoa. . All you need: 1 tbs oil 1 tbs cumin seeds 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1 inch ginger root 1 onion large 3 tomatoes 1/2 cup cashews 1 1/2 cup whole milk 2 bay leaves 2-3 inch cinnamon bark 2 tbs @shanfoodsglobal butter chicken masala 1 pack of extra firm tofu 2 peppers (slices) 2 tbs kasoori methi 1/2 cup water Salt to taste . In a high speed blender, blend onion, tomatoes, cashews and ginger root and set aside. Add oil to a large non-stick pan on high heat. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon bark when oil turns hot. When seeds start to sputter, add onion-tomatoes paste and turn heat to medium. It will take about 10-15 mins for the moisture to leave. Keep stirring until the oil leaves the sides of the pan. Meanwhile, cut tofu into small cubes and slice bell peppers. Once oil separates from the paste, add turmeric, paprika, butter chicken masala and taste. Keep stirring for 2-3 mins for the spices to cook and it starts getting aromatic. Add water and milk and mix well. Now add cubed tofu pieces and slices peppers and close the lid of the pan to let it simmer on low heat for about 5-10 mins. Once done, add crushed fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) and turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh coriander (optional) and serve❤️ . #ShanFoodsGlobal #ShanVeg #IMadeItWithShan #mealprep #healthycomfortfood #dinnerideas #easyrecipes #tasteslikehome
A post shared by Akanksha| BBG| Indian| Workout (@bananabreadtoburpees) on Jun 22, 2020 at 8:03pm PDT
I also have a huge sweet tooth, so I looked for ways to bake healthier versions of my favorite treats. I didn’t get used to my new eating lifestyle fast, though. I would say it took me about three to six months to make these new habits a part of my routine.
I also make sure I drink two to three liters of water a day. In fact, I always start my day with a glass of warm water before I eat anything.
Here’s what I eat in a day.
- Breakfast: Overnight oats with nuts, seeds, and toppings or eggs with toast and a slice of cheese.
- A.M. snack: Fresh fruit, like an apple, with almond or peanut butter.
- Lunch: Usually a plant-based protein, like an Indian curry of chickpeas, kidney beans, and black-eyed peas, with a piece of Indian flatbread (chapati/roti) and Greek yogurt and fresh salad.
- Dinner: Usually a post-workout protein shake and an Indian curry (made with tofu/paneer) with quinoa or rice.
- P.M. snack: A protein bar (Perfect Bar, RXBAR, and Women’s Best bars are my go-to options), or some mixed nuts with some dark chocolate.
Since making those changes, I’ve lost about 35 pounds in total.
The changes in my body happened gradually, not overnight. I embraced a new lifestyle by changing my diet and exercise habits about three years ago in order to create sustainable change, so this wasn’t the quick fix I was looking for when I was experimenting with crash diets. Instead, I’ve found long-term changes that have helped both my physical and mental health.
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