“I am at the best place I have ever been professionally, mentally, physically and emotionally”- Navpriya
Navpriya is a busy gynecologic surgeon living in New York with her two children. Life is hectic and like most of us is caught in a never-ending juggle of trying to balance work and life. Despite her busy schedule she was dedicated to her fitness journey, stuck religiously to her diet, had a PT she worked with for 3 years but somehow was never as fit as she wanted to be.
Akash - What did you see when you looked in the mirror before your RNT journey?
Navpriya - I would say, I liked who I was - I have a fulfilling career, loving children and a wonderful husband but I didn’t like how I felt. A friend of mine would tell me to look in the mirror before heading out for work and say to myself, “You look great today, you will have a great day!” But I could never say that to myself because I didn’t feel that way about myself.
Akash - What do you think your problems were that were keeping you from looking like how you wanted to look?
Navpriya - I have always struggled with my weight. I was about 160 Lbs and with some diet control and trips to the gym I got my weight down to about 140 Lbs. But I wasn’t satisfied, I always wanted to have washboard abs and I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t achieve this. I worked out, I did some weights, I stuck to a diet I thought was healthy but it still felt impossible to achieve. I thought I would never have the figure I wanted because of my genes!
Navpriya came across RNT when she listened to a podcast with fellow RNTer Dr. Bhanusali. Intrigued, she checked out the RNT website.
“I saw the website and I found it amazing, astonishing and refreshing to see so many total transformations. And that’s when I decided to sign up.”
Navpriya began her RNT journey in March 2020. The pandemic had just hit and in a way it was a blessing as the pace of her life slowed down and she could focus on understanding and learning the process. She scheduled her meal prep, and spent time understanding more about nutrition from RNT education.
“Growing up in India, we didn’t really focus much on exercise. I had to get good grades and do well in school. So I studied hard and when I got stressed about exams I would turn to food for comfort. Even after joining medical school; life was busy and hectic. I ate a lot of junk food. When I moved to The US the same thing continued. It got to a point when I had to do something, which is why I signed up for the gym and tried to control what I ate. But the trouble was, I thought, if I exercised it gave me the right to eat what I wanted. I never knew how to identify what my body actually needed.”
Despite studying to be a doctor, Navpriya felt she didn’t fully understand the nuances of nutrition and how to make food choices to suit her body and her specific nutritional needs. It is ironic in a way that this rather essential life-skill isn’t taught even to those whose whole profession is based around health.
“I really think nutrition should be a part of the daily school curriculum, if this knowledge can be learned at a young age it would be so much easier to incorporate into our lives”
We all have certain points or moments in our day when we are most prone to reaching for that bag of crisps or a chocolate bar. Navpriya had her own specific triggers, if she had a complicated surgery coming up, or if there was a patient she was feeling particularly worried about - she found herself sliding down that slippery slope, reaching for her favourite comfort treats.
Akash - Do you have any tried and tested coping mechanisms to side-step the triggers?
Navpriya - I feel like I have reached a point where I am able to control my urges about 70% of the time. I do trip up and make less than ideal choices, I’m not perfect. But I try hard. When I am aware that I am stressed and tempted to snack, I try to go for a walk or I listen to one of your podcasts on the RNT website. There is so much information on there! Also, When I am premenstrual I have really strong food cravings; so at that time of the month, I try to preempt it and make sure there is nothing in the cupboards or in the fridge that could tempt me.
No ‘Forbidden Foods’ only ‘Forbidden Amounts’
Our relationship with food is so complicated, we have unconscious associations with different types of food. Most often when we eat certain foods our minds are flooded with vivid memories. For Navpriya, her major trigger food was warm, roasted peanuts. When she ate some peanuts she was transported back to the time when she was growing up in India. When she was little, she would buy little paper cones filled with freshly shelled and roasted peanuts and it would be shared by all of her friends and family. Eating peanuts with a little bit of jaggery made her feel nostalgic.
Akash - How do you handle specific food triggers, like the peanuts?
Navpriya - It was a challenge because if I didn’t eat a little handful of peanuts with some jaggery my day felt incomplete. The trouble was I never bothered to weigh it, I had no idea how much I was eating! Some days I would stop at one handful, other days it was three or even four! When I discussed my meal plans with the RNT team and told them how much I liked having certain foods during the day, her solution was so simple, it surprised me. I just factored those little indulgences into my meal plan: I made them fit into my macros. We adjusted the meal plan so I could have 10gms of peanuts everyday. And like you suggest, I made sure I ate them slowly and savoured each and every one.”
Akash - Absolutely, breaking past relationships with food and relearning about nutrition is so hard and once you achieve that half the battle is won.
Consolidation and Beyond…
Navpriya started off at RNT weighing 59 kgs, at Transformation Checkpoint she weighed in at 50 kgs and she had those sculpted abs she had always wanted. After that point her daily calories increased so she could achieve a steady, maintainable weight - a process that she found particularly hard.
“I didn’t like seeing the needle go up! I had worked so hard to reduce my weight to see the weight creeping back up was rather distressing. I thought to myself, ‘I’m putting on weight!’ Relinquishing that control was hard as I was afraid I would slide down that slippery slope again. Now, my weight hovers between 52 and 53kgs and I am getting more confident in flexing my macros and eating a bit more intuitively.”
Navpriya is still working on building muscle and getting stronger, whilst making sure she meets her step targets, as she continues to create her unique lifestyle solution.
The Physical as the Vehicle
With her new, sculpted and strong body Navpriya has unlocked a new source of energy.
“I handle my common stressors better, I am a much better parent! Since I am so happy, the little things don’t throw me off that easily. Professionally, mentally, physically, psychologically, I am in the best place I have ever been in all my life.”
Navpriya’s medical practice has expanded, her children and her husband have better knowledge on nutrition and they are all striving to make healthier food choices.
“My children are reading all the nutrition labels now. One big change has been with cereals, we used to eat cereal every morning for breakfast and now we have totally stopped buying them, all the sugar in the label totally put them off. We also weigh all the food we eat - we know exactly how much rice, how much dal we are putting on our plate. A year ago, if I had recommended these changes to my husband he would have flatly refused. Now we all eat cauliflower rice and we don’t eat rotis and chapatis everyday, we are eating a lot more salad! The funny thing is my husband is a doctor and he now recommends my RNT meal plans to his patients who are struggling to lose weight. And when they do manage to lose weight they are so grateful to him, he gets all the credit!”
This is RNT’s biggest driver - to create a domino effect that influences people to make the change and strive to be fitter, healthier and stronger in mind and body.
“I feel so great now, I feel strong and happy and I have so much energy and it would not have been possible without RNT. Thank you RNT for all the amazing work and this wonderful platform that you have built, the number of lives you have touched and the changes you have brought about in people’s lives is just incredible. Thank you so much!”
Tune into the RNT Podcast (Episode 225) to hear Navpriya’s open and candid conversation with Akash about her life altering journey with RNT.
Watch Navpriya’s podcast video here.