Every woman's handbook - The New Indian Express

Every woman's handbook

Published: 18th August 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 17th August 2013 11:41 AM

Less than a month ago, over coffee at Chennai’s hotspot—Amethyst—on Whites Road, Sheela Nambiar formally launched her book Get Size Wise! The audience comprised a mixed group—friends, clients, acquaintances—and not all women, even though the book and the discussion centred around awareness on women fitness and health. “And not just size,” clarifies Sheela, over a long phone conversation from her house in the mountains in Ooty, her home and base camp for most part of the year; when she is not in Ooty, she is in Chennai.

The obstetrician and gynaecologist equipped with a certificate as fitness and lifestyle consultant is a happy soul. In less than a couple of months since its publication, the book has already gone into a printing re-run, and needless to say, Sheela is feeling fulfilled with her nearly 18-month-long labour of a combination of things—research and analysis, time and energy, commitment and conviction, and of course love. “To be utterly honest,” she says, “I’ve been thinking, planning and researching the book for several years now; it took me a year and a half to actually evolve a script and structure for its treatment and presentation.”

It is the adherence to approach that sets the book apart from a whole bunch of books—in the market—that are all meant to drive home the point about fitness and health for women. Packed with information and facts, and real-life situations and stories to weave a narrative in an attempt to lend the book both lucidity and a sense of simplicity, Nambiar confides the book can be “misleadingly simple”. The truth is it isn’t so. Thoughtful readers and those who want to understand and imbibe its true essence and spirit, may need to return to it, time and again, to harness its full potential and see tangible results in their health and well-being. “I really want the woman reading it to understand fitness from a larger perspective than merely from the point of view of weight loss,” Sheela adds.

It is easy to take whatever she says, seriously. After all, with a post-graduate degree in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and armed with a certificate from the National Association of Fitness Certification (NAFC), USA, as a fitness and lifestyle consultant, you know exactly what she means when she says, she knows and understands women “inside out, literally”. The book, however, is the culmination of Sheela’s concerted efforts towards sensitising women to aspects of health and fitness. One among them is TFL (Training for Life), a programme she started in Ooty in 2000 and in Chennai seven years later. Since then, she has touched and changed the lives of many women and injected into them a passion for fitness that is more than merely physical.

Sheela practices what she preaches. Despite a hectic daily schedule that straddles between consultation, childbirth, surgeries, she manages to pack in a workout—“an outdoor walk, bike ride, a run on the treadmill and a fitness class that I teach about three-four times a week.” In a sense, she is the best example of what her book attempts to focus on—the four pillars of nutrition, fitness, rest and attitude. The hidden mantra of course is, “Lady, take responsibility for yourself”. Women, are you listening?

Sheela’s Gospel Truth on Fitness

■ Every woman requires something that is uniquely suitable for her body.

■ Fitness includes more than just walking or dieting or doing yoga.

■ Understand exactly what it takes to make the necessary changes in our life that will benefit us.

■ Don’t believe every advertisement for “quick weight loss” or “flat stomach”.

■ Ask yourself difficult questions: Have you truly eaten clean? Have you worked out regularly at the right intensity? Have you filled your journal truthfully? Have you confronted and addressed other aspects of your life that impinge on your health and wellness such as a strained relationship or stressful career?

■ Focus on the four pillars of nutrition, fitness, rest and attitude.

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